On Matters Pertaining to R.A. No. 9266 (The Architecture Act of 2004)
Can RLAs teaching in schools of architecture also teach architecture subjects to civil engineering (CE) students?
Absolutely not. The law forbids it. Sec. 23 (d) of R.A. No. 9266 states:
“SECTION 23.Suspension and Revocation of Certificates of Registration, Professional Identification Card or the Special/ Temporary Permit. - The Board shall have the power, upon notice and hearing, to suspend or revoke the validity of a Certificate of Registration/ Professional Identification Card, xxx or for any cause specified hereunder: Provided, however, That such action of the Board shall be subject to appeal to the Commission whose decision shall be final if he/she:
(d) has aided or abetted in the practice of architecture any person not duly authorized to practice architecture in the Philippines;” xxx (stress and underscoring supplied)
RLAs teaching architecture subjects to civil engineering (CE) students therefore run the risk of having their registration and licensed to practice architecture in the Ph suspended or revoked.
The PRBoA encourages everyone to promptly report to the PRBoA cases of RLAs teaching CE students so that the proper administrative charges can be filed at the PRC against such RLAs.
Is it alright if there is no signature of the Dean/ School Dept. Head on the DT FORM 001 of the apprentice logbook?
The Dean's signature is not required on a LEA examinee’s logbook. The logbook is a sub-professional document for signing mainly by a Mentor-RLA (Architect).
The logbook is not an academic document. It is a certification of sub-professional work outside of the school.
A Dean/ School Head may sign in his/ her capacity as a Mentor-Architect, provided he/ she is a RLA.
Civil engineers (CEs) cannot sign as Mentor-Architects and logbooks certified by CEs will be rejected outright.
Can complaints about criminal violations of R.A. No. 9266 be filed directly with a Prosecutor (Fiscal)’s Office and thereby bypass the DoJ, the PRC and the PRBoA?
Yes.A year ago, the Associate PRC Commissioner said any person can file a criminal complaint relative to violations of R.A. No. 9266 directly with a prosecutor's office i.e. without having to go to the PRC and DoJ. At about the same time, the external legal counsel of the PRC Commissioner in charge of Architecture said the very same thing.
They both quote Sec. 44 of RA 9266, viz:
"Enforcement of the Act. xxx Any person may bring before xxx theaforementioned officers of the law, cases of illegal practice or violations of this Act committed by any person or party. The Board shall assist xxx the aforementioned officers of the law, cases of illegal practice or violations of this Act committed by any person or party. xxx" (stress and underscoring supplied) This means that illegal practice cases (which are criminal acts) may be filed directly with the fiscal's office (effectively bypassing the PRBoA, the PRC and the DoJ).
Complainants need to have sufficient documentary evidence (better if there is a witness) that can attest to the following criminal acts:
1) an RLA abetting illegal practice by an unregistered person as provided under Sec. 23 (d) of R.A. No. 9266; and
2) unregistered person (those with training, knowledge or skillsets for preparing architectural documents but who are not RLAs, including civil engineers/ CEs and other professionals regulated by the PRC) signing/ sealing/ issuing architectural documents e.g. architectural plans, designs, drawings, perspectives, sections, elevations, floor/ reflected ceiling plans, schedules of finishes, specifications, etc.
Are Civil Engineers (CEs) classifiable as unregistered persons under R.A. No. 9266. Are they not registered and licensed by the PRC?
Yes, CEs are most definitely under the classification of unregistered persons under R.A. No. 9266.
They clearly lack the basic qualifications to practice architecture in the Philippines, viz:
a B.S. Architecture degree with anywhere from 195 to 230 academic units (of which 85% are mainstream architectural subjects including ten (10) semesters of architectural planning and design work);
a two (2)-year (3,840 hour) apprenticeship in the planning and design of buildings and their environs under a Mentor-Architect;
passing the Licensure Examination for Architects (LEA) which is one hundred percent (100%) about the planning and design of buildings and their setting and which tests knowledge of the National Building Code (NBCP/ PD 1096), the Fire Code of the Ph (FCP/ RA9514), the Accessibility Law (BP344), etc.;
signing in the Registry Book of Architects at the PRC;
a PRC Certificate to Practice Architecture in the Philippines;
a PRC identification (ID) card (signifying the 3-year renewal license to practice architecture in the Philippines;
oath-taking as Architect before the PRBoA;
membership in the IAPOA-UAP; and
continuing professional education (CPE) units for architectural practice, etc.
