Disk 39

At a recent seminar held on January 7, 1993 organized by the HAD, the Minister of Housing and Local Government YB Dato Dr. Ting Chew Peh commented that accidents on sites may be a direct result of lack of professionalism among consultants. Without naming which profession the Minister proceeded to suggest means to alleviate this trend in the building industry.

The Architects cannot dismiss the issue as not affecting the profession. By inference the Architect is implicated. It is time for the profession to review, re-evaluate and re-establish its position within the building industry. A role reassessment would be timely.

With the ‘Boom’, too many Architects have forgotten the ‘difficulties and pains’ of the last recession. Currently too many commissions are being serviced by too few firms. Over commitments may result in speedily and inadequately documented or coordinated projects. Similarly other allied consultants are equally preoccupied and over-loaded with commissions and tight work schedules. The end result is obvious.

The public outcry over shoddy work, poorly designed housing, delayed handing over dates etc; cannot be ignored. The Government is taking note. The profession must be sensitive to repond in a positive manner. A pro-active response by the architects is required. The architect in order to contribute positively towards the public need and Government’s call must re-exert and re-gain his traditional position in the building team.


The Superintending Officer (S.O.) has traditionally being the architect. In to-day’s environment is he still ‘superintending’ over his charge – the works, and also the consultants as well? It appears not. The architect for some reason has for too long being dominated over by clients, and members of other allied professions. The architectural profession appear to be suffering from an identity crisis. Instead of he is to lead and guide the industry, too many architects are now the ‘submissive’ person. As the proverbial lamb, it is always lead away to be slaughtered.

Pam is aware of the problems faced by Architects. Pressure from client to reduce fee is there. Once a commission is secured te Architect has to be a good and nice guy in click here order not to offend the client, or his consultant friends. It becomes one ‘happy family’. Nobody say anything constructive, responsible, with urgency or truthful. The Architect who has accepted a reduced-fee commission must ‘toe-the-line’; as a complaint by the client to the Board of Architects could spell trouble for the Architect.
The Architect becomes afflicted by the disease known as the ‘automatic head-shaker’ syndrome. The head responding to the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ command without hesitation is a typical symptom of the illness. For fear of losing a commission, the Architect may in the process loses his professionalism.


How does a professional maintain his professionalism in a society and industry where sometimes the Professional Code of Conduct and Ethics is not understood accepted or appreciated?
How does he maintain professionalism when all the motivating forces within the building industry are polarized around the magic word ‘profit margin’?


As Malaysia surges forward to Wawasan 2020, can the building industry afford to be so fluippant towards its own shortcomings? If we are to be industrialized can we afford to be shoddy and careless? Industralization means the building industry have to be organized, co-ordinated, precise, accurate, responsible, diligent, honest, quality conscious, the list goes no. Our government have tried to instill the Japanese work ethics into Malaysians. It may not work here. The Japanese is based on their Samurai Culture which has a strong military tradition.

Currently we are promoting ‘Qualiti’ among government employees. This must also percolate through the various stratas of the private sector industries. With Malaysia’s Vision 2020 at the horizon, it becomes imperative and essential that Malaysians associated with the building industry are committed towards developing a spirit of responsibility and accountability.

Current cultural values based on traditional non-confrontational compromises will not see the building and housing industry valuing and appreciating ‘Quality’ as a hallmark of Malaysian lifestyle. Quality presupposes Quality control. Quality control cannot be achieved without shifing entrenched values. Fro the Architect to shift current entrenched values may cause the Architect to be unpopular and alienated from his peers in the building industry; and to become a wolf in sheep’s clothing.