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A monumental problem

I REFER to “Sore lack of architects,” (The Star, Nov 25). The Architect’s Act exists to protect the interests of the public by ensuring that only persons who are appropriately qualified, sufficiently competent and possessing the required integrity are allowed to be registered to practise as architects as there is much at stake when things go wrong.

The Board of Architects Malaysia (LAM) is entrusted with the task of regulating the profession by ensuring that those who are qualified to be registered under the Act meet the required standards in terms of knowledge and understanding of the legislative, technical and ethical aspects of the profession and also to ensure that these standards are met by architects.

The fact that there are relatively few building failures where architects are involved points to the efficacy of this regulatory function.

LAM holds annual professional examinations, both oral and written, to gauge the readiness of the candidates to join the ranks of professional architects.

In addition to this, it also regulates and monitors continued professional development (CPD) programmes for those registered to practise as part of their annual re-registration requirements.

However, it is not the responsibility of LAM to train aspiring candidates for their professional exams.

LAM is equally dismayed by the poor passing rate as it is a sad reflection on the state of the industry and the profession.

It has to be understood that it is not a matter of LAM “allowing” new registrations but a matter of candidates actually not passing the Part 3 professional exams.

It must be reiterated that the exam papers are set at a level of knowledge based on professional practice that one would expect of a candidate with two years’ experience in an architect’s office.

There is no quota system nor are the expectations unreasonable since the passing mark is set at 50%.

It has to be emphasised that the two years’ experience is the minimum period of training required.

The majority of the candidates generally require more time to acquire the necessary skills and experience either by reason of there being insufficient exposure or lack of guidance while at work.

In this respect, the profession has a major role to play in the training of future professionals.

Too often, graduate architects are employed to work exclusively on specific tasks such as design or presentation with little exposure or experience on the other aspects of professional training, resulting in a failure to acquire the set of skills necessary to cut it as a professional architect.

On the other hand, the graduate architects who aspire to be registered as professional architects should be asking their employers at the onset whether they would be provided with opportunities to learn all aspects of professional practice during their tenure with the company and at the same time seek avenues to improve their skills and knowledge outside the office.

In the interest of their own career, they must be prepared to change employment if the situation warrants such a move.

LAM is very much aware of the need to increase the number of professional architects in order to serve the public interest, and over the years has enlisted the assistance of the Malaysian Institute of Architects and its members to carry out both Part 3 and CPD programmes and seminars designed to both disseminate and reinforce knowledge of candidates wishing to present themselves for the Part 3 examinations.

LAM is not sure how transparent the writer, Aspirant Architect, wants the board to be.

No professional body divulges examination marks or returns answer scripts to its candidates.

The examiners do not mark the scripts with comments so nothing could be gained from such an exercise.

We welcome suggestions from candidates and architects as to how we can raise the number of professional architects in the country while maintaining the necessary standards of competence to safeguard public interest.




Board of Architects Malaysia.


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