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ESSAY

Claire Bennie: How architects can win back trust and influence

Claire bennie index
  • 13 Comments

The role and authority of architects is increasingly marginalised in construction. How can they win over decision-makers and regain their once vital role in key areas such as housing? asksClaire Bennie

Claire bennie square

Architects want respect. They work damn hard. They are totally committed to their craft and passionate to the point of obsession about the buildings they create. They flog themselves to master urban design, technical detail, community engagement, cost efficiency and to lead fractious multidisciplinary teams of consultants. So why do stakeholders (clients, contractors, the public, government and so on) not understand what they do, let alone respect or value them? Why haven’t the authorities come running to architects after Grenfell– in fact ignoring their potentially valuable input in the wake of this awful tragedy? 

The growing public distrust in experts of any kind, whether they be doctors, economists or lawyers, is a challenging starting point from which to regain respect. Architects who yearn for the good old days when they were, by definition, the ‘master builder’ are unlikely to have that wish fulfilled. But, instead of looking forlornly backwards, we should look at ‘customer’ perspectives and assess what architects themselves (as well as their professional body) might do to change these. Perhaps through this process we might start to retrieve some respect and authority. 

 

Clients

Clients

I’m going to focus on housing clients here. Architects barely got a look-in at all in the design or contract administration of housing projects until after the Second World War, when they suddenly came to prominence via high-profile public commissions to re-house a shattered but expanding urban population. The subsequent troubled story of many of those post-war buildings (the reasons for their demise are too complex to rehearse here) undoubtedly did little to endear architects to either public or private sector housing clients, let alone the public. So the relationship between architects and their various clients in the field of housing has been a recent and rather fraught one.

It pains me to say it, but in today’s UK housing sector we have allowed ourselves to develop an ugly and reductive cultural norm of short-term financial return on investment being prized above all else. Travelling to 10 other countries looking at housing in northern Europe recently made this embarrassingly clear to me: I was often called out for discussing each project in monetary terms first, rather than focusing on aesthetic, social or environmental successes. ‘You can tell she’s from London,’ was a recurrent slap in my face – and not from designers, but from clients, local authorities and planners.

That stark truth acknowledged, buildings cost a lot of money and their design and construction, often a one-off exercise on bespoke sites with bespoke teams, is a high-risk activity. Return-driven clients have therefore been steadily courted by new specialists in the built environment sector, whose promise is far tighter (and less complaining) management of their clients’ risk and reward. Enter the project manager. Exit the architect.

In housing, there are basically two kinds of client: the speculators, who build two thirds of new homes in the UK; and the long-term landlords, who build most of the rest.  The speculator’s model is the short-term profit-driven one described above, which inevitably results in a paring-down of build cost. The top 10 housebuilders (who build 50 per cent of supply) have got this cost efficiency down to a fine art – and they need to in order to compete in a very hot land market. If you read too many journals, it can appear that high-density housing in cities is the predominant supply mode.

But in fact houses in suburban or rural locations dominate housing supply, a typology which lends itself to the standardisation of design components. The top 10 have had to engage more with architects in recent years to secure trickier urban planning consents, but this remains the exception. In this environment, it’s no surprise that architects are seen as ‘turbulent priests’, who appear only to add cost and risk without adding to value. Architects are simply not seen as business people by a lot of these clients. Their roles can, therefore, be reduced to creating the highest-value consent (often via bulging densities) for the lowest cost (boxy massing, impoverished materials, minimised modelling). Consent gained, ‘executive’ architects then step in to make it builder-friendly (even cheaper). Estate agents are sometimes asked to design the interior layouts ‘to maximise value’ – the ultimate humiliation! 

Many architects, understandably, contest that their designs add value, which covers any extra cost. Under this short-term business model, and in a desperate housing market where the consumer will buy almost anything, that is, sadly, unlikely to be true. Without any ongoing interest in the built assets, the housebuilder will only consider longer-term value in the margins (usually as a reputational issue). And is the purchaser really going to remember who to chase when their cheap gutter breaks after two years? 

The average customer is not demanding and paying a premium for good design. So it makes no business sense for speculators to provide it

In the end, architects either participate in that game or they don’t. Some have nurtured their housebuilder clients over many years, working on them through gradual attrition and taking them on the quality journey. I see their schemes on the front covers of developers’ brochures. But I see far fewer being repeated, except, possibly, in central London (where the customer is more than likely to be an investor anyway). The simple truth is that the average sale home customer is not, as with other consumer goods like phones, cars or trainers, demanding and paying a premium for ‘good design’. So it makes no business sense for speculators to provide it.

