One of the directors of Studio Three Architects, Liverpool. Past President of the local branch of the RIBA - The Liverpool Architectural Society and a part time thesis tutor at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture.
Comment on: Barratt chief: 'There is no North-South divide'
How about some stick and carrot for creating decent sized well designed (by architects) homes and neighbourhoods that don't just gobble up the greenbelt because it's easier for large homebuilders to make a profit? Landbanks and skewed government subsidies for large companies are no way to plan for a sustainable and affordable future.
Comment on: Incoming RIBA president backs pay-as-you-go BIM
Perhaps we need to a bit more clever about what "BIM" actually means? Let's face it, most public clients wouldn't really be able to implement the full "benefits" of BIM never mind understand it. This is a tick-box exercise implemented by commercial pressure on a government that has not understood how most architects work. I would suggest that if you had a cheap 3D package (such as SketchUp), a basic CAD package and some spread sheet software you could tick the box against BIM for tendering purposes. If clients really want a specific brand…let them pay for it through higher fees.
Beware "consultation" that replaces true "engagement"...a consultation process can always be massaged to fit the desired outcome. If the government is really serious about localism and sustainability...cut VAT on refurbishments. New build suits the large housebuilders and contractors (some of whom lobby politicians), careful refurbishment suits local and smaller firms.
As a practitioner and a university tutor I see both angles to the role of “unpaid internships”. My personal view (and that of my practice) is that if there’s work to be done there should be enough fee income to pay a salary…even if it’s not much beyond a basic wage. We all know of practices (large and small) that are flouting employment laws and we all receive daily applications from ever-desperate graduates looking to offer their time for nothing. If we continue the downward spiral of suicidal fees somehow justifying exploitation, the profession will never recover to the levels where we can properly employ graduates in sufficient numbers. To the unemployed graduates: remember that an architecture degree gives you a great springboard to go off in other directions (design / graphics / development / contracting / project management etc)…you can always come back in the future. To those of us practitioners who still have morals and believe that being a “professional” extends beyond having a plaque on the wall: we need to stand firm on fees and proper employment. Hopefully there’ll be enough of us left to make a difference.
Comment on: Profession fears procurement overhaul
This government's apparent enthusiasm for SMEs needs to be replaced by immediate action not words. As has been demonstrated time and again during this parliament (and to be fair those before), governments have an agenda to assist corporations that lobby so effectively to enable continuation of their profit margins. It is clear that they cannot engage with design as they have no idea what it is or what value it brings - cost is everything to a short term politician. The profession will implode if small companies cannot survive and none of the suggestions make sense. I suggest that Francis Maude needs to spend a year outside of London (and away from Oxbridge chums) experiencing how big business wastes millions while talented small business is shut out - I guess he already knows, but truth doesn't always mix with politics.