Do Architects have any power?

Do Architects have any power?

Postby zelemon » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:28 pm

Architects maybe respected 'honorable' members of society but do we hold much power when serious issues arise? Yes we have managed to protect our 'title' but recent developments in the socio political arena would suggest that we do not have a voice or are simply not powerful enough for politiicans to bother with us.


1.2006 The GCC contracts were developed with relatively little input from the Archtiectural proffession, the result is a contract that is unworkable or unresonable for most to adminster.
2. May 2009 Tanaiste criticises us for having excessive fees etc.
3. 2008-2009- The developement of NAMA.
4. Nov 2009-State demands steep cut in fees from architects on new Childrens’ Hospital in Dublin
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby keating » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:57 pm

Isn't the question, are architects relevant and necessary?

Most of our core skills have been split into specialist fields. For instance I was at an early design stage team meeting in the UK recently as Bream consultant, The design team included Urban design and Planning, Project management, retail planning, Integrated land use and transport planning, Sustainability and Energy. Housing etc, Access and special needs. M+E, Structural Eng, Local Architect and design Architect. The Architect had minor role and took direction from the urban designers. It seems all the interesting jobs are now performed by specialists with Architects left with the mundane task of documentation for planning applications and tender documents. Recently in Ireland we discovered that we could use drafting firms, to produce this information. There are examples of successful new Architecture and low energy building consultancies run quite successful with no architects in management roles. It may well be the case, that being an architect is bad for business. Architects don't have power, they gave it away. Who after all designed the 35,000 one off houses built in 2003, was that architects, no.
Unfortunately the lack of political cloud from Architects/planners and engineers is a product of our archaic corrupt political system. Unlike the bankers, builders and unions, the Architects representative body never worked out how to play the civil service game, by getting down and dirty with the parochial political system which has the power.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby teak » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:50 pm

No pleasure in saying this but power is something that has to be taken.
It's not awarded to us for all our faithful years of study and working "under" an older pro.
I had to learn this myself the hard way as an engineer.

Better to try and organise something with finance companies for the design & planning fees for the homebuilder.
As it stands these fees are a lot for a homebuilder to take from their savings.
Once planning permission comes through the home loan can be applied for and used to pay the finance company.

Real power in this gombeenland can only taken from satisfying ordinary people.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby wearnicehats » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:50 pm

keating wrote:
For instance I was at an early design stage team meeting in the UK recently as Bream consultant, The design team included Urban design and Planning, Project management, retail planning, Integrated land use and transport planning, Sustainability and Energy. Housing etc, Access and special needs. M+E, Structural Eng, Local Architect and design Architect.
.


sounds like one fucking boring meeting
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby gunter » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:56 pm

I know of a recent case where the architect was fired off a small project [for taking too long, or having the planning application returned as invalid, or some such] and the planning consultant, who was assisting the application, paraphrased the architect's drawings and re-lodged them himself, in a seriously dumbed down form.

The architect was a bit pissed off, but also a bit concerned that a scheme that he had designed to address the sensitivities of a particular site had now been lodged in a crude form that would damage the site context that he had taken all that time to try to address.

The architect submitted a €20 third party observation pointing out that some serious design conditions would have to be imposed on any grant of planning permission if the scheme was to come back up to anything like the standard it had when originally designed, but the planning authority, either didn't agree, or didn't give a toss, and just granted permission for the crude version without conditions.

What hope is there for any kind of design standards, when architecture is so little regarded and nobody seems to either know the difference, or care.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby zelemon » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:07 pm

gunter wrote:I know of a recent case where the architect was fired off a small project [for taking too long, or having the planning application returned as invalid, or some such] and the planning consultant, who was assisting the application, paraphrased the architect's drawings and re-lodged them himself, in a seriously dumbed down form.

The architect was a bit pissed off, but also a bit concerned that a scheme that he had designed to address the sensitivities of a particular site had now been lodged in a crude form that would damage the site context that he had taken all that time to try to address.

The architect submitted a €20 third party observation pointing out that some serious design conditions would have to be imposed on any grant of planning permission if the scheme was to come back up to anything like the standard it had when originally designed, but the planning authority, either didn't agree, or didn't give a toss, and just granted permission for the crude version without conditions.

What hope is there for any kind of design standards, when architecture is so little regarded and nobody seems to either know the difference, or care.


Surely once the Planning Consultant had made changes the Archtiect had lost the right to the ownership of the design?
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby KerryBog2 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:16 pm

Don't be too hard on yourselves. Surely an architect's 'eye' would have prevented an engineer from doing this:
Attachments
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby DOC » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:29 pm

KerryBog2 wrote:Don't be too hard on yourselves. Surely an architect's 'eye' would have prevented an engineer from doing this:


That is fantastic! :)
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby henno » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:30 pm

the fact that architects cannot market themselves is a very significant hindrance to understanding and regard that gunter is referring to.

