WTF! WHO GRAB MY BUDU
Disclaimers: This is absolutely fictitious. If you believe it is true, you must be insane. But if you think it is relevant, please like and share :-)
Yeh, borrowing from the phrase who stole my cheese, but being Malaysian we preferred our Budu more then cheese. Yet, coming from the mouth piece of the architect, it is rather strange? Why am I saying this? Well, architect is in fact a very obscure profession that some may even misunderstood as synonymous to being the oldest profession on earth, yeh I quote Phillip Johnson the patriarch of American Modernist Architect,
"what's wrong if I am a whore?"
Strangely, have you ever reckoned such holistic profession has its own guild? Well, call it professionals. Well, WTF is this?
Being professionals mean you must undergo a lengthy duration of training and must be acknowledged by your peers to have at least gain sufficient skills in discharging your services to the public in return for a descent fee only to be paid by your client and nobody else. Here is the irony, as most corporate client assumed that architect does not need to pay its bill because idea is only value upon the ink and paper it is drawn. So, the most noble thing the professional guild has done is to pass an act in parliament to protect such fee and they proudly proclaimed it as the scale of minimum fee. Ironically, today as it stands, it is the maximum fee. I had the experience of client suing me for charging him beyond the minimum fee rule!
Okay, if that looks normal, the guild made it a point to drill upon young architect wannabe, how important it is to uphold the sanctity of the fee and you break the cardinal rule if you try to undercut your fee to gain commission. Ironically, it is the "oldies" and the "big boys" are doing the same in all forms and manners that is legally allowed. Yeh, I will tell you how that can be done but it is not the subject of this article. Some good souls who believed in this system, made their living better of not being an architect. Even in the market, was told the past president of the guild actually committing the sins when he swapped his T Square for the developer's hat. That is reality!
The guild realized such a problem but non has the "ball" to correct the situation as the office bearers are much keen on their very own status quo such as traveling business class in the expanse of the member's funds short of saying the opportunity to lobby for ex-gratia illegitimate sponsorships from suppliers and contractors a liked. See how many of these office bearer having their very own name-card being printed with who's who in the guild's line up? Perhaps it is also an express means to receive your very own Datukship, who knows?
The beauty of such doesn't really stop there. Our more advanced neighbor Singapore has always been the preferred location for international firm to set up their regional office. Even the the Singapore Big 5 has already landed on our shore not as illegitimate Design Firms but legitimate architectural practices spearheaded by the local architects. The guild is not very happy about it but what the F they can do beside dishing it out as an examination question for architect wannabe for a solution? Obviously, the big boys also marketed themselves as local counterpart for these international firms to lobby big project. Wallas! One fine day they also found themselves to be in oblivion when these international firms preferred "in-house" as compared to "out-sourcing" and the government is encouraging it through open competition!
Now the guild's "ball" is really being squeezed hard, almost explode! Yet the office bearer of such guild continues with their merry making and yet has the F face to ask a solution from its member? Especially so it's younger members of what their aspirations are with the onslaught of foreign architect on our land? WTF is the guild is thinking? They can't even resolve our Budu being taken away by another allied profession called town planner. They also cannot do away with the profession being the agent of GST for nothing in return. We can't even collect our mediocre fee in full and yet we are collecting GST on behaves of the government! Irony, irony....
Such forum, as far as a personal opinion is concerned remained another "wayang" or show to at least say, they have done something for the profession. The reason is simple, nobody is going to be heroic enough to guarantee a solution. The office bearer comes and go, there will still be continuous merry making and jet setting with knighthood and commission exchanges, it really doesn't matter if the even larger then reality "big boys" are already here. Wake up gentlemen! You cannot change them, joint them, eh?
Many years ago, the Board had in placed the Noblest Scale of Fee called the Scale of Minimum Fee Rule (SMFR) and one Towering Figure of that Time, almost sharing the same stature of “Lord of the Rings - Gandalf”, our grandfather Architect nick-named “The King of the Loo” has risen to awake newbies architect that “Thou Shall Not Undercut Your Professional Fee” or “You shall Face the Full Force of the Board!”. Such “commandments” shiver through the spines of every newbies architects to the extent that one committed suicides because of such!
In reality, with the exception of Government Jobs, no private practice actually go by it or rather openly admitted to have not complying to SMFR, a staggering FACT shown by the polls conducted by both the Board and the Institute. Yet, the noble of noblest Board happily admitted that fact and the irony is these practices agree that such Rule shall be continued for perpetuity as it safeguard the interest of the practitioners. Now you know why Newbies are forced to take jobs at ridiculously low price as nobody has faith in this archaic rule.
For the benefits of Newbies so that they are not caught red-handed of committing such heinous “crime”, this is how the BIG BOYS did it. Assuming Construction Cost = RM100,000,000.00, “market Fee” (1.2%) = RM 1,200,000.00. What is in their appointment letter reflects, Construction Cost = RM30,000,000.00 and the Scale of Fee Rule (4%) = RM 1,200,000.00. Even with the compliance of the SMFR, one is able to manipulate the figures and that is how BIG FIRMS are doing to protect the interest of their shareholders. You are technically in compliance to the Rule.
SMFR is again going to be the same stale subject in the Professional Qualifying Examination but as a matter of surviving the Red Ocean to the Newbies, pledging your alliance to such will only make you death by hunger unless one is born with a silver spoon.