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Does Your Project Need A Professional?
Select a topic below to read the AAA coordinated response to professional conduct questions raised during and following the webinar.
Unprofessional Conduct: Rubber Stamping
There are real instances when a developer has gone through design, and even construction, without having a proper registered professional involved. The practice bulletin which warns against ‘rubber stamping’ does not give any real useful practical indication on how any architect could become involved with the project to get it properly permitted. The PB indicates that the architect needs to demonstrate control from design through construction, but how could that be possible if the building is already under construction? What actual practices would an architect have to undertake in order to demonstrate that the professional has performed adequate oversight of the project retroactively?
This question highlights the importance and shared responsibility of owners, design professionals and authorities having jurisdiction to ensure that the appropriate design professionals are involved and maintained through all stages of the planning, design and construction review process thus fulfilling the minimum requirements of the
Safety Codes Act
Authorities having jurisdiction that do not properly monitor or enforce the professional involvement legislation through all stages of the planning and design process are effectively enabling illegal practices to occur which consequentially compromises the ability for legitimate designers to fulfill their professional obligations should they choose to become involved in latter stages of a project that commenced through the activities of an illegal entity. If all entities identified under the
and the Safety Codes are fulfilling their legislated responsibilities, the circumstances described in this question should never occur.
and supporting practice policies and resources are very clear. An architect or licensed interior designer must maintain full responsibility for all aspects of a building design project in which they may choose to become involved. The
clearly states that an authorized entity must maintain "...personal supervision, direction and control…" of the design and the review of the construction for conformance with the design. A design professional that becomes involved in a project, regardless of any preceding services provided by illegal entities, is obligated to assume full responsibility for all aspects of the design project as if it were their own and must determine the necessary actions that must be undertaken to fulfill these professional obligations. The provision of illegal services on a project before a legitimate design professional becomes involved does not absolve the design professional from fulfilling its professional obligations.
It is not the responsibility of the AAA to advise its members on the extent to which they may rely upon the work of preceding illegal entities. In fact, it is advisable that all work conducted by a preceding illegal entity should be completely disregarded and that design professionals only become involved in such projects if they can be undertaken in a manner where full responsibility for the design work can be achieved. If and AAA member is unable to maintain full control on the project design, they should not become involved in the project.
Authorized entities are expected to exercise professional judgement to determine what constitutes compliance with the
as it relates to their involvement on a project and consider what kind of documents could be produced if they were to be challenged through an AAA-initiated practice review or compliant review proceeding. Authorized entities that choose to become involved in projects where their ability to fulfill their professional obligations are compromised or where they are unable to make arrangements that allow them to fulfill their professional obligations contribute to denigrating the integrity of the profession and expose themselves to potential disciplinary action by the AAA.
Resolving Disagreements: Design Professionals & Authorities Having Jurisdiction
How can disagreements between architects and safety codes officers be resolved on matters pertaining to the interpretation of the National Building Code - Alberta Edition?
Architects and Safety Codes Officers are expected to work amicably together to fully understand the positions of each other so that any disagreements can be resolved in a manner that does not compromise the abilities of each other to fulfill their obligations under the
Safety Codes Act
. Resolving such matters on the basis that one entity has more authority than the other is rarely and effective methods for resolving such disputes. Alberta Municipal Affairs is available as a resource to provide a provincial perspective that may help to resolve issues, however, both the design professionals of record must assume full responsibility for whatever design solutions are proposed and authorities having jurisdiction must be convinced the design solutions do not compromise the public safety interests of their constituents.
In accordance with Section 44(3) of the
Safety Codes Act
, if owners, designers and authorities having jurisdiction are unable to resolve an impasse, the authority should provide a written notification refusing to issue a permit at which time the permit applicant may appeal the permit refusal to the Safety Codes Council.
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