Are the services of the architects worth it?

October 20, 2020 | By: Arch. Benjamin K. Panganiban, Jr., (first published in The Manila Times last October 20, 2020)

SEVERAL decades ago, a simple campaign advocacy slogan came out, which went this way, “If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.” This has struck me as a very strong statement to improve the lives of people by getting the right professional, especially doctors when health is in question. Even today, that one-line slogan has already been implanted into the minds of society as a gentle reminder to always take good care of one’s health.

I have always compared the architects campaign advocacy slogan. “For your plans and designs, get an architect” to that of the medical campaign advocacy. While people who get sick have various options of treating themselves, they now look for doctors instead of quack doctors, illegal practitioners, and even the barrio albularyo or “mananambal” or faith healers. Much more today, society knows that there are also specialists in various health care treatments whom they can consult with and would treat them.

The profession of architecture is not different from that of the medical profession. The medical profession has four years pre-medical education and another four years of proper medical education, followed by a post graduate internship of one year before taking the licensure exams. Those who want to become an architect study for five years to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture, then a two-year apprenticeship program and probably six months to a year of review before taking the licensure exams. It is a long and tedious road of molding these professionals so that they eventually become competent, capable and learned in their chosen fields of practice.

That is why I appreciate the supporters of the medical practitioners for their simple and direct campaign advocacy of promoting the medical profession, making sure people know who to go to in terms of health concerns. Because rightfully so, these registered and licensed medical practitioners earned it with their long years of academic qualifications and internship experience. The only thing going for the doctors is that their medical advocacy started so many decades ago that I even remember hearing it in radio stations, viewing this advocacy in television and reading it in newspapers. Even today, that slogan is flashed everywhere. It has already been ingrained subconsciously in the back of our minds.
What makes architecture different from other allied technical professions? Obviously, if you go to far-flung places from urban centers, the architects to the people in a community are looked upon just the same as that of engineers. In fact, architects in the far-flung barrios and barangays are called engineers. I myself was once called an engineer before, even when I corrected the mistake, it is still engineer to them. Therefore, education and awareness are two factors that need to be developed, explained and seen by the public to be appreciated. They also seek to change the mindset of society that there are architects and what they do are different from other allied technical professions, especially engineering.

First and foremost, architecture is an art and a science of designing, planning and constructing vertical structures for man, taking into consideration its environment, and of course its functionality, stability and aesthetics. Not only is the science of buildings important, the art aspect is what makes architecture stand out differently from other allied technical professions. Today, this is appreciated by the growing concerns of society. They do not only look for beauty in a structure, but also the purpose of such structures, how it affects the built environment, the planning and designing of buildings in relation to other structures, and the effects it has on its inhabitants in terms of its shape and form, the materials used, the visual relationships and even the impact the design of the buildings can cause. In short, architecture is not just drawing beautifully, it is more than just that. It is also executing and constructing the building until it is occupied by individuals.

What is the value of the architects? Contrary to what other people think, the architect puts order to man and the environment. The architect will create an environment for man through his awareness and sensitivity in handling spaces. The architect will determine how man will live together with his culture, traditions and aspiration. The architect will make sure that he will bring order to the environment and to cause it to function properly. Furthermore, the architect builds the structure he designed so as to conform to his specifications and building standards.
Speaking about whether the services of the architect is worth it or expensive, the architect works with a team of engineering specialists from architectural designs, structural concerns, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, sanitary, and electronics for the building; fire systems for utilities, and even landscaping works and architectural interiors. The architect puts this team together in the designing and planning process to coordinate all technical works and finding the best solutions necessary to make the building a reality avoiding conflicts from other professional works or trades. In short, the building has been dreamt, designed, planned and ready for execution in order to make the schedule for the construction on time, thus avoiding additional costs. Most especially, the architect makes sure to make the building fit the budgetary cost, what can be afforded, what can be done on a progressive development and what can be dispensed with. These are the services the architect brings to the table aside from the basic drawings commonly understood by society as building permit documents.

We encourage our prospective clients and contractors to engage the services of the right professionals in the design and the build process of vertical structures that are habitat for man so that the public’s welfare and that of the client will be safeguarded. We would like to point out that engaging the services of illegal practitioners and non-professionals do not give our prospective clients any kind of legal protection should there be any defects or negligence done on the building by the illegal practitioners. The client must understand and be informed on the implications involved when engaging illegal practitioners and non-professionals.


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