Sydney architect calls for increased lawsuits against ‘bogus’ architects

Sydney architect Robert Harwood is apparently fed up with being compared in price and capacity to building practitioners who are not registered architects.

The Director of Harwood Architects and Founder of My Architect calls on Jennifer Cunich, CEO of the Australian Institute of Architects, to do more to protect the architectural profession from non-architects passing off their work and abilities as those of an architect.

Harwood is particularly concerned with non-architects using the title “architect” in their name or the words “architectural services” in advertising.

“Every day my company gets calls from potential clients who compare us to ‘architectural’ drafting services and ‘interior’ architects,” he says.

“These traders are illegally threatening our business and our reputation by posing as ‘architectural’ services at a lower price.”

“They absolutely do not provide an architectural service.”

While the catalyst for Harwood’s petition appears to come from Archicentre’s recent failure amid Sydney’s construction boom, it points to other ‘issues’, such as top-notch educational institutions offering courses. on how to be an “interior designer” or “construction designer-architect”, as well as the “non-existent” action of state registration commissions (administrators of the Architects Act), such as contributing to the alleged problem.

But while Harwood is correct in suggesting that some institutions offer non-institute accredited courses that use the term “architectural” in their title or description, NSW Architects Registration Board Registrar Tim Horton would disagree. premise that state registrars are not making efforts to enforce the Architects Act of 2003.

“I think the issues raised often end up in the media – often from architects who misunderstand the rationale for regulation or who don’t know where to find publicly available data,” he says.

“In 2014-2015, the Council conducted 139 surveys of companies using the title illegally and 10 complaints against architects. Thus, the weight of evidence suggests that the Council is doing its job – sometimes quietly, sometimes in the public eye. “

But Horton agrees statutory authorities can always do better, and highlighted an event NSWARB is planning for November 3 that will help the profession better understand how the Council works.

Horton also highlighted the board’s recent efforts to engage with the architecture community via his Twitter page. @ArchInsights which regularly publishes and processes information on the above concerns.

The Council will also launch a new avenue of mediation at its November event that should help homeowners and their architects resolve issues without the need for a complaint.

Robert Harwood is researching 100 signatures for his online petition which can be viewed here.

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