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New network needed to challenge official line

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Three Department of Trade and Industry reports, Constructing the Team, Rethinking Construction and Accelerating Change, were designed to reduce the architect's role to that of specialist contractor to the main contractor, with the client being in overall control.

This idea was presented to a 300-delegate conference of the most important people in government and the building industry. The amazing thing was that no one, including leading architects, questioned this idea.

The only reason for this must be that some 40 per cent of all building work is for the public sector. It is therefore not a good move for practice principals to be critical of official initiatives.

It falls upon small practices and the semi-retired to question official policy.

Some years ago I came across a paper by William Kingston, professor of innovation at Dublin University, entitled Innovation or Bureaucracy. His paper includes powerful arguments that can be used to make the case for extending professionalism within the building industry, as opposed to official bureaucratic initiatives.

What is needed is a network of low-profile architects to provide a countervailing influence to official policy.

Anyone interested in the paper should email me at jackendixon@aol. com and I will email back an edited version of Kingston's paper. Depending on response, this will then be followed by a conference to which the media and trade associations will be invited.

Ken Dixon RIBA

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