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Spanish architects furious at law allowing engineers to design buildings

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A major campaign has sprung up in Spain against the measure, with the Twitter hashtag #noalaLSP showing widespread anger

Senior figures say the Law of Professional Services would allow competent construction professionals to take on work that currently has to be done by architects

Olga Felip, co-founder of Catalonia-based practice Arquitecturia, and AJ Emerging Woman Architect of the Year, said: ‘The Professional Services Law in Spain is going to change the legal frame of our activity as architects.

‘Other professionals are going to be able to develop projects for residential, cultural, educational and religious buildings. This law says that professionals who already have building competences are able to build any typology.’

She warned that although the proposed law was a bid to improve quality of design by increasing competition, it was likely to have the opposite effect.

Lluís Domenech Girbau, president of trade body Arquitectes per l’Arquitectura, described the proposed law as an attack on architecture training.

‘The draft law on associations and professional services led by the Popular Party in the Spanish government represents a violation of the specific skills of the architects, and attacks the cultural and technical base with which they act, from the training received in the schools of architecture,’ he said.

But Jose Peman, chief executive of developer Calaconta, said the current laws were unsustainable, and required projects to be signed off twice by the College of Architects.

‘You usually end up having a “signing architect”, a signing “technical architect”, probably an engineer, and sometimes the project is done by someone who is very good, but is not in the College. A mess. And expensive,’ he said. 

He added that the law was unlikely to be passed in its current form as it was ‘too superficial’ a solution. ‘The law will have to be further fine-tuned,’ said Peman.

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