Dear Young Architects

Dear Young Architects

Postby NK111 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:48 pm

Dear Young Architects,

The institution protects the establishment! As the RIAI does not have an internet forum for members to contribute and perhaps express dissent I post here.

As recently as 2007 changes to the Building Control Act brought with them the protection of the title Architect, allowing the public to be certain that someone calling themselves such was indeed qualified. This of course is a positive intervention.
However, unlike many international models and contrary to advice given by the competitions authority, a new registration board was not formed; instead the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland an existing representative organisation of some architects was given the power to administer the registration of all Architects. I suppose this saved on Government expenditure, though as we all inhabit buildings the cost will inevitably find its way down to the public.

Now it gets really interesting, as no sooner has the RIAI gained power, but it introduces “compulsory” CPDs for its members. You must have 20 “structured” i.e. approved CDP hours together with 20 “non-structured” hours. Now from looking at the CPD’s available on the RIAI site, it seems to cost about €100 - €150 per hour, so let’s say €2000 a year, now let’s add the €450 annual fees and the €50 for the stamp, so now it costs every architect €2,500 a year to practice in Ireland. (Not each firm, each architect!!!) The average part 3 salary is €35K, so given the recession it stands to reason that this act of mandatory CPDs will cost the jobs of 1 in 14 architects.

Over 40% of Architects are currently unemployed yet only one space per “structured” CPD is subsidised, where, to use the RIAI term, a lottery” system is used to qualify!

What are these CPDs? Well having been to a few I can tell you that most are glorified sales presentations, a one hour power-point presentation on a product or service. Often the most challenging aspect is to keep eyelids from succumbing to shear boredom. For most computer literate architects the information imparted, if of any value, could be downloaded in an instant through Google. And even in matters of legislation, where the Architect is already duty bound to be knowledgeable - take Health and Safety, if you want to know your responsibilities as a designer under H&S regulations, the HSE have a website with a 4 page doc. outlining such, and a further longer document with the detail. It’s written in plain English to the credit of the HSE. I recall dealing with more complex matters for my Intercert.

So why all this added costly regulation within the RIAI which will inevitably fall upon the consumer to support? Who benefits?

Well first we need to look at the composition of the RIAI board and its relationship to its members. Most board members if not all, are directors of medium sized companies. I a PAYE earner like 50% of RIAI architects, who incidentally don’t get to write off CPD and annual fees against tax, receive a document once a year where a few names and associated photos have magically appeared to be voted into certain board positions. There seems to be a Masonic structure involved, a level 1 “templar” seems to be able to become a board member, and a board member can become a president. Who compiles these lists, like who qualifies the CPD courses as suitable, remains a mystery? It is also interesting that in recent years most RIAI general meetings open to members occur in foreign countries during the working week.

Should I be cynical and describe the “set-up” as a scheme to force employees to pay for their own “further education and training” on their own time?

That it allows the established firms to tick the box re. competency, and perhaps relax standards?

Should I express my belief that the 40% of young unemployed architects will soon no longer be permitted to use the term architect having failed to accomplish their €2000 a year bookish CPD “obligations” despite having trained for at least 7.5 years and having worked in the field dealing with real issues? Would we throw away experienced surgeons with such abandon?

Of those of the younger generation of architects, still with jobs, will we soon see them leaving in their droves, bonuses lost, pay cut, mortgaged to the hilt and now another months income pillaged by an institute with the audacity to state that it represents them!

Should I add that all together this will of course reduce the number of architects in our country and so the consumer, competition and of course diversity in the built environment will obviously suffer?

Has Architecture become a closed shop?

Is this the intended purpose of Registration and CPD obligations?


Regards,

Mr. Young RIAI Architect (sorry, I lack the courage to jeopardise my home and family by submitting my name)
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby bitasean » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:53 pm

you forgot about the €90 per head of architectural staff that offices must pay on top of individual architects paying for their registration.

So for an office of 2 Directors and 3 Staff that's €490 per architect to register as an architect, €90 for each person in the office (God knows how this fee is justified or even calculated) €46.19 per stamp - say one each for the directors, €70 for a branch office and €1000 each for CPDs during the year (bearing in mind that free online tutorials and magazine reading counts as acceptable hours) coming to a grand total of approx €8000 each year per office of a similar size goes to the RIAI.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby Tayto » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:19 pm

You know what's really funny, in a sick kind of way?
If you're an unwaged/unemployed architect, the RIAI will graciously and sympathetically accept a membership fee of 60 euro. But the catch is, they won't let you have a membership stamp.
So if you've been recently made unemployed or are "unwaged", you won't be stamping any certs for any of those projects you used to work on, or you won't be taking on any other cert-stamping work either- you're unemployed, and by God you'll stay that way!
(That is, of course, unless you decide to part with your social welfare and fork-out the 490euro + 50 extra for the precious stamp to the RIAI.
Some RIAI "committee" or other made this decision before Christmas.

It's a Wonderful Life.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby bitasean » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:08 am

To their credit they have allow for a reduced fee of €245 for persons who can prove financial hardship, and you can get your stamp with this for the usual additional fee.

