This is a reflection of my own experience and I have defended the position of asking for a fair fee for reasoanble work on the basis that if you're a professional and work as an architect for a living, then you need the small work too - especially if you're a small office - and each job has to pay.
I've experienced what you have over the past two years - competing against incompetent draughtsman, engineers with no design ability and technicians who aren't much better.
Recently I've fought the architect's corner over on askaboutmoney.com where some guy had factored in €500 to design and lodge a new house and another poster called RIAD_BSC was cheerleading.
Planning Costs http://www.askaboutmoney.com/showthread.php?t=149146
When I pointed out that this amounted to below cost selling he responded with the free market mantra, which argument extended over two threads.
This one, which I started; -
Architects Fees - a Race to the bottom on Price and Quality.http://www.askaboutmoney.com/showthread.php?t=149255
And this one, started by RIAD_BSC which is still ongoing as you can see; -
Some architects (and other professionals) think the world owes them a living http://www.askaboutmoney.com/showthread.php?t=149271
You have to be careful when you explain the world of professionals with academic qualifications to some people.
They don't have a clue how pensions, total gross earning, family life all are negatively effected by spending your twenties in college and learning your professional practice.
Its convenient for them not to acknowledge the economic redress professionals feel entitled to.
And of course they don't accept that a higher standard of design and knowledge should be adequately rewarded.
They're just interested in screwing the profession at the moment with no thought for how this might rebound on them and others.
I have a report to write for Thursday so I doubt I will reply to RIAD_BSC, but I throw it open here if any competent professional designers would like to drop in and have a go - read the posting rules and keep it polite but firm, never abusive.
To answer your question, this has been covered in the Other Thread about the Building Control Act 2007 and the Sensitive Issue of the Title Architect.
I have given a lot of though to this off-line and there appears to be a very straightforward solution:
- let each profession stick to what its competent at.
This goes back to the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the attendant regulations.
If someone wants to lodge permissions that's one thing, but to design the house they better be trained as an architect.
We're the ones who do five years of design training, not engineers, technicians or draughtspeople.
There is still room for those who have achieved excellence in the design of their work without specific design training.
Let them stand up and apply to be registered as architects.
Otherwise, head off into the sunset and don't come back.
The issue is design competence, not whether you can fill out a form and organise six copies of plans and red outlinline an OS Map with the position of a site notice on it and showing your land holdings coloured blue and ROW's coloured yellow.
The issue is the design of the built environment, whether a private house or a multi-storey office block - is the person competent to design them.
Nixer-merchant draughtspeople, engineers and most technicians haven't a design bone in their bodies.
Those that do need to study as architects, qualify and get registered or get assessed through the ARAE or perhaps the new BCB 2010 if it becomes law.
Two other criteria - and the long term technie and Granfather will love these, are:
(i) are they 10 years in business providing services commensurate with those of an architect - show proof
(ii) are they fully covered by PI cover and if so - as what?
(iii) are they paying V.A.T.T and tax - report them!
That should batten down the hatches - but you're totally right spoilsport - feck these part time nixer merchants!
I believe the RIAI question is - is a schoolteacher who lodges one house application a year an architect?
These are the gits who are taking away out livelihood, not to make ends meet, as we are, but to line their pockets.