The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:48 pm

henno wrote:ONQ, thats by and far the best post of your 500+ that you've made on this subject. Its focused, defined and rationalised. Well done sir!


(bows)

"If I stand tall its because I stand on the shoulders of giants."

My time on Archiseek has improved the signal to noise ratio.

No point posting endlessly and failing to address core issues.

Took me a while to see that others weren't seeing what I knew.

Thanks to all you guys and gals who helped get my act together.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:05 pm

teak wrote:(snip)
ONQ, you say you are in business for ~ 20 years.
You are too old not to be able to see through this charade.
(snip)


Lot of emotive waffle there Teak - most unlike you.

I see no charade.

I would prefer everyone to be registered automatically on day one.
This would bring them all under the auspices of Registration
Then I would require everyone to present their stuff.
I would listen to all the complaints against them.
Then I would weed out the incompetents.
This might included some MRIAIs.

But that's my dream, not the reality - the reality sucks.

Can you spell

P R O F E S S I O N A L - C O N D U C T - C O M M I T T E E

Still not appointed.
Minister still finger tapping.
So much for protecting the public.

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

So.

The Act has led to an increase in RIAI Membership.
No change to the morass of cleverly titled chancers out there.
No independent regulation of the profession and thus no real protection for the Public.

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

As matters stand, the chancers won't be caught or acted against because they won't be getting registered.
They won't be vigorously pursued for preying on naive members of the public or even "outed".
Even if the public report them to the RIAI, there is no PCC in place to censure them.

The Bill can't make this sad situation any worse.

The Bill will bring some older practitioners into the net and make them subject to the PCC.
It will make them subject to the requirement to engage in structured CPD - a measure I wholly support.
It will allow them access to good practice notes, which is a means of dispersing competent advice - a good thing.

So I see no charade Teak, apart from the one continued by those who claim this Act and Registration actually protect the Public.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby teak » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:57 pm

Bring everyone, mavericks and all, into the herd just for the purpose of throwing them out ?
No other profession that I know acts in that way.
Experience tells us that it's always easier to exclude these chancers in the first instance rather than allow them into the fold. Otherwise they'll soon be networking with other chancers, finding weaknesses within the system, using all due processes and procedures developed for genuine decent members and wailing like babies all the while so as to attract sympathy from outsiders . . .

Make your job handy.
Keep eminently unqualified - by training on or off the job - out of the organisation.
Then adopt a whole new charter for the restablished profession.
Lay down requirements for CPD, practice management, client relations, professional fees and so on.
Then cull.
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby teak » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:04 pm

.............
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:35 pm

teak wrote:Bring everyone, mavericks and all, into the herd just for the purpose of throwing them out ?

The present Act is worded so you cannot assess anyone unless they apply to be registered.
The alternative is High Court Action and neither the government nor the RIAI are well-funded.
Its simpler and more cost-effective to invite submissions voluntarily and open discussions.
Its easiest to discuss things with members of your organisation - they can be expelled.

After all, what's the worst that could happen?

Unqualified successes would be trading as Architects
They are doing that already.

They would be seen have the imprimatur of the RIAI
The RIAI have affectively given them this imprimatur by not prosecuting them

The public will be at risk or at greater risk
Utter nonsense and unsupported scare-mongering - how could they be - unqualified archtiects are already in practice here and have been for decades

And none of this addresses the great wrong done to Graduates by the RIAI and the Government.

No other profession that I know acts in that way.

The first statement
Experience tells us that it's always easier to exclude these chancers in the first instance rather than allow them into the fold.

The contradictory follow up.

You can't make both statements and expect to be credible.
You either have experience of a profession acting this way or you don't.

You cannot go from a totally unregulated profession to exclusive registration in one jump.
There needs to be a transistion clause and clauses recognising establisehd practitioners and those with rights.

The present act has none of these.
Otherwise they'll soon be networking with other chancers, finding weaknesses within the system, using all due processes and procedures developed for genuine decent members and wailing like babies all the while so as to attract sympathy from outsiders . . .

Thsi is mere hysterical fear mongering.
At the moment the RIAI stands at risk of defaming these people and unfair advantage in the market place though its dominant position.
These are hugely seriosu offences in professional and market terms and they don't evebn see their peril, relying on their supposedly invincible position enshrined by the Act.
Make your job handy.
Keep eminently unqualified - by training on or off the job - out of the organisation.
Then adopt a whole new charter for the restablished profession.
Lay down requirements for CPD, practice management, client relations, professional fees and so on.
Then cull.


Nope, thanks all the same, Teak.
I have no fear of moths flickering around the same flame as I do.
If thery are not brought in you are creating enemies whom you cannot regulate
If they are, they'll either assume up, in which case we have strengthened the profession.
Or they will flutter, flicker briefly and burn out, in which case they will remove themselves willingly.
The important thing is to offer them the use of another title, to operate at a less exalted level with some honour and standing in the profession.
This way they may choose to remain allied to and supported by the RIAI which allows the Registrar to be in a position to ensure good practice is supported and followed.