I might be wrong but I think that you automatically qualify for this reduced fee if you are a Fellow of the Institute, which I consider odd.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby wearnicehats » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:34 am

NK111 wrote:Dear Young Architects,

The institution protects the establishment! As the RIAI does not have an internet forum for members to contribute and perhaps express dissent I post here.

As recently as 2007 changes to the Building Control Act brought with them the protection of the title Architect, allowing the public to be certain that someone calling themselves such was indeed qualified. This of course is a positive intervention.
However, unlike many international models and contrary to advice given by the competitions authority, a new registration board was not formed; instead the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland an existing representative organisation of some architects was given the power to administer the registration of all Architects. I suppose this saved on Government expenditure, though as we all inhabit buildings the cost will inevitably find its way down to the public.

Now it gets really interesting, as no sooner has the RIAI gained power, but it introduces “compulsory” CPDs for its members. You must have 20 “structured” i.e. approved CDP hours together with 20 “non-structured” hours. Now from looking at the CPD’s available on the RIAI site, it seems to cost about €100 - €150 per hour, so let’s say €2000 a year, now let’s add the €450 annual fees and the €50 for the stamp, so now it costs every architect €2,500 a year to practice in Ireland. (Not each firm, each architect!!!) The average part 3 salary is €35K, so given the recession it stands to reason that this act of mandatory CPDs will cost the jobs of 1 in 14 architects.

Over 40% of Architects are currently unemployed yet only one space per “structured” CPD is subsidised, where, to use the RIAI term, a lottery” system is used to qualify!

What are these CPDs? Well having been to a few I can tell you that most are glorified sales presentations, a one hour power-point presentation on a product or service. Often the most challenging aspect is to keep eyelids from succumbing to shear boredom. For most computer literate architects the information imparted, if of any value, could be downloaded in an instant through Google. And even in matters of legislation, where the Architect is already duty bound to be knowledgeable - take Health and Safety, if you want to know your responsibilities as a designer under H&S regulations, the HSE have a website with a 4 page doc. outlining such, and a further longer document with the detail. It’s written in plain English to the credit of the HSE. I recall dealing with more complex matters for my Intercert.

So why all this added costly regulation within the RIAI which will inevitably fall upon the consumer to support? Who benefits?

Well first we need to look at the composition of the RIAI board and its relationship to its members. Most board members if not all, are directors of medium sized companies. I a PAYE earner like 50% of RIAI architects, who incidentally don’t get to write off CPD and annual fees against tax, receive a document once a year where a few names and associated photos have magically appeared to be voted into certain board positions. There seems to be a Masonic structure involved, a level 1 “templar” seems to be able to become a board member, and a board member can become a president. Who compiles these lists, like who qualifies the CPD courses as suitable, remains a mystery? It is also interesting that in recent years most RIAI general meetings open to members occur in foreign countries during the working week.

Should I be cynical and describe the “set-up” as a scheme to force employees to pay for their own “further education and training” on their own time?

That it allows the established firms to tick the box re. competency, and perhaps relax standards?

Should I express my belief that the 40% of young unemployed architects will soon no longer be permitted to use the term architect having failed to accomplish their €2000 a year bookish CPD “obligations” despite having trained for at least 7.5 years and having worked in the field dealing with real issues? Would we throw away experienced surgeons with such abandon?

Of those of the younger generation of architects, still with jobs, will we soon see them leaving in their droves, bonuses lost, pay cut, mortgaged to the hilt and now another months income pillaged by an institute with the audacity to state that it represents them!

Should I add that all together this will of course reduce the number of architects in our country and so the consumer, competition and of course diversity in the built environment will obviously suffer?

Has Architecture become a closed shop?

Is this the intended purpose of Registration and CPD obligations?


Regards,

Mr. Young RIAI Architect (sorry, I lack the courage to jeopardise my home and family by submitting my name)


oh god not another one of these threads
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby goneill » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:22 am

Do you have to be young to agree with many of these sentiments?
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:39 am

wearnicehats wrote:oh god not another one of these threads


I've seen you disparage people's concerns several times instead of addressing them where you could.
Do you consider you're promoting architecture by cerrying on in this manner?
Because let me underline this for you - YOU AREN'T!
If you have something to contribute - do so.
And learn to snip, dammit!

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:05 pm

NK111 wrote:
(snip)

Of those of the younger generation of architects, still with jobs, will we soon see them leaving in their droves, bonuses lost, pay cut, mortgaged to the hilt and now another months income pillaged by an institute with the audacity to state that it represents them!

Should I add that all together this will of course reduce the number of architects in our country and so the consumer, competition and of course diversity in the built environment will obviously suffer?

Has Architecture become a closed shop?

Is this the intended purpose of Registration and CPD obligations?

Regards,

Mr. Young RIAI Architect (sorry, I lack the courage to jeopardise my home and family by submitting my name)


Hi NK111,

CPD is a means of upskilling and keeping current to maintain competence.

It is not a means of forcing people to go to RIAI lectures - on the contrary, it is your choice where you source CPD activities and only some require to be structured.

