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Snell Associates played by the rules for Fulham

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I read with some interest the article entitled 'Owzat! Fears for quality as Miller stumps HOK to take on Oval stand' (AJ 3.7.03).

I read with even more interest the letter from Brian Johnston, Miller Partnership (AJ 17.7.03), and was astonished by the unprovoked and unsubstantiated suggestions concerning our design for the new Fulham football stadium, that there were 'justifiable concerns over many technical aspects of the stadium'.

Snell Associates did not produce a 'concept design' as was suggested, but a detailed planning application to RIBA Stage D (Detailed Proposals), including two separate planning applications and an extremely detailed Environmental Impact Assessment running to five volumes of detailed design and technical information over a period of two years.

We brought together a design team of Arup and Davis Langdon & Everest. A very capable team of specialist consultants was assembled, capable of delivering the Planning Approval/Environmental Statement and the finished building.

Prior to our submission of the planning application, Miller Partnership undertook a 'design audit', at the request of the client.

The design team never received a copy of Miller's advice and so was unable to respond to any issues arising from its 'audit'.

The planning application was approved by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and was praised for its outstanding architectural design quality.

In their recommendation report councillors concluded:

'Officers take the view that the replacement building would be of very high architectural quality. It would be a landmark building of which the borough could be proud the benefits which flow from the quality of the design would be substantial and weighty officers have reached the clear conclusion that the key benefits of the proposal as a whole outweigh its harm.'

Attached to the resolution to approve the planning application design were draft 106 Planning Conditions, one of which specifically stated that Snell Associates should be retained as architects through the construction design and implementation stage, to protect the integrity of the design.

Following the successful planning approval, we were replaced as architects, along with Arup and DL&E and informed that this was for 'business and commercial reasons'.

Furthermore, we were subsequently informed that an architectural fee tender had taken place, without our knowledge, following planning approval. Our percentage fee, which we had agreed at the outset of the project, had apparently been undercut by the Miller Partnership.

Robin Snell, director, Snell Associates, London W1

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