Quackery according to Wikipedia is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practice. In reality the practice of quackery cuts across almost all professions in the world. Today one of the badly hit professions in Nigeria is Architecture. Moving from being a quack to an architect is therefore the focus of this article.
Arc Ibrahim A. Haruna FNIA, described quacks in architecture as people who would have usually undergone some training in architecture but are yet to fulfill the requirements to work as registered architects.
On the other hand, we can also add that a quack is anyone who pretends, professionally and publicly, to have skills, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess.
Who is a Quack Architect?
1. When other professionals such as civil engineers, urban planners, quantity surveyors etc add architectural services to their practice, then that’s quackery.
2. When a fully or partially trained architecture student/graduate practices architecture. This is usually without license or registration from the professions’ statutory regulatory body, then that’s quackery.
3. When artisans and individuals who have acquired architectural and construction skills on-site such as masons, foremen, contractors etc. practice architecture, then that’s quackery.
4. When untrained individuals have simply acquired knowledge and skill. Normally in the use of architectural design software such as AutoCAD or Revit practice architecture, then that is quackery.
5. When individuals who are foreign-trained return home or abroad to practice without being licenced in those countries.
How to know if you are encroaching on the profession of architecture?
Architecture is for architects, just like engineering is for engineers and law is for lawyers. But this begs the question, who therefore is an architect and what also is architecture?
An architect is a qualified person with an appropriate license, certification and registration with a relevant body often the government empowered with the legal rights to practice architecture.
This licensure usually requires an accredited university degree. The decisions of an architect affect public safety, thus the need to undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and internship.
Architecture as defined by ARCON is the art and science in theory and practice of design, erection, commissioning, maintenance and management and coordination of allied professional inputs. Thereto of buildings, or part thereof and the layout and master plan of such buildings or groups of buildings forming a comprehensive institution, establishment or neighbourhood. As well as any other organize space, enclosed or opened, required for human and other activities.
According to ARCON the core duties of the architect in Nigeria is to prepare and take full responsibility for all architectural documents. Which are required for the erection and commissioning of buildings.
Therefore a non-architect shouldn’t engage in the preparation of architectural drawings on his own. He should practice under the supervision of a licensed architect. Whether or not those drawings are used to build.
How then do you become an Architect?
Category 1, 2 and 3 will be required to acquire a degree in architecture, then apply to be licensed by ARCON;
Categories 2 and 5 will be required to vet their architecture degree with ARCON. After which you apply for a License to practice architecture.
The process of acquiring an architecture degree is somewhat straightforward. However, that of registering with ARCON needs to be explained.
ARCON as the statutory body does not work alone. They have empowered the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) to carry out some responsibility on their behalf.
One of which is the conduct of the professional practice exams that will qualify you to be licensed. Therefore, you have to work closely with both bodies.
ARCON has two levels of registration; provisional and full registration while NIA has two; associate and full membership registration.
Today the former is a prerequisite to the latter therefore the first thing to do is to contact NIA to begin the process. For those in category 5, you should contact ARCON first if you are foreign licensed.