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An architect is an architect

For Immediate Release 29 April, 2004.

There is no confusion. An architect is an architect The public responds to Government’s plan to change the meaning of ‘Architect’

An architect is a professionally qualified person who designs houses and buildings.

They are not landscapers, they are not builders, they don’t build boats and while they may use computers, they are not software designers.

So say 46 people randomly approached on Auckland city streets today, and asked, “what is an architect”?

The Vox Populi was undertaken by the New Zealand Institute of Architects to determine public understanding of the title ‘Architect’. The simple and universal answer – they are qualified people who design houses and buildings.

Such was the instantaneous and consistency of response, that NZIA chief executive Beverley McRae believes the same question asked of many more thousands of people would deliver the exact same answer.

Architects are gearing-up to fight a legislative change that would see those now called architects having to changing their title to registered architect, leaving the title ‘architect’ itself free, generic and able to be adopted by anyone who chose to use it.

The rationale for the change, according to the Commerce Ministry and the Committee that sat on the new Architects Bill, is to eliminate confusion over the use of the term architect.

“If we can accept that our Vox pop in indicative, there is absolutely no public confusion about what an architect is or does and in fact the title stands as a definition of the profession itself,” says Beverley McRae. “It is only the proposed change that will bring confusion and blur the definition that the title currently has.”

She says in that respect Government’s proposed name change is just plain silly and creates the confusion it purports to avoid.

“This is huge pity given that the original intent of the legislative change, generally supported by architects, was to strengthen professional standards and accountability to afford some greater level of consumer protection.

“Now though, existing standards – obviously widely understood by the public - are under threat because the purpose of the legislation has been hi-jacked by a bureaucratic re-definition of an already universally defined professional title.”

The New Zealand Institute of Architects is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister of Commerce to try and resolve the issue.


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