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We deserve credit for elegant 'yrm' project

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We wish yrm luck with its relaunch, but think it is a shame that it chose to do it with a project that is only partially its own work: Whitefield School (aj 22.7.99) is, in fact, essentially van Heyningen and Hawards's design. yrm inherited it and executed it, with some changes.

The article credits us with having done a 'study' of the school site: this is an understatement. With the help of planning consultants we got permission for the redevelopment of the whole site and detailed planning permission for the building you illustrate.

We then developed the project with Max Fordham and Partners; Price and Myers; Arup Acoustics; and Rider Hunt, through to the end of detail design (stage E): the concept (vent towers, light wells, roof playground, the lot!) is all there in the plan and section.

However, we thank yrm for being so faithful to our design and congratulate it on the elegant execution of a very worthwhile project.

Joanna van Heyningen, van Heyningen and Haward Architects, London NW5

It takes two to tangle in payment problems

I am pleased for Stephen Yakeley (AJ 22.7.99, Letters) that his clients are prepared to sign up to the sfa/99 provisions unamended. My concerns are for architects whose clients refuse.

Competing sides, whether 'bad payers' or 'responsible clients', consider the slope of the playing field before they start the game. If it is too steep, the disadvantaged side will simply want to play elsewhere. Payment and other provisions can only bite if the other side agrees to them.

I fully appreciate that the profession is concerned about fee recovery. But does trying to impose ever more disadvantageous terms on clients to address 'regrettably changing attitude towards payment' work?

The rapid succession of riba terms over recent years suggests it might not.

The profession needs a standard form, sufficiently balanced to be widely acceptable to all types of client. Potential benefits are savings on one- off drafting costs and continuity for architects from contract to contract. Whether sfa/99 achieves this remains to be seen.

Sue Lindsey, London EC2

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