A Practicing Architect (or Firm) is a Registered Architect offering their Architectural Service to the public. In order to practice, a Practicing Certificate or Licence is issued to a Registered Architect by ZIA after complying with the relevant and necessary requirements. The Act also provides a Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct that prescribes how Registered Architects and Firms are expected to conduct themselves when practicing and generally offering their service to the public. For instance, like Lawyers and Medical Practitioners, Architects are not permitted to directly advertise their services to the public but generally rely on their ability and achievement to market themselves.
ZIA has published a Zambian Hand Book of Practice for Architects (Volume 1) which provides Architects a systematic and appropriate method of executing their services to Clients from inception through to completion. In the hand book the services of a Practicing Architect are structured into two sections namely Job Running and Contract Administration.
Job Running explains the documentation and procedures that are involved from inception or commission of a project with the Client right through to Project hand over and review at completion. The Contract Administration section provides practical guidance on the administering of the building contract which is the agreement between the Client and a Contractor giving rise to obligations to each other enforceable at law. For private projects the hand book recommends the use of the JLC Standard Form of Building Contract while for government projects the GC Works Form of Contract is used.
A Practicing Architect has the direct and individual responsibility to faithfully and diligently carry out his or her duties undertaken in accordance with the terms of engagement with their Client. Architects also have a third party duty of care to persons expected to use or enjoy buildings and facilities designed by them. For example an Architect has a duty of care to provide an access ramp for use by the disabled on wheel chairs even on privately owned buildings. It is for this reason that Architects like Lawyers and Medical Practitioners are expected to practice under the Sole Proprietary or Partnership Type of Business and not as Limited Liability Companies. With the general appreciation of who an Architect is and what it takes to practice Architecture in Zambia follow up articles will explore the tools and standard documents that are available for an Architect to practice their profession and effectively serve their Clients and the public in general.