Pseudo architect, is there such a thing?
Many people claim to be knowledgeable in the practice of architecture and even go to the extent of making their buildings a D.I.Y. project. Some just hire a carpenter to build a house out of a sketch on a piece of paper, a cut-out image from a magazine, or a picture of a nice building along the roads of an executive village. “Gusto ko ito” (I like this), “gawan mo ako nyan” (build me something like that), giving instructions to a carpenter. I have nothing against carpenters. As a matter of fact, I consider them an essential part of the process of implementing an architectural masterpiece. But along with the engineers, designers, drafters, masons, and other workers, the licensed architect has a specific part that cannot, and should not be performed by someone not permitted to do so, in the same way that an architect should not take a hammer, from the hand of a carpenter, to strike a nail.
Section 29 of Architecture Act of 2004 (Republic Act 9266) clearly prohibits illegal practice of architecture. Specifically, a person violates the law if s/he practices architecture without being registered and licensed (or permitted by PRC). One violates the law if s/he uses another person’s registration, license, or seal in the act of practicing architecture. Or if s/he gives false or forged evidence of any kind to the Board of Architecture, in the act of obtaining a registration, license, or permit to practice architecture. Likewise, a persons is a violator of the law if s/he falsely impersonates any registrant of like or different name or if s/he uses or advertises any title conveying the impression that s/he is an architect, when in fact s/he is not. As well, one is doing an illegal act if s/he causes the use, adoption, or implementation of plans, designs, or specifications made by any person or company who are not duly licensed to practice architecture.
It is also an illegal act to disobey, or cause to disobey, any of the provisions of the Architecture Act, its implementing rules and regulations, the code of ethical conduct for architects, the architects’ standards of professional practice, or policies of the Board of Architecture and the Professional Regulation Commission. For example, a client who entices an architect to lower his professional fee to a level that is unjustified under the standards of practice may already be violating the rules of the law. A person alluring a fresh graduate of architecture to provide a design for an architectural project without the benefit of direct supervision coming from a licensed architect may likewise be violating RA9266.
Apart from the penalty of P100,000 to P5 million, or imprisonment of six months to six years (or both), why is there a need for such a law? Was it made to protect the architect? Well definitely, yes. But more than protecting the professionals, it protects the interest of the clients or owners of projects. It protects them from those who lures them into a deal of lower cost but done unprofessionally or mischievously. RA9266 protects them from becoming a victim of deceit, where an architectural masterpiece that they deserve, done by a licensed professional, is downgraded into an architectural counterfeit, missing the essential aspects of being a true work of architecture. It prevents bogus individuals from offering eye-blinding aesthetically presented designs that fall short of the real beauty of architecture, which is found in the building’s strength, form, and function, carefully studied and designed by a REGISTERED AND LICENSED ARCHITECT.
In the same way that no one should allow an unlicensed surgeon to cut through his/her body for a surgical operation, no one should also allow an unlicensed architect to plan and design a structure where he/she will be living, for a long time, together with his/her family and loved ones.
Beware of pseudo architects, they are all over… and dangerous.