Mine is an inclusive approach as opposed to an exclusive approach.
I don't think the RIAI is capable of making such a sea chage in attitude.
I hope I will be pleasantly surprised by a creative, intuitive leap on their part.

FWIW

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby teak » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:45 pm

After all, what's the worst that could happen?

1. Stupid, ugly, uneconomical - and possibly dangerous - houses and workspace units will continue to be put upon our landscape.

2. Homesteaders and employers will be charged achitects' rates for dumb-ass buildings.

3. Gombeen types will be seen to triumph yet again, depressing honest members, esp. young ones who will leave their country for a fairer social landscape.
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:28 pm

teak wrote:After all, what's the worst that could happen?

1. Stupid, ugly, uneconomical - and possibly dangerous - houses and workspace units will continue to be put upon our landscape.

2. Homesteaders and employers will be charged achitects' rates for dumb-ass buildings.

3. Gombeen types will be seen to triumph yet again, depressing honest members, esp. young ones who will leave their country for a fairer social landscape.


Teak,

You're on very shaky ground here.

1. The most spectacular building failures in the Tiger were down to RIAI practices.
Shangan Hall Apartments, Carrickmines Apartments, Ballinteer Apartments.
People can live with traditional design - neo-rationalism is something else.

2. MRIAIs typically charge higher fees than non-Members.
This is one of the benefits of allowing Grandfathers to continue in practice.
A cheaper competent alternative, allegations of incompetence not having been proved, only inferred from an inappropriate comparison

3. Who has lobbied to disenfranchise Graduates and prevent them using the Title?
You seem to forget that until May 2008, Graduates could set up in practice and sign certs.
The RIAI-sponsored Building Control Act 2007 prevents them being able to sign certs as architects.

Perhaps you think you can lay that at the feet of non-MRIAIs too?

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby teak » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:14 pm

I'm not defending the RIAI commandeering the term "architect" in any way.
But that's an internal professional issue for you that are involved in it.
Not for outsiders like me to say what's best there.

All I say is that non-graduates and those who are neither self-educated to an equivalent standard ought be allowed to use the term architect or architectural design services to describe their occupation.

Sure there are others who are graduates, perhaps even also longtime members of some architectural professional organisation, who may also deserve the long drop.
A proper professional body ought deal firmly with them also in the public interest as well as for the good standing of honest members.

Now, I hope that all that is finally clear to you, ONQ.

I may be biased as I live close to the country.
But I do regard the 98% of new houses designed by "engineer"/"builders draughtsman"/"construction economics technician", etc as by far and away the bigger shame left by the last 12 years.

Let's not labour the point.
I'm old enough by now to have well recognised professionals' agile avoidance of conflict with other members on the matter of work standards. :(
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:38 pm

teak wrote:I'm not defending the RIAI commandeering the term "architect" in any way.
But that's an internal professional issue for you that are involved in it.
Not for outsiders like me to say what's best there.

Fair enough, but just so you know.
I'm an architect who values "outsiders" input.
"Outsiders" are the end users of my buildings.
Stray too far from their mindset and I risk losing myself in hubris.
All I say is that non-graduates and those who are neither self-educated to an equivalent standard ought be allowed to use the term architect or architectural design services to describe their occupation.


Teak, please re-read the above sentence.
I think you meant to say something like the opposite, correct me if I'm wrong.

Did you mean to say:

"All I say is that non-graduates who are not self-educated to graduate standard ought not be allowed to use the term architect to describe their occupation."

I know I'm putting words in your mouth and you might clarify your position.

Sure there are others who are graduates, perhaps even also longtime members of some architectural professional organisation, who may also deserve the long drop.
A proper professional body ought deal firmly with them also in the public interest as well as for the good standing of honest members.

Now, I hope that all that is finally clear to you, ONQ.

Clear and broadly in accord with my assessment of the state of the profession.
The RIAI has no monopoly on excellence, the AAoI are not full of incompetents, raw talent needs to be nurtured, not discriminated against, indentured or exploited.
I may be biased as I live close to the country.
But I do regard the 98% of new houses designed by "engineer"/"builders draughtsman"/"construction economics technician", etc as by far and away the bigger shame left by the last 12 years.

I think you're absolutely correct.
  • The Councils were staffed by an oversupply of engineers for years.
  • Some planners designing towns think in terms of hectares zoned only.
  • Some clients measure design only by "how much do the drawings cost to do".
  • Many users of commercial buildings fail to see the intrinsic value of excellence in design.
  • Many self builders are concerned with how many bedrooms they can get on the site for their money.
If design standards are not being required by Local Authorities, clients, end-users or self-builders - then mediocrity will tend to be the result.
If you follow this argument to its logical conclusion, the reason we have non-architects designing many of our rural buildings is partly the so-called free market.

