08 May 2024

Are Architects Receiving the Credit They Are Entitled To?


Serbia’s real estate sector has become a notable part of the economy, accounting for 5.5% of the GDP.  Moreover, the economic slowdown has not affected the sector significantly.  In fact, new developments are on the rise, continuously changing communities and lifestyles.  Although investors clearly are fueling this expansion, the architects often are not acknowledged sufficiently.  This article focuses on their role in the construction boom, exploring the level of recognition they receive and the protection of their intellectual property rights.

Adherence and Integrity of Design for Architects

Architects are central to the compliance and design integrity of construction projects.  Their role is to make sure the designs conform with zoning regulations.  This includes providing compliance statements when applying for construction permits.  This crucial role is their activities as a designer and principal agents in legal and regulatory frameworks.

According to the Serbian Zoning and Construction Act, licensed architects must prepare and verify all architectural designs and technical documentation.  This stipulation upholds professional standards and guarantees that architectural work meets the requisite safety, compliance, and aesthetic integrity criteria.

Architects’ Visibility and Recognition in Construction Legislation

In Serbia, the Zoning and Construction Act requires posting the ‘responsible designer,’ often an architect, on signs at the construction site.  This requirement serves as public recognition of the importance of an architect’s role.  While they are mentioned on construction signage as part of regulatory compliance, this practice is a tiny part of recognizing architects’ contributions.

Extending Architects’ Visibility Through Promotional Activity

Building exterior and interior designs are protected under the general copyright requirements (originality, spirituality, human creations, and expression in a particular form).  Moral rights are however more than just about authorship.  They enable architects to build their reputation and a lasting connection with their creation.  This ensures they can object to any design changes that may compromise their reputation or the originality of design.

Their recognition should not be, however, limited to mentions on construction sites.  They should also feature in promotional materials for any project.  This would affirm the architects’ moral rights and instruct the general audiences about their crucial part in urban development.  This form of exposure would enhance their profile and highlight their contributions.

The Advertising Act and Architects

Construction and intellectual property legislation does not fully address the specifics of architecture.  Construction laws mandate the inclusion of their names on on-site signage but do not cover promotional and other materials.  In contrast, IP laws protect architects’ moral rights but place the onus on them to enforce these rights through legal channels.  This can be cumbersome, costly, and potentially damaging to architects’ professional relationships.

The Serbian Advertising Act has the potential to provide a solution for boosting recognition of architects.  The Act could be amended to mandate advertising compliance with any triggered copyrights, thereby enabling the mention of architects.  This solution would ensure that advertising content avoids misleading representations and respects the architects’ moral rights.

Such a legal amendment would shift the burden of enforcement from individuals to the regulatory bodies overseeing advertising standards.  This would reduce the personal cost and effort associated with pursuing recognition and establish a standardized practice that promotes fairness and acknowledgment across the industry.


As the Serbian real estate sector expands, revising existing practices to ensure that architects receive proper recognition is imperative.  Enhancing legal protections and industry practices to include their names on all promotional materials, along with construction signage, will foster a more equitable environment that respects both the economic contributions of investors and the creative rights of architects.  Furthermore, by improving their professional integrity, prominently featuring renowned architects can significantly add value to projects, potentially boosting property prices and accelerating sales.  This approach not only elevates ethical standards within the real estate industry but also enhances the market value of developments, ensuring the sustained production of high-quality, compliant, and aesthetically pleasing urban environments.


Authors: Miloš Petaković, Bojan Tutić