If anyone is to be blamed for the error in the scale of the drawing issued with the recent bridge competition (AJ 08.02.07) it's us, Urban Splash, or, more accurately, our advisors - in this instance our engineer.
Urban Splash has used the RIBA competitions office for over a decade. In that time we've run over 20 competitions, formed relationships with architects and given new practices the opportunity to win work they would not otherwise have had. I'm not quite sure what sparked the bridge article, maybe the perennial pursuit of schadenfreude. There were mistakes, but our experience of the competitions office is that it is a professional, well-run outfit that takes all the admin out of running a competition. If they weren't there and didn't offer such a good service, we probably wouldn't bother with competitions - it's far safer and easier for us to pick up the phone to a tried-and-trusted advisor.
Think carefully about tripping RIBA competitions up for the mistakes of others. If you want developers and commissioners of buildings to take fewer risks, then taking cheap shots at the messenger is one sure-fire way to ensure that dullards win the day.
Nick Johnson, deputy chief executive, Urban Splash