Can I respectfully suggest that if like me you are of limited means, you join the Architects Association of Ireland - Full Membership costs €80.

http://architecturalassociation.ie/index.php/organisation

Their lectures and events are CPD-rated and I have found them friendly, willing to talk and their lectures are excellent.

They offer student rates and reduced rates for the unemployed that are well within the scope of even those drawing assistance.

In this current DISASTER for the industry, I have found they help keep me going, facing each day a sit comes.

There is a site visit on tomorrow in Trinity - the Long Room Hub

There was a lecture last evening the the FreshLatino series.

http://www.architecturalassociation.ie/events/

Having said all that...

-----------------------------------------------------

I am not sure the RIAI have yet to fuly realise the devastation about to hit the profession.

I'm not talking about the attrition to date in both junior and experiecned staff that were let go.

I'm talking about founding partners leaving the profession, faced with four bleak years before anything like normal activity recurs.

This utterly FUBAR period will be the organisation's greatest test and how well they serve their members or otherwise will be their legacy and testament.

For the record, there is still a market in place and being on the Register does not mean being a Member of the RIAI.

You do not need a stamp to certify anything.

You do not need to be a Member to provide architectural services.

Whether in the public eye you can trade as an equal with MRIAI's remains to be seen.

Read the Building Control Act 2007 and DIR 2005/36/EC and the previous DIR 85/384/EEC and get up to speed on the legislation as it affects you.

Please don't let your dissatisfaction with the RIAI prevent you from getting Registered undertaking your own CPD and continuing to offer architectural services to the market.

We don't need to see young architects leaving the profession in hordes and turning what should be an orderly retreat into a panicked rout.

And no, I don't have much work on either, so I'm not being cocky about this.

Join the AAI if that's affordable and keep going.

http://www.architecturalassociation.ie/membership/

Membership

As a voluntary non-profit organisation our dependency on the support of our members is paramount. It is only through the continued involvement of our membership that the AAI can fulfil its charter ‘to provide a medium of friendly communication between members and others interested in the progress of architecture’. To this end we look forward to seeing you at AAI events.

The membership fee structure is as follows:
Member (other than below) €80
Member (retired or unemployed) €20
Member (student over 2nd year) €20
Member (student 1st and 2nd year) Free
Member (honorary) Free
Associate Member (other approved organisations*) €20
Associate Member (single event - non student) €10
Associate Member (single event - student) €10
*members of ICS, SSI and IEI

The membership term runs from 1st January to 31st December

Important Notice Regarding All AAI Events:
The AAI insurance Policy covers only Paid-up members of the AAI, for instance children are NOT covered. Entrance to sites will be refused to non-AAI members. It is also requested that AAI-members visiting sites provide their own safety equipment (minimum safety boots and hard-hat). Entrance to site will be refused for lack of safety equipment.


http://architecturalassociation.ie/pdf/AAI_MEMBERSHIP_FORM_2010.pdf

-----------------------------------------------------

The cost of RIAI membership and CPD is something I have been monitoring for the past few months as someone who is preparing for registration.

I cannot say your post comforts me to any degree nor do I want to disparage course content, although I accept what you say is posted in good faith and you have direct experience of it that I don't.

Disregard the attitude of wearnicehats, and take heart in the fact that sole practitioners constitute a significant, and rising proportion of the Membership and that senior members of the RIAI are affected as are we all.

My own practice cannot afford to attend any of the CPD lectures even were we a Member.
We have a policy over the years of continuous professional development regardless.
We didn''t need the spur provided by the RIAI and we will continue to read freely available information as well as benefit from our association with fellow professionals and competent contractors to keep current - as should all architects.

If you feel you are not getting value for money from the RIAI - and its something I have heard echoed elsewhere - make yourself heard!

Use this and other forums as a means of garnering public opinion on the matter and submit your findings to the RIAI.

DO something about it! That's democracy for you!

-----------------------------------------------------

FWIW

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:13 pm

goneill wrote:Do you have to be young to agree with many of these sentiments?


Nope, but you may lose some credibility if its later found you've made millions from the profession and are posting from your villa in the Costa Del Sol.

:)

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby wearnicehats » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:07 pm

onq wrote:I've seen you disparage people's concerns several times instead of addressing them where you could.
Do you consider you're promoting architecture by cerrying on in this manner?
Because let me underline this for you - YOU AREN'T!
If you have something to contribute - do so.
And learn to snip, dammit!

ONQ.


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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby bitasean » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:27 pm

Are the AAI lectures available to members online? if not why not, there always seems to be someone recording these things. I would love to join and attend but as a parent the hours the lectures are at don't suit, so essentially CPDs should be during office hours methinks.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby NK111 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:23 pm

Thanks ONQ for your helpful advice, I suspect though in reality that it is not possible to accumulate the 20 hours without it costing at least €1000. But thank you, you may have saved me the other €1000.

Yesterday there was a lunchtime CPD in our office, but I was unable to attend being on site. The job I'm currently working on (medical) demands about 55-60 hours a week minimum, and as the project architect I cannot very well abscond at will, to for example spend three days at a CPD. But obviously, I’m learning nothing as I carry out this work as far as the RIAI are concerned. (You cannot use research carried out for a project that you are working on as part of your CPD obligations, if this isn’t blatant fee-generating antics, what is?)