CEs are clearly disqualified under law for the practice of architecture in the Philippines, specifically for the preparation, signing and sealing of architectural documents such as architectural perspectives, floor/ reflected ceiling/ roof plans, designs, sections, elevations, detailed designs, architectural interiors, architectural finish schedules and specifications and the like.
If CEs sign and seal architectural documents prepared by unregistered persons with some knowledge of architecture (such as students and graduates of architecture, LEA failures and even RLAs), and if these are approved by the Government and used by their clients, then the concerned CE, the aiders/ abettors who prepared the architectural documents, the Government approving entity, the Client and the Constructor are all criminally liable for the violation of R.A. No. 9266 and its derivative regulations.
Under Sec. 29 of R.A. No. 9266, the penalty for the illegal practice of architecture and related criminal acts is P100,000.00 to P5,000,000.00 and/or imprisonment of from 6 months to 6 years, at the discretion of the Court.
The foregoing shall be without prejudice to the later declaration of a building as being illegally constructed for failure to utilize the lawfyully-prepared architectural documents, which should be subjected to fines and related penalties.
Under R.A. No. 9266, the architectural documents of all buildings on Philippine soil shall be prepared, signed and sealed only by RLAs. While the CEs indeed possess a PRC registration and license to practice a profession, such a registration and license is for the practice of one and only one profession i.e. the profession of civil engineering only and not for the separate and distinct profession of architecture.
The PRC registration and license of a CE is not/ never for the practice of two (2)State-regulated professions.
Many CEs (and their accredited professional organization/ APO) claim that the law allows them to “practice architecture” and that there is an “overlap” in the practice of the professions of civil engineering and architecture.
The civil engineering law (R.A. No. 544) was passed alongside the architecture law (R.A. No. 545) in June 1950 to effectively segregate the two (2) professions i.e. eliminate any overlaps in the respective scopes of practice.
There is absolutely nothing in the CE law (R.A. No. 544) that expressly states that CEs can prepare, sign or seal architectural documents.
The civil engineering law (R.A. No. 544) was amended by R.A. No. 1582 alongside the amendment to the architecture law (R.A. No. 545, amended by R.A. No. 1581) in June 1956 to further segregate the two (2) professions i.e. further eliminate any overlaps in the respective scopes of practice.
Again, there is absolutely nothing in the amendment of the CE law (R.A. No. 544, as amended by R.A. No. 1582) that expressly states that CEs can prepare, sign or seal architectural documents.
The true, thrice (3x) duly certified (by the National Printing Office, the official State publisher of the Philippine Official Gazette and by the Malacañang Records Office, the official keeper of all Presidential records) and unadulterated/ non-intercalated text of Sec. 302 of P.D. 1096, otherwise known as the 1977 National Building Code of the Philippines (NBCP) does not state (never stated) that civil engineers (CEs) can prepare, sign or seal architectural documents.
The CEs and their accredited professional organization (APO) already officially agreed to cause the official elimination of any “existing” overlaps between the two (2) professions in a historic late 2003 series of meetings between the leaders of the 2 professions.
Under agreement with the CEs, the Architects gave up the practice of structural design in exchange for the CEs finally giving up any and all claims to architectural design. In fact, the CEs and their APO were a constant presence in the crafting and passage of the new architecture law, R.A. No. 9266 (The Architecture Act of 2004), repealing R.A. No. 545, as amended by R.A. No. 1581. R.A. No. 9266 (crafted with the CEs’ full participation) effectively prevented Architects from the further practice of structural design. The CEs were also apparently carefully watching over the progress of the pertinent architecture bill from the Bicameral Conference Committee level all the way up to its signing by President GMA in March 2004.
By default (estoppel), the CEs should not resist a duly crafted and passed law that the CEs themselves actively co-crafted.
In January 2004 (prior to the passage of the much stronger R.A. No. 9266), the Department of Justice (DoJ), acting on an official request from the DPWH at the behest of the CEs, opined that architectural documents are only for architects to prepare, sign and seal while civil/ structural documents are for CEs to prepare, sign and seal.
