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Stephen Walker

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Comments (9)

  • Comment on: Permitted development rights expanded to allow demolition without permission

    Stephen Walker's comment 13 March, 2020 10:04 am

    Lunacy! Jenrick is simply unbelievable, or unbelievable simple. This will cause development anarchy led by the profit motives of developers. Planning legislation exists for a very good reason though it is far from perfect as many of us in practice know full well. The PD extension proposal makes a nonsense of some very necessary development controls. Chaos will ensue...

  • Comment on: Grenfell Inquiry: Architect had not checked fire-safety guidance for high rises

    Stephen Walker's comment 4 March, 2020 8:12 pm

    It's very unfortunate for this team member that he was ill-prepared and unable to handle the major technical issues relating to the design and didn't research the Building Regs thoroughly. In reality the directors of Studio E carry vicarious liability for the actions of their staff however well or poorly qualified and experienced those staff may be. What were the reporting procedures in place and were the directors actually involved in the day to day control and coordination of the design process. Mr Sounes should not have been such a grilling, it should have been the director(s) responsible. It is also clear to see why Studio E requested immunity from prosecution for the evidence that is emerging. All in all the actions of Studio E constituted mind-numbing incompetence and negligence whatever their brief within the design process.

  • Comment on: Architect booted off register after ‘dishonestly’ spending client’s construction money

    Stephen Walker's comment 22 January, 2020 5:52 pm

    'Booted off for 2 years'. Utter disgrace to the profession. Removal from the Register should be permanent for theft of this type. Perhaps a criminal record will prevent re-registration.

  • Comment on: Bolton fire: Anger over ‘cladding lottery’ after blaze at student flats

    Stephen Walker's comment 18 November, 2019 4:55 pm

    Thank goodness no serious injuries there, but that's due to the skill of the firefighters, the presence of more than one staircase, the relative mobility of students and probably no 'stay-put' policy. Having been involved as an Architect in the removal of other designer's & contractors dangerous and flammable cladding (on 30 tower blocks with another 8 in progress) then replacement with completely fireproof mineral fibre based EWI (external wall insulation) this fire utterly appals me, but it's no real surprise as there are still numerous buildings like this (and worse) that present a huge unacceptable fire risk. Those building owners and managers know who they are and should be dealing with their buildings now. NO excuses not to!
    The fact that there are still readily available and advertised materials that are not completely fireproof, and that Building Regulations have not yet been fully clarified and amended is a matter of national disgrace irrespective of politics and finance or the professions of those that specified and fitted them.
    I don’t know what RADM’s brief was nor their procurement route, but Trespa Meteon or similar systems seem to have been fitted to many tall buildings, new and old. These buildings and systems should be rapidly and properly tested, then remediated if necessary.
    What is particularly infuriating is that many of the buildings constructed or refurbished over the past 5 to 10 years have been carried out on a ‘Design & Build’ basis for developers who have set up single project companies. Those single project companies made huge profits and insisted that the contractors and Architects sign collateral warranties, and then, after a while went into liquidation meaning that in numerous cases their Directors have avoided liability for the buildings, the designs and the costs of remediation.
    The D&B contractors and subcontractors have also in some cases gone into liquidation to avoid the same onerous liabilities because they changed what the Architect had properly specified as completely fire resistant on cost saving grounds, knowing that on a D&B contract the contractor calls the shots and the Architect has no remit to, or is not even permitted to inspect what is being built on site.
    So, in some cases the only people who are being asked or demanded to pay for the repairs are normal citizens who bought an apartment in a development and cannot afford, in any way, to pay the costs of the repairs and may face bankruptcy and/or homelessness. Some are challenging this in the courts, others can’t afford to. A totally iniquitous situation which the government, of whatever political persuasion, should resolve very rapidly!

  • Comment on: ARB wants more cash from profession to take on fake architects

    Stephen Walker's comment 11 September, 2018 10:13 pm

    Those calling themselves Architects have only themselves to blame when caught. In 2005 I became so disillusioned with both the RIBA and ARB and the perception of the profession that I stopped practising as an Architect. I now practice as a "Property, Planning and Architectural Consultant, CDM Principal Designer and Construction Safety Consultant. PI is £5m for projects up to £10m and workload is regularly 70 hours per week as a sole practitioner including BIM level 2. My business title and style were approved by ARB even to the extent that they permitted me to say 'qualified as a Chartered Architect in 1983 and practised as such until 2005' providing I don't call myself an Architect now. Fines for those caught should be steeply increased to pay for their prosecutions and ARB's costs and there should be no increase for ARB members.

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