Aedas has hit out at Conservative Party claims that architects netted £98 million from the scrapped BSF programme, describing the allegations as a ‘cheap political point’
The claims were reported in a Sunday Times article which provoked outrage from the RIBA.
In a letter to the newspaper, Aedas chairman Brian Johnson said: ‘[The article] strikes us a clumsy way of making a cheap political point without any consideration to the true facts of the matter.’
The letter goes on to explain the practice only received a third of the £2.8 million fees the Sunday Times alleged was paid to it for its work on the Walkden High School in Salford.
Johnson added: ‘[We] should elevate the debate around building schools beyond simply how cheaply it can be done.’
The article also failed to establish that the Aedas-designed Darwen Academy was not in fact a BSF school.
Read the full Aedas letter
For the attention of Parrin Mohammed
BY EMAIL ONLY
(The Sunday Times Article, 5 June 20I1)
We write in reference to your article Architects net £g8m from schools (published 5 June 2011), which strikes us as a clumsy way of making a cheap political point without any consideration to the true facts of the matter.
The response to the Freedom of Information Request referred to in the article relates to design fees incurred in each BSF project rather than architectural fees alone. Thus, in reality the fees paid to architects significantly are a fraction of the overall design costs. While I cannot speak for the other practices mentioned in the article, I can confirm that Aedas received around a third the £2.5m quoted for its work on the Walkden High School in Salford. This fee also included creating a kit of parts that could be replicated across other projects, thereby triggering cost savings over the longer-term.
More importantly, we should elevate the debate around buildings schools beyond simply how cheaply it can be done. How much is a child’s education worth? What value do you put on your children’s future? Good design is important and especially important in creating environments which foster and support future learning for next generation. Good design is not about new build versus refurbishment it’s about creating an educational environment that supports teachers and pupils to achieve their highest potential. Architects are at the heart of this process and Aedas prides itself on creating evidence based design recognised internationally as best practice in the field of educational design.
Whilst we should all be mindful of prevailing economic conditions and the need for frugality where the public purse is concerned, the focus of debate should be on what we want our schools and colleges to achieve. Regardless of political inclinations, we should all agree that building schools that are fit for purpose, encourage interaction , embrace technology and that motivate pupils and staff is a worthwhile aspiration.
For and on behalf of Aedas Architects Ltd
Aedas Architects Ltd
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Manchester M3 2HW
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