RIBA presidential hopeful Paul Hyett this week attempted to cast fresh doubt on Alex Reid's candidacy by describing as 'deeply disturbing' the fact that Reid is still not a registered architect.
The move comes as Reid's application for registration with the Architects Registration Board was being processed by ARB assessors, reopening the debate about whether Reid could become president without being registered (AJ 11.1.01).
'It is a deep concern to the membership that the president should be registered with the ARB, ' H y e t t said. 'It seems to be unfortunate in the extreme that this matter is unresolved at this crucial stage.'
If Reid wins the election and uses the presidential suffix PRIBA, he may face investigation by the ARB under its protection of title rules.
'If someone thought some public mischief would follow from that and reported it to us we would investigate, ' said ARB chief executive Robin Vaughan. 'It's a big if , though.' The ARB would have to consider whether Reid's use of the initials PRIBA would mislead consumers into thinking that he is a registered and practising architect.
'People ought to be looking at the candidates' track record and capability, ' Reid said. 'Judge me on what I bring to the party, not on whether I am registered.'
But the RIBA's is not the only ballot. This week the three rivals, including Brian Godfrey, unveiled their wish-lists for the winner of the forthcoming UKgeneral election. Hyett issued his ideas first and called for tax measures to create a level playing field between design and build companies and architects. He wants D&B companies to pay VAT on their fees for design work, in the same way as standard architects. He also wants planning applications to be backed up by evidence of studies into ecological sustainability, urban design and cost in use, and core government funding for a network of architecture centres. Godfrey and Hyett want public-sector framework agreements to allow for local architects to be appointed where preferred.
Reid wants a US-style method of selecting architects for public buildings which binds clients to ranking a shortlist on the basis of design suitability rather than fee tender - the so-called Brooks method. He also wants to see statutory design advice for planning committees.