Thursday, February 10, 2005

RA 9266

Republic Act 9266

Architects Law of 2004

RA 9266 or Architects Law of 2004 was passed last year and as of yesterday, it has fully taken effect here in my hometown of San Pablo City, Laguna.

Being a licensed architect and a member of our national architects' organization, the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), it has significance to me and may well affect my professional life from this time on.

One of the bigger points of this law is that Architects can no longer design and sign Structural Plans for the construction of buildings.

To simplify things, if you wish to have a house or building constructed, you would require a set of plans known as "Working Drawings" which would give directions to a contractor how to build your house according to your approved specifications.

The Working Drawings are divided into several sections, the first being the "Architectural Plans" where the orgainzation, the layout and the aesthetic design of the outside and the inside of the building are specified. The second section is the Engineering Plans which is further subdivided into "Structural Plans", "Electrical Plans", "Plumbing Plans" and so on, plans that ensure that your house doesn't fall down and they work properly.

Before this law, Architects were authorized to design Structural Plans for one to 4 story structures. With this law, this job now solely belongs to the Structural Engineer.

However, it now becomes the sole job of the Architect to prepare and sign Architectural Plans. Engineers can no longer provide Architectural plans and sign them as they have done so for decades before this.

Additionally, Architects cannot sign Architectural Plans that they did not design, or at least had a hand in supervising the design.

This would now curtail the practice of draftsmen in designing Architectural plans and having either Engineers or Architects sign them afterward.

So if you are resident of San Pablo City at least, and wish to have a house constructed, you would be needing an Architect and an Engineer to do to it. You can't have just one. There is a lot of paperwork to get this law going in your respective hometowns and as far as I know, only Davao and San Pablo City have successfully implemented this law fully with Palawan and other areas following soon. Hopefully this law will be fully implemented nationwide before long.

It will be very difficult time for both Architects and Engineers in the next few years as this law settles in. A lot of Engineers are understandably upset, but the point of all this is to put into order and into their proper places our respective professions.

We Architects are not out to rob Engineers of their jobs because to be honest, providing Architectural Plans wasn't really their job to do in the first place. They do not have the proper educational background in Architectural history, theory, aesthetics and planning (environmental, social, functional) necessary to properly design a living and working environment for human habitation. It was *our* job to do because we are the ones who studied for it and are eminently qualified to do it. This is a job that has been taken away *from us* by Engineers here in the Philippines for decades. With this law, the work of both Architect and Engineer now becomes equally essential and clients cannot do without the other. This law actually ensures both Architect and Engineer work for any particular project.

What this means for me is that San Pablo would be needing more Architects to accommodate the influx of projects coming our way. With only 35 active members in our local chapter, I may need to return to architecture at some point.

After coming into comics back in 1992, I slowly got myself out of architecture, although I remained active in our local chapter. I designed my last house in 1995 and never looked back.

My interest in architecture has been revived in the last couple of years and I remembered how exhilarating it was coming out with designs for all sorts of things. So if and when I do come back, I'm not doing it without any interest invested in it.

For now, comics is still my priority, and I intend on fulfilling all my current obligations. After that who knows? I may well change my priorities and put comics second. I can't say now. I'll be able to tell by the end of this year.