So what about the longer-term clients – the housing associations, local authorities and private rented sector developers – who, surely, value a more robust and thoughtful product which must let well for a hundred years? The housing association mindset is driven partly by that long-term view, but is also constrained by a regulatory and grant regime which incentivises lowest initial cost, certainty over completion dates, and a low-risk culture in general.

This translates to the use of Design and Build contracts, which appear to transfer risk to a single entity: you can almost hear the sigh of relief when the contractor is on the hook for everything. What you can’t hear is the terrible ripping sound when all the nice bits (which the architect tried to secure in the planning consent) are quickly amputated. Risk aversion also translates to the use of public-private joint ventures, where the skills and efficiencies of each party are allegedly harnessed to the good of the scheme. If anyone can name me a memorable and high-quality scheme delivered this way, I’m all ears.

So, again, architects struggle within this model to exert influence. They are useful for getting a planning consent, but thereafter seem to want ‘large’ fees, inflate build cost without adding enough value, and design details which are hard both to build and maintain, all of which present risk of delay to the all-important programme. Many architects are also not nowadays schooled in long-term maintenance, facilities management, and the costs incurred in use. To a degree this comes through experience, but long-term housing clients could do more to walk their architects through these issues via site visits and mandatory post-occupancy reviews.

In short, some clients will never bother to discover the value architects can bring, because they are only focused on the bottom line. The others will need persuading of an architect’s value, especially beyond planning. To counter this view, architects must demonstrate to their clients that they are fully engaged and skilled in:

  • Understanding their client’s pressures, risks and financial drivers
  • Undertaking meaningful dialogue with existing communities
  • Understanding long-term management and maintenance requirements
  • Being highly competent in construction detail, including smart compromise

 

Contractors

Contractors

There are three conversations I have with contractors during a tender period. The first goes: ‘We’re not using your architect, Claire. End of story. The last time we used a “design-focused” architect, it was a disaster.’ 

The second runs along these lines: ‘Claire, I can save you £100k if you use our architect. I don’t know why you want your architect to come to site all the time or draw all those details – we can deal with all that behind the scenes.’

And, finally, there are the contractors who agree to use the planning stage architects, albeit a little reluctantly, knowing that this is the route into the job. 

The first two conversations are very hard to ignore if you are a public sector client who is looking for speed, certainty and short-term value for money. The final one is a bit of a gamble – but it mostly pays off. Sometimes the contractors even admit to enjoying working with the ‘design’ architect, building the scheme, and feeling proud of the result. Design and Build contracts can work under circumstances where the client, employer’s agent, architect and contractor are collectively clear about which are the important details in the building. In my experience, this means drawings and a specification that go beyond planning drawings. It also means only choosing architects who can demonstrate total construction competence (we used to ask candidate architects for two contractor references). And, finally, it means an employer’s agent who really wants the contractor/novated architect relationship to work successfully from the outset.

It is interesting to observe that some housing associations and local authority clients are reverting to traditional build contracts, having experienced the poverty of quality and the consequential time and cost burden which Design and Build can create. But both clients and architects take on more risk this way.

So how can respect between architects and contractors improve? I have long thought that there needs to be a forum where both parties can constructively air their grievances and try to rebuild confidence in both directions. Perhaps, as a first step, the RIBA needs to invite contractors into Portland Place for a good old moan, and uncover the origins and depth of their feelings about its members. My view is that the enmity originates during the education of both parties – could that cultural barrier be addressed better at that stage?

 

The public

Public

The 1950-1970s concrete high-rise housing output and Prince Charles’ subsequent killer-blow of vilification in the 1980s (when I started my architecture degree) consigned architects to the public doghouse for more years than they care to admit. What does the public think about, want and expect from architects now?

The public, as experienced by architects, comes in three basic categories: the consumer (buying a new build home, say); existing communities (experiencing local change to their environment); and the public as ‘society’. 

The individual house-purchaser still does not seem to value design enough to pay a premium for it, although more noise is now being made about shoddy construction and specification quality – and about time too. The sad thing is that architects have probably been nowhere near many of the worst examples and are unlikely therefore to be agents in improving this situation. Clearly individual consumers commissioning their own homes or extensions have varied relationships with architects – an awkward dance which keeps Kevin McCloud busy.

