The Architects Registration Council (ARC) was established through the Architects Act 1969, NLCD 357 (previously the Architects Decree). Though the Act has been in existence since 1969, no proper administrative structures were put in place for its functions and operations as a public service organisation. It was therefore operated in an informal manner by the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA), the professional association it was supposed to regulate.
However, there was no formal separation between the GIA Council and the supposed ARC Governing Board the Act sought to establish. Arc Kenneth Scott, then Honorary Secretary of the GIA, performed the duty of the ARC Registrar.
In this regard, the Institute set a process in motion in 1997 to resuscitate the Architects Registration Council as established by the Act, that would have the powers to regulate, police and 'sanitise' the profession. Key actors in this drive were Arcs Ken Ampretwum, Theo Akofio-Sowah, Henry D.L. Yartey, Alhaji A. Dawuni, and Prof. Ralph Mills-Tettey, who later became the first Registrar of the ARC.
In 2000, after three years of preparations, the sector ministry, the then Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) recognised the ARC as a government institution. The nomination for a registrar was done by the GIA, in accordance with the Act at the time. Arc. Prof R. Mills-Tettey was thus appointed the first Registrar of the ARC.
This culminated in the inauguration of the reconstituted Architects Registration Council on 18th September 2000 by the Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH). The Chairman and Members of the first Governing Board were: Alhaji A. Dawuni of MWH (Chairman); Prof. G.K. Tetteh of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences; Prof. Henry N.A. Wellington of KNUST; Arc. Joseph Hayford of GIA (GIA Hon. Secretary); Arc. Theo Akofio Sowah of GIA; Arc. H.D.L. Yartey of GIA; Arc. Theresa Yankah (Tresurer) of GIA; Arc. Ken Ampratwum of GIA (GIA President); Mrs. Patience Nartey of Attorney General’s Department; and Prof. Ralph Mills – Tettey as Registrar of ARC. The GIA Council was thus relieved of its assumed regulatory duties.
The Registrar’s appointment as the head and Chief Executive Officer of the ARC was formalised through the sector ministry and the Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS) in 2002, after two years of part-time operation. The Registrar’s letter of appointment was signed by Hon. Yaw Barima, then Minister of Works and Housing.
Over time, seven other support staff were seconded to the ARC by the OHCS and the Council then started with a one-line budget until with time it was fully absorbed as an agency of the sector Ministry and subvented by the Government of Ghana.
The Council yet did not have the full complement of officers to effectively carry out its functions. The Registrar was the only technical staff, and had to rely heavily on Board Members and volunteers to address issues of technical nature – syllabus for professional examinations, workshops and seminars for architects, standards for practice, issues on architectural design competitions, accreditation of schools of architecture, technical assistance to the MWH, among others. All along, efforts were being made for the OHCS to second more technical and support staff to the Council for it to function effectively. This effort did not receive much success.
In 2006, the ARC board set in motion procedures, through adverts and interviews, to appoint a Deputy Registrar. Arc Stella N.D. Arthiabah was subsequently appointed in 2007.
In 2009 the ARC governing board, together with Boards of all other government organisations was dissolved, with the advent of a new regime of government. The Council was thus left without a governing board until November 2009, when a new board was inaugurated. This was made up of Arc. H. D. L. Yartey, - Chairman; Prof. R. Mills-Tettey – ARC Registrar; Arc. Osei Kwame Agyeman – President of GIA; Arc. Charles Dzogbenuku - Hon. Secretary of GIA; Arc. R. N. Dadey – GIA Representative; Arc. Steve Akuffo - GIA Representative; Arc. Alhaji Yahaya Yakubu – MWH Representative; Arc. Prof. G. W. K. Intsiful – KNUST Representative; Emerita Prof. Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf - Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Representative; Nana Ohene Obeng - Attorney General’s Department Representative; and Arc. Stella N.D. Arthiabah – ARC Deputy Registrar, as Secretary.
Prof Ralph Mills-Tettey retired in 2011, and the Deputy Registrar was appointed as Acting Registrar in the same year, with the approval of the Board and the sector ministry.
In the same year (2011) the ARC was given additional responsibility by the sector ministry to also regulate building draughtsmen and technicians. To this effect the National Board of Control for Building Technicians and Draughtsmen was established, with the Registrar of ARC as chairperson and the following as members: Arc. R. N. Dadey (ARC Board Representative); Nana Ohene Obeng (ARC Board Representative/ Attorney General’s Department); Mr. John Tettey (MWH); Arc. Charles Dzogbenuku (GIA Representative); Arc. S.Y. Akoto (Accra Metropolitan Assembly); Dr. C.K. Osei (KNUST Distance Learning); Mr. Olufemi O. Fatonade (Accra Polytecnic); Mr. John N. Donu–Sampa (Association of Building Technicians and Draughtsmen); Mr. Buhari I. Armata (Association of Building Technicians and Draughtsmen); Mr. Isaac K. Sam-Newton (Association of Building Technicians and Draughtsmen); and Yvonne Adoba–Otchey (ARC Administrative Secretary).
Again in 2011, with the assistance of the sector Ministry and the Public Services Commission, the ARC began the process of developing its Establishment Schedule, Organisational Arrangement, and Scheme of Service; based on which recruitment of requisite staff could be made for it to carry out its statutory functions effectively and efficiently.
The Council has come this far, and has high hopes of completing the process of establishing the necessary structures as a first step to effectively achieving its mandate “to promote and regulate the practice of architecture in the built environment with an objective of achieving sustainable projects and shelter development at district, municipal, metropolitan and national levels while also protecting the populace and national needs by ensuring high quality professional education, practice and conduct”.
As of September December 2016, there were 977 Registered Architects, 218 Registered Firms, 3 (Foreign) Firms on Temporary Register of Firms, 5 (Foreign) Architects on Temporary Register of Individual Architects, 150 Registered Probationers and 2 Schools of Architecture (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST and Central University, CU).