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Gov’t urged to define roles of architects, civil engineers

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Architects are calling on the government to address the overlapping roles of civil engineers and the architects.

Cris Cyril Abbu, co-chairman of plans and program of the Philippine Institute of Architects, said there’s still confusion between the role of the architects and civil engineers in the design and building of projects which could affect the industry in the long run.

“With Cebu’s real estate boom, this issue should be looked into and addressed so that we can expect quality output of buildings and that way we can also channel through the architects the concept of ‘green’ building starting from the design,” said Abbu, during their 80th National Convention held at the City Sports Club last week.

Abbu and architect Dioscoro Alesna, PIA co-chairman for plans and programs, were referring to some civil engineers who offer services which were supposedly offered only by architects.

Alesna said that there is an existing law RA 9266 which specifies the role of an architect and a civil engineer in construction projects. This law however is not being implemented widely in the country.

“Two years ago the Cebu City council tackled this problem but there was no follow through. We would like that revived because it would be useless to educate our architects with the latest technologies and could not practice it because the civil engineers are doing the designing already,” said Alesna.

Girlie Ang, chairman of the convention, said that it is an unethical practice that should be addressed immediately by government.

“The job of civil engineers is to compute the structural stability of your design and give their recommendations. That design is created by architects like us. Creating the design is the first and an important part of a project and with the trend going green now, educated and well informed architects can put in a lot of ‘green’ interventions in a design,” said Ang.

Alesna said that as an organization, PIA will seek meetings with local government officials to ask for help in the issue.

During last week’s forum, the architects discussed how they could help in mitigating the effects of climate change such as designing green buildings.

“We see the important role that architects like us play so as responsible professionals, we will be aggressively pushing for green architecture and ecological and social awareness because of worsening climate change especially here in Cebu where the economy is booming and a lot of potential is yet to be achieved,” said Alesna.

Building green buildings means coming up with green designs which is the main role of the architects, who specify the design and materials used for a specific design and structure.

“If we educate more ourselves with the available technologies we can practice them more and we have to say that people are also becoming more aware of the ‘green’ concept and are keen on doing their part,” said Alesna.

According to Alesna, environment-friendly materials and processes are already being applied in their designs like having a white-colored roof so that it does not absorb heat more. Another is passive cooling for lesser electricity consumption thus lesser carbon footprint and saving on cost at the same time and cross-ventilation or the strategic placing of windows in areas of the structure where there is natural flow of wind to allow it to flow through the structure for natural ventilation.


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