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I have just read Tom Jestico's letter regarding the RIBA Chartered Practice Scheme (AJ 05.10.06). I too have challenged the RIBA on its proposals.

I emailed the institute on 15 September highlighting my concerns about this issue, and am still awaiting a reply.

I suspect it will never arrive.

I raised several points in my email, the key one being:

what would becoming a Chartered Practice actually do for me?

I am one of four directors in a company of architects and surveyors. Half of the directors in the firm are chartered surveyors, and therefore the company can, and does, use the term chartered surveyors in its title. There is no additional fee charged by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for this service As I am the only chartered-architect director, the company is precluded from registering as a registered practice.

Despite this, the company employs one other chartered architect, one project manager, one technician, two diploma students and one day-release student in the last year of her architecture degree.

We also have two chartered building surveyors, one QS, two day-release students working towards their degree in building surveying, and two post-graduate students, soon to be chartered.

We handle small extensions and projects worth up to £4 million and have enough work, achieved through our own efforts, to keep everyone stressed.

We are also Constructionline approved, and have achieved Investors in People status and ISO 9001.

We have all the equal opportunity/conditions of employment/health and safety/CPD training/staff training documentation and all the other stuff that you need by law, and have suffered and passed the rigorous prequalification ritual which client organisations such as local authorities require you to go through just to be on their tender lists to quote for work.

As far as I understand, what the RIBA proposes will cause registered practices to cease to exist, have chartered practices at a lower qualifying threshold and increase the membership fee to rake in more money.

The only thing I can see that the RIBA might do for me is to throw the odd lead my way, something which it should have been doing all along.

So please can the RIBA tell me - what is in it for me and my company, other than you taking more of my money?

Derek Nicholson, RIBA membership number 4343078

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