PRACTICE THAT MATTERS
The PIA Practice Committee has been hard at work in the background on a whole range of matters to assist in ensuring that the practice of Architecture within the PIA region has the support it needs as well as representation on various national bodies to help make a difference.
These activities have covered a considerable range of topics and are aimed at assisting the individual on specific matters to more long term matters that will be of benefit to all practitioners.
With regard to the former there have been a couple of topics that recur that all should pay heed to. Namely, Formalisation submissions to Tshwane Council and copyright.
Otherwise [incorrectly] known as “As Built” plan submissions. These are the submissions to council for approval of works undertaken on site that deviate from the initial approved drawings, as well as the submission for approval of works that were undertaken by previous owners or even by the same owner prior to undertaking new alterations and additions.
The processes of these are essentially exactly the same as any other submission. The principal item to remember ,and to ensure, is that you have entered into a sufficiently and correctly qualified written agreement with your client clearly outlining your responsibilities and liabilities – remember you cannot draw and show a strip foundation to the house if you don’t have some evidence that it actually exists. Secondly you need to communicate to your Client that the legal responsibility for keeping the original or copies of “approved plans” lies solely with them and not the council. The only legal responsibility the Council has is to keep a copy for their records and use. Thus the PIA Practice Committee recommends that you ensure you receive suitable remuneration for obtaining copies from council on your client’s behalf and / or undertaking the necessary measured survey to produce a drawing of record as the basis for the Clients new proposals.
There have been a several queries to the office regarding this matter recently. The essentials of these queries have revolved around either the Client’s insistence on receiving editable electronic copies of drawings – invariably in CAD format, and becoming more frequent, in 3D model format. This is concerning in that you the author of, and Intellectual Property owner of the designs and details only give a license to the Property Owner and Client permission to use the works for their intended purpose on the project.
There is a big caveat associated with this. Namely it is provided that you have made adequate reference to the ownership of copyright within your written agreement of appointment for professional services. It is not a simple matter of simplistically relying on the Copyright Act 98 0f 1978 https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201504/act-98-1978.pdf and as amended https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201409/a9-02.pdf Please do download and read them – or obtain necessary expert opinion – for as with all things legal there are many instances of particularities that may alter you layman’s understanding.
The principal advice from the PIA is to ensure that you have the necessary wording in your agreements – the PROCSA and CAA agreements are a good start – and try to ensure that you do not inadvertently sign away your rights by unknowingly agreeing to issue editable CAD files to the Client at the end of the project.
In terms of the longer term initiatives, the PIA Practice Committee is a representative of the SI National Practice Committee. The latest meeting of which was held on Thursday last week – the 25th July. As has been the case for many years this Committee is funded through the SAIA portion of your valuable PIA membership contributions, has a considerable workload of matters to action. Not only do these entail discussions on the various very pertinent current concerns of the profession with regards to SACAP, Fees and the IDOW, but also on the various matters that the committee has been mandated to work on towards giving you the member a benefit and assistance with everyday practice as an Architect.
There are, as you are aware an inordinate number of topics and matters that could be addressed and we highlight below a selection of the more pertinent topics that the PIA are contributing to on your behalf.
Benchmark And Fees Survey
We wish to thank all those who completed the survey questionnaire earlier this year as it is with their contribution that the latest survey reports can be published. Publication of these is imminently due, if not already – go check out the SAIA web “Member Portal”. This is a wealth of information and statistics that are crucial for all practitioners to assess their own practice against. Being able to assess one’s own position against the profession regionally, locally and in comparison to practices similar to you own is an essential ‘must do’ business exercise.
Locally we are in the process of considering producing for issue a survey on the expectations and aspirations of TUKS and TUT students. The ultimate aim of this survey is to provide us and yourselves with data that can assist you in providing the right sort of Mentorship and remuneration to students in training and during their first couple of years of practice after registration. Watch this space/
Compendium Of Practice Guidelines
The compendium, ably authored and edited by a team with invaluable input from the PIA’s very own Ian Alexander and Emile Paulsen, consists of an incredible body and wealth of knowledge on all things to do with the practical and business side of the Practice of Architecture. Each SAIA member has access to this through the “Member Portal” where not only advice will be found, but also invaluable pro-forma letters and templates. There is a portal for posting comments on each portion of the compendium so if you do have any comments or suggestions please do use the portal as it is only through your contributions that the compendium may be kept up to date and improved.
To BIM or not to BIM? An interesting question to be asked at the beginning of each project – as each and every project does not have to be undertaken within the #D component of BIM. Please do remember that if you are using ###### software (insert the name of the package you are currently using) without applying the actual protocols and processes of the BIM project procurement environment you are NOT “doing BIM”. The Practice committee has commenced on a journey to formulate a localised BIM Protocol document together with other supporting documents such as BIM Management Plan, BIM Briefing Document, as well as advice documents on the processes of BIM and allied topics such as Copyright of the information generated. A massive task ahead so any additional volunteer help would be appreciated. This Task Team is being headed up by Gerd Bot and Coin Scot together with representatives from the other regional VA’s
Client Architect Agreement
In gestation for the past 18 months or so the new version of the document is going to the “legal beagles” for review with the aim that it will be published sometime in September. Together with this document is a “domestic” version of the document which is based on a “letter as the agreement” primarily targeted towards the large number of Practitioners that operate within this space.
After all the above it nay be asked – “what good is all of this if the Client still doesn’t understand what Architects actually do?” Well help is at hand. A Guideline to Clients on the processes of Architecture, What Architects do and how & why to use an Architect has been in development since the beginning of this year. It is currently going to a Copy Editor to be reviewed and transferred from Architect Speak to Client Speak – i.e. into language and terms that they will understand.
As you will see from the above – which is just a portion of the work being focused upon by the PIA Practice Committee – there is a considerable amount of time and effort going into assisting you the practitioner. In light of this ,this Chair of Practice Committee has a personal plea to all current past and future members to please assist us by sending us your challenges or requests for assistance. Even better would be your offer of assistance in whatever form you can offer or if you are reading this as a lapsed or non-member please do renew or take out a membership.
Here’s to continuing improvement and assistance to all practitioners through the Practice Committee’s, and the PIA’s efforts.
PIA Practice Committee Chair.