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Paul McGrath's Comments

  • Comment on: Industry reaction: ‘Never a good time’ for ARB fee hike

    Paul McGrath's comment 17-Sep-2012 9:41 am

    Describing the ARB as a 'statutory regulator' is wholly wrong. The UK Parliament requires of the ARB to keep a register, prescribe the qualifications needed to become an 'architect' and promote and maintain a code of professional conduct. It does not regulate anything. Its only purpose is to deliver the responsibilities given to it under the Architects Act. All these increasing peripheral 'costs' to being professional must be passed on to the consumer - at least to some extent - so how does this demonstrate to potential clients using an architect will keep fees competitive? In a small but significant way, cost increases like this only serve to put pressure on wage deflation.

  • Comment on: Tom Emerson criticises RIBA for educational divide

    Paul McGrath's comment 6-Jul-2012 4:27 pm

    This is a classic example of the elite of the elite discussing amongst themselves how they could effect changes to the education of an architect without actually doing anything more than talking about doing so. All the arguments for and against are well known and understood; yet nothing changes. It seems the tripartite 'pipeline' is regarded as absolutely sacrosanct. Once registered, anyone seriously questioning it is considered a heretic and soon loses any serious ambitions to challenge the all to easily accepted and cozy orthodoxy. This is just another introverted and decadent academic debate going nowhere.

  • Comment on: The ARB should be abolished

    Paul McGrath's comment 4-Mar-2012 11:27 am

    If the ARB was to be abolished, what would replace it? That needs to be explained by Mr Finch as it is not clear whether he favours continuing the legal protection of the tile of "architect" or abandoning it. Or whether he is advocating the RIBA take over the role of competent authority for the purposes of the Directive and hold the 'register' presuming a register is actually necessary. If the logic is the ARB is abolished only for the RIBA to step in, I would support the original principle of the ARB and its total independence from the RIBA.

  • Comment on: Housing debate: What the UK needs now

    Paul McGrath's comment 27-Feb-2012 1:58 pm

    Not one architect has addressed who meets the cost of raising the bar and increasing standards. Is that because they have no interest in keeping costs down and a vested interest in keeping costs high? It's either the purchaser or the Government that pays in the end and both seem to be treated as limitless sources of money. The clear backing amongst architects (and the propaganda cited in the exhibition) for the introduction of mandatory space standards (and increased costs which is ignored in the exhibition) seems solely based on developers making a profit from housing. If true this seems an ideological stance to adopt not an expedient one. Everyone recognises the aims are laudable but to be credible 'developers' cannot be blamed and vilified. After all, the majority of us want a bigger home to live in given the choice but not everyone can afford it.

  • Comment on: Housing debate: What the UK needs now

    Paul McGrath's comment 27-Feb-2012 10:31 am

    Not one architect has addressed who meets the cost of raising the bar and increasing standards. Is that because they have no interest in keeping costs down and a vested interest in keeping costs high? It's either the purchaser or the Government that pays in the end and both seem to be treated as limitless sources of money. The clear backing amongst architects (and the propaganda cited in the exhibition) for the introduction of mandatory space standards (and increased costs which is ignored in the exhibition) seems solely based on developers making a profit from housing. If true this seems an ideological stance to adopt not an expedient one. Everyone recognises the aims are laudable but to be credible 'developers' cannot be blamed and vilified. After all, the majority of us want a bigger home to live in given the choice but not everyone can afford it.

  • Comment on: UCAS applications for architecture plummet 16 per cent

    Paul McGrath's comment 31-Jan-2012 1:58 pm

    I would guess the drop in numbers is more than compensated by the increase in revenue. So the Schools of Architecture maybe better off financially! It's a great shame that social mobility via education is now in retreat and that higher education institutions are becoming more and more businesslike.

  • Comment on: RIBA’s report on homes is a Gerald Ratner moment, claims property consultant

    Paul McGrath's comment 20-Sep-2011 1:19 pm

    I could not agree more with Mr Leeson that the RIBA should concentrate on how architecture 'adds value' rather than moaning (yet again) at circumstances they think they have a 'right' to 'control'. You would think the RIBA's advisory group would have the intelligence not to bluntly criticize mass housebuilders. The RIBA’s report asks, How much space do we need? It then answers the question based on the obvious preconception of blindly supporting minimum space standards as the solution and in the crudest of terms by rehashing existing research. Everyone would like a larger home wouldn’t they! From my own experience of keeping stuff in my home that I haven’t seen (let alone used) for years is not sufficient reason to provide more storage in new homes! Why build extraordinarily expensive space simply to store old shoes? These are the sorts of questions I would expect the RIBA to address; with creative intelligence. Not that 42% of buyers consider the size of rooms important in their purchasing decisions. Just look at the single page of conclusions and recommendations to see how lacking the RIBA’s report is in creative thinking. This lack of creative leadership is perhaps why politicians are so keen on the sledgehammer of one-size-fits-all space standards. So I for one line up behind Mr Leeson in his call to look at ways in which good design can make the best use of space, rather than focusing on how much space is created.

  • Comment on: 'Shameful shoe-boxes': Yorkshire's new homes smallest in RIBA survey

    Paul McGrath's comment 15-Sep-2011 10:10 am

    The RIBA must believe wholeheartedly in the crudeness of minimum space standards in being so critical of (unimaginative) mass housebuilders. Surely the RIBA - if it believes in creative design - should be much more sophisticated in its response to the sledgehammer of minimum space standards. Much more work must be done on exactly how space is used in modern living and how this is applied to the cross section of the population. A mandatory one-size fits all approach is not the solution to housing choice. The RIBA should be commissioning far better research into space standards. Then any criticism of the mass housebuilders would have some serious weight.

  • Comment on: Villiers Road Studios, London, by Peter Barber Architects

    Paul McGrath's comment 14-Apr-2010 5:41 pm

    It is a great use of space but I worry such innovation will become 'outlawed' by the rumoured 'benchmark standards' from the Homes & Communities Agency. This shows there MUST be room for innovative solutions for small awkward infill sites in urban areas. The heavy hand of legislation should not stifle schemes such as this!

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