Architect Registration

Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:35 pm

I just cannot understand the Institutes stand on this one. I mean, they went to such great lengths and fought off the architects alliance to protect the name (and rightly so) and now they are registering people who do not have any acedemic qualifications. I appreciate that the people passing the process are probably quite skillful in terms of their design capabilities but does this not dilute the significance of the 5 year degree. How do other architects who spent 5 years studying feel about this and what sort of a message is the Institution sending out to the public. If my Institution (structural) did such a thing I would be up in arms. Also there seems to be a considerable failure rate from acedemically qualified architects and yet some people without formal education can pass, that would suggest to me that there is something considerably wrong with process. I would not be so bold to suggest that there is an element of financial gain here to be had but could someone please shed some light on the possible rational of the whole thing.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:26 pm

This situation is much more complex - legally, politically and (not least) socially amongst architects in general -
than an outsider like you or me could immediately grasp.
There are a few other threads on this forum outlining the various positions.
Read them (not for too long !) and you'll get some sort of handle on it.

But let's be fair to the architects.
No professional body is without its smelly stuff.
Not yours and not mine either -- also an engineering "Institute" like yours, affecting to
combine the twin responsibilities of professional regulatory body with that of a learned
society providing CPD and other library/publications services to members.
You know outrageous clowns and rip-off artists in the very bowels of your profession's
regulating body. I know some in mine.
Why it is that some people press for riding point in an organization when their natural
position is bringing up the drag ?
More importantly, why do the ordinary members of that organization who see the wrong
types entering positions of power never feel so animated about it to say or do anything
worthwhile about it ?

I'd be in favour of state imposition of a new paradigm for all professional bodies.

- Decentralisation of local chapters to facilitate convenient membership activity
- Total democracy in selection of representatives
- Quotas to restrict representation of members from sectors tending to dominate
official roles (one thinks particularly of the over-represented academics here)
- Sensible and relevant committee structure
- Minimal use and strict control of in-house professionals, e.g. lawyers, marketing people,
PR, "administrators", economists, etc
- Strict division of professional regulatory matters from other functions.
Applicants for membership of this section be subject to strictest vetting.
- Full participation of community selected members in the decision-making processes of
professional malpractice committees
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby adrian5987 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:36 pm

if their work is good enough i dont see why they shouldnt be allowed call themselves architects. if they show an effort to learn on their own there is no reason why they should be less qualified than others. lets face it Michael Scott "considered the most important architect of the twentieth century in Ireland." (http://archiseek.com/2009/michael-scott-1905-1989/) could not call himself an architect today, or for a more modern example '95 pritzker winner Tadao Ando.
in saying that i doubt that all have made the effort
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby onq » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:32 pm

Paul I don't know who you know of who's taking the entrance assessment, but you seem sucked in by the glories of academic qualification.
You, like many whose parents have paid a fortune for their education and may feel a bit aggrieved, seem to miss the point.

Let's look back on where your own profession arose from the tradition of master builders and Victorian Engineers.
Even their failures were glorious failures, and pushed the borders of man's knowledge and achievements.
Their apprenticed means of education produced many fine feats of engineering still with us today.

For example, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isambard_Kingdom_Brunel

"The son of the eminent engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and Sophia Kingdom Brunel, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born on 9 April 1806 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, where his father was working on block-making machinery.[4][5] He had two older sisters, Sophia and Emma, and the whole family moved to London in 1808 for his father's work. Brunel had a happy childhood, despite the family's constant money worries, with his father acting as his teacher during his early years. His father taught him drawing and observational techniques from the age of four and Brunel had learned Euclidean geometry by eight. During this time he also learned fluent French and the basic principles of engineering. He was encouraged to draw interesting buildings and identify any faults in their structure"

Accordingly to John Graby, the Registrar, when I put a similar point to him about Michael Scott, he confirmed he sat the RIAI entrance examination and was admitted into the ranks of its members.
Admittedly Scott is on record as "distrusting anyone with letters after their name" and apparently he was badgered into sitting a special exam.

No everyone takes the same path in life.
I believe there is an onus us to be inclusive and recognise all those who are persistent and have ability and reach a certain standard.

