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Save safety teaching for later practice


The idea of fining schools that do not teach CDM is simply preposterous (AJ 26.6.03). While students should be made aware of them during education, let us not forget that most go to schools of architecture primarily to learn about architecture and design!

Students must be allowed to understand, explore and develop their own ideas of design, architecture and the creative process before being introduced to the broader context of industry issues.

Even then, schools are not necessarily the best forum to train students in CDM regulations. Without a clear and practical understanding of the construction process and practical experience of realisation of concept to drawing to building, how can anyone expect students to learn and take CDM seriously?

I studied CDM in great depth as a Part 3 student when, having been on placement, the application of the HSE guidance becomes practical and a reality.

If the HSE is so concerned with the poor safety in the construction industry, as it rightly should be, perhaps its time and money would be better spent tightening the guidance for practice than pressurising the already increasing burden of architecture schools.

I recently attended a twohour CPD seminar on this subject which, while useful and informative, proved to colleagues and myself that the whole subject continues to be a grey area.

The profession needs more explicit guidance, and as a result will have to treat CDM with the respect that it deserves. This will provide a sound base for those entering the profession to be introduced to, and embrace, CDM.

Schools of architecture have a responsibility to students, but should not be solely responsible to turn students into architects.

It is also the responsibility of practice to do this, and surely practice is the logical forum for such issues as CDM to be discussed and implemented.

Nigel Bedford, RIBA, Aaron Evans Architects, and tutor at University of Bath

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