Well fancy that! 'interesting' architect exploits his staff, surely not!
Thanks to the RIBA for their typically anodyne response which flies in the face of their endless campaigns on gender, pay etc. When will this madness cease?
Ha ha ha, 37.5 hrs per week! If only. The corrupting mindset of over-work being somehow an aspiration starts in the schools where students are still being cajoled, misled and inveigled into believing that enslaving themselves will some reap kind of reward. I seem to recall an early 19th century quote that describes the architect as the only person at the table with frayed cuffs. We're all guilty, the architects who over-deliver, the clients who now expect 3 times as much information to describe the same thing as in the past and the professional bodies who seem oblivious to the truth that we are all doing more and more for less and less.
A timely commentary. As a small practice its now seemingly almost impossible for us to seek larger commissions, we seem to be left with either doing what is, in effect unpaid work or sticking with private clients who seem to have twigged that they can force down our fees whilst still expecting the same level of service. We would love to be able to compete for larger work (we have experience in social housing, cultural and education projects) but the 'system' is completely against us and others we know. Not only does this fly in the face of stated policies regarding unfair competition but it means that new ideas and approaches are not allowed to develop (other than at a very rarified level) which will surely stifle the profession long-term. The RIBA seems to have no position on this parlous state other than to promote the concept of 'value' and their own competition system is clearly not fit for purpose. Compare the UK public procurement system with any European counterpart and its clear that change must happen.
A timely and highly relevant report we have over the last few years employed several able and talented female collaborators from the BAME community and would happily do so again our criteria for working with us being founded on ability not background
Now the subject is in the open perhaps the AJ can also tackle entrenched inequalities in architectural procurement for those not blessed with the private incomes needed to work for nothing or the benefits of patronage this might allow a broader range of talent to be recognised a lot of recent competition winners have looked somewhat 'vanilla' and possibly unrepresentative of the changing makeup of the profession
Chris Medland's comments are extremely pertinent in the context of the article and our own experience. We've lost a number of recent projects on the basis of the material and build costs completely outstripping the clients budget when the detailed design is priced. We believe this is not only the fault of print and broadcast media setting unrealistic expectations for clients but also the preponderance of on-line platforms; on a number of occasions we've been exposed to entirely unaffordable 'wish lists' at the early stages of a project which the client clearly cannot afford without adding substantial costs or prioritising their requirements differently; a fact which most domestic clients seem loathe to do.
We would actually rather work using more modest and humble materials in the belief that a good idea should not need to have money thrown at it; but even standard materials are proving to be ever more expensive. I am not even sure that an architect would necessarily be able to offer cost certainty in the current climate, its just too variable and expectations have outstripped reality on the part of the consumer.