No restriction on the provision of architectural services in the building industry to persons trained in design - in an industry where every project is unique.
Compare this with the car industry - €5 Billion to develop a new model, with professional design testing - in an industry where a model sells millions.
Even in terms of housing estates, an approximation of the car industry, its usually only Council requirements by that raises standards.
Admittedly there have been high standards set in some of the housing schemes around Ireland recently, but not enough.
Let's not labour the point.
I'm old enough by now to have well recognised professionals' agile avoidance of conflict with other members on the matter of work standards. :(


I'm not sure I know what you mean by that last point, but its seldom you'll get one architect to call the work of another "crap".
This is ironic in the context of this exchange becasue the rise in standards of the car industry was only brought about by vigorous debate.
Vigorous debate, reporting in the media of lax safety standards, imposition of minimum safety requriements, type approval for components and testing.
We are a ver ylng way fom any of that in the building industry, but the least we can do is reqiew teh designs of architects and comment on them.
Don't expect a consensus in terms of design though - beauty really *is* in the eye of the beholder - Nissan Leaf anyone?

FWIW

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby teak » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:56 pm

I mean when a building has pretty obvious functional failings - obvious even to non-users of the building - and other architects only smile knowingly during references to it rather than come out and attack the design and the slack-arsed professional who did it.
Functional failings in a home would be things like :

- Foolish house orientation on a site
- Awkward linkages (e.g.doors and hall) between spaces best placed adjacent
- Utility space too small
- Wasteful hallway design
- Hotpresses, etc
- Mickey mouse sized windows
- Embarassing layout of bedrooms

etc etc

I do not want to have you people replace one monotonous design template with another - albeit far more usable - one.
There has to be allowance for individuality in design, as well as acceptance of differing priorities of homeowners.

But so many of the above features are still so common that it is high time genuine architects stood up and said something about it so that bad design per se would become as likely a cause of PP rejection as location or scale.
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:19 pm

teak wrote:I mean when a building has pretty obvious functional failings - obvious even to non-users of the building - and other architects only smile knowingly during references to it rather than come out and attack the design and the slack-arsed professional who did it.
Functional failings in a home would be things like :

- Foolish house orientation on a site
- Awkward linkages (e.g.doors and hall) between spaces best placed adjacent
- Utility space too small
- Wasteful hallway design
- Hotpresses, etc
- Mickey mouse sized windows
- Embarassing layout of bedrooms

etc etc

I do not want to have you people replace one monotonous design template with another - albeit far more usable - one.
There has to be allowance for individuality in design, as well as acceptance of differing priorities of homeowners.

But so many of the above features are still so common that it is high time genuine architects stood up and said something about it so that bad design per se would become as likely a cause of PP rejection as location or scale.



I don't know what you mean when you say "you people".

Repetition of a tried and trusted form was the design template for rural housing for decades - pitched slate roof and rendered masonry walls.
The whole of Ireland was bound by this "homage" to what the planners thought would be nice for tourists to see.

I have issues with the appropriateness of some materials - the current swath of overdone thatched roofs do little for me.

However, a limited palette of form and materials encourages a vocabulary for establishing a county-wide identity.

On some of the matters you noted above; -

  • Small windows to the north are going to become more prevalent for BER /cost purposes.
  • If you prefer open plan layouts its a matter of choice - larger families might disagree.
  • I don't know whether its the disposition of bedrooms or or the internal layout of furniture that you find embarrassing

Just remember - so long as the rack, the nipple clamps and the ball gags are put away after you're finished, no-one will know will they :D

Oops! Busted!

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby DOC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:07 am

onq wrote:Shangan Hall Apartments, Carrickmines Apartments, Ballinteer Apartments.


Would love to know some more details on these ONQ and who was found guilty/incompetant?
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:51 pm

Hi Doc,

Ask and ye shall receive.

Actually, the protection of the public didn't extend to anything being done to the architects who may have misicertified these buildings. The below links may or may not relate to the blown roof incidents - not enough detail

The Ballinteer apartments I know by reputation through an engineer colleague who, after conducting a visual investigation found that there were simply an unadequate number and kind of restraint details holding on the roof. He inspected, issued recommendations for remedial work and left it at that. He was called back again the second time the roof blew off to find his recommendations still hadn't been prroperly implemented. I think the residents are hoping its "third time lucky" for the roof fixing points. I don't know who the architect was on that one, but I've inspected enough buildings to know that you cannot simply rest on an engineers assurance and you don't get off the hook when the lack of something is visually apparent.

http://www.dublinpeople.com/content/view/2669/57/

Jim Pike may have been the architect on the Carrickmines scheme.
He was citred in one piece to camera referring to "unusually high winds" as the reason for the disaster.
We have been aware of global warming and increasingly severe weather conditions for several years now.
Tthese were very low pitch roofs with humoungous overhangs.
I don't think blaming unusually high winds is an appropriate or particularly credible response for an architect of national standing to make.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1125/carrickmines.html