Joe Public equates architectural services to a luxury, which, in tight economic times, with viable alternatives available, comes at a high economic cost. Architecturally designed and produced rural developments tend to be equated to extortionately high production costs.

If Architects were allowed to market themselves and explain to consumers that high quality design and production can equate to lower build costs with high quality results then that would certainly get consumers interested. However, the starting point is the fee scale that architects charge. If Joe Public has a choice between paying Paddy 'the jack of all trades' a few grand to 'draw up the plans, get planning for me and, sure, keep an eye on the build'... or paying de Architect 12% of a tight budget for a 'quear lookin' house' which means the must forgo their €25k shaker / Grecian / tudor kitchen with granite worktop.... which will they choose, give the very limited understanding and knowledge put before them?? County councils grant bland bungalow designs at a drop of the hat while contextualised and contemplated designs are put through long drawn out rigmarole of intense Fis, clarifications and sometimes second or third applications. I have yet to see a house design refused by a planner for being 'too boring'.

Similarly for housing development..... the vast majority of 'architecturally designed' housing estates in the country are littered with north facing patio doors, monotonous single aspect elevations, incidental flat plain green spaces etc.... questioning whether or not the designers were actually Architects or pretenders.

If architects were allowed to market themselves they would have to seriously consider a vital aspect of any business. The restrictions in marketing are viewed by many as a thin veil of cartel-ship.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby wearnicehats » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:35 pm

State demands steep cut in fees from architects
»
ALREADY FLOUNDERING from the downturn, architects are coming under severe pressure from State agencies, whose remit to shave costs and cut back on expenditure is being felt across both the construction industry and the architectural profession.

Take the tenders for the new Childrens’ Hospital in Dublin, already trailing a saga of cynicism over its location. In spite of reservations over emergency access to its north inner city location near the Mater and extra costs associated with building in that location, the realpolitik has been accepted, due to the pervasive influence of then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, for whom nothing moved in the constituency without his say-so.

Whether Bertie can do anything about the scaled-back fees on offer is another matter. Professional consortia invited to tender have been taken aback at the reduced fees on offer. Of course, it’s good and proper, however belatedly, that construction tenders should be subject to greater scrutiny. Remember those perennial “over-budget” runs on State contracts, which traditionally made the comptroller and auditor general’s reports look like a golfing tip for builders’ outings in Marbella – such was the scale of overruns on materials, labour, etc.

Joe Public was right to be heartily sick of these inevitable “overruns”. But now there is overrun in another direction – the swing of savage cuts on all tenders.

Bidding consortia of architects, engineers and surveyors, we hear, are having their projections returned with demands to reduce their fees, from the standard scale of around 10 to 12 per cent of the build cost to, wait for it, 1 per cent. As one veteran architect asked: “Can anyone run a business on a 1 per cent margin?” Answers from architects, please, on a postcard if you can afford the stamp, to the CAG’s office
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby teak » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:08 pm

If architects were allowed to market themselves . . . .

Is there a law stopping them ?
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby missarchi » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:11 pm

I'll try and get under that bridge...
Architects in most cases cannot compete with market forces except in niche projects with hard data. I blame the devil and the detail architects could also cause the destruction of Dublin repetition is prophet... I know I sure as hell couldn't afford an architect and that is the freedom of the society we live in... Architecture is a risky profession are the risks worth the rewards? It all goes back to the master builder and split from there... gravy

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the train would stop:D
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby parka » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:22 pm

For a second I thought I had visited the Arch Tech section from "the boards" :eek:
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby teak » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:47 pm

I'll try and get under that bridge...
Architects in most cases cannot compete with market forces except in niche projects with hard data. I blame the devil and the detail architects could also cause the destruction of Dublin repetition is prophet... I know I sure as hell couldn't afford an architect and that is the freedom of the society we live in... Architecture is a risky profession are the risks worth the rewards? It all goes back to the master builder and split from there... gravy


For a woman who seems so confident in her views, you sure articulate them hopelessly.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby missarchi » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:28 am

teak wrote:For a woman who seems so confident in her views, you sure articulate them hopelessly.


Agreed that's why I get free critiques:) it's about the journey...
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby reddy » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:34 pm

missarchi wrote:I'll try and get under that bridge...
Architects in most cases cannot compete with market forces except in niche projects with hard data. I blame the devil and the detail architects could also cause the destruction of Dublin repetition is prophet... I know I sure as hell couldn't afford an architect and that is the freedom of the society we live in... Architecture is a risky profession are the risks worth the rewards? It all goes back to the master builder and split from there... gravy

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the train would stop:D


Another oblique post of the month award to Missarchi.

