The Long Arm of the Law: How a Singapore Architect Can Help Navigate You Through Compliance Issues

Suppose you work in Singapore’s construction business and are embarking on a building project – you will be subject to a comprehensive scope of rules and compliance demands in Singapore. In this case, you’ll need a more than competent Singapore architect who is well-versed in the compliance mine-field to ensure you can plow your way through any compliance challenges.

The Singapore architect has to go through a long period of study and training to be qualified. The formal education starts from a BOA approved university course of study that covers the large scope of knowledge, including building technology, architectural history and theory, design, professional practice and statutory law.

Besides education, the architect requires to have practiced in Singapore, gained the relevant experience and passed the qualification examinations administered by the Board of Architects. At the end of the day, only a Registered Architect who has in force a practising certificate can supply architectural services. In addition to competence, an Architect must be of good character. In Singapore, this is governed by the Architect’s Act (Professional Conduct and Ethics) Rules.

So, all this means architects not only need to have the skill set and responsibility to ensure they are qualified to provide the architectural service to satisfy their clients, they also have the additional responsibility to act with the highest ethical standards and safeguard the public’s interests as well. This means they also have to ensure any building compiles with Authority rules and requirements.

What is Compliance?

In relation to architecture, compliance is the scrutiny of a specific project that has to follow the spirit of your project and its objectives, with Singapore’s building codes’ legal requirements alongside the design requirements.

Building contractors are regularly faced with managing large and complex projects, which means they have to pay close attention to budgets, deadlines, collaborators, progress reports, as well as compliance requirements.

Common compliance regulations in the Singapore construction industry include:
• Contractual agreements between owners, contractors, and subcontractors.
• Building standards and codes.
• Accessibility and ambulant issues.
• Fire and safety regulations.
• Safety regulations.

The Role of the Singapore Architect

An Architect is a “qualified person is an agent of the Singapore government and has a statutory duty to protect the public interest”.

In fact the role of an Architect who is the lead consultant of a project – their role is not too dissimilar to that of the conductor of a symphony, as they have to know the part of every player in the orchestra, every single team member to ensure the architecture of the building comes together beautifully…

Architects must have the necessary education, training and relevant working knowledge of a large scope of expertise – from the laws and legislation to the contracts which affects them in the execution of their duties and the design and development of construction drawings and details for the implementation of the building project.

Furthermore, at the core of an architect’s responsibilities is an expected level of care that would be reasonably expected of them as a professional to ensure the project is executed in a responsible and professional manner.

What to Expect

At the end of the day, you as the developer or Owner will decide which architect to choose. Consider the architect as an essential professional in the project, and the first and foremost party to appoint before commencement. Study their background, qualifications and track record to ensure they have what you need to execute your project.

It is wise to discuss your needs in-depth with the architects you have shortlisted to understand which architect will be most suited. Understand what their methods and strategy to tackling your project in order to come up with the best solution.

Often times, the best architect will have designed for a range of Owners, and capable to accommodate many types of requirements and demands.

Ultimately, you should have a clear design brief – a map with clear vision, path, and direction. With the right architect appointed for the role, he or she will be able to guide you to turn the dream to a built reality.