CEs studies pertain mainly to horizontal developments relating to the built environment i.e. roads, bridges, flood control and related matters. Their only studies pertaining to the vertical developments relating to the built environment are in the areas of structural design and construction management. Architecture is mainly about the physical planning and design of environments for human habitation. CEs do not have a single academic unit of architecture to their credit. CEs have not been tested by the State for their knowledge of architecture. The CEs (who are not Architects) have not taken nor passed the State Licensure Examination for Architects (LEA) which is the only State licensure examination that is one hundred percent (100%) about the physical planning and design of buildings and their settings.
There is therefore absolutely no overlap between the two (2) professions of architecture and civil engineering (CE) as:
the “overlaps” between the 2 professions of architecture and civil engineering were originally addressed by the four (4) laws passed in 1950 and 1960;
there is absolutely nothing in the CE law (R.A. No. 544, as amended by R.A. No. 1582 nor in Sec. 302 of P.D. No. 1096 (the 1977 NBCP) that expressly state that CEs can prepare, sign or seal architectural documents;
as early as January 2004, the DoJ has opined (upon the forwarded request made by the CEs themselves) that architectural documents are only for architects to prepare, sign and seal while civil/ structural documents are for CEs to prepare, sign and seal
the supposed “overlaps” between the 2 professions have been finally addressed with the passage of R.A No. 9266 (The Architecture Act of 2004, co-crafted by the CEs themselves), many provisions of which expressly state that only registered and licensed architects (RLAs) shall prepare, sign and seal all architectural documents for all buildings on Philippine soil;
the CEs have not been prepared nor trained academically for the practice of the distinct profession of architecture; and
the CEs have not/ never been tested by the State for their knowledge and skillsets relating to the professional practice of architecture.
There are persistent rumors going around regarding the Licensure Examination for Architects (LEA) Day 2 subject of Architectural Design and Site Planning (ADSP). We would like to verify if it is true that the ADSP subject shall revert to manual drafting for the target October 2012 Middle East FLEA and the January 2013 Manila LEA.
The non-drafting test format shall remain for as long as the PRC supports and upholds the PRBoA's continuing efforts at attaining full compliance with R.A. No. 8981 (PRC Modernization Act) and R.A. No. 9266 (The Architecture Act) and their respective implementing rules and regulations (IRR), particularly the provisions of the said laws mandating the full computerization of the licensure examination for architects (LEA).
The drafting format examination is a subjective examination for which there is no single answer i.e. no objectivity. The process of manual checking by an PRBoA member is also subjective and is clearly affected by the physical/ mental/ emotional/ spiritual condition, whims and caprices of the examiner/ checker at the time of checking (i.e. a truly subjective situation), at which time the checker must be in complete isolation, even from fellow PRBoA members. Moreover, a single checking standard must be assured from the start to the finish of the manual checking effort i.e. there can only be one (1) checker, not 2, not 3. Besides, checking a prospective examinee's proficiency in manual drafting is something that should have been done long before by the schools and not something left to be examined by the State i.e. that is why students stay five (5) years in school sharpening their manual and related technical skills.
To revert back to the drafting format shall be a clear violation of law and shall make the public and private parties (identified as responsible for such reversion) specifically answerable under law for the multiple violations of several laws i.e. specifically for charges that may be filed by any person (including those filed by future examinees), before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Lastly, should future entities (including future PRBoA members) succeed in bringing back the non-drafting format, the PRBoA Member (checker) for the LEA subject of Architectural Design and Site Planning (ADSP) must also be subjected to continued sequestration i.e. no outside contacts for a maximum thirty (30) calendar day period, at which time the said PRBoA examiner/ checker must correct anywhere between 5,400 to 6,000 sheets of 20" x 30" drawings inside a fully secured and guarded checking area at the PRC building i.e. an NBI guard/ escort must be present at all times during the entire checking period to fully ensure that there shall be no external interference (even by fellow PRBoA members) in the checking procedures i.e. to maintain the full integrity of the LEA, the PRBoA manual checker for the ADSP subject shall have no access to telephone, mobile phone, videophones, laptops, desktops and other 2-way communication devices for the entire 30-day checking period.
Is there a law regarding the number of years of practice of a RLA before he can sign a LEA examinee’s logbook?
And if there is, how many years are required before the RLA can lawfully sign a logbook?
