The Architects Registration Council of Ghana [ARC] conducted its 18th annual induction ceremony in Accra on Wednesday, 5th September 2018 at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science auditorium. This is the ceremony where newly licensed architects are admitted unto the standing register of the ARC to legally practice architecture in Ghana. Architecture training takes 6 years in school, with four-year for a bachelor’s degree in architecture and two years postgraduate at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology [KNUST} or 5 year in the case of Central University College [CUC]. There is however a minimum of two years [KNUST] or three years [CUC] mandatory practical training after school where ‘architects on probation’ work with experienced senior architects for mentorship and guidance and work on documenting their tasks in a log book as a prerequisite for taking the professional practice exam [PPE].
The ceremony was graced by government officials such as the Senior Minister Hon Yaw Osafo Maafo and the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing Hon Eugene Boakye Antwi, who represented the special guest of honour Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea [Minister of Works and Housing]. The Registrar of the ARC, architect Stella N.D Arthiabah and the entire ARC staff were present together with the President of the Ghana Institute of Architects [GIA] architect Richard Nii Dadey and his executives. Heads of the Departments of Architecture for KNUST and CUC were also present together with fellow Architects, Senior Architects, representatives of other Statutory Regulatory Councils and Professional bodies, the examiners, guests of inductees and many more with the Chairman of the day been architect Osei Kwame Agyemang.
The ceremony started with a call to order by the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing followed with an opening address by the Registrar of the ARC.
ARC Registrar – Arc. Stella N.D Arthiabah
The registrar gave the welcome address for the 18th induction of the ARC for which 60 new architects were to be admitted unto the standing register of architects in Ghana according to its mandate by the National Liberation Council Decree [NLCD] 357 of 1969. She spoke about the duration of architecture education and mentorship/pupillage required to be eligible for the professional exam is not an easy one and it comes with a lot of financial burden. She mentioned out of 96 candidates that took the exams, 60 passed; making it one of the exams with the highest pass rate in the past few years. She touched on the unfair treatment of professionals in the built environment, for example the non-payment of commensurable fees for jobs. This she said is because the building industry in Ghana has always been described as a young one and as such clients always want to take undue advantage of professionals. The built environment industry will remain a vital one once we are still alive she added.
Arc. Stella N.D Arthiabah further added that the induction of new architects brings hope to the build environment and suggests that architects posses the skills needed for national development. She also highlighted that the skills of architects can be tapped by government to tackle most of the projects government intends to undertake. She mentioned the ARC intends opening two new offices; one in Kumasi for the northern chapter of the country and one in Accra for the southern chapter to enhance smooth operations of the council.
GIA President – Arc. Richard Nii Dadey
Architect Dadey urged the newly inducted architects to be ambassadors of the profession wherever they find themselves. He emphasized that to meet diverse challenges of the practice, architects need to keep upgrading themselves to meet the demands of modern trends and find innovative ways of collaborating with other allied professionals. He stated more to the point that the newly inducted architects should focus on eco-friendly architecture, be conscious of global warming, employ innovative use of local materials and be entrepreneurial in their works. Arc. Dadey added that although the GIA is working with the Ministry of Local Government to ensure there is a dedicated architect per district; architects are to work as innovative entrepreneurs to identify and create niches by engaging in projects in various communities to enable physical development spread across the country. This he said will help reduce the concentration of physical development within Accra and its environs. He urged architects to exhibit professionalism at all times and stick to the code of conduct of the practice.
Class Valedictory Speech – Arc. Edmund Amoyaw-Brown
Arc. Amoyaw-Brown spoke of the higher past rate as compared to the previous year. He mentioned that this year group was lucky to have the first licensed architects from Central University College. He encouraged others who will be taking the professional exams next year to try to form study groups as this was really a helpful tool for the then candidates during the exams preparations. He commended the ARC for a good work done so far and for them to consider the option of organizing the PPE seminars in Kumasi for candidates who will be in the northern chapter. He also encouraged those who failed not to lose hope but should keep trying until they make it.
Senior Minister – Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo
The Honourable Minister started by stating that he being as an honorary fellow of the Ghana Institute of Architects, he regarded the ceremony to be a homecoming for him. The senior minister encouraged architects to inculcate the habit of using local materials in their practice. He mentioned that as an engineer, he appreciates the significance of architects in national development and that as professionals, architects should uphold their professional values and ethics. He further expressed that architects should not think that the mantra of the government, which is ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ does not include architecture and the built environment. Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo explained that the mantra means Ghana should be able to survive on its resources for which the use of local materials for construction is a part. He also encouraged that young architects must look at designing around our natural topographies and context to conserve our natural environments.
What efforts has architects in Ghana made to help the created Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development? he asked. He encouraged architects not to wait to be called upon before they offer advice to the ministry. He asserted that he will personally talk to the Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development to approach the Ghana Institute of Architects to get more advice on how to approach the issue of inner city and zongo development. This same advice of initiative taking to offer professional advice to government agencies should be applied to other professions as well, he added. He further asked what the council is doing to differentiate professional architects from others who pose as architects in our everyday lives in this country.
Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo advised the newly inducted architects to ascribe to higher standards of the practice and strive to always do a good job and to think outside the box in solving architectural problems. He urged architects not to only take on rich clients but also find a way of providing architectural solutions to the lower class as well, since together this will lead to shaping our built environment.
Deputy Minister of Works and Housing – Hon. Eugene Boakye Antwi
To be concise, the Hon. Deputy Minister stated the importance of having high quality built environment which is capable of attracting foreign investments and for this reason, the architect is integral in the built environment development. He mentioned the development of the national building code to help curb the haphazard developments in our built environment has been done and urged architects and other allied professionals to help with the adherence of the building code, as well as other statutory regulations. The newly inducted architects were encouraged to apply the code of conduct and ethics of the profession for a better built environment for Ghana.
Chairman of Ceremony – Arc. Osei Kwame Agyemang
The Chairman, who is also an architect said architects have disappointed our society because we have not been able to influence our society and as such the society thinks architects do not matter. He urged architects to regard society as the client and not just our immediate clients. He further stated that architects should move towards influencing societies and make them better by bringing out solutions that will make the built environment better. Arc. Osei Kwame Agyemang added that architects should leave their silos and influence society because life begins with architecture and life ends with architecture. He also uttered that architects have a responsibility to society and should be part of the national agenda of building a better Ghana. He ended by making a passionate appeal that the building code should be made available to the ordinary Ghanaian, especially architects and it should be open for discussions but not restricted to the purview of the Ghana Standards Board.
Awards and Recognition
The first 3 best candidates were awarded for their performance; with the 2nd runner-up [Arc. Emefa Aku Ahiable] receiving a bronze plaque and a microwave. The 1st runner-up [Arc. Dexter Tsatsu Dziekpor Jnr] received a silver plaque with a table-top fridge whilst the overall best candidate [Arc. Cyndelle Araba Kwabi] was given a golden plaque with a 32-inch satellite television. All the inductees however received a book each from EPP Books Services, which was one of the sponsors for the ceremony. Special awards of recognition were given to the Hon. Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo and the Hon. Deputy Minister of Works and Housing Eugene Boakye Antwi.