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RIBA could pull out of arbitration to save money

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The riba may be about to pull out of its role in arbitration. An innocuous- looking motion to be debated at next week's riba Council meeting calls for the president and/ or vice-presidents to continue to appoint arbitrators, and for the director-general to report to Council on costs.

The motion is on behalf of Ian Salisbury, chair of the president's advisory committee on arbitration. He is concerned for arbitration because of dg Alex Reid's observation that the sum paid by parties appointing arbitrators does not cover costs. 'I think the cost to the riba of continuing with the present service is small beer,' he said, adding: 'Members would not be pleased if the riba were to back out.'

The riba recommends using qualified architect arbitrators. 'It is important for architects in dispute with their clients,' said Salisbury, 'to have the matter resolved by an architect who knows the nature of the problems that can arise. It is also important that an architect is appointed to decide issues arising under building contracts where the duties of an architect are involved.'

The fee charged by the riba for appointing arbitrators, at £176.25 including vat, is broadly similar to the amount charged by other appointing institutions.

Roger Shrimplin is to propose at next week's Council the creation of two additional boards within the new proposed structure for the riba: an industry practices board and an education board. He said: 'I know that many members are concerned about the tendency of the proposed structure to erode some important areas of the riba, particularly education and practice.' He believes that 75 per cent of council members will support his motion.

But Paul Hyett, honorary vice president education, said he thought education was extremely well represented, having presented the new structure to the recent conference of Schosa without 'a murmur of discontent then or since'.

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