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Crime pays Council (of Architecture)

September 25, 2013

Crime pays Council of Architecture.

The thugs at Council are at it again. Coercing new educational institutes – to bribe them for granting recognition – or threatening to put their name on their website where they’ve derecognised an institute/ college. A team of three architects (academicians, practitioners, active members) visits to physically examine a college when the Council has to grant or renew its recognition which enables students graduated from the same to obtain registration from Council.

They carry an elaborate evaluation format to account for the infrastructure, academic strength and other support facilities to students. The visitors interact with faculties, personally examine the laboratories, library, classrooms and other ancillary and note down their findings. Proper paperwork is always submitted. On the basis of adequateness emerging out of this visit, Council is able to determine if an institute/ college is good enough to impart architectural degree worth recognising.

Now for quite some time, this is the situation: Whether their team comes for the first time or to renew the CoA, they are either assumed corrupt, or, actually are corrupt. Most of us know someone who has been asked to entertain them or pay them off when they come visiting an existing institute.

There are examples of them making a big show about cancelling the recognition (all the while pressurising a head or owner of a private college to shell out) knowing very well they will give back the recognition notwithstanding the other merits or demerits.

Why they can get away with this:

Because of The Architects’ Act 1972 that established their monopoly to register architects granting them licence to practice.

So if you are from an institute that taught you enough to become a good architect (design, build etc etc), it won’t do. To run a professional practice, you must have a Council of Architecture registration,

There being huge variation in the quality of education provided by the various institutes, a college considered adequate by Council is accepted as halfway decent (to ensure an architect is well trained is the said recognition for her/ his Alma mater).

More and more clients are falling for limiting the competitions and public projects to Council registered architects.

What is plaguing them:

1. There is power grabbing and infighting within. Imagine forcing shut the president’s office or one faction breaking the lock put by the other faction on the same. All within India Habitat Centre premises.

2. Most office bearers have been there for a long time, and they are there without merit. They are also so bureaucratic one can’t believe it.

3. Their greed knows no limit.

They are stupid enough to charge Rs. 10 per day of delay when a certificate of registration is not renewed in time. Whether this delay in renewing is for a few days, or months, they have the same stick to beat you. Heaven forbid if you were away for some years – they’ll still claim that you have made profit or otherwise benefited from their certificate, so you should pay.

This is over and above the registrar sitting in the office for far too long, and all the benefits that brings.

4. They have abused and will keep abusing the power vested in them by the parliament, and there are no checks. Whoever could imagine them derecognising a college because the head refused to bow down/ address the Council member in a certain manner. Instances of taking personal offence and doing this for egotistic reasons are rampant.

5. Oh, and in a sure method to harm other professionals, they are pushing for private architectural practices which are individually owned (proprietorship) or partnerships – which means that one may not dare to risk raising their liability for big projects. True, it will keep engineering behemoths from hogging projects meant for architects, but client is unlikely to know the difference between an all architect company and a partnership between an architect and an engineer.

6. They have started making their own standards for considering who does and who doesn’t qualify for registration/ to practice, even if recognition is granted to their university. For example, some students who entered early and finished their course in later than 5 years are at their mercy – all because their college became a university and switched to degree certificate. They won’t agree to register them – despite same campus, same teachers, same education.

7. They have started their own course, which is clearly a conflict of interest.

In short, they’ve gone rogue… Pity architects are not activists. MHRD, please wake up.

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