I also note bitasean's point, and it’s a grave point that really does need to be considered by the RIAI. I wonder does the inclusion of out of hours structured CPDs effect equality legislation, does it discriminate against parents? Are they to lose their professional standing because of their parental obligations?

I think it can be accepted that most practicing architects work extremely long and anti-social hours already, of course this culture seems to stem from the "its a vocation" attitude fostered in our colleges, demeaning effort and time, and this modus operandi is then nurtured by relatively poor industry salary levels, compounded by established fee levels that seem to have left most firms on life-support drip-fed on a job by job basis? Fair enough we cut our cloth to fit, but what irks me is when an institute that I support (financially), rather than it supporting me in any way (over the years it has simply been an expense to me), adds to the pressure with ill-considered, time-impacting, window dressing procedures.

This has got me thinking, the ARB fee in the UK is less than £90 to my knowledge (I’m not referring to the RIBA fees, which are unnecessary). To my belief, and here I could be in error, the RIAI must register persons as per EU Directive, once they qualify, I think this costs in the region of €250. My point being, maybe it is possible to register under ARB using my RIAI membership as a qualification, then next year with the renewed ARB membership, apply to be registered for Ireland by the RIAI and not join them, and save a fortune? The CPDs are an RIAI members obligation, and not a registration prerequisite. Would I be correct here?



Sorry goneill, I apologise, I addressed young architects, as from a UCD class that qualified in the early 2000s I am the only one still in full-time employment. I am currently witnessing two of my old classmates about to lose their homes and be left in one case over €200k in debt. I agree that this is probably happening to older architects also. The institute really needs to wake up!

"The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts." Oscar Wilde as he sat there on Merrion Square looking across the street at the RIAI
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby missarchi » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:00 am

I was unimpressed when I started getting calls from banks and people claiming to be based in IFSC.. Then I had people close to me suggesting to buy a place... and that interview...

Musical chairs is the only way to describe it...
The actors will change but the game will remain the same...

The bank of architecture is what we need...
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:10 am

NK111 wrote:Thanks ONQ for your helpful advice, I suspect though in reality that it is not possible to accumulate the 20 hours without it costing at least €1000. But thank you, you may have saved me the other €1000.


You're very welcome.
I think I have saved you a lot more than a grand. :)
Many of the AAI Events and Lectures and Site Visits are CPD rated - I visited McCullogh Mulvin's Long Hall Hub in Trinity on Saturday and attended at the Instituto Cervantes FreshLatino Lecture in Lincoln Place on Thursday evening.
Once you've paid your €80 for the year that's it - attendance at the lectures is usually free for members and your site visits are covered by insurance.
Yesterday there was a lunchtime CPD in our office, but I was unable to attend being on site.

That is something you need to address with your employers and for a hard working devil like yourself they should be more accommodating if they can but let's face it, how can they unless they provide after hours lectures - you can get these with the AAI!
I'm not a founding father of the AAI BTW I just think they offer a good deal.
The job I'm currently working on (medical) demands about 55-60 hours a week minimum, and as the project architect I cannot very well abscond at will, to for example spend three days at a CPD. But obviously, I’m learning nothing as I carry out this work as far as the RIAI are concerned. (You cannot use research carried out for a project that you are working on as part of your CPD obligations, if this isn’t blatant fee-generating antics, what is?)

I have an issue with this and intend to raise it with the RIAI after I apply for registration.
It seems patently obvious to me that research/CPD should be required for every project you attempt and that it should be part of the project brief and that it should count towards your years points.
It seems utterly odd that CPD should be carried out or undertaken in some abstract way or in a way remote from the project work you are currently undertaking.

That's not to suggest that the CPD should ONLY relate to project work either.
You need a balance between work related CPD and CPD which helps you re-focus your design training and open your mind to new intellectual stimuli as well as refresh your memory of academic studies from years ago.
Nor is it to suggest that you should get away with pretending you're learning the same planning or building regulation amendment for twenty projects!
There are 500-odd Directives issued by the EU each year and if you spent only half a day reading and researching each one you'd have almost no time for working on fee-generating activities.
Admittedly not all are relevant to archtiects, but it gives you an idea of the volume of bureaucratic chatter that's emanating from Brussels.
I also note bitasean's point, and it’s a grave point that really does need to be considered by the RIAI. I wonder does the inclusion of out of hours structured CPDs effect equality legislation, does it discriminate against parents? Are they to lose their professional standing because of their parental obligations?