Tony Reddy & Associates certified Shangan Hall Apartments.
Admittedly there was a Fire Safety Consultant involved, so TRA might be able claim a hand overof responsibility there, but the RTE programme led me to understand that the gaps in the fire doors were evident to visual inspection.
I've been involved in a Hight Court case on work I originally certified, where even after som nutter had kicked in the door - long after certification.
We had to form an opinion on the original work, any warping notwithstanding.
Lucklily the original door was well fitted so that our fire expert had no problem backing up my testimony that it STILL compllied (!)
So unless TRA's fire safety consultant had specific responsibility for assessing the fire doors and certifying the built work - as opposed to merely the design of the FDA system - this doesn't appear to absolve the architect from his responsibility to inspect and certify competently and raise any building regulation non-compliance issues with the builder for rectification prior ot occupation.
Safety of Occupants from Fire isn't a snag item or minor item under the Contract.
Tony's Reddy's comment when questioned in the programme was "I was directly involved in that" or words to that effect.
I can accept that, with an office of 200 or so individuals, Tony Reddy might not have been personally or directly involved, but its his name on the headed paper.
That's another spectacularly inadequate response to a situation where people's lives were put at risk.
This was covered in a Prime Time exposé in Fire Safety [or the lack of it] in Dublin buildings that issued on 22nd May 2006.

And finally there is this little gem.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0719/coalport_prioryhall.html

and

http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2010/mar/07/dreams-go-up-in-flame/

In the case of Priory Hall, the architect was the long-established firm, Oppermann Associates. The firm signed off on Priory Hall in March 2008. Included in the compliance document is a clause with regard to the fire safety regulations. It is unclear whether anybody from the architects actually inspected the facilities that the council subsequently found to be dangerous.

Stephen Oppermann says that he has had absolutely no indication from Coalport that he is being held responsible for signing off on the development.
"I want to be clear about this," Oppermann said. "I inspected some of the units and we issued certs of compliance for those units. We did not issue compliance certs for the common areas, the carpark or the overall development."
The question thus arises about the extent of the certification process.


There you go - clear as mud.

Apartments aren't part of a housing estate where you can certify houses individually but not the estate.
Houses don't require fire certs - a housing estate doesn't require a fire cert.
Apartment developments on the other hand DO require a fire cert and guess what?
Fire Certs must be obtained for an apartment BLOCK, you can't get one for an individual apartment, because it relies on the common areas in the block for its means of escape.
It would seem that you cannot therefore certify that an individual apartment complies with an apartment block fire cert unless you can escape through the common areas to the public domain/ place of safety.
For someone to appear to suggest that you can certify that an individual apartment complies with a fire safety certificate without AT MINIMUM implying that the rest of the building complies, seems to be a strange this to say.
To point out that he didn't certify the common areas makes no sense at all - where is the escape to the public domain - by helicopter, from the roof or balcony?

No one was apparently "found" negligent, incompetent or guilty of wrongdoing in any of the above incidents - perhaps that's because they didn't have me inspecting.
More than likely people just want to get the work remediated and corrected as cheaply as possible and with the minimum of delay and expense.
They have no time to pursue an architect under tort and negligence where a simpler contractual remedy exists with the builder.

I would have no hesitation in preparing a case against any firms involved in mis-certification, because that's the only way to ensure the public is protected from rogue architects.
Or worse, protected from otherwise good firms some of whose employees have apparently undertaken one or two sloppy inspections and certification.
Rogue architects you can see coming, but you don't expect the above non-performances from well known firms of otherwise good reputation.
This is serious stuff - peoples lives were put at risk in all of the above incidents.
Issuing improper certifcation where there are clear visual defects may amount to criminal fraud depending on the intent [legal eagles feel free to comment].

My above comments are based on matters already widely reported in the public domain and not rebutted by any named firms/ individuals.
Of course, if any of the firms or persons named in this post want to have a right of reply in a public forum the gate is always open here, unless Paul Clerkin bottles it.
But I have been careful to avoid defaming people while drawing the obvious conclusions necessary to make a robust comment that will stand up to scrutiny.

And I'd be only too delighted to give courses and lectures on what reasonable foreseeability means and how to inspect apartment buildings.
Not being RIAI-registered YET, I may not be able to get the lectures CPD-rated, but then I understand not all RIAI approved CPD-rated lectures are by MRIAI's
And you'll note above that, apart from Ballinteer which I can't pin down - these all appear to be RIAI registered practices as well - not just individual architects.

Its embarassingly ironic, isn't it - the RIAI claiming that protection of the Title protects members of the public and who has certified the most egregious faults? - MRIAIs.
BTW, that's not to suggest all MRIAI's are incompetent "golf playing alcoholics" as VCA might allege - I know many competent MRIAI's - but these above incidents shouldn't have happened.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby teak » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:09 pm

...........
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby DOC » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:14 pm

onq wrote:No one was apparently "found" negligent, incompetent or guilty of wrongdoing in any of the above incidents.....


Thanks for the detailed reports ONQ.

It's obvious it suits your purpose for you to find the MRIAIs guilty of incompetence!

In many of the incidents you outline above - there would appear to have been some sort of structural failure involved - the architect is simply not qualified to certify structures.

No mention at all of the relevant consulting structural/civil engineering firms in your reports?

As you may be aware, an architcets opinions on compliance relies on the confrimations of others (e.g. the structural engineer, mechaical/electrical engineer, fire safety consulatnt, etc.) that their designs and relevant work carried out complies with relevant building regulations, codes of practice, etc., and generally they have inspected same to ensure the contrcator has carried out the work correctly.

