UIA Update

The IR’s Immediate Past President, James M. Wright, FAIA, is in his first year serving as the Co-Director of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Professional Practice Commission.  The UIA is a global organization made up of national architectural associations from over 120 countries and territories, representing over one million architects worldwide.  The AIA is the official representative of the U.S., and Thomas Vonier, FAIA—founding President of the AIA-IR and Past President of the AIA—is the current UIA President.

The Professional Practice Commission is one of four permanent UIA commissions; the others are the International Competitions Commission; the Education Commission; and the recently-created Sustainable Development Goals Commission.  The PPC deals with the creation of guidelines, policies and accords as the framework for global best practice, so its work touches a very broad swath of the world’s architects. 

The UIA administratively breaks the world into five regions; all five regions are represented on the PPC.  Recently completed work includes updates to intellectual property and copyrights; updates to guidelines for the procurement of architectural services; updates to standards of ethics and conduct; and the creation of a new gender equity policy, about to be widely adapted by many UIA member sections.  New and ongoing initiatives include guidelines for pro bono work; expansion of guidelines on dispute resolution; and updates to the Working in a Host Nation Accord.  A project long in the works that is about to bear fruit is the Architectural Practice Around the World (APAW) database.  This online resource will eventually provide vital practice-related information on all UIA member section countries.

At the UIA Council meeting in Paris at the beginning of the year, President Vonier challenged the PPC to consider creating guidelines for countries to use in the development and updating of practice laws.  The PPC accepted the challenge, and James Wright is leading a task group to formulate a model practice act.  Also of current interest: at its Spring meeting in Oaxaca, Mexico, the UIA Council accepted a proposal from the PPC to endorse the AIA’s newly-created Global Architecture Billings Index (GABI).  The GABI would be similar in nature to the AIA’s ABI, and would be led by AIA’s Chief Economist, Kermit Baker and the AIA economic research team.  For more information, the related article in this AIA-IR newsletter.

Finally, the UIA is looking ahead to its next World Congress & General Assembly scheduled for 2020 in Rio de Janeiro.  The PPC is proposing to take an expanded role in this triennial event.

In the next update we’ll take a closer look at the work of the other UIA commissions.  Any questions or comments regarding the work of the PPC should be directed to James at james.wright@aiainternational.org.

James Wright; FAIA