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Institute disagrees with ARCON on N52 bn legislative headquarters


National Assembly building project

National Assembly building project

OSTENSIBLY to avert crisis over a world-class construction project located in Piwoyi, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), has faulted an allegation of breaching any law in the execution of its N52 billion headquarters’ contract.

NILS’ reaction came last week, following allegation by the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) that, the institute had engaged the services of non-registered architects in executing the building project.

The project, estimated to gulp about N52, 031 billion, would be named the National Institute for Legislative Studies when completed.

Coming with the complex are convention centres, libraries, administrative buildings, main reception/entrance lobby, hostel with recreational centres, external infrastructure, power house, among others.

Going by the project brief, the main gate, power reception, library, lecture theatres, and administrative building had been completed; as testing and commissioning of Phase 1, convention centre, infrastructure and works almost at the last stage of completion.

While the lead contractor is the Julius Berger, Lambert, Energo, Frerk, and Biogest are handling electrical, mechanical, generators and sewage treatment plant respectively. Also, Berkefeld, Strhmann, Stim, Abumet and AFP are providing water treatment plant, natural stone, steel works, aluminum works and doors with furniture in that order.

But ARCON, the regulator of architectural practice in Nigeria, said that NILS’ engagement of an unregistered architects offends certain provision of the law establishing the council, asked the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, to immediately stop the construction work.

But in a letter signed by the registrar of the council, Umar Murnai, ARCON said following a report on the project it was consequently constrained to carry out an inspection of the proposed project and “our findings revealed an infraction of the law establishing the Council.”

Highlighting details of infraction as alleged, the council, said that the consultant, Messrs Integrated Practice Consultants, engaged to provide architectural, engineering, quantity surveying and project management services, on the 8.12 hectares project, is not a registered architectural firm in Nigeria.

Be informed that the consultant architect of the project, Messrs Integrated Practice Consultants whose address is unknown to us is unlawfully engaging in the practice of architecture contrary to the provisions of the architects (Registration, Etc) Act Cap A19 LFN 2004, particularly sections 1 and 14.

Consequently, we hereby demand that work on site should stop immediately because a project of this magnitude and of national interest is expected to have registered architectural firm to handle the project. Messrs Integrated Practice Consultants is not a registered consultant by ARCON therefore these activities are illegal.”

ARCON also said: “We also trust that you will take immediate steps to arrest and investigate the activities of the said Messrs Integrated Practice Consultants with a view to prosecuting the firm and all other persons(s) connected with this illegal activity accordingly.”

In its reaction, NILS debunked the claim of engaging Messrs Integrated Practice Consultants as architects on the project but that the firm was appointed as pre-contract and post-contract consultants for the development of the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) as a consortium.

NILS said that the consortium comprises of Integrated Practice Consultants as Project Managers; Digital Design Consultants as Architects; Resek Consult as Civil/Structural Engineers; Comseng Group as Electrical/Mechanical Engineers; and, Integrated Practice Consultants as Quantity Surveyors. It added that at the time the consortium was appointed, we ascertained and were satisfied that all the persons and firms involved are duly qualified and registered/licensed to practice their respective professions in Nigeria.

Each entity within the consortium is only responsible to the group in respect to the obligations that are set out in the consortium’s contract.
According to the institute, for the purpose of the consortium’s engagement by the National Assembly, Messrs Digital Design Consultants, which is duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission to do business in Nigeria as an Architectural Consultancy as well as by the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria to practice as an Architectural firm, are responsible for the architectural component of the project.

Furthermore, the instituted held that, Zingak Umaru Gomwalk of Digital Design Consultants is also a duly qualified Architect and is registered and licensed to practice as an architect by the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria.
“In the light of the foregoing, contrary to your well-meaning concerns, Integrated Practice Consultants has not held, and is not holding itself out to the National Assembly to be an Architect, said NILS.

For the purposes of the contract between the National Assembly and the Consortium, we are unequivocally clear on the fact that Messrs Digital Design Consultants are the Architects responsible for the architectural component of the project.”

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