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Your technical and practice editor, Austin Williams, acts more as a columnist than a journalist.

Richard Brindley, practice director at the RIBA, and I met Austin to explain the Chartered Practice Scheme as a way for smaller practices to avoid being bypassed by more managerially aware firms, but he has published his own views, as he said he would (AJ 08.12.05).

Quality systems may not affect the quality of aesthetic design a client receives, but they will affect the technical quality and administrative effectiveness of the work provided. Clients are often unhappy with these aspects of architects' service, so good systems will increase client satisfaction and reduce the risk of error.

Architecture is about more than aesthetics: it's a professional service. Chartered Practice status is for firms wanting support for, and validation of, their professionalism.

Richard Saxon, vice-president, RIBA

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