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RIBA aims to resolve AABC crisis

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The RIBA will devote key parts of its practice committee meeting on Thursday (25 August) to the current crisis facing the Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC).

The committee will be tackling conservation architects' deep-seated concerns about the 'self-protecting' and 'exclusive' AABC, which were exposed by the (AJ 11.08.05).

The current crisis emerged after it was revealed that former ARB rebel Ian Salisbury had sent an official complaint about anti-competitive practices within the AABC to the Office of Fair Trading.

Salisbury's protest was in part a response to a decision made two years ago by EH and the Heritage Lottery Fund to only offer grants for conservation architects who are on the register. Such a system could hamper young architects from gaining enough experience to get on the list in the first place.

Since the AJ story was published, a number of architects have come forward to criticise the register, among them RyderHKS chairman and former RIBA president Paul Hyett.

Hyett damned the AABC as 'a self-protecting cartel which should be shattered' and accused it of 'hijacking' EH's desire to form a register of skilled conservation architects for its own 'increasingly selfish ends'.

The full text of Hyett's correspondence will appear in this week's AJ (25.08.05).

by Rob Sharp

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