Brief Historical Background of Architects Registration Council of Ghana (1969)
The Architects Registration Council (ARC) was established through the Architects Act 1969, NLCD 357 (previously the Architects Decree). Though the ARC has been in existence since 1969, no proper administrative structures were put in place for its functions and operations as a public service organisation. It was therefore operated in an informal manner by the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA/Institute), the professional association it was supposed to regulate.
In effect, there was no formal separation between the GIA Council (Executives) and the ARC Governing Board, the Act sought to establish. Arc Kenneth Scott, then Honorary Secretary of the GIA, performed the duty of the ARC Registrar.
1974 - 1997
The ARC thus operated for about four years, and by the mid-70s, got subsumed into the Council of the GIA. Thus it did not become a government agency with a board and staff as provided by the Act. GIA staff performed all the duties of the ARC, including monitoring of architectural education, registration and accounting Apprehending the shortcomings of not having a legal backing to regulate the profession, the GIA moved to streamline its activities.
1997 - 2000
In this regard, through the Institute’s advocacy, the Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH) set the process in motion in 1997 to resuscitate the Architects Registration Council as established by the Architects Act 1969 (NLCD 357), that would have the powers to regulate, police and ‘sanitise’ the profession. Key actors in this drive were Arcs Ken Ampretwum, Theo Akofio-Sowah, Henry D.L. Yartey, Alhaji A. Dawuni, and Prof. Ralph Mills-Tettey, who was later nominated by the GIA as the first Registrar of the ARC.
2000 - 2007
On September 18, 2000, after three years of effective work, the ARC was reconstituted and inaugurated by the Minster for Works and Housing, Mr. I. K. Adjei-Mensah at a short but well-attended ceremony.
The Chairman and Members of the first Governing Board were: Alhaji A. Dawuni of MWH (Chairman); Prof. G.K. Tetteh of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences; Prof. Henry N.A. Wellington of KNUST; Arc. Joseph Hayford of GIA (GIA Hon. Secretary); Arc. Theo Akofio Sowah of GIA; Arc. H.D.L. Yartey of GIA; Arc. Theresa Yankah (Tresurer) of GIA; Arc. Ken Ampratwum of GIA (GIA President); Mrs. Patience Nartey of Attorney General’s Department; and Prof. Ralph Mills – Tettey as Registrar of ARC. The GIA Council was thus relieved of its assumed regulatory duties.
The Registrar’s appointment as the head and Chief Executive Officer of the ARC was formalised through the sector ministry and the Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS) in 2002, after two years of part-time operation.
Over time, seven other support staff were seconded to the ARC by the OHCS and the Council then started with a one-line budget until with time it was fully absorbed as an agency of the sector Ministry and subvented by the Government of Ghana.
The Council yet did not have the full complement of officers to effectively carry out its functions. The Registrar was the only technical staff, and had to rely heavily on Board Members and volunteers to address issues of technical nature – syllabus for professional examinations, workshops and seminars for architects, standards for practice, issues on architectural design competitions, accreditation of schools of architecture, technical assistance to the MWH, among others. All along, efforts were being made for the OHCS to second more technical and support staff to the Council for it to function effectively. This effort did not receive much success.
In 2006, the ARC board set in motion procedures, through adverts and interviews, to appoint a Deputy Registrar. Arc Stella N.D. Arthiabah was subsequently appointed in 2007.
2009 - 2011
In 2009, the ARC governing board, together with Boards of all other government organisations was dissolved, with the advent of a new regime of government. The Council was thus left without a governing board until November 2009, when a new board was inaugurated. This was made up of Arc. H. D. L. Yartey, – Chairman; Prof. R. Mills-Tettey – ARC Registrar; Arc. Osei Kwame Agyeman – President of GIA; Arc. Charles Dzogbenuku – Hon. Secretary of GIA; Arc. R. N. Dadey – GIA Representative; Arc. Steve Akuffo – GIA Representative; Arc. Alhaji Yahaya Yakubu – MWH Representative; Arc. Prof. G. W. K. Intsiful – KNUST Representative; Emerita Prof. Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf – Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Representative; Nana Ohene Obeng – Attorney General’s Department Representative; and Arc. Stella N.D. Arthiabah – ARC Deputy Registrar, as Secretary.
Prof. Ralph Mills-Tettey retired in 2011, and the Deputy Registrar was appointed to act as Registrar in the same year at the recommendation of the Board.
2011 - 2014
As a Public Service Organization, the appointment of a new Registrar now had to comply with the laid down provisions of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Subsequently, with the assistance of the sector Ministry and the Public Services Commission, the ARC began the process of developing its Establishment Schedule, Organisational Arrangement, and Scheme of Service; based on which recruitment of the Registrar and requisite staff could be made for it to continue its statutory functions effectively and efficiently. This process was duly completed and a new Registrar was appointed in 2014 in accordance with the provisions of the 1992 constitution. Also in 2011, the ARC was given additional responsibility by the sector ministry to regulate building draughtsmen and technicians.
To this end, the National Board of Control for Building Technicians and Draughtsmen (NBoC) was established, with the Registrar of ARC as chairperson and the following as members: Arc. R. N. Dadey (ARC Board Representative); Nana Ohene Obeng (ARC Board Representative/ Attorney General’s Department); Mr. John Tettey (MWH); Arc. Charles Dzogbenuku (GIA Representative); Arc. S.Y. Akoto (Accra Metropolitan Assembly); Dr. C.K. Osei (KNUST Distance Learning); Mr. Olufemi O. Fatonade (Accra Polytechnic); Mr. John N. Donu–Sampa (Association of Building Technicians and Draughtsmen); Mr. Buhari L. Armata (Association of Building Technicians and Draughtsmen); Mr. Isaac K. Sam-Newton (Association of Building Technicians and Draughtsmen); and Yvonne Adoba–Otchey (ARC Administrative Secretary).
The Council has come this far, and has high hopes of effectively achieving its mandate to promote and regulate the practice of architecture with an objective of achieving sustainable projects and shelter development at district, municipal, metropolitan and national levels while also protecting the populace and national needs by ensuring high quality professional education, practice and conduct.
As of December 2016, there were 977 Registered Architects, 218 Registered Firms, 3 (Foreign) Firms on Temporary Register of Firms, 5 (Foreign) Architects on Temporary Register of Individual Architects, 150 Registered Probationers and 2 Schools of Architecture (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST and Central University, CU).