Please note that I am not suggesting for one minute that MRIAIs are holier than thou (there is one firm you have mentioned that I have always had my doubts about!) but I do feel both yourself and CK are really on a s**t stirring campaign and any little nuggets of information you have are being twisted to suit your own purposes.
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby vca » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:16 pm

ONQ

Bear with me I was getting ahead of myself on Thursday with regards to getting into the weekend mood as I was having a day off on Friday to prepare for my CPD course on political lobbying.

Maybe you too should lighten up a little or take some time away from this forum (570 postings and counting) as you seem very bitter or is that in the nature of online threads such as this? I am also trying to deal with several posts of yours on separate threads in one response - is that allowed?

I am also going to ignore the ad hominem straws in my postings as alleged by you when you fail to realise the ad hominem planks in your own not to mention your argumentum ad popoulum appeals to the Dinosaurs / Grandfathers. I am actually beginning to suspect that you are actually a pro-BCA 2007 candidate as your claims become more extreme that even CK is starting to argue with you! LOL

Anyhow to follow up on some of your assertions:

In relation to the Technical Assessment Scheme:

“the unworkability of a totally new system without redacted successful submissions, specimen exam papers, specimen answers, or graduates and past exam papers to advise”

Can you not spare some slack for a totally new system of this complexity? How can you have redacted successful submissions on a pilot project and for the record there are no exam papers with specimen answers involved in the Technical Assessment Scheme.

In relation to Grandfathers, the simple fact that they were not automatically registered despite decades providing competent services should scream at any right-thinking [as opposed to ass-covering] MRIAI that this is not a level playing field".


In relation to the ‘Dinosaurs / Grandfathers’ where is the empirical evidence of "decades providing competent services"? Where exactly is the level playing field that you are looking for?

"the most spectacular building failures in the Tiger were down to RIAI practices"


Do you have any empirical evidence for this claim? I note your attempts to play down your claims above. I could give more examples of spectacular building failures attributed to unqualified people claiming to be architects during the Tiger but it would not be empirical evidence.


"MRIAIs typically charge higher fees than non-Members"


Do you have empirical evidence for this claim? Are you comparing like with like? Is there not a justification in charging a higher fee for a higher level of service if a higher level of service is being offered as may be verified, if required, by empirical evidence?

Sometimes when you pay peanuts you get monkeys (or Charter Chancers).

How is a client to compare like with like when comparing quotations between consultants who may be offering widely divergent levels of service and qualifications without some reference to the definition of the title of architect and what that should mean?

"Who has lobbied to disenfranchise Graduates and prevent them using the Title?
You seem to forget that until May 2008, Graduates could set up in practice and sign certs"

There is nothing in the BCA 2007 that prevents qualified / unqualified people setting up 'architecture-light' practices. It is just that they may not call themselves architects.

May I respectfully ask what wording have you been using on the certificates of compliance etc. that you have been using to date if you are not an RIAI member? Is it in the form of the wording as agreed by the RIAI and the Law Society? Or have you been using a ONQ hybrid certificate?

Is it copyrighted and / or available to third parties? Has it been approved by your insurers?


"When I said that it also irritates me intensely that almost every reference on this thread to “self-taught” people is coupled with allusions to Le Corbusier ...


you replied:

"The truth hurts, ehhh?

do you really believe that every "self-taught" person is a Closet Corbusier?

You then said:

What would you do if I added Michael Scott [blessed be his name, blessed be his holy works] to the mix

I wonder why you are quoting all of these people from a previous generation who are all now deceased and operated in a completely different professional era.

Remember "one swallow does not a summer make".
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:25 pm

DOC wrote:Thanks for the detailed reports ONQ.

It's obvious it suits your purpose for you to find the MRIAIs guilty of incompetence!

I went out of my way to suggest that these failures were not typical of the offices named.
On several occasions I have confirmed that I know many competent MRIAIs.
Your comments look like the product of a political lobbying course.
Not based on a factual analysis of what I actually posted.
Sloppy work, Doc and not up to your usual standard.
In many of the incidents you outline above - there would appear to have been some sort of structural failure involved - the architect is simply not qualified to certify structures.

The the rigorous standards of your analysis is slipping Doc.
This isn't about certification or assuming the role of an engineer.
This is about visually inspecting and noting the absence of roof fixing bolts or straps or whatever
My point what that matters amenable to visual inspection by the architect should not have been accepted as being compliant merely because an engineer had certified them.
[and we don't know that an engineer had certified them - I was reporting on the facts that I knew to be true, not speculating on the structural engineer's role].
I have rejected structural elements certified by an engineer as structurally sound because they were of particularly poor appearance or because it was clear that they did not have sufficient cover of concrete to show prima fascie that they would acheive their required fire rating.
Engineers always dodge the Par B aspect of structure - some day one of them will be nailed on it.
No mention at all of the relevant consulting structural/civil engineering firms in your reports?