Existing communities where built change is proposed are understandably confused about what architects do. The multiplicity of actors in any scheme is complex, and architects are often seen, however unfairly, as just another consultant reaping fees from a ‘regeneration’ initiative whose efficacy may be questionable.

We as a society must rediscover the value of more than just short-term financial return

The Farrell Review made a number of recommendations which saw architects as far more active participants in outreach and education work in ‘ordinary places’, rather than the ivory towers of academia. It also recommended ‘urban rooms’ as a way of bringing the sometimes arcane practices of planning and architecture closer to where people really are. I haven’t seen concerted action on these fronts, but agree with the recommendations.

As for society, the RIBA’s Royal Charter means it has to operate ‘in the public interest’, but that test is a knotty one: who is the public? What is their interest? At a basic level, the public needs to expect architects who are decently educated, well-behaved, technically competent and deliver quality. But, beyond that, we enter less clear territory. The excellent Edge Commission report from 2015 calls on the various built environment institutions to make much clearer their offer to society, explaining in plain language how they serve the public interest. Let’s do that. It might include:

  • A summary of what architects do and know (to show architects understand the technical issues surrounding Grenfell, for example)
  • A distilled version of the basic code of conduct rules, including sanctions (to show clear accountability)
  • A valuable body of accessible research/case studies, including specific post-occupancy findings (to show architects are listening to users and learning).

 

The government

Government

In what circumstances would the government pick up the phone to architects to seek their wise counsel? It’s an interesting question, and one which I don’t think most architects could answer, though their indignation about being sidelined on an issue such as Grenfell is understandable.

In housing, government requires growth at speed to ‘solve’ the housing affordability crisis. It seems highly doubtful that architects can help the government in developing the solution to that catastrophe without first effecting fundamental devolution, tax and land reforms. In earlier times, architects were very much agents of change in housing, setting up housing associations and thereby expanding the pool of actors who were creating more much-needed homes. This is all but impossible in today’s lock-out monopoly of developers, and I take my hat off to those few architects who are pioneering new forms of custom and self-build housing in the face of enormous challenges. So what can most architects realistically do to help the government with ‘the housing problem’? Nimbyism is alive and well (and understandable, given the quality of most housing output) and is one of the causes of the slow rate of development in the UK. My view is that architects need to demonstrate positively how attractive and sensitive new higher-density neighbourhoods can be. That might be through case studies, research or popular exhibition.

Grenfell has brought the whole issue of ‘who does what and who is accountable’ in building and refurbishing housing to the public and state’s consciousness. Who among us, even within the built environment sector, has not struggled to explain to a friend what might have happened and who or what is to blame? 

This confusion in itself is unacceptable. I believe that architects can and should provide very valuable evidence to bear on this shocking failure, whether that failure is one of specification, design, regulation, contract, or asset management. It raises the question of whether the government should have a chief architect, or at least a chief ‘something’ representing the ‘built environment’ (not a term the public engages with at all). The answer is, of course, yes – and perhaps that post should rotate between the leading built environment professional bodies, if they feel able to agree on such a thing.

Could architects and their professional body have stemmed the tide of new consultants who appeal to low cost-obsessed, risk-averse clients? Could they have retained their fee scales and sold an associated message of quality and high morals to their paymasters and the public? I doubt it. Someone has to want what architects offer, whether that’s the government, the client or the consumer, in order to care about the protection of their role or the authority of their voice. That means we as a society must rediscover the value of more than just short-term financial return. And it also means architects reaching out with far more conviction and clarity to their various stakeholders to tell them what they can offer.

Claire Bennie is founding director of housing development consultancy Municipal and former development director of Peabody

You can read this feature and more in t his edition of the AJ.
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  • 13 Comments

Readers' comments (13)

  • This piece makes for a depressing read, much of it I absolutely contest and in my view the reason why the profession is struggling.

    As I've said we should be setting the bar higher not lower. At present architects are subsidising developers and much of these recommendations will continue this downward trend for you can never underestimate what a developer, contractor wants or considers appropriate or low enough fees. This is a particularly bizarre statement to make "The average customer is not demanding and paying a premium for good design. So it makes no business sense for speculators to provide it"

    The profession through the RIBA and RIAS needs to take a stand, call out bad practise and we all need to more vocal.

