Who Registers Architects in Trinidad and Tobago?
The Board of Architecture of Trinidad and Tobago (BoATT) is established by the Architecture Profession Act, 1992, a law established to protect the public and regulate the practice of Architecture. This is achieved through the process of registering architects, the publishing annually of a list of practicing professionals, and the adjudication of breaches of the code of ethics by practicing professionals. To date 149 architects have been registered to practice in Trinidad and Tobago since 1992. The current register, excluding deceased, retired and non-practicing architects, is 92 professionals.
What qualifications are required to be eligible for registration?
Applicants for registration must demonstrate that they have a professional architecture degree from an accredited architectural programme. They must also submit documentation that shows 3 years of working experience under the guidance of a registered architect. Finally, they must pass all parts of the Architects Professional Practice Course exam, which is jointly administered by the Board and the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects (TTIA.)
Is an examination required?
The Architects Professional Practice Course consists of a series of seminars delivered by registered architects and other industry professionals. In order to pass the course, candidates are required to sit and pass an exam, submit a case study, and attend an interview. The examination tests candidates’ knowledge of a wide range of topics relevant to the practice of architecture in Trinidad and Tobago.
If I am registered in another country, do I have to be registered in Trinidad and Tobago to practice or is there a reciprocal arrangement?
The Architecture Profession Act, 1992 requires all architects practicing in Trinidad and Tobago to be registered under the act. As the act contains no facilities for temporary registration or reciprocal registration, the Board normally recommends that foreign architects associate with a local firm to carry out their projects. Failing that, foreign applicants can submit their credentials along with documentation showing 3 years working experience under a BoATT registered architect for consideration by the Board.
At the moment, there is no reciprocity arrangement between Trinidad and Tobago and any other country. However, a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is currently being negotiated between the countries of the CARIFORUM as well as between CARIFORUM and the EU as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Therefore, at the moment, any architect registered in another country must apply to become registered in Trinidad and Tobago in order to practice on their own.
How long does the registration process take?
Generally, the Architects Professional Practice Course is not administered by the BoATT unless there is minimum cohort of 7-10 candidates. Once started, the course runs for 12 consecutive weeks. The examination, grading and assessment period generally takes another 4 weeks. Once a candidate has been notified that they have been successful in the course, the Board will hold a registration ceremony within 1 month of the confirmation of successful candidates.
If I hire a non-registered architect, what are the risks to me as a client?
By hiring someone who is not registered by the Board of Architecture of Trinidad and Tobago (BoATT) a client takes a risk that that person is not suitably qualified and experienced enough to render the most efficient and practical advice. In addition, anyone purporting to be a Registered Architect is in breach of the Architecture Profession Act, 1992 and is subject, under the terms of the act, to a fine and/or imprisonment.
Why should architects become registered? What are the benefits?
By being granted the title, Registered Architect, a client is assured that an architect has met the minimum standard for educational qualifications, years of professional experience, and passed the Architects Professional Practice Course. A client can be assured that the registered professional has the competence required to provide professional services and is obligated to conduct all dealing in compliance with a professional Code of Ethics. Finally, a client can be assured that the registered professional is a contributing member of a professional fraternity whose goal is to improve the built environment of Trinidad and Tobago.
How do I know if an architect is registered or not?
The Board of Architecture of Trinidad and Tobago (BoATT) maintains a register of all the architects who have ever been registered in Trinidad and Tobago. The Board also publishes annually a list of practicing Registered Architects in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette as well as daily newspapers. This list is also kept up-to-date on the Board’s website at boa-tt.org. Finally, all practicing Registered Architects are issued with a Certificate of Practice by the Board once they have paid their annual dues. The public can also contact the board to ask if their architect is registered and in good standing with the Board.
By The Public
What constitutes the practice of Architecture in Trinidad and Tobago?
The International Union of Architects (UIA) – Accord on Recommended International Standards of Professionalism in Architectural Practice defines the practice of architecture as:
“The practice of architecture consists of the provision of professional services in connection with town planning and the design, construction, enlargement, conservation, restoration, or alteration of a building or group of buildings. These professional services include, but are not limited to, planning and land-use planning, urban design, provision of preliminary studies, designs, models, drawings, specifications and technical documentation, coordination of technical documentation prepared by others (consulting engineers, urban planners, landscape architects and other specialist consultants) as appropriate and without limitation, construction economics, contract administration, monitoring of construction (referred to as “supervision” in some countries), and project management.”
Locally, the practice of architecture is further defined by the various work stages as set out by the Trinidad and Tobago institute of Architects (TTIA) Conditions of Engagement. It includes the Basic services (Briefing Stage, Schematic Design Stage, Final Design Stage, Tender/Contract Documents Stage and Construction Administration/Project Management Stage.
Additionally, the UIA Accord defines the designation architect as being:
“… generally reserved by law or custom to a person who is professionally and academically qualified and generally registered/licensed/certified to practice architecture in the jurisdiction in which he or she practices and is responsible for advocating the fair and sustainable development, welfare, and the cultural expression of society’s habitat in terms of space, forms, and historical context.”
Is there a law that governs the practice of architecture in Trinidad and Tobago?
Yes. It is The Architecture Professions Act, 1992.
What is a Registered Architect?
In Trinidad and Tobago, as in many countries around the world, Architects are required to be registered and/or licensed by the government in order to provide protection to the general public. Registered architects are required by law to demonstrate to the Board of Architecture of Trinidad and Tobago (BoATT) that they have successfully completed a course in professional architectural education from an accredited academic institution, have a minimum of three years of professional experience under the guidance of a registered architect, and have passed a professional practice examination. Successful candidates are issued a Certificate of Registration by the Board and earn the right to refer to themselves as “Registered Architect”, a title protected under the Architecture Professions Act (1992) of Trinidad and Tobago.
If I don’t have the academic qualifications of an architect, can I still practice or are there alternatives?
Registered Architect status demonstrates to the general public that a professional has been thoroughly vetted to ascertain that their qualifications and professional experience meet a minimum standard and, therefore, competence to provide professional architectural services in Trinidad and Tobago. Conducting a business that purports to offer the services of a Registered Architect contravenes the stipulations of the Architecture Profession Act, 1992 and is punishable under the law. Additionally, non-registered persons are not eligible for professional indemnity insurance as is required by some clients. Persons wishing to practice in Trinidad and Tobago are strongly advised to associate with a Registered Architect.
Architects entering any country other than their own need to comply with the laws and regulations of that country in order to practice in that country. Commissioning the services of a foreign architect, even if the firm is large and reputable, is not an excuse for contravening the local law. However, it is perfectly acceptable for a foreign architect to associate with a local firm. The local architect becomes the lead architect (also known as the architect-of-record) and shares in the provision of architectural services as well as guiding the foreign professionals through the specifics of local practice. This is in keeping with the guidelines of the International Union of Architects’ Accord – Practice in a Host Nation.