Let's not panic about this one - again there are workarounds.
Like posting competent advice to Archiseek.com at 4 o'clock in the morning!
I prefer the AAI in part because the price is right and in part because the timing is perfect for me - Thursday nights starting at around 7-730 pm and Saturday mornings starting at around 9.30-10.30 am.
The AAI is staffed by volunteers AFAIK and they have jobs to keep down too, so its no wonder the hours are suited to people who work and/or have kids.
I think it can be accepted that most practicing architects work extremely long and anti-social hours already, of course this culture seems to stem from the "its a vocation" attitude fostered in our colleges, demeaning effort and time, and this modus operandi is then nurtured by relatively poor industry salary levels, compounded by established fee levels that seem to have left most firms on life-support drip-fed on a job by job basis? Fair enough we cut our cloth to fit, but what irks me is when an institute that I support (financially), rather than it supporting me in any way (over the years it has simply been an expense to me), adds to the pressure with ill-considered, time-impacting, window dressing procedures.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.
Gather support, hold meetings, produce recommendations and submit them to Council and FOLLOW UP at the AGM by proposing motions and ensuring you have support there on the night - that's democracy in action.
This has got me thinking, the ARB fee in the UK is less than £90 to my knowledge (I’m not referring to the RIBA fees, which are unnecessary). To my belief, and here I could be in error, the RIAI must register persons as per EU Directive, once they qualify, I think this costs in the region of €250. My point being, maybe it is possible to register under ARB using my RIAI membership as a qualification, then next year with the renewed ARB membership, apply to be registered for Ireland by the RIAI and not join them, and save a fortune? The CPDs are an RIAI members obligation, and not a registration prerequisite. Would I be correct here?

According to the way the Building Control Act 2007 is worded, only Members of the Institute are entitled to automatic Registration.
The ARB do not accept RIAI Membership as qualifying for British registration AFAIK.
You don't have to join or be a Member of the RIAI to be a Registered Architect.
You have to be assessed as being competent and the de facto standard is that of MRIAI.
Registration is a separate process.
However representation of the profession to other groups like Government and in other forums is something every architect should consider and the RIAI certainly seem to have a lot of of the heavy hitters on their books and their intellectual capital cannot be undervalued when dealing with John Gormley's office, for example...
Sorry goneill, I apologise, I addressed young architects, as from a UCD class that qualified in the early 2000s I am the only one still in full-time employment. I am currently witnessing two of my old classmates about to lose their homes and be left in one case over €200k in debt. I agree that this is probably happening to older architects also. The institute really needs to wake up!

I am so sorry to hear bout your friends plight.
I agree that it appears as though there is some detachment from the figures on the ground.
I watched some of the new president's inaugural address online [wouldn't fully load, dammit] and he spoke of "over 50% of architects" being out of work.

I know of three firms who are down to 10% of their staff levels of two years ago.
That's right - down to 10% and not down by 10%; -

150+ --> 11
21 --> 2
17 --> 2

The best result that I know of is this one; -

125..> 20

And most of the staff there are working a three-day week.

As for shocks, well, they're there too - Traynor O'Toole (Dublin) just disappeared two weeks ago.
http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/anglo-irish-hq-architects-traynor-otoole-to-wind-up-dublin-business-2038543.html
http://www.insolvencyjournal.ie/more_details/10-02-10/Appointment_of_liquidator_Traynor_O%E2%80%99Toole_Architects_Limited.aspx

All the above practices are/were run by MRIAIs.
These facts should be available to the president and I doubt these are unrepresentative.
I don't know where Paul Keogh is getting his "over 50%" reference from as anecdotally it seems like "over 80%" of staff are gone in larger practices,. with sole traderships hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

Perhaps he means that over 50% of MRIAI's are gone.
If that is so he should include a reference to Graduate Architects in the figures.
However I don't think that is the case - I think the numbers are being maintained by sole traders.
These are the people who cannot bid for Government Contract work because their turnover is less than €250K annually.
With no chance of getting gainful employment from the state, sole traders are reduced to niche markets and working outside the profession or going abroad on contract to make ends meet.
"The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts." Oscar Wilde as he sat there on Merrion Square looking across the street at the RIAI

Oh I don't know, you'll get the type of intellectual tyranny that foists literary quotations on you at the drop of a hat as well. LOL!

Here, catch:

"True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt


FWIW

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby OrderArch » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:17 pm

onq wrote:
However representation of the profession to other groups like Government and in other forums is something every architect should consider and the RIAI certainly seem to have a lot of of the heavy hitters on their books and their intellectual capital cannot be undervalued when dealing with John Gormley's office, for example...

ONQ.


Just a point on this (sorry for butting in); when the RIAI first suggested a system of co-regulation to the governement the Competition Authority had some serious objections to them taking over registration.

As part of a compromise the RIAI have made an undertaking to the Competition Authority not to lobby governemental or third party official bodies on behalf of architects. Therefore it would beg the question why have a professional body that is precluded from representing it's members in any meaningful way?
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:06 pm

OrderArch wrote:Just a point on this (sorry for butting in); when the RIAI first suggested a system of co-regulation to the governement the Competition Authority had some serious objections to them taking over registration.

As part of a compromise the RIAI have made an undertaking to the Competition Authority not to lobby governemental or third party official bodies on behalf of architects. Therefore it would beg the question why have a professional body that is precluded from representing it's members in any meaningful way?


Its an open forum so don't be sorry and thanks for the correction.

I was aware of the representations to government of the RIAI and concerns of the Competition Authority.
I wasn't aware of the deal done to ensure that co-regulation went through.

If you look carefully at the make up of the advisors contributing to the Governments position paper on Archtitecture you'll see a lot of RIAI heavyweights on there.

