Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Letter of the Day | Giving amateurs design powers is playing with fire

Published:Tuesday | March 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I must commend my fellow architect, Lascelles Dixon, for his article in The Sunday Gleaner of March 5, 2017 titled 'Building up straw men', which is very relevant to our times. Since, it appears, we have missed the opportunity to avert catastrophe, our recourse is to design liveable resilient cities and structures going forward.

The minister of local government, Desmond McKenzie, must be poorly advised to consider allowing so-called building practitioners to draft building plans and get them approved for construction by the authorities. We are playing with fire if this is a fact.

The building disasters we experienced last year, with the partial collapse of sections in three hotels under construction, are clear indications that the Government of Jamaica is overlooking its own laws on the construction industry. Please remember that 'every day bucket go a well, one day bottom must drop out'. Whether it is to be a hotel or a factory, inadequate design and engineering, resulting in the loss of life and property, is not acceptable.

The insurance companies and the banks should be warned that they MUST ensure that ALL building loans they are approving or insuring have to be stamped (not rubber-stamped!) by a registered/licensed architect and engineer who practises in Jamaica.

Architectural design is an intriguing process, and it is understandable that it attracts amateurs to put pencil to paper.

It is indeed why I chose to become an architect and urban planner (a separate practice to architecture with far greater technical requirements and methodology).

In addition to four to seven years of academic study, architecture functions at its best to serve individuals, communities, nations and enterprises.

It is guided by the three Ts: talent, training and technical knowledge.