There is no law prescribing the number of years of practice of a Mentor-RLA (Architect) before he/she can sign a logbook. As such, even a newly registered and licensed Architect (with 2 years practice as RLA) may already certify. However, in such cases, the quality of diversified training will always be in doubt and the examinee therefore takes much risks (as a well-rounded training and preparation for the licensure examination cannot be realistically achieved under a Mentor-RLA with only 2 years of professional experience).
It may therefore be best for LEA takers to look for a Mentor-RLA with an office (a small office somehow gives the trainee an assurance that he/she will be exposed to more aspects of the practice) and a RLA with possibly about 5-10 years of experience.
PRBoA 2012 Clarification/ Response/ Position
On Matters Pertaining to P.D. No. 1096 (The 1977 National Building Code of the Philippines/ NBCP) and its 2004 Revised Implementing Rules & Regulations (IRR)
Where can an RLA reckon the measurement of a legal easement along a waterway?
If there is a wall or riprap, start the measurement of the legal easement from the waterside face of the wall or riprap above the normal waterline. If there is no wall or riprap, it may be best to first consult the Office of the DPWH District Engineer (who should tell You where to start the measurement). For subdivisions, look for monuments near the waterway. RLAs may also check the Water Code of the Philippines for other requirements.
Are buildings supposed to follow the building lines for incremental setbacks for the front and sides of the building?
No. The incremental setbacks are intended as a development control for the following:
to make sure that there is sufficient natural light and ventilation reaching the road right-of-way (RROW) surface and the side yards (as applicable) and that these are not consistently under shade or shadow (which creates conditions for the growth of potentially harmful micro-organisms); and
to limit the total gross floor area (TGFA) for the entire building.
Thus, a podium-tower solution (both rectangular in plan and simple prismatic in shape) are acceptable solutions provided the TGFA for a staggered building line solution becomes the maximum allowable TGFA, to be later qualified/ limited by other development controls such as the Building Height Limit (BHL), etc.
Please also note that staggered building lines are very expensive to frame/ support structurally and to waterproof.
How can natural light and ventilation penetrate a naturally-ventilated basement?
Through steel gratings on the floor set at a 60 degree angle and through a central shaft (chimney) that goes all the way to the top of the building (reference Figure VIII.G.23 of the 2004 Revised IRR of the NBCP).
What is the limit of the basement footprint under the 2004 Revised IRR of the NBCP?
The same expanse as the prescribed setbacks for the building at grade (ground surface) level.
We have heard that the proper use of the NBCP is to always observe the most stringent (strictest) rule. What if the Subdivision Association has stricter rules than the NBCP e.g. deeper setback requirements? What should the RLA follow?
The NBCP and its IRR only set the minimum national standards. If another national agency of Government or the LGU sets higher (but lawfully set) standards for compliance, then the same should be followed by the RLA.
In the case of subdivisions or estates, the use of the lots by the locators are governed by Contracts to Sell and Deeds of Absolute Sale, to which are annexed the Deed of Restrictions and the Development Guidelines, all of which are development controls, and which are usually stricter than the minimum set under the NBCP. In such cases, the RLA must always follow the strictest rule (by comparing the development controls of the foregoing documents with similar provisions under the NBCP and its IRR.
We have heard of Referral Codes of the NBCP. What exactly are these?
Referral Codes refer to other laws that are in full effect, rules and regulations (including self-regulatory documents) that may contain more stringent provisions than the minimum prescribed under the NBCP and its IRR.
These include the Fire Code of the Ph, the Accessibility Law, the Sanitation Code, the Water Code, etc. and their respective IRRs and executive issuances such as the 2000 Architecture Code promulgated by the DPWH Secretary. These also include self-regulatory design documents issued by the professional associations of structural, electrical, mechanical, electronics, sanitary and plumbing engineers.
Also included are the professional regulatory laws (PRLs) for the State-regulated professionals who plan/ design buildings e.g. R.A. No. e.g. R.A. No. 9266 for registered and licensed architects (RLAs), etc.
We have heard that triangulation is extensively employed under the 2004 Revised IRR of the NBCP to maximize compliance. What exactly does this mean?
Triangulation means that there may be 3 or more (in some cases possibly up to 5) rules that interact or even compete, thereby affecting a certain plan or design consideration and solution for the building. For instance, one rule allows for a greater total gross floor area (TGFA) or building height limit (BHL) for the building while another rule may allow for less. In any case, the most stringent rule i.e. the one that shall result in less building construction always applies.