On October 28 of this year, the National Council of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland conveyed its position to the Chief Inspector of Construction Supervision on the extension of construction authorizations in the architectural specialty in a limited scope.
The amendment to the Construction Law, which is scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2023, is causing controversy in the architectural community. A petition has been created on petitionsonline.com in which architects call for the rejection of the proposed amendments. More than three thousand people have already signed it. The National Council of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland has also reacted to the proposed changes, again requesting that the law under consideration be dropped.
We publish a letter from the National Council of the Chamber of Architects addressed to Dorota Cabańska, Minister and Chief Inspector of Construction Supervision.
With reference to the draft law on amendments to the Construction Law and certain other laws(work list number UD427), the National Council of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland submits additional comments in the context of the proposed extension of construction authorizations in the architectural specialty in a limited scope.
Pursuant to Article 1(7) of the draft law, it is proposed to expand the scope of construction authorizations in the architectural specialty in a limited scope (amendment to Article 15a(3) of the Construction Law). According to the proposed provision, these authorizations are to authorize to design or direct construction works with respect to the architecture of a facility with a volume of up to 1,000 m³, regardless of the location of such facilities.
In the current state of the law, these authorizations are limited both in terms of the cubic capacity of the object and its location (homestead development area). As for the subject scope, according to Article 14(3)(2) of the Construction Law, obtaining a construction license in the architectural specialty for limited design requires:
"(a) completion of:
- First-degree studies in a field of study relevant to the specialty, or
- second degree studies in a field of study related to the specialty,
(b) one year's practice in drafting projects,
(c) completion of one year's practice on a construction site."
First of all, it should be noted that the Regulatory Impact Assessment attached to the draft law emphasized that "[...] The introduction of the amendments will allow Eng. arch. after completing 3.5 years of higher education and completing construction practice (1 year in a design office and 1 year on a construction site) to design a building with a volume of up to 1,000 m³, not only in areas of homestead development. Considering the scope of architects' training in engineering studies, a person with an engineering degree in architecture can take care of the aesthetic and functional values of such simple building structures up to 1000 m³ in volume."
Thus, it is not clear whether the intention of the drafters was to expand the scope of authorizations for those with the title of engineer architect, i.e. those who graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture, or also for those who graduated with a second degree in a related field.
This is because the justification shows that the changes are to cover only architectural engineers, but the content of the proposed provision covers all persons with limited architectural specialty authorizations.
The National Council of the IARP points out that the proposed expansion of the scope of authorizations the professional self-government assesses as legitimate only with regard to persons who have completed a bachelor's degree in architecture. The scope of architects' training is covered by the requirements set forth in the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of July 18, 2019 on the standard of education preparing for the practice of the profession of architect, which implemented Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 7, 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications. This training includes, among others. architectural and urban design, rural design, specialized design resulting from local conditions, theory and history of architecture, landscape architecture, heritage protection, environmental protection and ecology, economics of the investment process, law in the investment process, ergonomics, engineering, engineering and technology: construction and materials science, building structures, statics, mechanics and building physics, building installations and city infrastructure, and art history. Such a scope of education, in juxtaposition with the number of hours of individual subjects, properly prepares for the design of buildings with a volume of up to 1,000 cubic meters, even outside the area of homestead development.
The extension of limited authorizations to those holding the title of architectural engineer would increase interest in acquiring limited authorizations by those with the right knowledge and competence. Currently, there is a shortage of jobs on the market for architecture graduates, which is the result of architects being pushed out of the market for design assignments by civil engineers.
Referring to the extension of limited authorizations for civil engineers, it should be noted that according to the position of the Polish Accreditation Commission of December 9, 2015. "1...] it should be unequivocally stated that a course of study related to architecture/architecture and urban planning that meets the aforementioned legal requirements, in particular in terms of meeting the statutory educational standards and the resulting program requirements and maintaining a high quality of education - does not exist." Also from the position of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, dated August 12, 2014, it appears that studies in a "related" field of study should meet the requirements set by law as to architectural education. Meanwhile, the analysis of the National Council of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland and the National Qualification Committee of the IARP, made on the basis of the qualification proceedings conducted, shows that studies in the field of construction do not meet these requirements even to the slightest extent.
In the context of the arguments presented above, the National Council of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland once again strongly requests that the proposed provision be abandoned or, alternatively, that a change be made to the draft, according to which the extension of architectural authorizations to a limited extent will apply only to persons who graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture or architecture and urban planning.
With best regards