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Piotr Chuchacz on the powers of the architectural profession - #ZawódArchitekt

30 of December '22

In connection with the proposed amendments to the amendment and the petition Defend Architectural Privileges, we are asking questions of people associated with architectural institutions.

In the #ZawódArchitekt series, the following have spoken on our portal so far:

Piotr Chuchacz answers the questions
- Chairman of the Małopolska Regional Chamber of Architects.

(1) Is the extension of authority to civil engineers and construction technician graduates a threat to architects?

The chambers of professional self-governments bring together practitioners of the profession, meanwhile, in the design procurement market there are mainly business entities. If these are entities run by architects, the professional self-government has a chance to actually exercise control over their actions. However, a design firm can be established by anyone. To participate in the market, it is enough to employ authorized persons in any form. Under the jurisdiction of the self-government is then not the company itself, but only its employees. This situation creates a huge field for unchecked abuse and unethical behavior, and the Chamber can only punish the victims of this system, and not the actual perpetrator of possible abuse - the office owner.

The profession of architect, like that of civil engineer, has never been fully regulated. It has been, in a sense, deregulated since the beginning of professional self-government. The Polish state, following the provisions of the Constitution, transferred by law some of its competencies, including the granting of authority and control over the exercise of professions of public trust, into the hands of professional self-governments of, among others, architects and civil engineers (the profession of urban planner was in fact deregulated with the dissolution of the chamber of urban planners). However, it left out of control a whole range of entities.

The problem, then, is not so much the admission of more professional groups to design, but the lack of control over the companies that appear on the market. Engineers, or technicians, will be forced to pass an exam giving them authorizations anyway and come under the jurisdiction of the professional self-government. So an effort can be made to ensure that the exam is of a sufficiently high standard. In addition, a potentially larger number of affiliated people improves the electoral potential, so it represents a de facto strengthening of the self-government's position vis-à-vis political projects and legislation.

2. What should be the focus of the discussion on reforming the architectural profession?

We should follow the example of the Pharmacy Professional Self-Government. To open a pharmacy today, more than 50% of the shares must be owned by a pharmacist. This solution, as it turned out, not only did not limit the public's access to medicines, but made it so that in the case of dangerous or unethical actions, the chamber of the self-government of a public profession, with tools such as a code of professional ethics, an ombudsman for professional responsibility, a disciplinary court, is able to punish the owner of the business, even depriving him of the opportunity to practice. Only in this way is it possible to effectively enforce the scope of authority that the State has placed in the hands of the professional self-government.

The vote has already been cast