But to take up your point, I have a problem with this and especially the fact there doesn't appear to be an archtiect on the Law Reform Comission panel.

You can correct me again if I'm wrong but I think Construction Law comes next after Contract Law in terms of disputes before the Courts.

Architects and their unlimited liability is something I've wanted to see addressed for a long time.

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby OrderArch » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:00 pm

onq wrote:
If you look carefully at the make up of the advisors contributing to the Governments position paper on Archtitecture you'll see a lot of RIAI heavyweights on there.

But to take up your point, I have a problem with this and especially the fact there doesn't appear to be an archtiect on the Law Reform Comission panel.

You can correct me again if I'm wrong but I think Construction Law comes next after Contract Law in terms of disputes before the Courts.

Architects and their unlimited liability is something I've wanted to see addressed for a long time.

ONQ.


Well this is the thing- from my point of view there should be input from architects on any legislative issues that concern the profession. For me that would include, but not be limited to, design, planning,building regulations, competition standards, banking as it relates to development and anything within the law that comes under that banner from land reg to contracts.

Maybe the issue is redundant though- before the agreement was made with the competition authority they failed to push through any changes to the GCCC (new government contracts) despite the total reshaping of contract law that that document represents and its apparent weaknesses.

In the circumstances, and outside the issue of registration, I am unclear as to what the continuing function of the RIAI is.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby trace » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:36 pm

OrderArch: You're right about the competition authority's initial views but they backed off after examining the evidence. Do please cite your source for an undertaking, if you can. You're all wrong. No deal, no compromise, no backing off by RIAI in representing architects. Submissions on legislation, etc, are regularly made. I'm no friend of theirs but I admire how they fight the profession's corner - fairly and very well.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby OrderArch » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:43 pm

trace wrote:OrderArch: You're right about the competition authority's initial views but they backed off after examining the evidence. Do please cite your source for an undertaking, if you can. You're all wrong. No deal, no compromise, no backing off by RIAI in representing architects. Submissions on legislation, etc, are regularly made. I'm no friend of theirs but I admire how they fight the profession's corner - fairly and very well.



My source is the Professional Practice lectures given this year in UCD Sept to Dec 2009- the Building Act was the first question on the exam paper.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby NK111 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:45 pm

To contribute further to this debate:

Yesterday I received a pamphlet in the door from Forbo, it reads:

“Did you know...The RIAI now mandates that each member must accumulate a total of 40 hours of CPD activity annually” and offers to provide one, structured I presume?
We are told that this seminar involved a presentation of approx 45minutes, over lunchtime where a buffet lunch will be provided at Forbo’s expense. Fair enough!
The seminar is to comprise of:
• “Developing linoleum product knowledge and understanding suitable applications” ( a sales pitch)
• “Increase awareness of product properties and performance characteristics” (So anti-slip properties based on a resistance scale derived from European, German or British Standards, dependant on your buildings function and user group, you can’t rely on a manufacturer to give you his recommendation verbally unless you enjoy the aesthetics of a court room, as an architect you should be aware that such performance specs are required and know where to source such information, i.e. which regs apply, and confirm that the suppliers product is certified to meet these standards, Other than that well you might need to know that Vinyl should be used in wet areas not linoleum and that they both are fine re. microbiology concerns, There may be times where colour and its relevance to Part M and the enabling environment may come into play, again dependant on the buildings function and intended user group. So there you have it, it probably took you 3 seconds not 45 minutes to read what I’ve just written and if you’re an architect, you should know all you need to about what to ask and what to spec re. such flooring systems.
• “Increase awareness of colour and design potential.” (Maybe this might touch on new Part M, but they won’t be certifying the building so personally I wouldn’t base my design on their information, but to be honest it seems to sound again be a sales pitch re. scope of their colour palette? Is it really essential for an RIAI architect to know Forbo’s product range to carry out his/her duties???)
• “Provide an overview of strengths and weaknesses of different contract flooring types” (isn’t this again related to performance spec? As in point 2, or is it where they champion their product over others, i.e. marketing?)
• “Provide an overview of the latest technological advances in Linoleum and impact on performance” ( again performance characteristics and a sales pitch)
• “Develop an understanding of the environmental credentials” (I remember a zero-carbon concrete CPD I once attended where the carbon costs were offset by planting trees in Brazil, I won’t get into the whole green facade often painted on products and how false they often are, but what kills me is when I have to listen to how companies have worked around regulations to appear sustainable, again more marketing, and if a client is so interested this information could be imparted when necessary via a quick email as I guess much of the above could.
• “Develop an understanding of the whole life costs” (Our product is more expensive initially but you save in the long term, i.e. marketing, more suitable for a pre-tender meeting to assess the exact range of products that may be suitable, rather than an overview at what passes for an architectural CPD. Just now I have had such a meeting with a supplier of metal louvers, I have shown him the relevant drawings, explained the condition, he has already been to site, and we have agreed on a solution, but this won’t from part of my CPD obligations, see he didn’t get to play the 45 minute power point advertisement!!!)

