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In praise of BIAT's professional standards

  • Comment

I read with interest and pleasure the article 'Getting to grips with an 'ology'' (AJ 6.9.01).

With regard to your comments on technicians and technologists running jobs, many of our members are partners and directors was well as sole practitioners in architectural practices and have been running jobs in their own name for many years.

Our full members are qualified to run projects from inception to completion in their own name. Consequently we have had professional indemnity insurance since the late '80s, which we made mandatory in 1995. Policing, which we introduced in 1999, has been highly successful. We have zero tolerance and have expelled six members who refused to carry professional indemnity insurance in the first year. In 2000 all members on the register demonstrated compliance.

Professional indemnity insurers are happy to provide cover for our members as they are the specialists in the technical side of architecture.

Many work within practices;

in manufacturing as a technical specialist; in academia, for housing associations or health authorities. Many hold senior positions and are heads of departments. Consequently, their salaries are equivalent or more than architects' and other professionals as they may hold the ultimate responsibility.

Regarding the paragraph about fee scale guidance: the Office of Fair Trading, as I am sure the AJ is fully aware, is not keen on fee scale guidance and has just completed a review. One of its recommendations is that the RIBA does away with its fee scale guidance document. You are quite correct in stating that the OFT feels that it distorts competition and could therefore be in breach of the Competition Act if we introduced such a document.

It is true that anybody can call themselves an architectural technician/technologist, but only those that demonstrate their competencies to a professional body will truly be recognised as competent.

Francesca Berriman Chief executive, BIAT London EC1

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