Local architects can now register

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Architects in Antigua and Barbuda will now be able to register professionally, paving the way for increased opportunities locally and further afield.
Speaking to Observer media Saturday night, Colin Jenkins, a prominent local architect, noted that the Antigua and Barbuda Architects Registration Board had not been functioning for years but was recently reconstituted with him as the chairman.
“This year we’ve started to get the ball rolling again, which I’m happy to say we’ll be able to now register new architects or persons able to be registered as architects. We are now going to ask individuals who would have met the criteria according to the act to apply for registration this year,” he said.
For years, local architects could only qualify under law to do architectural alterations for minor business premises of no more than one thousand square feet and for the designing of single family dwelling houses.
They could not qualify where multiple production of houses had to be done and the buildings were to be more than one storey, or where there was to be multiple productions of such buildings.
The law requires that anyone doing such large projects must be registered under the Architects (Registration) Act, but the absence of the board had thwarted that step.
In addition to education qualifications, the act, stipulates that, in order to be registered, an individual must have had no less than three years practical experience in architecture with one of those years under the direct supervision of an architect registered in Antigua and Barbuda.
“In other words you would have been able to go through the process to know the pros and the cons and make sure that what you’re giving to the client, from the government to a simple person, is of the best standard,” Jenkins said. “So registration really is giving you licence, and that is very important in our industry.”
He also stressed the importance of registration given the liabilities that could flow from work done by industry professionals.
Jenkins also highlighted a mutual recognition agreement between the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic (CARIFORUM), and the European Union (EU) as an avenue of opportunity. But he noted that local architects had been unable to take advantage of this because the relevant legislation in the Caribbean region was not yet on par with the EU’s. However, work is underway on legislation to be adopted region-wide to facilitate the free movement of Caribbean architects into the EU.           
“The attorney general mentioned that he should be taking something to parliament this year in that respect because there were persons in the Caribbean that were working on the new act that will supersede all of the others.
“So it would be the same for the different jurisdictions, and when that goes into effect there would no longer be a board. There would no longer be an institute. There would now be a council, and, with that council, everything would go forward so that we could have free access to the European Union as well.”
Until then, he said, the local Board will continue to register architects.
The other members of the Board are Mitch Stuart, Secretary; Elrie Farrell, Treasurer; and ex officio members Wesley James, Alex Pigott, Griffith Joseph, and Randell A Pyle.    

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