Royal Institute of Dutch Architects
Some 1500 agencies are united in BNA, the sector association for Dutch architectural agencies. BNA is a network promoting modern, creative entrepreneurship, inspired by the power of architecture with respect to the social and domestic environment.
The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects, known for short as the BNA, is the professional organization of architects in The Netherlands. Its predecessors, the 'Society for the Advancement of Architecture' and the 'Association of Dutch Architects' (of which H.P. Berlage was a leading figure) were founded in 1842 and 1908 respectively and merged to form the present Institute in 1919. The Institute received royal patronage in 1957. The full title of the Institute is 'Koninklijke Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Bouwkunst Bond van Nederlandse Architecten'; the abbreviation BNA relates to the latter part of this name.
The professional title of Architect is protected by Dutch law; only qualified persons listed in the Architects’ Register can use this title. However, neither inscription in the register nor BNA membership are mandatory in order to exercise the profession in the Netherlands.
What does the BNA do for its members?
The BNA offers its members a wide range of services aimed at the advancement of professional practice and at fostering the development of architecture. These services include:
1. publishing the twomonthly members' magazine BNA Blad, which provides information about recent professional developments;
2. supporting continuing professional development with information on courses, conferences etc.;
3. organizing its own seminars and workshops;
4. maintaining the BNA website which members and others can consult about matters of day-to-day practice. All members and their practices are listed alphabetically and geographically on the site, and it also contains links to members’ websites;
5. issuing standard conditions for the relationship between architects and clients (standard conditions are available in English as the document DNR 2011)
Go to DNR 2011
6. maintaining contacts with state and key local officials;
7. maintaining international professional contacts;
8. representing architects (both employers and employees) in drawing up collective labour agreements;
9. providing an advisory service for clients on the selection of architects.
BNA branches and regions
Each member of the BNA is also affiliated to a particular local branch. There are 20 of these branches, each with its own governing committee. Besides contributing to and promoting the central policies of the BNA at a local level, the branches fulfil an important function in consultations with local government authorities. Various activities are organized for local branch members.
The local branches are grouped into three regions, each with its own regional office. The objective of the regional offices is to enhance regional involvement in, and with, the BNA. Activities at a regional level are decided by a regional committee in which the affiliated local branches are represented.
Foreign architects and the BNA
What can the BNA do for foreign architects? The BNA issues a booklet in English giving a bird's-eye view of how the profession is practised in the Netherlands.
Foreign architects first entering into practice in this country are strongly recommended either to work in a Dutch office for a while or to enter into partnership with a Dutch colleague. A local partner will be familiar with the national legislation and local regulations, can provide invaluable contacts and give guidance on unwritten rules. If you intend to enter into a contract for a single project, you may find it useful to ask the BNA for their framework contract which has been translated into English. The BNA will be glad to assist in finding a suitable partner for the job and give you further advice.
BNA and international practice
Since more and more of its members operate internationally, the BNA made a start on a policy to promote and to support the exportation of the services of Dutch architects. Informative booklets on architectural practice in Germany, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom are available. Building industries are traditionally very regional in character, and the BNA considers a common EU approach to professional practice neither feasible nor necessary. However, the BNA advocates free access to international markets, based on respect for national legislation and informal local conventions. Cooperation with a local partner is crucial in this respect. The BNA is an active member of the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE).
BNA areas of concern
The BNA aims to support its members in the exercise of their profession by undertaking activities (for example seminars, workshops and publications) and by formulating policies. Three broad areas of concern have been formulated, each covering a range of issues. The areas are as follows.
Promotion of Members' Interests
Within this scope of interest major issues like the role of the architect, his cultural, and social position, professional conditions, issues related to market and business; the position of the architect in economic life, development and stimulating of new services of the architect, quality concern, practice abroad, cooperation, strengthening entrepreneurship by reinforcing business planning, marketing and strategic staff policy. Also regulation of the profession and rules of conduct are dealt with.
Training, Education, Research and Development
This field focuses on the increasement of professionalism by setting up studies and consultations in the sphere of architectural training and experience and in studying actual developments in the building industry. Building regulation, technical developments, automation and sustainable design are major topics. CPD is a prominent theme next to stressing the importance of a smooth transition from the initial training to practicing the profession. Furthermore the foundation BNA Onderzoek that operates under the auspices of the BNA is concerned with study and research in different architectural fields.
Networks of various selected consultants have been set up for second line consults and a list of preferred suppliers where members may get a rabate is managed.
This is about engagement and cooperation, memberships' commitment and recruitment. Special attention is given to young practitioners by organizing events for this group. Also the international relations are managed and the export of the architectural services by the members are supported and promoted.
Organization and Communication
This field is mainly concerned with information, public relations, publications, information, promotion of the architectural debates and various prizes.
Stimulating the public interest in architecture and raising understanding of its cultural significance and of the architect’s role in society in particular by organizing the yearly Day of Architecture, are also high on BNA’s agenda.
The BNA is represented in many institutes, among others in STABU (Standard Specifications), SBR (Building Research), the SBK (Foundation for Building Quality), EU-Beraad voor de Bouw (EC Council for the Building Industry), etc.
Finally the BNA is a member of the ACE (Architects’ Council of Europe). For preparing and carrying out the policy, the BNA has at its disposal a professional bureau, headed by a Managing Director. The BNA issues a yearly directory both printed and on their internet and the twomonthly members' magazine BNA Blad. The BNA website (www.bna.nl) allows access to the institute's resources. Via their personal password members may consult all information; clients and the public may consult the members' list and general information.
Every year the BNA Building of the Year is chosen. After a preselection of the best building in the five regions of the BNA, the best building of a BNA-architect is selected.