John Kellett's comments
Having read the ARB's report it appears that in the case of an 'architect's certificate' the profession's duties have become untenable. Even a 24/7 presence on site could not prevent the Contractor 'pulling a fast one'. It would be interesting to know whether the contractor, who was clearly in the wrong for cheating, suffered any penalty.
Let's hope the legal profession do not transfer this onerous duty to the normal JCT inspections etc.
If I believed in conspiracy theories I would say that this ruling is designed to keep architects off site and further erode our role in construction.
The ARB must provide the profession with further explanation and perhaps guidance, although that may be beyond it's remit. It was supposed to be just a registration body! We have a perfectly capable professional body for dealing with professional conduct in the RIBA, have they been asked to consider the case? How, and why, did the ARB expand it's function to that of 'OffArch'?
This is an issue that requires input from Europe and a investigation into the Architect's Directive.
As I understand it, persons qualified in Europe to the equivalent of Part 2 can register with ARB here as architects. Persons qualified here require Part 3 to register with ARB. That is plainly inequitable.
RIBA membership, "the gold standard", requires Part 3 regardless of where one qualified and is, I understand, regarded highly around the world.
A two tier system would be silly and insupportable, there is no reason for the Architect's Directive not to raise the level of 'qualification' across Europe to that of Part 3 or equivalence.
Surely it is illegal under UK law to employ students and not pay them. Whether you are an RIBA Chartered Practice or not is immaterial.
Voluntary work is for the 'not for profit' charity sector or 'work experience' for school-children only.
The US unpaid 'internship' model is not valid in the UK (or indeed anywhere).
Any architect or practice paying staff (student or not) less than the minimum wage should be stuck off and challenged in court. The majority of Part 1 and Part 2 students provide valuable work, in fact they wouldn't be employed if they didn't!
If the profession's business model relies on an underpaid or illegal workforce it is in a sorry state indeed.
It would be helpful to see what the original facade detail and appearance was. As it is the building might as well be new, the interest lies in the re-organisation of the plan and facades.
Simply restricting local authority powers to town planning (geography, economics and infrastructure) matters and preventing them from interfering in the design of individual buildings would be a start.
Requiring all applications to be by suitably qualified agents (CIAT, RICS, RIBA/ARB) would also help, as in many countries outside the UK.
Both are simple to legislate for and would increase local authority efficiencies.
If 'gentlemen architects' stopped undercutting those of us who need to make a living the profession can perhaps return to it's holistic role. At the moment the smaller the fee the less we can do for the money. Earnings are already pitiful and improved efficiency through BIM can only go so far.
A change is also required in terms of Indemnity Insurance to allow architects to more easily grow a multi-disciplinary architect-led practice.
As a small practice I cannot afford to enter competitions, I don't have the funds or an independent income. It takes most of my waking hours to keep financially afloat after the impact of the incompetence of bankers.
Competitions give clients the impression that design is free, PFI + BSF are prime examples. If a building is designed in full by several teams / practices, each losing team / practice has to recover costs on other jobs.
If community groups, formed as result of Localism and The Big Society, are expecting free advice without the prospect of a commission, or for the commission to subsequently go to another practice or plan-drawer the profession has no future as a source of income.
The way forward is a form of protection function as in other countries and professions. The government has given, or has plans to give, all sorts of job functions protection by qualification and registration, even dog walking! Surely architecture and the built environment, for humans, is more important to society than animals.
So the school was never needed in the first place then! It's construction wastefully diverted funds away from the hundreds of State, CofE and RC schools that do need replacing, whose funding has been axed.
Why not use the building to replace out of date schools in the area?
Surely these are meaningless statistics without some account of the volume of projects 'in progress'. There are probably 144 projects 'on hold' in my home town! What are the criteria for a 'project'? To have 144 projects out of 144 on hold is serious. To have 144 projects on hold out of 1,440,000 is not serious!
It would be more helpful for the statistic to be expressed as a percentage of projects on hold, perhaps defined by sector or size too.
As it stands the reported information is meaningless.
"pro-bono opportunities for architects"?
Working for free isn't an opportunity it is exploitation, unless there are enforceable requirements for the architect to be paid for the work at a later date at a sensible fee.
I fail to understand why we should provide our services for free in order for somebody else to make a profit. It's hard enough as it is with ridiculously low fee levels for the work we are required to provide.