PAM to hone local architects’ competitive edge

KUALA LUMPUR: A key goal of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) for the next one year is to help local architects be more competitive through training and adoption of the new building information modelling (BIM) software.

According to its new president Chan Seong Aun, clients — including local real estate developers and government-linked companies and agencies — perceive local architects as lacking in project management skills and not proficient enough in the latest technologies.

Chan started his one-year tenure in April and plans to stand for a second term.

“I will be working with PAM to help our members obtain funding from the government to get the software, hardware and training to adopt BIM,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

BIM is a programme for users to create models with intelligent objects that respond to their environment, resulting in quicker revisions across all design plans and eliminating the duplication of work.

“Some might say ‘why should a profession need help from the government?’ but the answer is simple. The foreign firms that come in are getting direct aid [from their own governments] that is a lot more than what our government is giving to us,” Chan said.

Stressing that he is not against competition, he urged the government and local property players to have more competitions for designing buildings and master plans for their projects.

This will help the profession dispel the myth that local architects are inferior to foreign firms in terms of talent and generating publicity.

“Many of the best architects in Malaysia are already practising overseas. If they can do that, I don’t see why the Malaysian companies or government should take in foreigners, unless we have open competitions and foreign firms win. If they come  for joint ventures with local companies, then we welcome them,” Chan said.

His agenda includes completing the PAM centre in Jalan Tanduk late next year and helping more architects get registered with the Board of Architects Malaysia (Lembaga Akitek Malaysia or LAM).

He thanked his predecessor Saifuddin Ahmad for leaving the professional body in a good state — one of Saifuddin’s major achievements included returning PAM’s financials to the black.

Saifuddin, who began his 20-month second term presidency in August 2011, said he will continue to serve on PAM’s various committees.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 31, 2013.

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