I don’t mean to pick on Forbo here, they just happen to have posted what many would consider junk mail to my house yesterday, they are no different from any others providing these CPDs, in fairness to them they are a business and have of course jumped on the chance to heighten awareness of their products, look how well its working, now they’re mentioned in a CPD related web debate. No my problem isn’t with Forbo, or their presentation, it’s with the RIAI, someone there has passed this and many other sale pitches as CPDs necessary for the professional development of an architect. Is this what architecture is to the RIAI, picking pretty colours? this calls into question all their CPDs re. quality and relevance, especially seen as some cost a small fortune. And again why are such overview presentations held as structured CPDs when in depth analysis of performances required is carried out by architects during their duties while working on “real” projects and that such is not considered continued professional development. It stands to reason that products and regulations evolve, and that those of us engaged with such are constantly developing our knowledge.

Am I wrong?
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:51 am

NK111 wrote:
(Snip "I love the smell of linoleum in the morning")

I don’t mean to pick on Forbo here, they just happen to have posted what many would consider junk mail to my house yesterday, they are no different from any others providing these CPDs, in fairness to them they are a business and have of course jumped on the chance to heighten awareness of their products, look how well its working, now they’re mentioned in a CPD related web debate. No my problem isn’t with Forbo, or their presentation, it’s with the RIAI, someone there has passed this and many other sale pitches as CPDs necessary for the professional development of an architect. Is this what architecture is to the RIAI, picking pretty colours? this calls into question all their CPDs re. quality and relevance, especially seen as some cost a small fortune. And again why are such overview presentations held as structured CPDs when in depth analysis of performances required is carried out by architects during their duties while working on “real” projects and that such is not considered continued professional development. It stands to reason that products and regulations evolve, and that those of us engaged with such are constantly developing our knowledge.

Am I wrong?


Hi NK111

The exclusion of the research done as part of any new job is in my opinion a fatal error on the part of the RIAI.

I have no problem with awarding CPD points for assessingnew products or going to lectures on design, but I won't get sued if I don't have the latest flooring spec or know who the sexiest designer is this year.

My duty is to build compliantly and the research I do and DOCUMENTING THIS RESEARCH should be on of the main focal points of CPD.

Conducting this IN-HOUSE RESEARCH is vitally important to continuous professional development and is clearly a factor in providing competent professional architectural services to clients and protecting mambers of the public.

In not allowing CPD points for this [and correct me if the RIAI's position has changed on this recently] while allowing them for an remotely entered online CPD record, I fear the RIAI may have erred egregiously.

By not rewarding such research with CPD points front and centre, it could be argued that the RIAI are failing to promote an essential part of good professional practice and CPD amongst their Members and architects at large AND THEREBY have failed in their primary mission to protect members of ther public.

Nor would this significantly detract from their revenue streams if a serious of lectures on a wide range of topics was being run on a year round basis.

There are a minimum number of structured CPD points to be attained and MRIAI'scould be required to obtain a proportion of these through the RIAI lectures.

The JOB RESEARCH could form part of the unstructured CPD points, once its been documented to a reasonable standard.

I think if I was a client I would be more assured to see my architect carrying out targeted research directly associated with my project rather than swanning off to attend the RIAI Annual Dinner for two and a half days down the country somewhere and picking up double-digit CPD points for it.

=========================================

But the pricing and attendance figures of the RIAI CPD lectures need to be radically overhauled in my opinion.

That having been said, I think the RIAI's role in dissemination of information by people like Joe Little Architects in terms of research on building physics is to be admired.

This year however, the primary AND FREE lecture on this matter was given at Plan Expo by Joe Little himself and more powere to him.

A few months later there was a CPD seminar - effectively on BER assessments IIRC, with extremely limited numbers and simply outrageous attendance fees, €400 for non-members and - get this - €300 for Members!!!

Where do the RIAI think this places them even in their Members eyes?

This information needs to be dessiminated freely far and wide to improve the understanding of architects in relation to building physics.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the RIAI asking attendees to pay for lectures - but for the RIAI to try to do this by reaching 80 people a time at a minimum €300 a head with several thousand Members on the Dole Queue?

This just isn't the way to do it.

=========================================

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:24 am

trace wrote:OrderArch: You're right about the competition authority's initial views but they backed off after examining the evidence. Do please cite your source for an undertaking, if you can. You're all wrong. No deal, no compromise, no backing off by RIAI in representing architects. Submissions on legislation, etc, are regularly made. I'm no friend of theirs but I admire how they fight the profession's corner - fairly and very well.


Hi trace,

In rebutting OrderArch, you've made the same error he did, asserting something without citing a source.

On this forum, to raise the tone of the proceedings, I'd ask for online references, even if they're only in the 4th estate.

I can see Order Archs' point quite clearly - there was little if any change - so either the RIAI backed off or they failed to be effective, a family form argument which paints them as cowards or incompetents.

But to be fair to the RIAI, the pressure from Brussels to not look like a gravy train for builders is huge, and one way to do this is rein in the designers to fix the design before proceeding to site.

It means front-loading the design and detailing and ensuring that public servants are on top of the brief to allow this to happen.

