Following the publication of his book by Al-Bayan Center for Studies and Planning, advisory architect Noman Mona presented a seminar on the foundations of practical and scientific project management and engineering work, on Thursday, May 5th 2016 in Al-Salam theatre, Al-Nahrain (Mesopotamia) University, Baghdad.

With a remarkable audience including professors at the Al-Nahrain University, engineering students and the general public, Noman Mona addressed some of the key topics within the study of his book, with the use of visual illustration to elaborate on main points. In many respects, he compared the professional work within this field with that in some other countries of the world. The seminar was overseen by Dr. Jassim Al-Dabbagh, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Al-Nahrain University.

The aim of the seminar was to provide a general evaluation of the architectural environment in Iraq, discussing improved professional work methods and benefit of global experiences in this area, as well as creating a new outlook in the culture of professional work. Noman Mona and touched on the concept of the professionalism, in addition to the complexity of the architectural professional work requirements, various technical specialisations, rapid and large developments in material technology, environmental and planning requirements and multiple methods of contract signing and implementation.

The introduction was divided into two interrelated topics; the first with regards to the general environment of architectural engineering work in Iraq, which is characterised by arbitrariness, lack of planning failed governance, abuses, architectural deterioration and inevitably the loss of Iraqi heritage. Unsurprisingly, such deterioration bears some causes, which can be summarised by internal and external wars on one hand and economic, diplomatic and scientific embargo on the other hand.

The seminar also discussed, in the first part, to the laws and regulations affecting the professional environment, including the Engineers Association Law. Criticism was drawn to the passing of this law as a shallow one that includes all aspects of the work the union does without leaving any of its members power to determine the process of their union and their profession. Indeed, the internal regulations of the Union were almost identical to the law. Furthermore, the law defines political association of the union in terms of the Baath authority prior 2003. There is also defect and inconsistency in some aspects of these laws that need to be reconsidered and reviewed by professionals and the relevant institutions.

Some information about the practice of the profession was corrected during the debate, but the laws and regulations are still disproportionate necessary for the development of architectural and engineering work requirements. Proposed is to give the union and institutions of The Higher Education and Scientific Research the right of to establish advisory offices to compete with other employers of the profession.

Iraqi Engineers Union, founded in 1959, is the main regulating body of engineering work. Its work as specified in the Unions Law and internal regulatory system is a mixture between academic institutional activity and a professional union. It remains, in many respects, uncorrespondent to the current phase, such as the authority of engineers or establishment requirements for consultancy firms in addition to the weakness in professional support.

Another weakness to the Union is the lack of oversight in engineering work. Violations to professional conduct, as defined in detail within the internal regulations of the profession are countless, for example, “self-appointment or office licensing” or conditions “to complete the work already begun by an architect previously”.

The architectural or engineering domain in Iraq in its institutions and influential agencies to its work, are of dire need for reassessment and evaluation for the activity in the engineering environment collectively, in phases, calculated and specific. This requires, above all, the common will of all parties involved to address the requirements of the profession and in order to improve the regulatory, legal and professional aspects up to the global level.

Engineering work, by its nature, is a mixture of professional and administrative capabilities and knowledge. Management of the engineering work and capabilities in project management are gained from both academic study and practical training and experience. This was the second part of the seminar.

It is clear that the management concept and practical application of administrative methods is very weak in Iraq and at all levels, if not completely absent in some respects. This particularly applies to the modern architectural project management. There are at least nine requirements must to primarily adopt by project management to ensure the success of the project, namely:

  • Project Integration Management
  • Management of project requirements
  • Schedule management
  • Management of project costs
  • Project Quality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Communication management
  • Risk Management
  • Purchase management