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John Kellett's Comments

  • Comment on: RIBA councillor slams delegation to Israel

    John Kellett's comment 13-Nov-2014 12:54 pm

    The RIBA Council has no mandate from members to get involved with foreign politics other than matters of direct architectural concern. Matters such as those discussed above may be of interest to architects as individuals but are of no concern of a professional body.

  • Comment on: Labour calls for more competitions and a UK-wide festival of architecture

    John Kellett's comment 24-Sep-2014 1:30 pm

    Oh, how lovely, more 'competitions'. I do so love working for free when I have a mortgage to pay and family to feed. There is no money to venture, therefore there can be no gain. Does the Labour Party have any grip at all on reality? Most architects earn less than most professionals. Including those professionals paid by the state, who are, apparently, all underpaid! Hours on PQQs when they should take minutes, designing 'competition' entries to Stage 3 and beyond without costs, etc. The RIBA may be a charity but few architect's practices are.

  • Comment on: Brooks: house builders ignoring lessons of award-winning schemes

    John Kellett's comment 17-Jul-2014 8:09 am

    Spot on. A cause of bad design is the planning committee and other politicians, or fear thereof. House-builders are under pressure to keep NIMBYs happy.

  • Comment on: Unemployment levels fall as firms face skills shortage

    John Kellett's comment 17-Jun-2014 12:04 pm

    There is probably not a skills shortage as such. There is a shortage of architects willing to accept salaries lower in real terms than they were eight years ago! Many architect jobs are being advertised at less than those of technicians. How many architects have accepted higher paying posts as 'technicians' and 'project/design managers' I wonder? Until the profession values itself we will continue to be undervalued by our clients and therefore unwilling to increase salaries appropriately and fees to a profitable level. Like CAD before, BIM is making us more productive, but instead of benefitting the profession is being bullied into producing more work for the same unprofitable fee. Daft.

  • Comment on: Gender pay gap: ‘beyond shocking’

    John Kellett's comment 2-May-2014 1:12 pm

    Ian Goulty has hit the nail on the head. Do we know why there is a pay difference? Is it just a trick of statistics? If women take time out to look after children and retire earlier then the 'average' salary for women will inevitably be less. If on the other hand the statistics have been adjusted for such matters then the gender pay gap is a very worrying issue. It is important not to forget that ALL architects are not, generally, sufficiently recompensed for the skills possessed.

  • Comment on: Brady defends RIBA Council Israeli motion

    John Kellett's comment 26-Mar-2014 1:15 pm

    I agree whole-heartedly with Stephen Games's comments. I doubt the vote reflects the opinion of architects and, more importantly, is not a matter the RIBA Council should be wasting time on, the profession is in complete disarray after 6 years of economic hell and an ineffective ARB is doing very little to uphold the law. Where does international politics feature in the Royal Charter?

  • Comment on: RIBA changes tack on ARB abolition

    John Kellett's comment 24-Mar-2014 1:27 pm

    The ARB does not currently protect the public from those illegally calling themselves 'architect' and other charlatans purporting to carry out our role ('architectural designers' and 'architectural consultants' etc.). There appears to be very few prosecutions of the many guilty persons and businesses purporting to be architects. How would a slimmed down register enforce compliance with the Law? It needs to be given teeth, together with protection of function for ALL qualified construction professionals

  • Comment on: Last chance to fill out the survey: Should the title of architect be protected?

    John Kellett's comment 24-Mar-2014 1:21 pm

    Not only should the title be protected, the function and role of architect should be protected to. Most of the rest of the developed World think it sensible to protect the public by such legislation, the Canadian system being of particular note. In fact, in the interests of public safety and protection from 'cowboys', the role of ALL construction professionals should be protected. For example there are no restrictions on who can call themselves a structural engineer, building services engineer, building surveyor or technologist. The only protection that the public has is 'Chartered' status but that is not backed by legislation as it should be.

  • Comment on: UN warns of UK housing regression

    John Kellett's comment 12-Sep-2013 1:14 pm

    The UN refers to Ms. Rolnik as an architect, but her name didn't feature in a quick search of Brazil's register of architects. That may be fault of the internet or the web browser I used but........

