But the pressure group – started by Hamiltons Architects and believed to include WDR & RT Taggart – is demanding the criteria be dropped, claiming it is creating a ‘class system’ .
Hamiltons Architects director, Seamus McCloskey, who has even become a member of the RSUA council to try and change the competition criteria, said: ‘The RSUA is getting into a position of advising [clients on] design criteria, and it means a very limited group is winning competitions and awards. It’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you win a few awards you win competitions.’
Another source who refused to be named said ‘a considerable amount’ of Northern Ireland’s architects were ‘extremely perturbed’ by the situation.
He said: ‘If you are a qualified architect do you need to prove design ability? There is a class system emerging where some architects are seen as belonging to a higher class.
‘Is it fair that some practices who haven’t received awards are denied the opportunity of applying for awards or tenders? Is that not discriminatory?’