JIS News

As the government seeks to simplify the process of contract procurement Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has asked the Jamaican Institute of Architects (JIA) to submit its input.
Mr. Golding made the request at a meeting with executives of the Institute at Jamaica House this morning (Nov. 13). The Prime Minister emphasized that, the government is committed to criminalizing breaches where they are found, and to make the current procurement process less cumbersome.
He disclosed that discussions are being held with the relevant stakeholders to simplify the process, to allow persons or projects to file plans with the relevant authorities, instead of seeking approvals, after which the related State Agencies will have 90 days in which to lodge their objections. Under this new regime, each building project must be certified by a registered architect.
The categories of building activities that will not be subject to determination by the authorities are to be decided on. Mr. Golding noted that even while the system is being simplified to eliminate the need for an approval, sanctions will be levied against persons who violate the regulations.
Meanwhile, the JIA has been asked to present a short paper outlining steps to upgrade the quality of Request For (contract) Proposals (RFPs), as the organizations raised concerns over the fact that under the current system, adequate time is not being allowed for proper contract documents to be submitted.
He also expressed concern over the proliferation of overseas-based architects practicing in Jamaica, and said while collaboration was necessary and could be facilitated for some projects, it was important to protect the local construction sector, and related activities. Prime Minister Golding told the group that this position had been outlined as a critical one to European Commissioners in CARICOM external trade negotiations.
Among the issues that the group discussed with the Prime Minister are: enforcement of the current regulations, protection of the public through the establishment of a code of conduct, and putting an annual licencing fee regime in place.
Also of particular concern to the architects is the need for continued professional development of architects and registration of government employees. Mr. Golding gave the undertaking to, among other things, look into the issues of: making provisions in the Architects Registration Act for annual licencing fees; a code of conduct for the industry; and continued education. The JIA has also been asked to name a representative to sit on the National Contracts Commission. In addition, representatives will be drawn from related groups including, engineers, land surveyors, and quantity surveyors.
The JIA delegation included: President, Louise McLeod; Clifton Yap, member of the executive council of the JIA; Douglas Stiebel, member of the JIA and acting Registrar of the Architects Registration Board; Chris Stone, Vice President of the JIA; and Robert Woodstock, Chairman of the Education and Membership Committee, and executive member of the JIA.

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