Some can, and do.
Some cannot and teach.
Some whinge and complain and fall away and achieve nothing.
Some struggle to achieve their qualification through five and more years of 3rd Level work.
Some start indentured servitude to those who can and work their way up the ladder to competence.

The current position in Architecture is that several routes exist to membership for those who are willing to stand up and be assessed.
There is broad agreement among many of those wishing to practice as architects that such an assessment is a Good Thing.

- There are disagreements with the RIAI's elevation to the position of competent authority.
- There are disagreements over the perceived difference in standards now and previously.
- There is a huge concern over the high cost of some routes to becoming assessed.

There is a small group of people who believe that they should be allowed entry to the profession without any assessment whatsoever.
This small group is at the core of a larger group within which it buries itself with the aim that "all go through or none go through".
This small group has as a core principle the unseating of the Registrar and the undermining of the competent authority.
Some members of the larger group have decided to stand up and be assessed and some have already been admitted.

As Teak has said, this is a much more complex situation than at might appear and there are many shades of gray.

Thus,
  • I am actively working to try to get to overall cost of assessment reduced to reflect people's ability to pay.
  • I support any persons right to stand forward for assessment to become registered as an architect.
  • I denounce anyone who, as a matter of principle, seeks to undermine the competent authority.
As I posted before,
  • I am FOR Assessment.
  • I am FOR Registration.
  • I am FOR Regulation of the provision of services.
The last thing we need are incompetents practicing as architects in Ireland.
That might have implications for some current RIAI Members.
But that's another day's work.

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Re: Architect Registration

Postby onq » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:49 pm

Teak,

You seem to have put a lot of thought into your reply to Paul and I agree with most of what you said.
I would also suggest we a more transparent complaints process and a publication of the results.
I realise this may restrict freedom of expression for some in a conflict resolution process.
So I'm not looking to give unfettered access to minutes of negotiations, just the results.

There are far too many "old boys" who seem to rely on incompetent underlings to do their work.
This inevitably leads to problems down the line when such creatures cannot stand their ground when certs are asked for.
Then gloss over the resultant costly mess that their clients have to pay for by engaging in "confidential alternative dispute resolution."

I think we have to give our "highly educated workforce" the credit they deserve and stop treating them like mushrooms.
If there are practices whose work is consistently below par then then they need to be restricted or mentored or both.
Or else there is no logical follow-on to their RIAI's suggestion that restriction of use of Title protects the public.
It shouldn't be left to a public interest group to publish this information now we have a competent authority

I'm not saying we need some sort of corrupt ratings agency like Standard and Poors applied to Architects.

But the public does needs to know who the relative incompetents and cute hoors are in the profession.
Eventually this will expose those who win competitions and achieve permissions by undue influence.
This will lead us towards a merit-based profession and restrict the operations of the chancers.

Which in turn will clear the way for vibrant new companies to step forward and prosper.

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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:18 am

I would also suggest we a more transparent complaints process and a publication of the results.

Agreed. Appropriate for most every other profession too.
The problem with behind closed doors resolutions is that all parties involved - the professional, the
client, the professional body and certain members of that profession - all have an interest in trying
to spread rumours about the final decision made so as to support their own positions on that issue.
Innocent members of the profession may then have their view of the conflict influenced by the sly
leaks and public affectations of each of these parties.
Transparency would eliminate much of this carry-on.

There are far too many "old boys" who seem to rely on incompetent underlings to do their work.

Professionals may well farm out routine technical or donkey work to the underlings, according to
their level of training.
But there is no legal way that they may pass down the overall supervising responsibility.

If there are practices whose work is consistently below par then then they need to be restricted or
mentored or both.


Well, it's damn nice-sounding to offer the 'mentoring' option.
But, apart from those few who erred non-maliciously due to inexperience/ignorance/misinterpretation/
mistraining, the vast bulk of the offenders will have done so in a hard-nosed whatyagonnadoaboutit way.
There cannot be any doubt in the mind of any decent professional as to what must be done with
the latter cases.
And there ought be no denial of due moral support to those in the profession whose duty is to apply
those standards : those wanting the benefits of the profession ought share its responsibilities, tough
as these may be on the delicate architecture of their community relations.

