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RIBA hits back after architects slam ‘useless’ response to Brexit vote

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Jane Duncan has defended the RIBA’s response to the EU referendum result, after it was branded ‘useless’ by nearly a fifth of respondents to an AJ opinion poll

More than 200 readers took the AJ’s post-referendum survey. When asked about the RIBA’s response to the leave vote, 55 per cent said the body had not been helpful, and 22 per cent described it as ‘useless’.

However, the RIBA president insisted the institute had ‘sprung into action’ following the referendum result and wanted to help its members during this ‘uncertain time’.

Duncan said: ‘I know that many in our profession voted to remain in the EU – but we have to be pragmatic: it is happening, and we must ensure we consider how best to prosper outside of the EU.’

She said that a RIBA ‘Brexit team’ had been working with the government since the referendum result in June.

She said: ‘My dedicated Brexit team within the RIBA have, since the result was announced, been working with the Creative Industries Council Brexit Group, which reports directly to government, attended regular meetings with other built environment Institutes who have shared concerns and goals, discussed Brexit with our sister architecture institutes the RIAS, RIAI, RSAW and RSUA and are meeting separately with government soon.

‘With our monthly RIBA Future Trends survey we are also continuing to monitor closely any economic impact on the profession.’

Duncan added that a dedicated email address has been set up so members can contact her directly with concerns or questions about Brexit.

Graphs brexit web 3008165

Anonymous comments in the AJ survey revealed a generally negative attitude towards the RIBA’s work since the referendum result.

One respondent wrote: ‘The RIBA should have done more before Brexit. Unfortunately it appears incapable of doing anything to influence government on any topic.’

Another said: ‘Why didn’t it stand up for Remain? The RIBA needs to be proactive in supporting the profession, EU resources, and ensuring that architects still have access to EU work, funding and exposure.’

In June, the RIBA’s interim chief executive, Alan Vallance, defended the institute for not taking a position on the EU referendum.

He said: ‘[Making any statement] would have put at risk £14 million of RIBA funds. We were frustrated, but the decision not to issue guidance was the correct one.’

How to contact the RIBA about Brexit

• Email president.brexit@riba.org (the account is monitored daily)

Click here to find out more information on the RIBA’s reaction to Brexit

AJ, Hellman Brexit and RIBA cartoon September 2016

AJ, Hellman Brexit and RIBA cartoon September 2016

AJ, Hellman Brexit and RIBA cartoon September 2016


Readers' comments (2)

  • Chris Roche

    It is questionable whatever position RIBA took post Brexit would have had any impact or influence on the government. Like many I cannot understand the RIBA's argument that it could not comment prior to the vote but can comment after the vote. The presumption that the RIBA must remain politically neutral does not stack up in my view, and the membership deserve an explanation of why at such a critical time it took a decision to sit on it's hands and do nothing.

    Chris Roche
    x RIBA Council / Founder 11.04

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    I wouldn't have trusted the RIBA to be any more competent than the rest of us out here, unless they had polled all their members well beforehand to see whether there was a consensus across the board, or just the usual RILA momentum.

    I'm happy that this was a simple voters' vote. There was enough propaganda being shoved down our throats, not to need the RIBA's little voice as well.

    If someone said, we are going to open up vast areas of the Commonwealth again to our products and services, we are going to open up USA to our talent, and the RIBA is going to get motivated and put some energy into promoting our wares abroad, most folks would have said bravo.

    If you also said, we won't lose any of our European markets either, since the Euro is on borrowed time and our friends across Europe see the forward-thinking stance our voters have taken.... then maybe people would stop being so pessimistic.

    At the very least (although I have no great love for them) the Brexit vote has secured London as the pre-eminent financial centre in the world. Frankfurt is dead in the water.
    I would suggest that most of RIBA international-looking practices rely very heavily on the financial system to support their projects and business health and they should think on that.

    Money is going to continue to flood into the UK; it's the safest haven and it wants to hide in UK real estate. The envious Brussels Sprouts still covets everything we have.

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