AIBC welcomes foreign-trained architects

The Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) is moving swiftly to recognize foreign-trained architects in order to address the huge demand for architectural services in the province.

We recognize that the current economic boom in the province will last at least until the end of the decade, said David Wilkinson MAIBC, president of the AIBC. As the governing body for architects in the province, we have moved to streamline the process of recognizing credentials and experience gained in another jurisdiction.

A panel of BC registered architects currently reviews the application of a foreign-trained architect, as well as evaluates their experience as part of the application process. Foreign-trained architects must also demonstrate knowledge of the BC Building Code. For an architect from another jurisdiction, the process of having three BC architects provided by the AIBC review an application is much less onerous than the previous process, whereby the applicant would have to provide supporting statements from five local architects as part of the application process, said Wilkinson.

To ensure that the public is protected from applicants who do not possess sufficient knowledge or experience, each foreign-trained professional must supply educational transcripts; take professional courses to gain required knowledge of subjects such as the BC Building Code; show local experience gained through work with a local architect.

British Columbia is a unique environment, said Wilkinson. The design knowledge gained from practice in a climate different than what we have here doesnt necessarily work. The AIBC has a mandate to protect the public interest by making sure every person wishing to practice architecture in BC designs buildings that are safe for occupancy. Architects exist to make sure every structure designed is functional and safe, as well as of high overall design quality.

Recently, the AIBC welcomed 79 new members into the profession. Of the 79 newly registered architects inducted, 19 are foreign-trained architects. Registering through alternative qualifications, the 19 bring design excellence to the province, while helping to fulfill the growing demand for services by architects.

The Architectural Institute of British Columbia is a self-governing body dedicated to excellence in the profession of architecture for the benefit of its membership, the environment and society.

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