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Construction union opens door to architects

Britain's biggest construction trade union has announced that it is to extend its membership to architects.

The move by the influential Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (Ucatt) will address the lack of representation among those working in the architectural profession.

Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie told AJ's stablemate magazine QS Week that he was also hoping to open the door to quantity surveyors. He said: 'We are looking to introduce a new staff section within the union for architects and quantity surveyors.

'We're a construction union, so we've got to look at the whole industry. It's not just about looking after the people who build buildings. Anywhere that is not organised [in a union], we are interested in getting involved.'

Ucatt is currently carrying out a feasibility study to assess interest before taking action early next year.

'We are looking at what role we could play - whether it be opening doors to government or offering political influence,' said Ritchie.

Chris Roche, the principal of 11.04 Architects, welcomed the idea: '[The move] is long overdue. Architects have not really had a voice to represent their concerns. It is still a very male-dominated industry, and ethnic minorities and women still have a hard time.

'If architects want to be taken seriously by the government they need to demonstrate connections with unions. I'll happily be president,' he added.

by Christina Taylor

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