  • Comment on: Government should stop waffling and put space standards in the Regs

    John Kellett's comment 31-Aug-2013 12:44 pm

    Why doesn’t the AJ update and republish “Activities and Spaces”? It was written by John Noble, published in the magazine in 1982 and in book form a year later. I still find it useful, but after 30 years it is probably due for an update!

  • Comment on: Assael: 'Fee cutting and poor management cannot be blamed on society'

    John Kellett's comment 27-Apr-2013 8:12 am

    A sensible view. However solicitors and doctors have ‘protection of function’ in order to protect the public. The public has very little protection from fraudsters and charlatans misleading their clients into believing that they are architects. Unfortunately many people believe that it already is illegal for unqualified people to design buildings and therefore see no difference between an architect and an ‘architectural designer’. In my County ‘architectural designers’ are even being given commissions for schools and healthcare projects. With moves by the medical profession to increase the coverage of registration (into cosmetic procedures etc) and the call by the Archbishop of Canterbury for bankers to be required to be qualified, the construction professions should be lobbying for a requirement for building designers to be suitably qualified.

  • Comment on: George Oldham found guilty of misconduct over ‘ethnics’ email

    John Kellett's comment 18-Apr-2013 10:03 am

    Having just re-read Standard 12 of the ARB code of conduct I would very much like to understand from the ARB how using the phrase ‘the ethnics’ breaks that code. It would appear therefore that merely describing any aspect of a person’s appearance or character or background breaks the code implying that it is now impossible for anybody to be an architect in the UK. If a fellow architect describes me as ‘short’ (which I am) or who ‘looks down on me’ (they have to, due to my height), can I have them struck off the register? The implication from the PCC ruling is that I can! How odd.

  • Comment on: School heads welcome call to scrap the Parts 1-3 system

    John Kellett's comment 18-Apr-2013 9:47 am

    A break from providing an architectural education that meets internationally recognised standards, such as the European Directive, is very worrying. The profession requires new members who are fully versed in the long term ‘needs’ of the profession not the short term financial ‘wants’ of the Universities. Students wishing to become architects are not going to benefit from courses designed lower standards or increase University income. Courses for architects need to be both broad and deep in order to cover the knowledge and skills necessary, an undergraduate degree cannot do that. To leave University with just an ability to prepare impressive drawings is not enough, graduates wanting a career as architects need to know how buildings are constructed, how construction is managed, costs and have a good knowledge of all the guidance and legislation that applies as well as the art of architecture. Designers of buildings in the UK are already under qualified to meet the needs of the C21, I don’t see how shortening the education courses can improve things. Better access to part-time and online / distance courses would be a great improvement that would not lower standards and maintain adherence to internationally recognised standards. Perhaps educators would benefit from re-reading Vitruvius’s chapter on the education of an architect?

  • Comment on: Is architecture gay-friendly?

    John Kellett's comment 15-Apr-2013 12:36 pm

    The profession has much greater concerns at the moment than private personal sexual orientation issues. There is also rife, but mostly unintentional and unconscious, discrimination against the disabled, female, short, ginger-haired and state-educated throughout the profession. It is being marginalised by our un(der)qualified competitors who are profiteering on the break-up of an holistic profession into numerous specialisms. Specialisms that lack any overview of the project, as a whole, meeting the client’s requirements. What’s the point of being a diverse and egalitarian profession, if ‘society' thinks/decides it doesn’t want architects anymore?

  • Comment on: Architecture students call for an end to unpaid internships

    John Kellett's comment 21-Feb-2013 9:52 am

    The only reason practices can't pay is the desire to udercut their competitors by having more work carried out by unpaid students. My practice is under pressure from all directions to take on unpaid 'interns' under all sorts of 'official' apprenticeship type schemes. Should I bow to 'business' advice or stick to the moral high ground and hope my business can grow without 'cheating'? If students are doing useful fee-earning work the minimum pay legislation should apply, at the very least. An architecture graduate is after all worth a lot more than a 16 year old youth with no GCSEs or a 'media studies' graduate. But until the law is clarified and/or challenged loopholes will, unfortunately, be exploited by those without scruples.

