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RIBA blasted over failed RSPCA competition


It is difficult to comment without knowing all the details of how this situation arose, and have sympathy for the architects who lost time and money being involved with competition that has been aborted - half way - not by the RIBA - but the client. The RSPCA are a long and well established organisation that reasonably would be expected to have done all their homework on the viability of the development proposed and resolving any planning or transport problems before they embarked on the competition process. It doesn't seem realistic for the RIBA Competitions Department to be expected to check those aspects of a competition unless the potential problems are or should have been reasonably obvious to them when setting up the competition. Or proceeded with caution if the potential promoters were not a well established and efficient business organisation. No doubt lessons will be learnt from this case - perhaps in future including a clause requiring the promoter to compensate entrants if they pull out after the competition has started. As for the general criticism of competitions they have always been welcomed as providing opportunities for younger unknown architects to win competitions and break through to the big time. That still applies. What has happened is that there are too many competitions. There are other less risky ways to get work. Part of the cause of too many competitions may be the RIBA policy to promote competitions widely and pocket the profit made from their role in the process. But also architects can and should limit the number and intensity of competitions they enter as speculative work balanced against projects obtained in other traditional ways like networking and publicity to what they are doing. When I was in practice we always balanced the cost and time of speculative work we could afford the risk involved against that were fee earning projects. How much work time and cost was involved in entering against the value should you win. The old "upside potential against downside risk test. Architects should be very selective on the competitions they enter judge your benefits of winning and the more likely outcome - not winning.. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA

Posted date

4 April, 2019

Posted time

3:54 pm