A new architects' register will improve the quality of service for consumers, according to the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).
Over 2,700 architects who have met specified levels of qualification and competence are listed on the new register, which was published in Dublin this morning. Henceforth, only architects who are on the register are entitled to use the title "architect".
As part of a new system of self-regulation set out in the Building Control Act 2007, consumers may also avail of a dispute resolution mechanism in the event of poor service or suspected malpractice, and an advice service is also being provided.
Seán O'Laoire, president of the RIAI, said that Ireland up to now was almost unique in not having a legally recognised title of architect.
"Today is the culmination of a long and hard-fought battle to have professional standards set and so protect the public. The register for architects will lead to securing higher quality in our built environment for future generations."
Under the legislation, the RIAI is the official registration body for architects in Ireland and will be responsible for providing 40 hours a year of compulsory continuing professional development for architects on the register.
Research carried out for the institute found that the vast majority of people were unaware that the title "architect" was not legally protected. The RIAI says 80 per cent of the complaints it received last year related to unlicensed practitioners.
Minister for Environment John Gormley welcomed the launch of the register and thanked those involved in establishing the systems now in place to manage the registration of architects.