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PFI is here to stay - we'd better get used to it

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Your thoughtful editorial last week hit the PFI nail on the head as far as the world of architecture is concerned (AJ 3.10.02).

As the prime minister and chancellor have made clear, this financial procurement method is here to stay, so architects had better learn how to use it in the best possible way instead of shouting into the wind.

A key problem which needs addressing is poor client expectations from the process; many education authorities and hospital trusts seem so dazzled by the prospect of actually getting a new building that they lose all their critical faculties when it comes to design and quality issues. If clients don't demand high design standards, PFI bidders won't prioritise architecture.

The RIBA could usefully address this question by producing a comprehensive briefing pack for clients, explaining how to get the best out of PFI. One good idea is to use an architectural consultant to guide them through the rapids of brief writing, bid assessment etc.

Andrew Frazer, London SW19

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