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UPA-BUA Union Professionnelle d'Architectes
Beroepsunie Van Architecten

VI. Difficult relationships with the partners

A short history of belgian architects and their professional organizations

Part VI .


Continuing education of architects

The changes in the profession evidently find their continuation in the field of training, which is increasingly being considered lifelong along the career.

In 1992, the CNOA organized an interesting brainstorming session on the teaching of architecture in Rosières but at the end of June of the same year, the National Council was less inspired when it decided to impose on trainees follow-up of four evenings of "deontological" information. This initiative, improvised and much too limited, will be very quickly abandoned but it will be a first step towards further training of trainees: two years later, the CNOA will order a research survey at Sint-Lukas research center. on the continuous training of trainee architects.

It also moves in the academic world since in 1994 students from all the Institutes of Architecture located in the French Community meet to react to the project of the Minister Lebrun on the Grandes Ecoles while in Flanders the Institutes of Architectures are integrated to this new type of educational structure, as part of the Flemish higher education reform.
In the wake of their action, Francophone students will create in 1995 the Fédération des Etudiants en Architecture (FEA), an initiative that will unfortunately not survive the entry into the professional life of its leaders.
It is in this movement that will be organized in 1995, the first edition of "L'Architecture, une profession, des métiers" (Architecture, one profession, many jobs), an evening of information on career opportunities that will immediately experience a significant student participation. Given its success, this type of evening will be reissued regularly thereafter.

If the teaching of the architecture of each community now follows its own path, however, in 1994, the creation of the Association (bilingual) of the Institutes of Architecture of Belgium (AIAB) which aims to organize various events for architecture students (but this is an initiative supported by a series of firms and federations of producers of building materials)

However, the training of architects must now be considered in a much broader context: thus, in February 1995, a major conference of the European Association for Architecture Education (EAAE) on access to the architectural profession, realized with the participation of the American NCARB (certification body of architectural studies in the USA).
Two years later, in 1997, the FAB and the NAV will organize a study day on the "Post-training of architects in Belgium" while the CNOA will conduct a series of brainstorming meetings about the teaching of the architecture. This will result in four documents claiming academic status for ISAs and architectural education.

At the European level, the year 1998 will obviously be important with the Sorbonne declaration on education - which will be followed by the Bologna (1999) and Prague (2001) declarations - since it will lead to a reform of the higher education.

Difficult relationships with other partners of the act of building

The relationship between architects and turn-key companies has obviously never been simple. The 1984 launch of the Architect-Builders had, of course, aggravated the situation, as we had seen in 1990 when the firm T Palm sued SRAVE, which had the presumption of criticizing its methods in its news bulletin.

The tension will go up a notch in 1995 following the adoption by the CNOA of the deontological rule "relating to the complementary intervention of architect in the event of conflict of interests": this rule, very discussed, will be finally cancelled by the Council of State following the action of entrepreneurs.
In order to try to calm the game in this area, the FAB will charge one of its agents to coordinate a working group including representatives of the Federation of General Contractors. This initiative will lead to a memorandum of understanding published on September 7, 1995 under the title " Les honoraires pour les missions d'architectes dans le domaine de la promotion immobilière d'habitation et le louage d'ouvrages dans le clé-sur-porte. This long-awaited protocol will unfortunately not materialize.

But other professions are also busy nibbling the field of activity of architects: the same year 1995 sees the vote of the Royal Decree protecting the professional title and the exercise of the profession of géomètre-expert juré and creating the Professional Institute of Surveyors-Geometers, as well as the Royal Decree which officially installs the Professional Institute of Real Estate Agents (IPI).

In 1996, the Act of 4 August on the welfare of workers in the workplace - which is the first step in the transposition into Belgian law of the European Directive 57/92 / EC of 1992 - will introduce the principle of a new player in the building act: the safety coordinator.
Architects will remain very divided in relation to this law: there are those who reject the new constraints it imposes and those who see it as a new field of activity. Their political action, which will spare the goat and cabbage, will however lead in 1999 to its cancellation by the Council of State on the basis of the appeal not based on the procedure of urgency. However, it will be a short respite before the final application of this regulation in 2001 (despite a critical stance taken by all representatives of the world of construction in 2000).

In 2000, the first actions undertaken by software firms against architectural firms suspected of illegally using computer programs (CAD and CAD software) were noted. These actions will experience, since then, regular periods of upsurge.

But what will more strongly undermine the profession is when in 1995 the Competition Council will prohibit the mandatory reference to the fee schedule (the famous Code of Ethics No. 2): despite the fact that nothing prevents to continue to make reference to it by contract, the Order will no longer be able to disseminate it and refer to it. Later, however, he will still make the mistake of retaking it on his new website, which will earn him the wrath of the European Commission.
Less serious probably is the launching, the following year, of the Brabant movement of defense of the owners of "Droit et Toit" which gets some attention in the media by putting in question the competence of the architects.

New professional and cultural bodies

The need for concerted action had been necessary for a long time and the Presidents of the Provincial Councils had been in the habit of meeting regularly on both the Flemish and the French side (despite the existence of a principle of two linguistic wings at national level). National Council). Some provincial councils also held regular meetings with active associations in their province or region (as was the case with the "Vlaamse Overleg").
Such a type of consultation was also desired at the national level: it is for this purpose that the CPO (Permanent Consultation - Permanent Overleg) was created in 1995. Subsequently, this purely informative body will meet more or less regularly, depending on the motivation of the Presidents of the Order.

The architects' working environment, which had already changed significantly with the development of IT and then CAD, would have to adapt to the Internet, which will revolutionize the communication and information modes. As it was already the case in the early eighties with the creation of BIB, the FAB supports the launch of the technical-commercial information company ARTES, which produces interesting CD-ROMs and then launches a website. Due to lack of financial resources in the long term, this initiative will unfortunately have to stop.

Another area in the process of evolution is litigation where, due to the slow pace and cost of justice, professionals are moving more and more towards arbitration and mediation. The year 2001 saw the creation (under the leadership of Minister Verwilghen and at the initiative of the FAB, the Confederation of Construction, Nacebo and Test-Achat) of the Construction Conciliation Commission (CCC) financed by the Ministry of Justice, while the Chamber of Arbitration and Conciliation of the judicial district of Nivelles is also launched.

Fortunately, the profession is not keeping its nose in professional guiding since in the year 2000 the French-speaking architects have the joy of attending the birth of the “Centre International pour la Ville, l'Architecture et le paysage (CIVA)”.
The Flemish Region is not outdone since it adopts the same year, like the Netherlands, a Bouwmeester (Bob Van Reeth) then installs a year later in Antwerp his "Vlaams Architectuur Instituut ". In 2002 it is this VAi which will organize for the first time in Belgium, the World Day of Architecture, an initiative launched in 1997 by the International Union of Architects.

In the field of new bodies, let us note again the birth, in 1995, of the Association des Architectes du Brabant Wallon (AABW), an association which will carve quickly a place of choice in the small world of always numerous French-speaking associations (the Flemish they tend to merge). Hardly created, it threatens to bring an action against the elections to the Council of Brabant while it leads with energy the fight against the administration of the urban planning in the "Young province". But if associations are born others disappear as is the case in 1997 (after several years of difficult existence) for the Union des Architectes Fonctionnaires (UAF-UAA).