The architect is naturally reluctant to do this unless its a very simple programme, because getting decisions out of public servants is a tedious exercise in itself.

Coming back to the GCCC contract, the CIF had intensive discussions in relation to this with the department over several years and you can still hunt out several of their submitted documents online.

And since I'd hate to end up hoist by my own petard [or is it yours], here. catch;

http://www.cif.ie/uploads/2275.pdf

I believe I and OrderArch are making a similar comment - the RIAI should be in there doing similar things for Architects, both on the Law Commission forum and elsewhere.

Whether this reflects a lack of ability in the RIAI since David Keane's much lamented recent passing or its something more systemic I don't know, but it needs addressing.

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby OrderArch » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:13 pm

onq wrote:Hi trace,


I believe I and OrderArch are making a similar comment - the RIAI should be in there doing similar things for Architects, both on the Law Commission forum and elsewhere.


ONQ.


ONQ I'm not sure we are in agreement. While critical of the RIAI you seem to believe them necessary while I, at some point, have started to question whether we in fact need them at all.

The function of maintaining a professional standard can be fulfilled by an (objective) Registration Board.

The function of providing a forum for professional architects to share knowledge and experience can be provided by the AAI.

The function of communicating with the public can be provided the Architecture Foundation.

The only item left to the RIAI is representing architects legislatively and as we have noted they are not fulfilling this function in any way. More worryingly the focus of the Institute is decidedly on maintaining economic independance to the detriment of its members.
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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby onq » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:18 pm

OrderArch wrote:ONQ I'm not sure we are in agreement. While critical of the RIAI you seem to believe them necessary while I, at some point, have started to question whether we in fact need them at all.

The function of maintaining a professional standard can be fulfilled by an (objective) Registration Board.

I am unhappy with the principle of non-architects regulating architects.
I have no problem with an independent person deciding on the censure.
I would like someone who knows our limitations deciding on the case itself.
I think we have had quite enough legal eagles setting outrageous precedents.
You might have missed the jump there - who do you think would "lord" it over us?
The function of providing a forum for professional architects to share knowledge and experience can be provided by the AAI.

(nods)
I'm a Member of the AAI - affordable Membership and high quality CPD Lectures.
The function of communicating with the public can be provided the Architecture Foundation.


Really?

IAF Board of Directors

* James Pike, Chairman
* John Graby, Secretary
* Tim Bouchier-Hayes
* Laura Magahy
* Declan McGonagle
* Shelley McNamara
* Gary Mongey
* Antoinette O'Neill
* Colum O'Riordan
* Victoria Thornton
* Klaus Unger
* Rónán Whelan

Which part of this does not like like the RIAI to you OrderArch?
I'm something of a purist on this: work with the RIAI to effect change.
Occam's razor suggests "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity"

The only item left to the RIAI is representing architects legislatively and as we have noted they are not fulfilling this function in any way. More worryingly the focus of the Institute is decidedly on maintaining economic independance to the detriment of its members.


Well, I'm not sure, but I think the balance is about right.
But to be honest, you don't see the discussions here geting any air time.
We're little people, serfs, deluding ourselves that our opinion matters, in the political and financially motivated world of Irish Architecture today.
Certainly this thread and "The sensitive issue of architect's registration ..." thread isn't front and center on the "new look" homepage - although other threads are highlighted.
Perhaps its the site owners way of keeping CK safe from the Overmaster's all-seeing eyes...

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Re: Dear Young Architects

Postby OrderArch » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:09 pm

onq wrote:You might have missed the jump there - who do you think would "lord" it over us?

ONQ.


I'm not sure what you mean? I'm simply suggesting an independant body similar to the ARB. I think it's actually a seperate arguement as to whether that body would be staffed and run by architects. Professional self regulation does not have a very edifying history in Ireland so I presume a third party registration system would actually be enriched by the involvement of non archs.

onq wrote:
IAF Board of Directors

* James Pike, Chairman
* John Graby, Secretary
* Tim Bouchier-Hayes
* Laura Magahy
* Declan McGonagle
* Shelley McNamara
* Gary Mongey
* Antoinette O'Neill
* Colum O'Riordan
* Victoria Thornton
* Klaus Unger
* Rónán Whelan

Which part of this does not like like the RIAI to you OrderArch?
I'm something of a purist on this: work with the RIAI to effect change.
Occam's razor suggests "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity"

ONQ.


I take your point- we're dealing with a very small industry and having people like Laura Magahy in this kind of body is fairly suspect. However I was referring to their own stated remit rather that their current formation.

onq wrote:
Well, I'm not sure, but I think the balance is about right.
But to be honest, you don't see the discussions here geting any air time.
We're little people, serfs, deluding ourselves that our opinion matters, in the political and financially motivated world of Irish Architecture today.

ONQ.


I think the level of disquiet in the profession at the moment would suggest that the balance is decidedly off. The question becomes can the issues be rectified within the current systems and frameworks. My personal feeling is, given the size and nature of the industry in Ireland, it cannot. I think the problems with the RIAI are pretty fundemental and far from being brought about by the economic crash they have simply been staved off by the boom.

I'll leave the conspiracy theories to yourself and CK.
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