From todays Irish Times
Planning offices operating without architects
Almost a third of local authority planning divisions are operating without architectural services, a report has found.
Local authorities in Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary, Meath and Laois are planning for the future without architects, despite a Government commitment to promote architectural quality in the planning process in 2002.
David O'Connor, Fingal County Council manager, said not having architectural staff is causing some local authorities to miss out on good development opportunities.
"In some situations protected buildings can cause problems for local authorities that are looking to develop an area.
"An architect can take what seems like a problem and more often than not find ways to use that building and give an area a new lease of life," he said.
The report, Model Architectural Services Structure for Local Authority, was developed by the City and County Architects Association and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.
It found that eight local authorities employ only one architect and that less than half - 16 out of 34 - employ the recommended number of two architects.
To tackle these issues the report suggests that all local authorities should have an architectural services department to ensure the full range of skills and competencies available to them are being utilised.
SeÃ¡n Ã“ Laoire of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland said this countrywide inconsistency was not good practice and was a factor contributing to uneven quality in the built environment. "All local authorities are competing at a national and international level for development and investment at a time when the built environment is becoming more complex.
"Local authorities need to create attractive environments, in which people choose to live and work, measured by innovation, quality of design and the delivery of cohesive sustainable communities," Mr Ã“ Laoire said.
Â© 2008 The Irish Times