    However Claire does have a point about addressing issues related to developer, procurement and political interests and other elements effecting, particularly mass housing that need addressing.

    Gordon Gibb , you may be interested that that's why I set up new two year Masters project " Home " for my unit 2 at Scott Sutherland to look primarily at exactly those issues.

    Over two years we will undertake global research work into the design of Mass Housing - public, social, and developer ledhousing. This unit is a typologically based unit. To begin with we will gather information and conduct a comparative study of the following in a range of countries
    identified by students:
    - Housing Policy (Approach and Methods)
    - Procurement System (current and proposed, if any)
    - Programme (House Types, Densities, Shared Facilities)
    - Construction Methods
    Further, we will study the best public, social, and developer led housing projects from across the globe produced
    since 1918, and a study trip will look at mass housing from the 1950s, 1970s, and the past two decades.

    By the end of studies, students will detail and create an innovative housing project of their own, however the typological and international focus of the unit will be to position the students as extremely knowledgeable in the field of mass housing.

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  • Nigel Ostime

    A really excellent and insightful piece, full of great suggestions and recommendations, all of which are indisputable. A couple of points to note:

    Claire asks for a forum at the RIBA where both parties ‘can constructively air their grievances and try to rebuild confidence in both directions’. In fact, in 2014 the RIBA set up the Client Liaison Group to do just that, and we have undertaken considerable consultation and published two reports on the findings: ‘Client & Architect – Developing the Essential Relationship’ (2015) and ‘What Clients Think of Architects’ (2016). The second report sets out the results of an online client satisfaction survey of nearly 1,000 clients who had commissioned buildings in the last two years. Both can be downloaded free of charge from www.architecture.com.

    A clear finding from the survey was the gap in the level of satisfaction between contractor clients and other clients. To address this - and the apparent failures in the industry revealed in recent catastrophic events - and prompted by the new president Ben Derbyshire, the CLG is currently working on a framework for best practice in the D&B environment which is being developed jointly with the CIOB. This is likely to be in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding to be agreed between architect and contractor client – and potentially other parties to the design and build process – setting down appropriate behaviours and processes to be followed to reinforce a collaborative approach. It will be accompanied by an explanation of the issues that need addressing, plus advice and tools to facilitate change. The ambition is to gain broad consensus on these issues across the construction industry and start to turn the tanker round.

    The article notes that some clients will never bother to discover the value architects can bring, because they are only focused on the bottom line. To effect change, the profession needs to demonstrate a better understanding of client’s commercial drivers. This point is reinforced in the two reports and I encourage everyone to download a copy and take note of the findings and recommendations.

    Finally, the RIBA is publishing an update to ‘A Client’s Guide to Engaging an Architect’ in October and this will set out what clients can expect their architects to do and know, the codes and regulations they must abide by and how clients can go about selecting the most appropriate practice for their project. We need to promote good design and the selection of good architects is central to this.

    Nigel Ostime, Hawkins\Brown
    Chair of RIBA Client Liaison Group

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  • Gordon  Gibb

    I also find the piece insightful, but I don't find it depressing at all. It is a reality that we have been living with for decades, and if we think we are going to change it by organising ourselves in our member organisations o meet and discuss it, or by making nice little agreements as to how to treat architects, we are wrong. That ship has sailed, and it sailed from Canary Wharf in the late 1980s, followed by the recommendations written in the 1990s as to how to deliver projects competently without the negative influence exerted by the will and necessary conflicts associated with architects.

    Procurement is the car industry, in the UK. It is based upon consumer risk and cost control and manufacturer preference. It is the manufacturers who run it now, and not the designers. When you look at the parallel with the car industry, you can see why we are marginalised, if being at the forefront is seen as important. Who has ever heard of the designer of the Ford Focus? Why do we think that architects will be influential now? Now, we find that an increasing proportion of the profession work as back room designers for contractors. Also, it is important to note that most cars share most of their parts with most other cars now, so there may be a decreasing need for design.

    When you look at a calamity like Grenfell, what did our professional bodies ever do to prevent it? It was there staring at us, and we did nothing. And before anybody criticises the procurement route alone, I have to ask the worst question, that I have seen nobody ask to date. Why was there no competent fire escape within the design? Why did the fire stair end on the third floor? Whose fault was that?

