Buck stops with the architect, says PAM past president

Saifuddin: If there are changes during renovations, the professionals must submit amendment to the plan.

PROFESSIONAL architects and registered draughtsmen cannot plead ignorance when their clients deviate from the approved building plans.

This is because the power to issue the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) is with the professionals in charge of the project.

Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) past president Saifuddin Ahmad said, “So if a renovation is illegal and the architects say they were in the dark about it, that is rubbish.”

In a CCC, the professionals are called the Principal Submitting Person (PSP) and they are either the architect, building draughtsman or engineer registered with their professional regulatory bodies as governed by the Architects Act 1967 or Registration of Engineers Act 1967.

“Only what has been approved can be built. If there are changes during renovations, the professionals must submit an amendment to the plan.

“If the client wants to deviate from the approved plan, the PSP is responsible because he or she is the one issuing the CCC,’’ said Saifuddin.

He said architects could not plead ignorance as they also had to supervise the renovation since they would be issuing the CCC.

“If the clients insist on proceeding with the illegal renovation, then the PSP should issue a formal letter to DBKL and the owner about the deviation and withdraw his services,” he added.

However, most don’t do it because the client is paying the fees of the PSP.

Saifuddin said: “A good indicator to look out for is the development signboard at the project site, which has all the relevant information including the architect’s details.

“If there was no such signboard, the work could be illegal,’’ he said.

Under the Uniform Building By-laws 1984, the PSP is responsible for the proper execution of the works on the building until completion.

For the record, due to changes in the law in 2007, local authorities no longer issue the certificate of fitness (CF) on new projects or are responsible for a building’s worthiness.

With the CCC, the PSP bears responsibility for ensuring a building is safe.

The professionals have to countersign on all 21G Forms before a CCC is issued.

Each form addresses a specific part of the project including earthworks, foundation, internal water plumbing, fire safety, sewerage, public roads, drains, street lighting and landscaping.

These forms are also signed by the contractors including the plumber and electrician.

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