The Indian Council of Architecture

The Architect’s Act 1978 leads to the formation of the Council of Architecture under its provisions. It is a body corporate, which provides for the following things:

1. Registration of architects;
2. Educational standards;
3. Practice standards for practicing architects; and
4. Recognized qualifications.

All over India, COA maintains a registry of architects and regulates the profession and educational standards. Following points enumerate the responsibilities, powers and functions of COA:

• Maintaining Registrar of Architects – When a person gets the requisite qualification and undergoes the necessary education under the regulations of COA’s minimum standards, that person is eligible to get registered. Registration is necessary if the person wishes to practice and perform all other duties that an architect performs as without registration, all the above qualifications would be useless, and the person would have no authority to practice. False registration or misusing the title of an architect is a punishable offence, which equals to the seriousness of a criminal offence.

• Prescribing Minimum Architectural Education Standards – For institutions and colleges in India to have the authority to grant qualifications, certain minimum educational standards have to be upheld, and these standards are prescribed by COA. These standards also specify and prescribe admission eligibility, duration of the course, staff standards, accommodation, content of the course and course structure, and examination rules and regulations. All the colleges and institutions of architecture can be called upon by COA for information about their courses. COA does this to ensure that the highest standards of education prescribed by the Act are upheld and many inspections are conducted for the same reason.

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• Recognition of Colleges and Institutions of Architecture in India – The architectural institutions in India grant certain architectural qualifications, which need the approval of Central Government in order to be recognised. The COA appoints a number of inspectors who inspect the institution for recommendation purposes.

• Withdrawal of Recognition of Colleges and Institutions of Architecture in India – The COA has it in its power to make a representation in front of the Government when it believes that the recognition of an educational institution or college should be withdrawn. This can happen when the inspection (by inspectors appointed by COA) reveals that education standards set by the act are not being followed by the institution. The investigation would include examination of course structure, training, staff, equipment and all other facilities that the institute provides.

• Governing Profession of Architects – There are certain regulations which govern an architect such as professional conduct, guidelines for architectural competitions, professional etiquette, professional ethics, and engagement conditions. The Architects Regulations, 1989 enumerates these points, and every architect has to observe and follow the guidelines of professional conduct stated by the Act. Disciplinary action could be instigated against the architect if the guidelines are violated, and their behaviour would also fall under professional misconduct as per the act.

• Make Regulations – COA has the power to make regulations even if the new regulations are not consistent with the provisions of the act. It has to obtain approval from Central Government for the same.

• Appoint Officers and Manage Fund – In order to carry out its functions, COA can appoint officers and fix their allowance. It also manages the fund through which all its expenses are incurred. This fund includes money received from the Central Government.

Every 6 months, the Council has to meet at least once to transact business.

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