Referring to Paul Finch's editorial (AJ 27.5.99) it is worth reflecting on the wisdom of John Ruskin who wrote in 1890: 'It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
'The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot done - it can't be done.
'If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you have enough to pay for something better.'
Stephen Haines, Urban Design Group, Leicester City Council
Set the standard for students of the future
As part of the continuing process for guaranteeing national standards in all academic disciplines, the Quality Assurance Agency for higher education has asked schosa (The Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture) to nominate all the members of the Benchmarking Group for Architecture.
Draft benchmarking standards have already been produced for chemistry, history and law, with groups having also been established for a further three subjects. It is now the qaa's intention to establish benchmarking groups for the remainder of the 16 subjects, including architecture, ready for academic review during 2000 - 2003.
schosa is nominating a wide range of people representing old and new universities, different locations, associated interest groups and the profession.
For further details, contact schosa, on 0181 504 9711.
Michael Foster, Secretary, Essex