    When you look at mass housing stock now, we don't even have a locus to enter into the debate. Why would you bring a profession that presents itself as dealing in the esoteric, the environmental and the aspirational into a necessarily forensic analysis of failure to protect human life? I wouldn't.

    We need to look at the priorities of the large consumers of built product along with the needs of the users and the environment. Indeed, for our own future wellbeing, the first of these is actually our priority. If we don't understand the importance of prioritising risk aversion, finance, facility and the bottom line, we are nowhere. And because of how we are taught, the stratification of the profession and the lack of specialisation or sectorisation, we are going nowhere.

    And the RIBA talk about how to guide a client to the appropriate architect. Keep baling out that sinking lifeboat, and whatever you do, RIBA, don't fall asleep.

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  • What a sad, self-pitying, desperate article. With regard to winning back trust from the public, this paragraph, which is the only covert reference to estate demolition I can find, says everything about the lies and self-deceptions by which architects justify their role in the social cleansing it produces: 'Existing communities where built change [i.e. the demolition of their homes and their replacement with unaffordable investment opportunities for the rich] is proposed [i.e decided in advance and implemented against their will by unaccountable councils] are understandably confused about [i.e. don't agree with and oppose] what architects do [i.e. act as funeral directors for the working class]. The multiplicity of actors in any scheme is complex [i.e. supposedly too difficult to explain to the residents architects are employed to hoodwink], and architects are often seen [i.e. universally regarded], however unfairly [i.e. accurately identified], as just another consultant [i.e. unprincipled vulture] reaping fees from [i.e feeding upon the carcass of] a ‘regeneration’ initiative [i.e. imposed demolition] whose efficacy may be questionable [i.e. complicit in a programme that threatens the homes of hundreds of thousands of residents on nearly 240 estates in London alone].

    ASH recently held an exhibition of our design alternatives to estate demolition at the ICA. We didn't expect the AJ to turn up and we weren't disappointed. But dare I suggest that if more architectural practices were engaged in saving people's homes rather than destroying them, the trust the profession so craves may start to return. Until it does, architects will be treated accordingly: as servile yes-men by the building industry, with suspicion and anger by the communities they threaten.

    Simon Elmer
    Architects for Social Housing

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Most Architects under a certain age would rather run a mile than go on site and be asked a question about an un-buildable detail.
    It will take a generation to change that -starting in the architecture schools.

    The profession made a conscious decision maybe 20 years ago to make their money at planning stage, and avoid the dirty business of construction. The abandonment of the feescales made their minds up for them.

    For that, we lost our position in the heirarchy, and deservedly so.
    There are now two types of architectural practices in the big urban areas. Poncy concepts and Grunts. Week after week in the AJ you see terrible, wilful designs that are not worthy of publicity. It is clear that these guys cannot detail or build -and don't really want to. I am not surprised that contractors do not want novated designers anywhere near the construction.
    The Grunts side, from my experience, is actually quite competent.

    We gave away the authority and the power, that's why we are not paid like lawyers. The reason we were not give a seat at the table at Grenfell Inquiry is because we hadn't proved our contribution would be valuable.
    A mistake, but we deserve the cold shoulder. Architects refurbished all these residential high-rise buildings, at what point did we take charge?

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  • "Most Architects under a certain age would rather run a mile than go on site and be asked a question about an un-buildable detail.
    It will take a generation to change that -starting in the architecture schools" Frankly, that's rubbish, get a grip.

    So is this, "if we think we are going to change it by organising ourselves in our member organisations to meet and discuss it, or by making nice little agreements as to how to treat architects, we are wrong."

    From The Herald - Thursday 08th December 2005 (Andrew Denholm)
    One of a number of media articles and public comments regarding PPP and building failures.

    A stark warning over the quality of new schools in Scotland built with the help of private money will be delivered today at a design conference.

    A leading architect will claim that rebuilding schools using public private partnership (PPP) schemes is rewarding cheapness over effective design.

    Alan Dunlop, a Glasgow-based architect, will tell the Children in Scotland conference in Edinburgh that the Scottish Executive's PPP process is "failing" children.

    "We are building schools for children that we wouldn't use as adults. The architects involved in the PPP process have no time for development because fees are cut to the bone so any idea of developing design is a non-starter," he said.