One more thing.
Many professional bodies have a small sub-committee that is supposed to sensitively deal with the
matter of support for members under particular distress or hardship.
In my ex institute - a UK body but this potential hazard is universal, surely - a dangerously ambitious
(in its worst connotation) member got himself onto this sub-comm, him already being on other comms
of the institute. This enabled him to
a) Get the low-down on various senior members' personal situations;
b) Dispense funds budgeted to this sub-comm without any serious oversight or audit.
The moral hazard consequent to senior members who received such benefits and whose own decisions
could benefit the career of that sponsoring sub-comm member is obvious.

While I accept that detailed auditing of such applications of funds is not desirable, it seems basic
organizational sense therefore that any such sub-comm ought comprise :
a) Some members of the profession in question whose lifestyle are painfully honest to a (wo)man;
and
b) Some members of the general public whose circumstances, background and knowledge of
the world and all its vicissitudes befit their appointment to this type of sub-comm work.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:57 am

Thank you for your thoughts on this subject, they are very interesting, particularly as they come from within the profession. However, I must point out that in Victorian times and before, engineers were either trained by the military (military engineers then made the transition to civilian engineers...... civil engineers) or they were practical academics in the fields of mathematics and physics such as Wren. I appreciate that there would have been apprentices, but these people where breaking ground and their endeavours would undoubtedly demonstrate their competence or expose their poor training. Such risks are just not acceptable in today’s built environment. The academic assessment is a 5 year course were the applicants are tested thoroughly and great confidence can then be held in their abilities. The institute’s assessment is just a token compared to t, how confident can we really be in their graduates. Look, the people who go for it, rise up through the ranks, the can do..ers, it is very romantic, but have we not learned from the boom. Our cities, towns and landscapes are in their hands, we have to be certain of their abilities
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:51 pm

I suppose that you got tired of reading all the indignation in the other threads on this issue from various
sides to this controversy.

I think what we are talking about here is essentially the sense of responsibility to DO the right thing .
Having the necessary knowledge and skills to do the right thing (and one can acquire these in on-the-job
apprenticeship + evening college training as well as in a full-time academic setting) is only one part of this task.
The design, planning and build-quality supervision disasters of the past 16 years are as often due
to people who have had the RIAI classic academic training as much as to those who didn't have it.

Poor professional standards are just a reflection of poor social values.
In Ireland this results from the adoption, after failure's of state-driven enterprise during the 1970s & '80s,
of the US model of individuals' right to make themselves rich being given priority over the collective right
to a decent and secure life for all ; the wealth acquired by the entrepreneurs being supposed to be kicked
down to the rest of us.
But we neglected to install the necessary stay-bars for this model to succeed in a country where social
distributions had previously been only implemented for political advantage rather than by a sense of
social enlightenment on the part of the wealthy and powerful.
In the comedown from this model's blowout, we're rediscovering the value of effective regulation.
Professional bodies as much as banks need to establish themselves on a more realistic basis if their
members are to prosper in the years ahead.

But it is clear to me that professional bodies in Ireland do not readily allow such change due to their
undemocratic governance structures.
So changes have to be imposed on all professions governing bodies by the state so as to enable
them to be responsible to the public, member-driven, responsive to popular initiative, efficient and
having minimal potential for corruption from within or without.

Merely insisting on professionals to have their degrees + 2 years of supervised work by a full member of
their profession is not going to stop the psycho-emotional rot that leads to bad professional practice :
not everybody in the middle classes will content themselves with the limited joys and the slow advancement
of middle-class living, you know . . .
And those of us who are playing it straight or depending on them as professionals have to be able to
tackle them without causing greater inconvenience to ourselves.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby onq » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:05 pm

Teak,

I can only concur.

Qualification or years spent in practice can offer a degree of assurance, but only an assessment offers a definitive assurance.

