Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby goneill » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:46 pm

MULP There was no intention to "worry" you. Its just I'd be a bit slower to say/imply that our colleague is acting in contravention of the law. The Competition Authority itself appears to be somewhat confused about the true meaning of competition. The price of the Irish Times is the same in every newsgaent in the country. Every civil servant is on the same pay scale. Even the doctors have recently had a universal rate applied to them by some clever avoidance of the competition laws. And, as we have just seen, electricians have agreed minimum rates based on legislation dating from the 1940's, as do catering staff who must get double time on Sundays if they are outside the capital. I don't know, but I expect that every McDonalds has the same prices which to me is ok on the basis that the customer is free to go to Burger King. In that respect the conviction of the Citroen dealers seemed to me a little harsh, (after all, the customers could buy Renault if they wanted) but the crucial difference here is that they were pretending to be in competition while effectively operating a fixed price list through varying trade-in prices. They were also affecting the market prices for Citroens, whereas it could not be said that our friends are hoping to affect the prevailing rates for architects or that they are pretending to be in competition with each other.

I don't know if the client will not know which member of the consortium they will get, or if the organisers are taking a cut. It may be a co-op, and they might be very happy to offer some or all of the members for the client to choose from. Clients of very big firms often get to choose which wretched youth is sent down to design their extension either, so this is hardly a fair criticism.

At least, even if you think a network is anti-consumer, you can take out an ad yourself, proclaiming your free first consultations - and the best of luck.
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby goneill » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:45 pm

goneill wrote:. Clients of very big firms often get to choose which wretched youth is sent down to design their extension either, so this is hardly a fair criticism.


Sorry, that should have been:
Clients of very big firms DON'T often get to choose
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby RKQ » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:09 am

mulp wrote:Lots of people do indeed form alliances to promote their business, but most of them know the law in relation to fixed pricing.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Not even in desperate times.

This Protectionist Nonsense is one of the many factors which together contribute to such a low engagement of RIAI architects for domestic extension and one-off new-build work.


Well said mulp, I agree. (Well done for starting a thread on this)
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby mulp » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:10 pm

RIAI Code of Professional Conduct
1. A member shall uphold the integrity and dignity of his profession.

Interpretations Of The Principle 1:
1.2 A member, in providing a professional service and in safeguarding a client's
legitimate interests, shall comply with all relevant statutory procedures and
regulations.

_______________

Given the above statement in the Code of Conduct
Should the RIAI's internal conduct committee act to ensure members cease any unprofessional conduct such as claiming to be a network of architects operating on a fixed-price basis (which does not comply with statute law), thereby protecting potential client's interests with immediate effect (and protecting the majority of architect’s professional reputations),
or
Should the RIAI refrain from intervening and leave the matter for a third party to refer to the Competition Authority, thereby leaving potentially uninformed clients to use an uncompetitive service, provided by an as yet unknown architect, when they could be directed to many architects who are providing initial free consultations through which the client has the opportunity to assess an architect's ability, work and compatibility prior to agreeing to a negotiated fee, as opposed to a €125 per hour fixed rate & minimum fee of €500? (oh, and more than likely adding to the negative image many lay-people have of architects)
_______________

FAQs from http://www.homearchitect.ie

What is the structure of homearchitect?
Homearchitect is a licensed network. This means that architects apply to join our network, and we select architects based on a set of strict criteria. All of our architects are experienced in domestic architecture and have undergone a full training programme, so you can be sure you will receive high quality, professional advice.

All of our architects are very experienced residential architects and have gone through a full selection and training programme by homearchitect so you can be assured you will be getting the best possible advice.

How about a free visit to see if I like you guys?
We do not believe anything constructive can be achieved in a free 45-minute sales chat.
(...Better instead to do the sales stuff upfront via the impersonal website and get you to stump up a min. of €500 before you even thought of a question to ask us). Our initial visits are designed to get your project going as quickly as possible. We ensure you are fully involved in the process, in control and clear about what is happening.... Except perhaps the basics, such as which Architect will even turn up at your door. Sorry, no control permitted on that one!

My opinion is that this service, as presented, is clearly in breach of statute law and the RIAI's code of conduct. Much better if the RIAI acted to ensure professional conduct is maintained and professional reputations are retained.
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby wearnicehats » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:44 pm

wearnicehats wrote:before commenting on the legal side of it does anyone know how exactly this process works? Is this a network of individual companies or is it a single company that then pays individual companies? Or is it a collaboration?

I appreciate Mulp's comments on tendering but, in a sense, is it any different from me not being able to take on a commission and handing it over to a friend? this is very common, especially where small firms club together to share office space



was this cleared up?
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby mulp » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:33 pm

mulp wrote:What is the structure of homearchitect?
Homearchitect is a licensed network. This means that architects apply to join our network, and we select architects based on a set of strict criteria. All of our architects are experienced in domestic architecture and have undergone a full training programme, so you can be sure you will receive high quality, professional advice.

All of our architects are very experienced residential architects and have gone through a full selection and training programme by homearchitect so you can be assured you will be getting the best possible advice.



Any potential client coming to their site can only go on the clear description given above.
It does seem unambiguous in its claim to be a network, not a single company and not some collaborative group.
Home Architect is not registered as an RIAI member practice.
Wonder what the situation is regarding professional indemnity and contract. A client could unwittingly find themselves in a situation where they have no direct contractual relationship with the actual architect who provides the service...
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby wearnicehats » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:35 pm

mulp wrote:Any potential client coming to their site can only go on the clear description given above.
It does seem unambiguous in its claim to be a network, not a single company and not some collaborative group.
Home Architect is not registered as an RIAI member practice.
Wonder what the situation is regarding professional indemnity and contract. A client could unwittingly find themselves in a situation where they have no direct contractual relationship with the actual architect who provides the service...


I don't see how this clears up the method of payment issue. As such, therefore, the collaboration / network / single company issue is still unclear. Criticism still seems to be based on unsubstantiated hearsay
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Re: Anti-Competitive 'Homearchitect.ie' Carries RIAI Logo

Postby missarchi » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:29 pm

Is metro north anti competitive? where architectural components ever tendered?
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