Intensive Revision: Role and Responsibility of An Architect

in GEMS2 months ago

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Counting down 10 days and approximate 12 hours to go, I will be sitting for my professional exam of Part 3 Architecture. This the final stage whereby after passing the logbook, I get to proceed with the oral exam which will take place in this coming August. Once I pass the oral examination, then I will be eligible to sit for the written exam which is at the mid of September. Frankly, the examination has been a dilemma for me as I am not sure what to do with the qualification even if I do pass the exam and attain the Ar. title. With the professional certificate, I will be officially an Architect which can certify documents specifically for building and construction. Yet, that may not be my career path in the future which led me to think on whether taking the exam is going to be worth for me or not.

After listening to a podcast that I follow daily, I heard an episode that talks about the habit of the successful ones. One of the habits is to finish up the race, especially when we are left with the last few steps. Usually, when we really finish up the journey with the outcome that may not be positively enticing, the overall satisfaction will be way better than giving up at the final's doorstep. With that being said, I told myself that I only require to study and equip myself with enough knowledge to go through the exam. Just imagine that I really get an opportunity to open an Architectural Consultancy Practice with a large investment. So how am I going to do about that? Should I just let this opportunity pass? Well, never and with this, I am picking up my books and get back on the revision trance.

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These are the overall topics that I need to cover or at least understand in general to be considered as a competent architect. To be honest, it is not easy to become a competent architect especially with limited experience on the whole construction process. Plus, with different complexity of every development, I may not know the ins and outs of many other designs (other than the usual residential building types that we can see around locally). Thus, it is crucial that we always are in the lookout for partners to do jobs together so that we can deliver the best quality service to the client.

On the other hand, the local professional service market does not look so good since 2018. Factors like the uncertainty in the local politic scenario, low-value appreciation on the professional services which cause an eventual low fees payment and also an oversupply of residential units that are not affordable for the local market. All of these reasons are not something we can solve in just one year or two, it is a decade question that needs at least 2 generations to work together and really do something different to change the current deadlock. To be honest, the building construction industry may seem big and it is very lucrative as a business. Yet, when the efficiency is low and the duration of the project is drag indefinitely, the overall cost would skyrocket and none of the stakeholders will be happy about that. This includes architects and other consultants. Thus, it is important that as architects, we need to see the current world in a different manner. Perhaps there is a lesser need of designing a new city or township, maybe it is the time to look back into the old city or overcrowded place that could use some new look or new components to rejuvenate the place. With that being said, this will actually generate a more affordable and more practical service that is needed for the current situation.

By understanding the macro market is not enough, it is essential for the architect to understand the micro as well, specifically the practice of building construction and consultancy from A to Z. Starting from an idea and empty land/old building, an architect will be required to come out with a solution that could change the place and create a new image, a new spirit to space. In addition to that, research and surveys need to be done well in order to justify that the design and investment are making sense. Once the brick and mortar are cemented on the site of the old building is demolished and rebuild, we cannot reverse the process anymore or it is literally too costly to do so. Hence, every decision made in this line has to very carefully plan. Even project like Disneyland, it requires the team to have at least 5 years of site study and research before the company has the firm ground to pump billions into the construction of any new Disneyland. Thus, we can see how stressful as the leading architect is as the judgement of this single person (plus the client) will be liable for the billions invested into this dream.

Along the way, there are details like dealing with the contract, contractor, nominated sub-contractors, suppliers, specialists and other consultants. Besides representing the client, the architect needs to uphold a position that is not biased to any party in order to ensure the overall safety and functionality of the building. All the buildings erected will need to be signed off by the architect with forms like the G Forms and also certificates like Certificate of Fitness, Certificate of Completion and Compliance, Certificate of Practical Compliance, and Certificate of Making Good Defect. The architect will also be required to have a good understanding of how the local authority works and capable to liaise with the government seamlessly. This is challenging especially when one party will be required to handle so many parties with such a wide variety of background.

Back to my study, it is undeniable interesting to study this profession and it had led me to see the world from a different perspective. I can appreciate how a city works in more angles and it is hard to imagine that without an architect, how a city can become how it is today. There is surely a big part played by the architect to make the city works hand in hand with the tangible and intangible. Hoping all of these explanations could bring more insight to the public how the profession works.

Stay tuned for more!

First posted on my HIVE Blog

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