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Saturday02 August 2014

Ruth Reed ends RIBA presidency with final shot at Gove

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Outgoing RIBA president Ruth Reed has aimed a parting shot at the industry’s nemesis by saying Michael Gove’s free schools initiative will cost more than budgeted.

This week the government said 24 free schools would be open for business later this month at a total capital cost of up to £130 million. The education secretary said this amounted to just 2.6% of the department’s £5 billion capital budget for the current financial year.

But Reed said that costs had been skewed because local communities had pitched in to get the schools up and running.

“I don’t want to decry the efforts of the community groups but a lot have donated labour and materials for free. We just don’t know how much has been gifted.”

She added: “Converting existing buildings is often more expensive than new build because these buildings have issues that you wouldn’t face if you were starting from scratch.”

Reed said Gove had caused “great damage” by accusing architects of “creaming off cash” during the previous government’s BSF programme.

“I got the impression he spoke in shorthand and said architects when he meant consultants,” she added. “Sadly we’ve been unable to dispel the myth that we all made lots of money out of BSF. We got stuck with what he said.”

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Readers' comments (4)

  • zecks_marquise

    Sadly a presidency is always measured on its failures and not its successes. If the government - and by extension middle england - believes that architects are money grabbing profiteers, her tenure has been disastrous.

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  • What a disaster. Her legacy as president has left us with architect bashing. Thanks!

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  • Mike Duriez

    On balance, Ruth Reed has tried quite hard to promote architects. And she was meant to be President of RIBA and not leader of the Tories, so keeping Gove quiet was not part of her role.

    She should have tried to reduce the number of architecture students and make their education more relevant to the profession.

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  • zecks_marquise

    @mike lobbying for less places was never going to happen for risk of being branded elitist. As for studying being more relevant, have a read of this year's RIBA sponsored student projects. You see that like her predecessor, the new president has little interest in producing students with usable skills.

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