    "That means you get sub-standard buildings which are little more than a roof over your heads.

    "It is designed for the accountant and the beancounter and in 20 years' time these buildings are likely to become as bad as the schools they replaced because the materials are not good enough and the design is poor."

    This was the SNP response, SNP now in government

    Fiona Hyslop, the education spokeswoman for the Scottish National Party, said: "Many schools in Scotland are in desperate need of repair, but we are paying through the nose for it and we're not necessarily getting value for the public purse because the profits go to the private companies. Architects are the very people who know the value we're getting in terms of building quality, so when they raise concerns we need to listen."

    This was the consequence

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/AandP

    "The quality of the built environment affects everyone in Scotland.
    The purpose of architecture and urban design is not only to meet our practical needs in housing, our activities, but also to improve the quality of life for the people of Scotland.

    How buildings and places are made, the quality of their design and of the built environments they help shape, should be a matter of concern for us all.

    The key challenges for creating a high quality built environment are to:

    create successful, thriving and sustainable places and communities
    deliver well-designed public buildings which are greener - and which represent good value for money tackle the barriers to good quality development, through education, skills and advocacy"

    Admittedly the SNP's Non Profit Distributing still depends on private finance to work but so far no walls have collapsed and no child almost killed.

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  • Gordon  Gibb

    Alan - NPD provides the contractor with one Ferrari rather than two under PPP. Please don't kid yourself that any government organization knows how to actually save money or do any kind of sensible deal. Also the policy on architecture is just words. Words are moved aside quickly by financial expediency and vested interest. What are hubs for? the removal of liability for the actions of publicly appointed personnel and the removal of the need to operate proper financial processes in accordance with EU law, including paying fees.

    Mr or Ms McKenzie - I really like the ponces and grunts description. That is, although cruel, absolutely spot on. I too am proud to be a disenfranchised grunt who can see that the Emperor is indeed naked.

    And, Simon, that whole thing about this debate is that it is far, far bigger than whether an estate gets demolished or rebuilt. The group you refer to are not the public, they are a tiny subset, and most of those will see the local authority as the culprit and won't care at all about who or what an architect is.

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  • "I too am proud to be a disenfranchised grunt" well of course you are. that's coming across in everything you're writing.

    My concern however is that you're teaching somewhere and also in practice.

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  • This was published today by Project Scotland
    https://projectscot.com/2017/09/leading-qs-slams-cost-cutting-culture/

    a construction publication that does not have the prestige of aj but probably read more by contractors, developers and local authorities.

    "ONE of Scotland’s most experienced quantity surveyors has lamented the way in which the construction industry has allowed itself to become “cost and fee driven”.

    Aberdeen-based Michael C Hastie, who has headed up his own practice for 40 years, believes the way projects are procured has led to architects, quantity surveyors and civil engineers “scrabbling for fees”, resulting in a poorer service.

    Mr Hastie made his remarks in response to comments by architect Alan Dunlop in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in the previous issue of Project Scotland.

    Mr Dunlop called for a return to more traditional building contracts following the fatal fire and said the role of the architect in a design team had been “marginalised”.

    Mr Hastie said the tendering of fees is a “recipe for disaster” that has “driven the professions involved to the brink over the past 20 years”.

    He told Project Scotland, “Everybody trims everything to the bone in order to achieve the contract, and in trimming it to the bone you have to affect the level of service you give.

    “The dilution of the service results in errors, mistakes and the product not being suitable.

    “In order to get the job you have to be competitive; now, competitive doesn’t mean competitive in quality, it means competitive in price and that is where the customer always lets himself down.

    “He looks at the bottom line, he doesn’t take into account, I believe, the true cost of cutting the fee, which is that the service will go down.”

    Mr Hastie continued, “The architect ends up working for the contractor, not the client, so the architect will specify what the contractor can afford to put on the job, to reflect the price for the overall contract, not what the client wants to see, and that’s where it all falls down.

    “In the old team, the architect was the specifying officer and the supervising officer and his word was law."

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  • Until the RIBA takes swift and serious action against architectural incompetency (Dartington Primary School) and removes, either permanently or for a reasonable duration, the privilege to practise, the public will remain deeply unimpressed with a profession which has lost almost all of the respect it once had.
    While I'm at it; Ditch the Building Regulations and adopt the IBC, it would make life simpler for the entire construction industry.

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