As part of their contribution towards stemming the tide of climate change and making Nigeria a safer place to live in, architects have been urged to familiarize themselves with eco-friendly designs, which have been said to impact positively on the earth and her people.
Also, the architects, under the aegis of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), were advised to pro-actively inject the principles of sustainable architecture into their designs, without the prompting of their clients.
These were some of the recommendations made recently by several speakers, who graced the occasion of Architects Forum tagged “Lagos 6.0, “The Business of Architecture” organised by NIA Lagos and held recently at the Expo Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
It was a four-day event that attracted several professionals both within and outside the nation’s shore. The annual event provides a platform for architects in Lagos state to brainstorm on the various challenges they face in their businesses. Solutions that position the architects and their firms for economic prosperity are evolved.
This year’s event was no different as the deliberations led to a communiqué on the forward for the profession of architecture in Lagos and Nigeria. Also, the forum tagged 6.0 featured a bicameral program of both conference and building materials / architects’ works exhibitions ran concurrently. About 1,500 participants, drawn from architects and allied professionals in private practice, public sector and academia together with members of the general public, the international community, media organizations and students were in attendance.
Besides push for green designs, several other issues were raised at the event. Some of them included incursion by foreign architects into the country’s landscape, without total compliance with the rules of engagement as specified by the profession’s regulatory body, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and International Union of Architects (UIA) accord.
“Architect’s Projects Registration Number (APRN) which was introduced by ARCON as one of the means of checking fraud in the building approval processes and impersonation of architects in the construction industry was recommended for use in Lagos State. NIA LSC was advised to pursue its implementation to check the ever – growing economic and professional frustrations being witnessed by its members from both foreign and domestic impostors.”
According to the communiqué, jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary, NIA, Lagos, Messrs. Ladipo Lewis and Bayo Ogunmefun, “Some registered architects in Lagos State were also alleged to be aiding the illicit professional activities of some foreign architects by stamping and signing drawings for them to obtain government’s development control approval. …Some cases where collaboration exists between foreign architects and Nigerian architects, Nigerian architects were grossly short- changed in their agreements.”
It was also noted that conflicts in the requirements of different regulatory bodies such as Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), American Institute of Architects (AIA), International Union of Architects (UIA) and so on, were said to mitigating factors when generating agreements or memoranda of understanding for architectural collaboration. The forum, therefore, urged cohesive and comprehensive collaborative efforts among the groups.
In addition, disparity in knowledge, technology and financial resources were said to be inhibiting the growth of architecture in the globe, particularly in Nigeria, and to this end, it was agreed that, “Our architects and architectural firms should welcome the practice, wherever the exigency of their projects permit but the collaboration agreements must be within the law and ARCON/NIA rules.”
On the push for green designs, the body urged all architects in Lagos to adopt the concept as a compulsory condition in their designs going forward. “Given that global climate change has left a trail of natural disasters in many countries of the eastern and western hemispheres, directions of architectural and urban design are being geared towards sustainable/green concept. It was observed that Architects in Lagos state were yet to adopt the green concept as a mandatory requirement in their design, except specifically commissioned by their clients to do so.”
In line with the theme of the forum, the speakers one after the other said Nigerian architects should understand the art of business of the profession. “Architects in private practice were admonished to raise the bar of their practice by establishing firms with proper legal structures, business goals, marketing strategy and tools which may add value to not just their practice but also earn the respect and more considerations from their clients.
“Architects were implored to acquaint themselves with the organization structure, culture and operation of their potential client’s organization; which may later aid in avoidance of project failure in contract administration.”
And to tighten loose ends in the control of the practice in the country, their regulators were urged to step up the role. “ARCON and NIA were advised to be more pro-active in enforcing the ARCON policy and UIA Accord’s on foreign architects’ in-road into architectural practice in the country.
Also appropriate sanctions should be meted out to erring local architects that abuse their roles.”
According to the forum, NIA was advised to vigorously publicize not only the rules and professional ethics governing architectural design competitions but also its benefits to the clients’ organizations and the country.
The monitoring could not be left for the regulatory bodies alone, as members of the profession were urged to report anywhere they see the rules on architectural completions being violated to NIA and ARCON for necessary actions.