Nope. See above. There may have been none for all I know, but hiding behind a structural engineer if there were visually apparent defects is pretty lame for someone posing as an architect. I don't know about Jim Pike, but on the Ballinteer job it was apparently clear there were inadequate strap fixings, even by domestic house standards.
As you may be aware, an architcets opinions on compliance relies on the confrimations of others (e.g. the structural engineer, mechaical/electrical engineer, fire safety consulatnt, etc.) that their designs and relevant work carried out complies with relevant building regulations, codes of practice, etc., and generally they have inspected same to ensure the contrcator has carried out the work correctly.

Doc, as an architect, you cannot hide behind a Schedule A assurance when there are visually apparent defects. Latent, yes - patent, no. Don't they teach this in the schools any more?
Its your job to decide whether or not to accept Schedule A assurances, not to accept such assurances blindly on faith, any more than you would accept guarantees from a window supplier for windows with faulty hinges.
Please note that I am not suggesting for one minute that MRIAIs are holier than thou (there is one firm you have mentioned that I have always had my doubts about!) but I do feel both yourself and CK are really on a s**t stirring campaign and any little nuggets of information you have are being twisted to suit your own purposes.


I am not shit stirring in this matter Doc, I am calling the RIAI to account.
I - as a graduate - have been prevented from using the title by a private body which has stated that only its members are professionally competent to be called architects.
It has bamboozled and lobbied members of the Oireachtas into passing a law supporting this position while cheerfully ignoring the most egregious faults in buildings certified by its own, supposedly competent, members.

On the face of the evidence above whoever the people were who certified the buildings referred to above aren't fit to tie my shoelaces when it comes to inspections and certification of the built work, yet they get to swan around pretending they are competent Architects while I am prevented from using my title.

Right now I'm outside the tent pissing in. I intend to be inside the tent pissing out in due course. At that point a lot of things will change in the RIAI or I will know the reason why. I'm not sharing a membership with frauds and incompetents, and you shouldn't be happy to do so either.

As someone I know who generally gives excellent advice and is an MRIAI, you should be hopping mad at what's gone on - and you should be far more annoyed than I am. It says a lot that you aren't. Its an indictment that most RIAI members seem disinterested in promoting architecture by seeing that standards are maintained in the profession.

Perhaps they like leaving it to John Graby. Who did Graby choose to sit beside him at the JOC on 18th May 2010?

Yeah. Right.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the title "Architect"

Postby onq » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:14 pm

vca wrote:ONQ

Bear with me I was getting ahead of myself on Thursday with regards to getting into the weekend mood as I was having a day off on Friday to prepare for my CPD course on political lobbying.

Ho, ho, ho.
Maybe you too should lighten up a little or take some time away from this forum (570 postings and counting)

This is a serious matter for me and for every Graduate.
You seem astonished at my prolific writings - wait until you see my Option C Self-Assessment Matrix.
...as you seem very bitter or is that in the nature of online threads such as this?

Whoa! A backhanded ad hominem disguised as concern? Ho ho ho.
I am also trying to deal with several posts of yours on separate threads in one response

Not trying - that is succeeding.
- is that allowed?

Nope, its mere laziness on your part and the sign of a disorganised mind.
I am also going to ignore the ad hominem straws in my postings as alleged by you when you fail to realise the ad hominem planks in your own not to mention your argumentum ad popoulum appeals to the Dinosaurs / Grandfathers. I am actually beginning to suspect that you are actually a pro-BCA 2007 candidate as your claims become more extreme that even CK is starting to argue with you! LOL

I admit to getting an "A" in Latin in my Intermediate Certificate wayyy back in 1977 but there is no excuse for your logical mangling of the terms and the facts noted above.

Ad Hominem Attack - attacking or insulting the poster, not necessarily addressing the argument
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_Hominem

Straw Man Argument - proposing an argument of your own not raised in teh debate by others and knocking it down.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

I haven't made appeals to the Grandfathers/Dinosaurs and I have been arguing with CK almost since I joined this thread.
Anyhow to follow up on some of your assertions:

You can start any time you like

In relation to the Technical Assessment Scheme:

“the unworkability of a totally new system without redacted successful submissions, specimen exam papers, specimen answers, or graduates and past exam papers to advise”

Can you not spare some slack for a totally new system of this complexity?

Nope. Its a totally unnecessary system. A grandfather clause requiring the showing of evidence of providing services commensurate with those of an Architect would have simply and equitable separated the chancers from the competent. It would take me an hour to process one person in a face-to-face review of their portfolio. Any MRIAI should have been able to do this without special training.
How can you have redacted successful submissions on a pilot project .

That's MY point - you cannot.
and for the record there are no exam papers with specimen answers involved in the Technical Assessment Scheme

And your point is what - that its totally unknowable and unworkable?
This is worse than spending millions on the damned voting machines that nobody trusted.
In relation to Grandfathers, the simple fact that they were not automatically registered despite decades providing competent services should scream at any right-thinking [as opposed to ass-covering] MRIAI that this is not a level playing field".

In relation to the ‘Dinosaurs / Grandfathers’ where is the empirical evidence of "decades providing competent services"? Where exactly is the level playing field that you are looking for?

