Liberia Institute of Architects (LIA) on Saturday, January 19, 2019, called on members of the 54th legislature to legislate into law a draft Act that has been on the grounds of the Capitol Building for the past three years and which is meant to legalize architecture and help build a clean, healthy and secure city when it comes to infrastructure across the country.
Sylvanus O’Connor, president of LIA, said the legislation of architecture is in the best interest of the country, “due to the lack of laws, which is not well structured and laid out, that has governed the institution since the country’s inception.”
O’Connor said the legislation is to help the institute create guidelines for the life and safety of Liberians and a better city development and creation.
He said: “There are buildings here that have collapsed all over the place, because those that created the plan were not well-trained and no inspection has been done. Every year, we architects conduct research for information to provide to our people.”
Mr. O’Connor said when the institution is legislated they will police their activities, regulate the standard in order to know to what extent they are to provide services, the quality that is required as well as conduct and responsibility to a client.
According to him, it is important that the public understands that working with unprofessional architects is dangerous, because if the someone does not provide a good service there is no way a legal action can be taken against them.
He said LIA is a gathering of professional architects that has been recognized by its academic verification, practice, experience and services over the years.
Alexander Massey, vice president of LIA, said Liberia is the only country in West Africa that has not legislated the architecture profession, though the country is part of the African Union of Architecture.
Massey said it has been difficult over the years to pushed LIA’s legislation, and therefore calls on lawmakers to understand that making the institution a recognized body is not just in the interest of Architecture but the country.
He said professional architects do not just designed house plans but provide service and guidelines for quality work and city orderliness.
Elijah Karnley, secretary general of LIA, highlighted sustainability, public education on architecture, and legislation as one of the major challenges being faced by the institution.