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New body takes over architects lead roles in project management

With the application of knowledge and techniques to project activities expanding into a discipline, architects who played leadership role in building construction teams are losing out project management jobs to professionals in that area.

Statistics show that between 2010 and 2020, 15.7 million new project management roles will be created globally across seven project-intensive industries. Along with job growth, there will be a significant increase in the economic footprint of the profession; the project management profession is slated to grow by USD$6.61 trillion.

This seven-year enormous anticipated growth, along with higher-than- average salaries, has created growth in the membership of the Institute of Project Management in Nigeria and toast of professionals as well as job-seekers who want to build project management skills.

However, the advent of project management practice in Nigeria seems to have relegated architects to the bottom rungs of the project management ladder. Members of the institute have now taken over the job, insisting that architects do not posses the requisite knowledge to do the work.

But some architects have braced up to the demands of the job and taken certification in project management to meet global standards and requirements. The first woman President of Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Mrs. Olubukola Atinuke Ejiwunmi, said it was more or less willful relinquishing what is the prerogative of architects, who used to be the one doing the job.

She stressed that architects were at the forefront until some expatriates practicing in Nigeria started project management.
According to her, many people will come and start contesting  with architects to be in control and because there are other things architects can always do, they let go of all these works.

“So what we are now telling ourselves that we should start the practice of project management. We know that architects cannot carter for everything but we should still be there to coordinate because as
architects we had some training in electrical, mechanical and other areas.

“When you are in charge of a building, you should be able to call in the plumber, the electrician and the air condition people to make sure that those facilities are in place”, she noted.

For  the Practice Chairman, NIA Lagos state chapter, Mrs. Ifeoma George-Ufot, the architects’ non-involvement in project management is a demonstration of how things had evolved, and architects are trained to respond to changes.

Although, Mrs. George-Ufot do not agree that the number of architects in that field has decreased, she stressed that what happened was that there are now institute of project management and most of the pioneer members behind it are architects, who decided to formalize the practice.

Contributing, NIA President, Tonye Braide said it is not true that architects are really shying away from project management but it is just that there are certain principles involved in the profession.

According to him, some how, the subject matter had some managerial principles that architects need to imbibe.
“ We need to extend our training to include those principle because we are at the best frontline of being able to manage our buildings.

“We know what enters the buildings, even, when we look at the cost used in the building, it even affects certain materials that as architects managing it, the client will get some more effective solutions in the element of his business.

Braide urged architects to imbibe financial trainings to be more effective in project management.

“ What we are saying is that to be more effective, architects should add to their trainings some thing like training in financial management, which is the other aspect of management we are a bit weak”, he said.

But the chairman, Education committee of NIA Lagos State Chapter, Mrs. Ibitola Okuboyejo, believed that architects is the head of building construction team has the requite training to take care of buildings and therefore still remains the head of the team.

According to her, the project management is a fairly new professional in the industry. As far as we are concerned, the architect has the opportunity to take a course and certification to become a project manager, which makes him more qualified for the work.

Architects are trained as project managers to head the team of building construction. When there is a new profession coming, people tends to imbibe it and it is a fad, it is a new entry, when there is a new entry in an industry, the tendency is that it takes while for it to settle down.

But by and large, it is only the architects that can conceptualise a design and has the professional authority to sign practical completion certificate, and final completion certificate.

“The seemingly shadowing that is being cast is because of the new profession but a lot or architects had project management certification and a lot of them are being certified”, she added.

Originally published in The Guardian

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