I cannot speak for any other Grandfathers or Graduates of long standing like myself, but mine is partly in my built work, partly in my files and partly in shredded or dumped papers.
By waiting until after the onerous requirements of the Data Protection Act came in the RIAI have made it all but impossible for people of 10 years standing [for example] to prove their competence going back to their early days.
The level playing field is the market, which the RIAI have unfairly biased in favour of their own members, by abusing their dominant market position.
This kind of playing for position by monopoly holders is viewed pretty dimly by people who try to regulate the market for consumers.
"the most spectacular building failures in the Tiger were down to RIAI practices"[/B]

Do you have any empirical evidence for this claim?

Apart from published news accounts not rebutted by the persons or firms named?
These are primary sources, well publicised - the fact they were neither rebutted nor the subject of a defamation action against the papers is effectively an admission of truth.
I note your attempts to play down your claims above.

There is accurate reporting and their is fair reporting.
I won't smear Jim Pike, Opperman or Tony Reddy by suggesting these failures are typical of their work, however much it might push someone else's agenda..
I also know for a fact they are not typical of the vast majority of MRIAI's and I am happy to comment to that effect.
You've just criticised me for being fair to people.
I could give more examples of spectacular building failures attributed to unqualified people claiming to be architects during the Tiger but it would not be empirical evidence.

List them and be damned VCA.
I am happy to see the debate being broadened - more than you might suspect.
I know at least one potential defect in a house design which I took over in Tallaght, although that was just non-compliant design which I spotted and rectified.

"MRIAIs typically charge higher fees than non-Members"


Do you have empirical evidence for this claim? Are you comparing like with like? Is there not a justification in charging a higher fee for a higher level of service if a higher level of service is being offered as may be verified, if required, by empirical evidence?

Sometimes when you pay peanuts you get monkeys (or Charter Chancers).

No, you have me on that one fair and square.
I have only anecdotal evidence for that otherwise unfounded assertion.
How is a client to compare like with like when comparing quotations between consultants who may be offering widely divergent levels of service and qualifications without some reference to the definition of the title of architect and what that should mean?

That's a difference matter.
Even with MRIAI's there are widely divergent levels of specialisation and competence.
"Who has lobbied to disenfranchise Graduates and prevent them using the Title?
You seem to forget that until May 2008, Graduates could set up in practice and sign certs"

There is nothing in the BCA 2007 that prevents qualified / unqualified people setting up 'architecture-light' practices. It is just that they may not call themselves architects.

Straw man argument again VCA.
I'm not interested in certifying as anything other than an Architect.
"Building Designer" may suit the likes of Brian Montaut - as revealed on a recent Drive Time interview with John Graby - but he doesn't speak for me or any other Graduate.
It doesn't suit any Grandfather that I know either - Montaut is out standing in his own field on this one.
May I respectfully ask what wording have you been using on the certificates of compliance etc. that you have been using to date if you are not an RIAI member? Is it in the form of the wording as agreed by the RIAI and the Law Society? Or have you been using a ONQ hybrid certificate?

I use whatever wording the solicitor will accept subject to it broadly complying with the agreed RIAI wording.
I never use RIAI Opinions of Compliance headed paper/booklets.
It has always been on the headed paper of the firm I worked for or my own.
I have never represented myself as a Member of the Institute on any of my certs.
Is it copyrighted and / or available to third parties? Has it been approved by your insurers?

No. Yes. Yes.
You see, unlike the RIAI, I don't agree with hoarding knowledge as a means of wielding power in the profession.
That's a way of trying to control people and its led to them taking their eye off the ball where fraudulent certification has occurred.
Far better they should concern themselves with mis-certification amongst their registered members.

"When I said that it also irritates me intensely that almost every reference on this thread to “self-taught” people is coupled with allusions to Le Corbusier ...


you replied:

"The truth hurts, ehhh?

do you really believe that every "self-taught" person is a Closet Corbusier?

Another straw man argument VCA.
The implication was clear - you raised the matter not I.
Corbusier did not qualify from a recignised full time five year course.
You then said:

What would you do if I added Michael Scott [blessed be his name, blessed be his holy works] to the mix

I wonder why you are quoting all of these people from a previous generation who are all now deceased and operated in a completely different professional era.

Remember "one swallow does not a summer make".


Architecture from thousand of years ago still speaks to us today.

Only a fool thinks you can educate people to be talented.
Or that registration will make them competent.
Or ensure that they act with integrity.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby CK » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:29 pm

The fact is that about 90% of countries have included a grand-father clause when implementing the registration of architects. Those countries, like The Netherlands which did not, have created an appropriate exam and have affordable evening courses available for any one who wish to learn and obtain a degree in architecture while working...

None of that is available in the ROI. The RIAI is defending the interests of architectural education and assessing self-taught architects in the same time. A blind man would see the problem here. Why aren't you guys?

I am sure that the Building Control Act 2007 could have worked fairly well if the RIAI did not erect barriers around it, preventing a large majority of self-taught architects to access the register. If the RIAI had acted fairly, there would not be that many protests, the registration procedure could have run smoothly. There is an issue about a monopoly and about a form of protectionism which may be international in the field of architecture but which has been expressed through very extreme measures in relation to the registration of architects in this country.