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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:22 pm

Teak,
I do agree, accountability is important and there has to be a coherent effort between the state and the relevant institution to demand higher standards. I support the Institutions registration process save the eligibility to qualify without an academic qualification. I accept that academic qualifications alone are not sufficient to guarantee successful design however I believe that it plays an integral role. I can only imagine this from the viewpoint of a Structural Engineer. I just could not fathom working in my profession without the necessary degree. However I accept your point which was quite elegantly put.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:32 pm

There is some sort of assessment for non-academically qualified architects under the BCA deal.
I am not one to say whether it is adequate or not -- that's one for the architects on this forum.
But it is there.
The real danger in all this is not those who made themselves architects the hard way from a
starting position as an arch draughtsman and whose subsequent work experience attests to
their capability and responsibility.
It is rather those in the category (f)

a person who—
(i) has at least 7 years’ practical experience of performing duties commensurate with those
of an architect in the State,
(ii) is at least 35 years of age, and
(iii) has passed a prescribed register admission examination;


I'd be afraid that this category might be interpreted to include the cynical draughtsmen in
every Irish town who take in young couples under the pretence of being cheaper than the
local architects.

I suppose than ONQ and others would be alarmed by category (b)

a person who is a fellow or member of the registration body;


It is likely than a share of academically qualified guys who've gone to the bad would be
in that bracket.

I'm not saying that professionals without the relevant degree should be allowed without clear
evidence of their capability. I'm just saying that this academic content can be acquired on a
apprenticeship + evening study basis.
Mechanical engineers still do it in UK and other places; and mechanical is far more diverse
than structural.
Lawyers can still do it in several US states including California, New York & Virginia.
Architects can do it in Canada.
There is no good reason that I see why it wouldn't be possible for a Leav Cert student with the
right grades to make himself very useful (initially as tech clerk & CAD tech) in a structural eng
office and attend classes in the evening.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:06 pm

Anybody who works during the day and studies at night, in my opinion is more qualified than the conventional academic, they have amassed expertise from both sides of the track, I applaud the commitment and determination of those people. To be honest, I am impressed with those who achieve great designs without the backup of academia, I am just a little cautious with those whom have not formally proven themselves beyond an interview and an exam.
In relation to mechanical being more diverse than structural, one must remember that structures is just one branch within civil. So a structural engineer has been trained in hydraulics, hydrology, structures etc. Also a Mechanical engineer does not practice every branch he covered at University, he will specialize in one area similar to a civil engineer who practices structure to become a structural engineer. A structural engineer’s diversification is a direct expression of the artistic freedom of the architect.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:12 pm

The 'grandfathers', i.e. those whose experience on the job alone attained for them the right
to RIAI membership, are in a small minority within the architect population.
And the 'grandfathers' are also 'sundowners' as the clause allowing such entitlement to practice
as RIAI members is supposed to lapse after a set period, I believe.
If you want to, it's easy to avoid them anyway as they'll have no B.Arch. or Dip. Arch. before
their RIAIs on their description. I should think that most of them would be well and grey by now.

I appreciate your implied questioning of architect's appreciation of structural aspects.
This is one of the giveaways of cowboy architects doing rural homes : blind adherence to
stupid internal forms because anything giving more effective use of space would take them out
of their depth analytically -- and calling in an engineer to help would deflate their pride and bump
up the client's final fees.

Despite the bar on the word 'architect' it appears that there is no bar as yet on the use of
'architectural services' over the shopfronts of these cowboys.
In the countryside, the whole thing is still a mess.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby wearnicehats » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:30 am

do we HAVE to drag this up again. Covered ad nauseum in a multitude of threads elsewhere. Christ, CK will be back next
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:19 am

PC,

I refer you to the DIT Structural Eng (hons) sylllabus.

http://www.dit.ie/study/undergraduate/p ... ringdt024/

This is a 3 year specialisation after a first year in common with civil eng students.
As you see it does no more of the additional aspects of civil eng than is strictly
relevant for their impact on the work of the structural engineer.
I do accept that in many other universities, there is a tendency for structural engineering
to be taught as a specialisation within a general civil eng degree.
But, clearly, the fact that all the academic requirements for entry to I.Struct. Eng.
are met by the out and out structural eng courses like DIT's shows that it is fully
adequate for the training of competent professional struct engs.

