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RIBA failing to help members, says survey

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According to its members, the RIBA is not doing enough to help architects during the recession, the AJ’s State of the Profession survey has revealed

Following revelations about the effects of the recession on architects (AJ 19.02.09), a second set of results show that nearly 40 per cent of the 300 respondents feel the institute has not developed ‘proper strategies’ to protect the profession.

With workloads down in nearly two thirds of practices and redundancies increasing, only 2 per cent felt the RIBA had been a ‘great help’. A further 3 per cent said they would not be renewing their subscription.

Responding to the statistics, Romi Dahele, a director at Sturgis Associates, said: ‘There is just not enough strategic clarity of direction at the RIBA… there aren’t people there who are experienced at actively lobbying the government.’

Gregg Mitchell, group managing director at careyjones, added that RIBA support did not compare well with that offered by institutions such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

‘The AIA is evidently very heavily engaged with Congress,’ said Mitchell, who receives regular updates from the institute.

The feedback has not come at a good time for the RIBA. It is understood that the institute may have to shed staff and, according to some sources, ‘even shut entire departments’ if revenue streams do not improve.

In response to the survey results, the RIBA issued a statement saying it had already put initiatives in place, including an online Recession Toolkit with advice on cashflow and credit. It added that it recently lobbied the government for VAT cuts on refurbishment projects and is developing overseas chapters to support members working abroad.

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