Wearnicehats - just wondering where that quote came from - 1 per cent is shocking!

And there's no restrictions on architects marketing themselves - there used to be restrictions on advertising but they've been lifted long ago. The only constraint is that you cannot bring the profession or a colleague into disrepute.

Architects are not that bad on a personal level at marketing - word of mouth being by far the most valuable form (altho most of their websites are trash).

I reckon the RIAI needs to take some blame - they've done little to endear the profession to the public and reinforce the recognition of quality architecture in the public consciousness - we need education programs, TV series, open days which are geared to the public and not just other architects etc. Its time we stopped being such an insular profession.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby missarchi » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:53 pm

http://www.bighugelabs.com/onblack.php?id=3604655877&size=large

is it considered bringing the profession into disrepute with accepting 1% fees?
A lot of the prefab house people here don't charge for an architects basic service it's included free.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby KerryBog2 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:53 pm

reddy wrote:..........just wondering where that quote came from - 1 per cent is shocking!



It's from yesterday's IT
link http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/property/2009/1112/1224258650964.html

An inane article, an unattributed quote all written by an anonymous journalist.
K.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby parka » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:38 pm

reddy wrote:
I reckon the RIAI needs to take some blame - they've done little to endear the profession to the public and reinforce the recognition of quality architecture in the public consciousness - we need education programs, TV series, open days which are geared to the public and not just other architects etc. Its time we stopped being such an insular profession.


There's a new RIAI launch next week, including lots of press, radio extra, extra....

Maybe a little too late
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby spoil_sport » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:51 pm

I'm a little uncomfortable with the subject of this thread; since when did architects have "power"? Dictators have "power", architects have respect, maybe, but power?
The issue here is an undermining of the profession, and ignorance of the value of the service, the idea that it is a luxury and something dispensable. Talking in terms of power is not really helping the public perception of the profession, it plays into the image of the egotist, the self-indulgent artist, rather than the craftsman and "master builder".

On a seperate but relevant note:
"I'll try and get under that bridge...
Architects in most cases cannot compete with market forces except in niche projects with hard data. I blame the devil and the detail architects could also cause the destruction of Dublin repetition is prophet... I know I sure as hell couldn't afford an architect and that is the freedom of the society we live in... Architecture is a risky profession are the risks worth the rewards? It all goes back to the master builder and split from there... gravy"

There is not a single gramatically correct sentance in that paragraph (this is not meant to be a personal attack, it is just a convenient example) missarchi, are you an architect and if so how do you communicate with clients? Do they know what you are talking about? I don't.
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby parka » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:22 pm

spoil_sport wrote:how do you communicate with clients? Do they know what you are talking about? I don't.


Ok so it's not just me
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby KerryBog2 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:37 pm

parka wrote:ok So It's Not Just Me


+1
;)
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby foremanjoe » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:21 pm

I think she's an alcoholic with a touch of schizophrenia thrown in for good measure.

Either that or it's a very concerted effort to wind people up on this site.

I can't put it down to her being a non-native english speaker either, because other languages have syntax too and her spelling is usually pretty accurate.

She could also be suffering from locked-in syndrome and uses one of those machines that tracks her eye movement to make words, she just hasn't mastered it yet.

Or perhaps someone has written a computer programme that takes architecture jargon and tries to put it into sentences and post comments online.
The programmer died before he could perfect his masterpiece, see Edward Scissorshands.

Any other suggestions?
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby tommyt » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:43 pm

"This message is hidden because missarchi is on your ignore list"
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Re: Do Architects have any power?

Postby teak » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:01 pm

. . . how do you communicate with clients?

I've no fear for her clients.They can well look after themselves.
My fear is for the poor secretary who has to type up a coherent client report from a load of babble thrown over Miss Archi's shoulder as she rushes out the office door . . .

But getting back to architects advertising.
Are there defined types of advertising for them - i.e. things that are considered dignified marketing and things that aren't ?
Would this following one be seen as too pleb ?

Put the arch's logo, office address and mobile on a triangular ruler.
All developers, builders, engineers, surveyors, etc who come into the office would be given one.
It is important to get a non-white coloured ruler as otherwise the ruler will be invisible amongst the mess of plans on the jeep dashboard and will be lost.

If this item is too tacky for the RIAI I can think of items of even more use to potential clients which can be customised for each architect's practice.

But maybe you boys and girls want to hide your lights under a bushel . . .
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