Mr. Foster Osae-Akonnor, President of the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA), has bemoaned the limited involvement of architects in local governance in the country.
While addressing a townhall meeting in Ho as part of activities for the Institute’s 60th anniversary celebration, the President noted that of the 18 Municipalities and Districts and in the Volta Region, only one – the Ho West District Assembly, had a resident architect.
He said the absence of the core professionals within local governance affected effective planning and supervision of the built environment as Assemblies did not have the capacity to check hazardous construction.
‘MMDAs do not have the requisite strength of Architects, and architecture sells a country. The responsibility of architects are limited at the Assembly level, and it constitutes a bigger issue for the built environment in Ghana,’ Mr. Osae-Akonnor stated.
He further the nation’s architects ‘felt left out’ of its development, which resulted in several challenges with structural and service integrity of ‘uncontrolled’ facilities being put up, and thus Assemblies must ensure that that the professionals were part of the permitting process as well as the various stages of construction, including final certification of habitation.
The President of the Institute said most assemblies lacked the capacity to issue certificates of habitation due to the lack of architects and revealed that the Institute was working with the Ministry of Local Government to produce a 10-year strategic plan that would be ‘critically followed through’ to implementation.
He used the occasion to urge architects to seek collaboration with the local Assemblies.
‘Architects must take the initiative and begin to think about planning all the MMDAs. We must come together and plan all the MMDAs.’
Mr Osae-Akonnor called also on the public to encourage the use of professionals for proper planning and a safe and sustainable built environment.
The 60th Anniversary Celebration is on the theme: ‘Architects and the Community,’ and the town hall was attended by traditional leaders, heads of local Government and staff, and civil society organisations.
Local Assembly heads at the meeting said the high-cost service of architects affected their patronage and appealed that the charges and rates were considered.
CSOs present raised concerns over access and other structural allowances for differently abled persons and hoped an enhanced input of architects would address the issues.
They also called attention to the lack of drainage and other requisite facilities for structures in the capital and said Assemblies should welcome the call for collaboration for effective planning.
Mr Augustus Awiti, Volta Regional Coordinating Director, said unplanned cities continues to produce challenges, and, therefore, professionals of the built environmental should collaborate to check the menace.
He said the Region was pleased for the opportunity to set out collaboration with the planning professionals and would ensure effective collaboration to help promote a sustainable environment.
Source: Ghana News Agency