Submitted to us on may 29th 2014 by Malachy Mathews Dip Arch Tech, PhD Candidate, MSc, Board Member of the International Congress of Architectural Technology (ICAT) and former Chairman of the RIAI Architectural Technology Committee 2008-’10
Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9.
The ill-timed and badly worded RIAI News Alert issued on the evening before Deputy Mick Wallace’s contribution to the Dáil on Architectural Technologists sums up the appalling attitude of the Director/CEO, President, and Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland to Architectural Technology in Ireland.
I am quite sure the president thought this would be a forgettable moment in the Dáil. A maverick TD with an agenda, a Minister with a much repeated stock answer. Instead what happen was a notable moment in time that has the potential to shift the dynamic of design and construction in Ireland.
What Irish Architectural Technologists were and have been looking for is recognition and legitimacy. An online petition calling for this attracted 550 signatures in 36 hours leading up to Deputy Wallace’s Dáil speech. Equal in number to the recent RIAI EGM. Mick Wallace did what he does best in the Dáil, he spoke with conviction, passion and knowledge of his subject. He made public for the first time what has been know in the industry for years, that a large percentage of architects rely on the expertise of architectural technologists and their technical knowledge.
What was not expected was the impromptu response from the Minister once he got off the script. Prompted by the “dissatisfaction with the level of fees being quoted” and “conscious of the competitive issues” and knowledge of “existing statutory bodies and their representatives not being exactly generous in respect of the level of competence” the Minister is seriously considering introducing a British solution to an Irish problem.
Should the Minister give the go ahead to the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) to establish, hold and manage a Statutory Register for Architectural Technologists in the Republic of Ireland , it may alter the competent authority status claimed by the RIAI. This will now be held by the body responsible for the statutory register and the appointed Registrar. The 5 colleges delivering Architectural Technologist programmes will need to consider their engagement with the RIAI and will seek course validation from the new competent authority.
Was this a good day for ROI Architectural Technologists ? If this comes about, then yes. But it is worth pointing out to the Minister that even a “registered” Architectural Technologist is just as likely as a Registered Engineer or Architect to refuse the defective certifier/designer roles under the new building regulations but currently ATs don’t even have that choice.
After a decade of having RIAI presidents deliver platitudes with no action, after a decade of bringing Architectural Technologists’ issues to the RIAI Council and having head nodding acknowledgment but little actual support, the RIAI have portrayed themselves as being a professional body whose best response to their Architectural Technologists members after a decade of engagement was a watered down, ill-timed, contradictory offer to support in principle a policy in relation to Architectural Technologists including the need for the establishment of a Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists.
It’s too little, too late and the RIAI have effectively lost what little shred of confidence they had left from Architectural Technologists in Ireland. The infant that was born in the 1960s has matured into a full responsible adult and is now ready to make an independent contribution to Irish society. Minister, make your decision, get on with it. Give Irish architectural technologists the respect and legitimacy they fully deserve and let ATs get going to make a valuable contribution to the resurgent design and construction industry.
Other posts on this topic:
O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here
Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification – click link here
Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists – click link here
Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here
RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here
Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists – click link here
Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here
Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010 – click link here
Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here
An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here
Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here
Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here