Local authorities raise concerns over shortage of architects

Mbarara RCC Col James Mwesigye (L), ARB chairperson Mr Robert Kigundu(L) and other guests at the opening of ARB regional offices in Mbarara city on Friday. PHOTO | RAJAB MUKOMBOZI

What you need to know:

  • Mr Robert Kigundu, the chairperson of ARB said there are a few architects in the country because architecture is a recent course at institutions of learning.

Leaders from western region have expressed concern over the lack of sufficient architects in the country, saying it is set to frustrate the housing sector.

The leaders who were attending the dissemination and stakeholders workshop organised by Architects Registration Board (ARB) in Mbarara on Friday were told that whereas every local government entity should have an architect, the country has only 270 registered architects. 

According to the latest information from the Ministry of Local Government website, the country has one capital city, 135 districts, 10 cities, 31 municipalities, and 580 town councils and all these must-have building committees with an architect on it going by section 28 of the Building Control Act 2013. The above statistics mean the country is short of 487 architects.   

Mr Richard Mugisha, the Mbarara Deputy City Clerk said the housing sector remains in a dilemma because of the lack of architects in the county.

Mbarara Resident City Commissioner, Col James Mwesigye, said the lack of architects in the country could be a reason why there are many quacks and the existence of substandard and collapsing buildings, especially in towns.

“I now come to sympathise with developers who use quacks to draw their plans which are partly responsible for collapsing and substandard buildings. We have been in Mbarara and the whole region with no registered architect. The government needs to do something if we are to have an organised housing sector in the region,” he said.

He added that even the 270 registered architects are not given a chance to work in government entities because the structure for their recruitment is not provided for by local governments.

Mr Elly Muhwezi, a Senior Secretary at Bushenyi District said: “Our hands are tied. The law requires us to have architects but there is no funding to recruit these and even we have wage issues. The ARB should be the one to influence government and public service to recruit these architects.”

Mr Robert Kigundu, the board chairperson of ARB said there are a few architects in the country because architecture is a recent course at institutions of learning.

“The Architecture course started in 1989 but even then the completion rate is very low because it’s a difficult course. That is partly the reason why there are a few professionals,” he said.

He said in 2018, ARB findings indicated that the majority of districts did not have architects.

“In 2018 majority of districts and local government entities did not have architects, only one had a registered architect and that was Kampala City Authority (KCCA) but the law requires every district and local government entity to have an architect,” Mr Kigundu noted.