In June/July 2015 the RSUA’s new Director, Ciarán Fox, organised a series of meetings with members across Northern Ireland to discuss the challenges facing architects and architecture. Many issues were raised but three major themes emerged from those conversations. They are the three Ps of Planning, Payment and Procurement.
In November, RSUA Council approved an initial plan of action around the three Ps. A full copy of the final plan will be issued to all members in due course but here is a summary of some of the most notable actions.
Planning: RSUA will establish a member grouping in each of the 11 council areas to liaise with their local councils on development control, area planning and other relevant issues. These groupings will also act as hubs for local CPD events.
Planning: The President and Director will seek meetings with the Chief Executive of each of the 11 new Councils to discuss planning issues (as well as procurement, investment, built heritage and building control issues). Half of these meetings have now been arranged for Jan/Feb 2016.
Payment: RSUA Procurement Committee to meet to develop an RSUA position paper on payment schedules in public sector contracts.
Payment: RSUA to encourage clients, where appropriate, to offer architects a set fee and to select their preferred architect through design/quality competitions.
Payment: RSUA to develop a voluntary declaration to allow practices to publicly demonstrate their commitment to paying students an appropriate wage whilst they are working in the practice as part of their architectural training.
Procurement: RSUA Procurement Committee to meet to develop an RSUA position paper on the need for a reduction in the level of risk being inappropriately passed to the architect by some clients and a range of other current procurement issues.
Members will be contacted with further details on these actions in January.