If the government and the RIAI want to stop autodidactism in architecture, then it should be done fairly and gradually. A grand-father clause is the only way to do so.

onq you are loosing your time here... These guys are not looking for a fair registration procedure. They are not interested to solve an obvious problem. They are looking to keep the advantages given to them by a degree. They are frightened to loose these advantages if a grand-father clause is included in the Act.

They have nothing to propose to solve the actual problem. All they do is defend their privileges over self-taughts and technicians. As graduates they should propose alternatives. They should analyse and make efforts to solve the problems. None of them has really acknowledged the fact that it is not self-taught architects which are responsible for most of the bad buildings, but the absence of design itself, the absence of architecture. It seems that research, productivity and creativity was never part of the courses that they followed…
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby Solo » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:13 am

Hi Spoilsport,

Please let the RIAI know how you feel because I have told JG that who ever thought up CPD points for Lobbying dropped a real clanger and let the whole profession down. Not only did they damage the profession in the eyes of the very persons they were lobbying but they reinforced some of the accusations of them being biased and incapable of acting independently for the benefit of all. They assured the success of the adoption of the Private Members Bill being adopted by the FF party. If as is suspected the Senate will put an end to this Bill then as long as the RIAI lobby against when they are now the Competent Authority and should be impartial their lobbying will again work against them. The RIAI should just absorb the Grandfathers warts and all and use the yearly registration and Professional Conduct Committee to change or drop those who refuse to up their game. There should be a 3 or 5 yearly test to every registered Architect to be allowed to remain on the register. The battle lines are still being drawn and no good can come out of a public spat that drags on and on. Soon the Authority will be faced with taking a non registered Architect to the Courts for using the Title if they loose that case their authority will disappear completely and there are a number of non registered Architects ready to be that test case because there is a very real possibility that they will prevail.
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby onq » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:46 pm

It was odd to see what I had understood to be our independent Registrar's office apparently getting closely involved with political lobbying.

My prior experience in the political arena suggests that any kind of lobbying is a task best kept at arms length, and for architects it should be left to the client.

One exception to this general rule might be where you are representing a client by offering professional information in support of a development requiring to be voted on.

Another exception would be the Alliance position where you feel your livelihood has been undermined unfairly by the Oireachtas.

If you are a Registrar with the stated purpose of supporting the public good, then I'm not sure that political lobbying is an appropriate response.

Especially where you are also a director of a company that in some way benefits from maintaining the status quo.

Which brings us to the whole issue of private companies administering standards in a profession.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby onq » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:57 pm

The Title Architect as interpreted by the software industry and Jobsrapido - not one amongst them, the Title has become an Adjective.

http://www.jobrapido.ie/?w=architect&l=&p=19

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby DOC » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:24 am

This will probably annoy some! 'Illegal' Architects

http://www.thepost.ie/news/ireland/audi ... 54223.html

Lucky CK isn't around. :-)
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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby onq » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:48 pm

Thanks for the heads-up Doc.

I think I can hear my liddle frog friend intone :"We haven't gone away, y'know..."
I'm sure he's reading this forum occassionally and venting his spleen on some poor unfortunate elsewhere.

There is a sense of inevitability of Registration and I'm working towards it.
There is also a growing realisation that few graduates understand their position in law.

"Sources working in the profession said that the cost of registration, which may be as much as €1,200, and the major decline in contracted work, may have led to many architects opting to remain unregistered."


Nice to see John Graby is listening re the cost of the process in a recession even for unregistered qualified persons.
Now if only he would realise the unfair position the BCA 2007 has put graduates in:

Since May 1st 2008 graduates cannot use their title even after five years of a full time course.
Technicians are trading in a market where architectural technicians are supplying architectural services to the public.
They are trading without restriction and after completing only three years of a full time course, little of it design centred.

Are the RIAI saying that all five year graduates are good for is presentation drones?
When the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications Directive allows them to use the Title?
Ridiculous! This would be laughable if it wasn't so serious and something has got to be done.

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Re: The sensitive issue of the Grandfather Clause and the ti

Postby onq » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:17 pm

In relation to the slowly growing awareness [judging from the piece in the paper above] in the RIAI about the shit the profession is in I should mention that I had to persuade a colleague of mine - an award winning MRIAI of many years standing, to scrape enough money together to get registered this year. Remember the BCA 2007 has turned this into a franchise affecting the whole of the profession, not just their own members. Between the "registration fee" and PI cover, you need a minimum of €2,000 before you open your doors. He didn't understand - or rahter preferred to look away from - the legal impications of practising without his certificate of registration.

As for the spectre of Architectural Technology which may be about to swamp or supplant the profession of architecture, I saw yet another take on this on Linkedin this morning:

This link shwos the wide range of persons with architectural qualifications "out there" and a layperson cannot be expected to sift through these.
A Part 1 [yes, that's right O - N - E] "architect" who is also an architectural technologist.
http://ie.linkedin.com/in/passivearchie

I think qualified architects have to stop being distracted by this Grandfather nonsense [200-300 people].
We need to consider what an influx of 15,000 technicians becoming architectural technologists will do to the profession.

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