I read with interest Tim McArtney's letter (aj 16.3.00) and make the following observations:
Architects lack clout when negotiating fees. The riba's survey of fees as listed in the sfa Guide (1992 edition) has lacked credibility with clients, and is therefore generally disregarded by them.
A housing association in January 2000 insisted on using the 'Purple Book', riba Conditions of Engagement (1979 revision; originally 1971), for appointing consultants of another discipline.
The maximum rate stipulated by the same housing association for additional work by a principal was £25, excluding vat per hour. The sum of £500 will not even pay for four hours of a solicitor based in Liverpool on planning matters.
Architects at present lack an august body to stand up for them. The riba has its priorities in the wrong areas. It should be making its presence felt at conferences, seminars and events for organisations such as housing associations in orderto get the message across on behalf of architects for fees, and to make direct comparisons with other professions such as accountants, doctors, engineers and lawyers.
I myself resigned from the riba in December 1999 and I believe that more should follow suit in December 2000 unless the riba bucks up in the next few months. One does not have to be a member of the riba in order to get a copy of the riba Journal for a subscription of £70 per annum - which is less than a member's subscription.
Hugh Wright, Chester