David Berridge makes a good point, and one which would benefit from closer examination. If as seems likely, unemployed or under-employed architects are struggling to pay their retention fees as a result of genuine financial hardship then surely ARB has a responsibility to address this issue. Clearly it is not in the interest of society to deprive Architects of their hard earned title, thereby reducing the chance of distressed individuals overcoming short term financial difficulties. The RIBA were faced with a not dissimilar problem when I was first on RIBA Council. The RIBA wanted to remove women from the membership list who were not paying their full fees as a result of being on maternity leave. I successfully argued this was draconian if not immoral and put a motion to Council that women on maternity leave should qualify for free membership for the time they were on maternity leave. The then Chief Executive Richard Hastilow, fearing a reduction in income, opposed the move, and the RIBA came back with an alternative "Hardship Rate" for women on maternity leave. I argued this smacked of the Dickensian Workhouse and was an affront to all members and thankfully a 'Reduced Rate" was introduced for all members on maternity leave - women and men. Although I was successful in securing this common sense approach to a genuine problem I was subsequently "blacklisted" by RIBA from attending subsequent RIBA sponsored events together with my RIBA-paired MP Jeremy Corbyn - someone else RIBA were suspicious of because of their left leaning ideology. I was also made to feel I had acted improperly, and if I was not careful I would be kicked out of RIBA. Needless to say I resigned from RIBA Council during my second term of office when faced with not dissimilar right wing bias against female and ethnic minority members. ARB could and should do better.
Chris Roche / Founder 11.04 Architects
Merry Xmas My Arse
Great projects on a modest scale by talented architects.
Sounds like a Covert Operation.
I agree with John and David above, Sam Webb would have been the obvious choice, having spent most of his life investigating similar housing disasters. Sam is also on the RIBA's expert fire panel. If Paul can bring Sam's expertise to the public enquiry he should. If he doesn't this would be a travesty. Sam has more historical knowledge than anyone else over a period of 50 years, starting with Ronan Point in 1968, 4 fatalities, and continuing up to Lakanal House in Southwark, 2009, 6 fatalities. Moreover for 50 years Sam has offered his expertise pro-bona to ensure there is no conflict of interest with his paymasters.