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Thursday24 July 2014

Hodder extends overture to industry

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Turn of house builders and councils to meet RIBA president

Stephen Hodder is continuing his new year push with the industry’s clients with house builders and local authorities next on his list of meetings.

The RIBA president met contractors, including Laing O’Rourke, Carillion and Skanska, earlier this month to find out what they wanted from architects as part of an overall fact-finding mission to improve the profession’s influence.

Now Hodder is set to meet house builders at RIBA’s London headquarters next month with Taylor Wimpey, First Base, Family Mosaic and Argent, the developer behind the revamp of King’s Cross, all due to attend.

The following month at the Mipim property show in the south of France he is meeting up with local authorities and property agents.

Hodder said: “I’m asking all of them ‘what’s your perception of the industry and how can we add better value?’ I think it’s important we [RIBA] give our members something tangible to go out and get more work.

“It’s important that we get a perception of how we’re seen and from that we can say ‘this is how we best hone our skills’.”

RIBA president Stephen Hodder

Source: Gareth Gardner

RIBA president Stephen Hodder

Hodder met representatives from Barratt and Linden Homes last month and has already said the biggest policy issue for RIBA ahead of next year’s general election is the quality of housing put up in the coming years. Hodder described his meeting with the contractors as “useful” and said he planned to follow it up with one to one meetings.

“There were a couple of interesting issues that came out of it,” he said. “One of the main ones was that architects have surrendered the design manager role. A couple mourned the tendency for architects to have withdrawn from the co-ordinating role.”

Also attending were former chief construction advisor to the government, Paul Morrell, Turner & Townsend managing director Steve McGuckin, who began his career at Grimshaw, and Construction Industry Council chairman Jack Pringle.

Pringle said: “It was a good meeting. It wasn’t a sniping session. I think the days of architects and contractors sitting in the trenches throwing grenades at each other are over. Architects have a chance of getting architecture at the table if they play the game right.”

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Readers' comments (4)

  • i read carillion, and smiled. design mangers - carillion -improve the profession’s influence. ok!

    ".....mourned the tendency for architects to have withdrawn from the co-ordinating role."

    Design managers? do what?

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  • These are interesting developments.

    I hope the RIBA puts forward 3 other questions for the housebuilders to
    respond to:

    1.Autonomy(or Independent practice) how to maintain all Architect's desire to operate in this way within a project team? Architect's appointments with equal respect.

    2. Design integrity(Quality Control) i.e the pathway towards better homes requires housebuilders as clients to be able to allow Architect's the freedom to actually deliver the value they desire. Will housebuilders be able to avoid meddling so the mutual goals will not inevitably be compromised. I.E include the Architect through until the end of the project and giving the Architect the teeth necessary to do his job well. I.E Contractual powers to issue A.I's that can actually bring about Architecture? How many times when the builder is Client will A.I's be selectively ignored and less quantifiable aspect of real value(Space,Light,Considered unity within a design)be brushed over.

    3.To allow copywrite and protection of intellectual property so jobs going badly can be cancelled and the designs shelved if schemes are compromised? Exploitation is common place.

    If the above important issues aren't seriously addressed and the Riba is perceived to be going in the wrong direction on this issue I for one would seriously consider my membership in the organisation.
    I'm sure many others would consider this particular topic a deal breaker if seen as capitulation so potentially dangerous ground.

    I actually think Architects are in a stronger position now,given growing market perception of the quality of design,than in any recent period.

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  • james francis

    Hang on... "Mipim property show in the south of France he is meeting up with local authorities"

    So which local authorities are these as I am sure the average tax payer won't see this a good value in times of reducing budgets?

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  • As a trainee architect working for a contractor in the design manager role, I firmly believe that an interest and understanding in the on-site coordination and delivery of a project is essential for the modern day architect.

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