  • Comment on: Glass ceiling pay gap revealed: 26% of women directors earn less

    John Kellett's comment 6-Feb-2013 1:40 pm

    Perhaps women are being cleverer by taking more 'dividend' and less 'salary' in order to take advantage of tax rules? Perhaps more women have got more sense than us chaps by getting out of a profession that currently has such little financial reward! I wonder how pay compares across the profession with other 'differences' such as height, accent, school, hair colour (ginger!), age and ethnicity etc? Speaking as someone who has been 'looked down on' most of his life I think you might be surprised by the results. Discrimination is not always intended. I read another study for another profession (I've forgotten which, it was a while ago) where the pay difference was due to women accepting lower offers. I'm not convinced by that argument but........

  • Comment on: Comment: ‘Offices are crucial to the economy so don’t rush to convert to homes’

    John Kellett's comment 2-Feb-2013 7:14 pm

    One aspect that appears to be missing from most commentaries on the issue of converting office buildings to homes is that many offices are in buildings designed for another purpose anyway. Houses, warehouses and agricultural buildings have all been converted to offices in the past. For those buildings, for which 'office' is now no longer a viable use, the Government 'initiative' is very good news.

  • Comment on: Office-to-homes rules 'could save 30% on housing projects'

    John Kellett's comment 1-Feb-2013 10:04 am

    "Externally, most office buildings are not suitable for residential buildings in terms of windows, balconies, etc and recladding is often required" Not true, nearly all office buildings that are now unsuitable for office use in towns and cities started life as residential buildings. "Most office floor plates from air conditioned post 1970s offices are usually very deep, which makes them unsuitable for residential units" True, but they can make very good offices or homes by creating atria, it can be a challenge to carry structurally within budget but not impossible. "Wholesale replacement of central plant and equipment to different heating, cooling and electrical loading requirements" Not necessarily and would be necessary in many cases to make the building useable as a modern office anyway. "Biggest issue is often structural alterations that may be required to make the original stair and lift cores work for a residential layout" Surely those office buildings will not be candidates for change of use then! Most ex-residential buildings that have been 'converted' to office use can be 'unconverted' quite simply, especially in terms of lifts and stairs.

  • Comment on: Architects: Questions over EU 'not good for business'

    John Kellett's comment 31-Jan-2013 9:52 am

    Any architectural student from within the EU who has failed to qualify in their home country, and therefore cannot design buildings in that country in their own name, can freely enter the UK and set up in business here designing buildings without having qualifications or having to prove / demonstrate competency! Can the RIBA, ACA, CIBSE, IStructE, ICE and ARB etc. please lobby UK PLC to ensure that, like most European countries, it is a requirement that all building designers are suitably qualified. To allow anyone to design buildings without any consumer protection in place in the C21 is insane. The minimal 'protection' afforded by planning and building regulations legislation is negligible and is of course also present in those many EU nations who, quite rightly, think it dangerous to allow unqualified persons to design buildings. It should be a pan-European legislative requirement that all members of a building design team are suitably qualified for their role within that team. There is actually a 'employment lake' of trained and qualified British nationals fully qualified in many construction disciplines currently being 'overlooked' in favour of cheaper imported and un(der)qualified labour. Why?

  • Comment on: Replace 'ugly' tower blocks with streets, argues think-tank report

    John Kellett's comment 25-Jan-2013 6:39 pm

    "The survey found that 89 per cent of respondents would prefer to live in a house on a street". I suspect a similar proportion of 'respondents' would prefer to have a better car/appearance/phone etc! "According to the Policy Exchange document, nobody wanted a home in high-rise social housing blocks." Nobody 'wants' to live in social housing, it's physical form is immaterial! Take one 'ugly' tower block, clean it, repair it, renovate/update the internal layout, put newer faster lifts, have a concierge and better security, don't fill apartments with large families and all of a sudden the building becomes 'desirable'. A more cost effective and sustainable answer to the 'problem'.

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