A document which was supposed to be an in-house – for your eyes only – confidential document for member architects has gone viral, and has continued to leave a trail of mixed reactions on its path, mostly from the youth. See archfiler link for memo.

While it may be considered to not be in the best interest of confidentiality to have the document on every table and in every Nigerian home as many have quipped, the resultant reactions have so far shown that a grave danger lurks within and in a corner of our collective practice in Nigeria.

These reactions have also not only exposed the gap between practicing architects and the younger generation, it has thrown up the massive ignorance that has, as a result of poor communication and publicity, permeated the ranks of the architecture practice in Nigeria.

These reactions have boldly underlined a critical but ignored phenomenon in the practice, i.e. the ability of students and non registered graduates to access projects, their inability to access proper gainful professional tutelage, their lack of information on obtainable service charges, and their desire to survive in the face of competition from both untrained quacks and registered architects, albeit unsupervised.

It also shows the resultant effect of our collective nonchalant attitude to faulty structures in the regulation, practice, education and administration of architecture in Nigeria.

These reactions are a clear and true representation of where the professional scale of fees has been dumped in the scheme of things, and shows exactly what has become of client/architect relationship in Nigeria and the self esteem level of the generality of Nigerian architects.

Who would believe that a greater percentage of our youths have for so long been comfortable accepting #20,000 and all such peanuts for all forms of services rendered? Do they concern themselves with the effect of such practices, or even how much Surveyors, Builders and Town planners recieve on these same projects they initiate and execute with such recklessness?

At what point will they grow out of it, and how long can they sustain such practice? What effect will it have in their future practice as Architects?

We seem to have all failed in this regard because any society that neglects the growth and proper orientation of its younger generation prepares for a chaotic future.

This selfish attitude and desire for individualistic survival by every architect must change if the profession must be repositioned.

See unedited reactions below;

  • This will only bring d draughtmen to limelight cos they can design for any amount as for me dia z room for negociation on my part” – Victor Gilbert

  • Some clients don’t know d value of building plan, n will refuse to pay for dis architectural scale of fess. Unless he has spoken his/her own price.” – Lucky Oniha

  • The clients don’t know what it takes to plan and design a house, in doing this, they will run away and those draftmen will get the job done”. – Georginia

In clarification however, Nkanu Eboh advised that “the state that came up with this minimum fee for particular designs have gone far in their development control pursuit. In this particular state, the state chapter NIA and the approval office or development control office are working together to eliminate quackery in the profession and also to ensure that Architects are rightly paid. So without a confirmation that a minimum of the stated fee is paid for a particular design, then that design would not be approved. Yes we know they are loopholes and back doors in the system but the state chapter is working hard to eliminate them, and ensure that clients don’t pay Architect s whether students or full members whatever he or she feels like and then pays over 100k for a surveyors stamp. This is not a public document”.

On his part and in a bid to also clarify whatever misinformation may arise, the convener, Mr. Kenneth Andrew noted that “My last post about N.I.A. design fees erupted so much comments and reactions (both happy and sad ones). I realized the happy statements came from young architects who are tired of the 20 to 50k peanuts from clients while the opposite comments came from already established architects that thinks the assigned fee would bring them to poverty. But the fact still remains that scale of fees must apply and it’s something that should be chipped into B.Sc and H.N.D. curriculum. The young architects know nothing about fees for designs and always end up collecting the same amount that non professionals charge. Here is the document for those that have not seen. I bliv it was set as a minimum fee to charge. Pls remember it’s for cross river state chapter.”

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