Architects are licensed professionals. They pass out from accredited schools and colleges and after due paperwork are licensed to practise by the Council of Architecture, India. This is a government agency set up by an Act of Parliament.
In that respect, the new move by the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority raises a few issues.
Architects, engineers and developers have strongly opposed the decision of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) making it compulsory to renew their registration and licences every year for projects within its limit.
According to them, the fiat issued this week is highly unwarranted and would not serve any purpose other than causing harassment and inconvenience to over 4,000 engineers and hundreds of builders, real estate developers.
Senior architect Pravin Patel said that forcing for renewal of registration and licenses amounts to harassment because one would have to rush to AUDA every nine or 12 months.
He said all the architects having passed out from engineering and architecture colleges were registered with the Council of Architecture, a Central government body with legal status, and hence, there was no need for another registration with the urban bodies or corporations. “Do physicians or surgeons renew their licenses every year? Then why engineers and architects are being treated like this?” [ link to article ]
This is a pretty dumb move on many levels. This just increases bureaucracy and creates more instances where bribes can be extracted because someone forgot to renew their license in time.
However there is a a larger issue that remains unanswered. Should architects renew their license with the COA periodically? And what about continuing education, professional development and knowledge upgrade? Unlike many other countries, India has an architect for life license scenario. Just keep on paying fees and you will be an architect till you die. There is no onus for the professional to update their knowledge, revamp their skill set and keep abreast of new technology etc.
In the US, architects need to take a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) and document that process and submit it to their licensing body. This is in no way a fool proof system, however this forces all architects to take their continuing education seriously and in an idealized scenario is completely beneficial to the profession and society in general.
This is something that the Council of Architecture needs to consider in the coming years. The floodgates to educational institutions opened in 1992 and the first set of graduating students from those schools have already been out of college for more than a decade. Time to update skills ? I say yes.