No way could the DIT course (which is a very good one, I believe) be compared in
terms of breadth with a mechanical eng course.
I accept what you say about post-qualification specialisation by mech engs.
In fact, the final year streams in most B.E.(Mech.) courses already show a good
measure of specialisation, e.g. into energy management, plant maintenance,
mech. design, stress eng, and so on.
But mech. engs -- at least those in Ireland, those in places like Turin have option to
specialise much earlier in their courses -- still have a wider academic furrow to plough.

-------------------------------o-------------------------------

WNH,

This present thread is largely informative.
There are no serious bones of contention in it, unlike the original 'Sensitive Matter of BCA'.
Besides, there's so little action on the forum these days apart from 'Irish Churches' and
'Discovering Dutch Billies Near You' (some of them very marginal cases, I think) that the
advertisers may be forced to go elsewhere . . .
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:13 pm

Teak,
I actually did the struct. eng course and then an environmental add on degree in Ulster, it was always basically a civil degree by their own admission, it did focus heavily on structures, but it included hydraulics and all the standard civil stuff. This was a 40 hour a week course. One of my pals is a mech eng and there is no way he has a wider base of knowledge than me.....ha ha (just kidding)
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:26 pm

I actually did the struct. eng course

Which one ?
The DIT course described in my previous post ?
Or another one in UCC or elsewhere ?

Because to my eyes, there's no hydraulics (bar basic fluid mechanics in Y2) on
the DIT course and it seems to be structural design all the way.
Many Irish engineers end up emigrating to countries with widely varying ground
conditions, height allowances, project scale and so on.
I think that the 3 years would be easy to fill out with structural studies and design
alone without any regard to study of other aspects of civil engineering .
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:09 pm

In the DIT, i must look at the website and see what they are advertising, but we did complex fluid mechanics, hydraulic jumps, Darcy Weisbac, venturis, open channel analysis and design, waste water and potable water treatment process and design and all the structural stuff, it was a 4 year course with the first year general. We also did some Highway Engineering, in yr 3 ......... I think.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:59 am

Here's another out and out structural course for you with minimal impact from other
civil eng areas :-

http://courses.cit.ie/index.cfm/page/co ... CR_CSTRU_8
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:38 am

yes, they all have to cover a wide range, it is important to capture as much academic knowledge as possible at 3rd level, you will do your specialisation in your career depending on what industry is doing well, at present, this is clearly not structures, believe me, I know.....
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:02 pm

Look, I just can't agree - insofar as I can make out anything like a coherent
view coming from you. It seems like you didn't even compare the syllabuses
of the DIT and CIT courses with your own.

To me if you want to become a structural engineer you have to learn as much
about that area as you can -- not just as to structures here in Ireland but all
over the world : earthquake-zone structural practice, wind loading in tornado
belts, analysis methods for complex architectural forms, use of novel/natural/
indigeneous materials for load-bearing elements -- and, not least, at least one
major world language like Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese or Russian.
If you want a successful career in structures, you have to pack up and go abroad.

On the other hand, you just want to get an oul job in Ireland then take the sort
of general course given in UCC or UCD.
Just like so many more chameleons in our council engineering departments.
"Roads" for a few years; then "water" for a while; then "waste"; then "traffic";
then a "manager" of something or other.
Our cities and counties are a shabby monument to their lack of real expertise.
Apart from being confidently expert in always hanging on to their old number.
And the big stupid jeep going with it.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:45 pm

Firstly Teak, you obviously did not understand my previous points, I explicitly informed the discussion that the syllabus you viewed on the website is not exactly in line with what is taught. The notion of trying to study structures through a keyhole and not covering a broad field is ridiculous, I’m sorry but that assertion could only come from someone who is not a structural engineer.
You must understand that structures intertwine with all areas of engineering and architecture. To design a water retaining structure, you must have an understanding of fluid mechanics, to design waste water treatment networks, then you must have an understanding of geo-technics. The idea of academic training is not to produce working products, but to prepare practitioners by arming them with the fundamental knowledge to specialise in certain fields.
You should not need to work in Germany or France or Australia to become a talented engineer, the mathematics for all buildings is the same albeit shell or dome structures are a little more complex or maybe it just seems that way as we are not that familiar with them. Our arch bridges are no different from their suspension bridges, they are just upside down and do not span as far. It is just as complicated to design a 1m spanning beam as it is to design a 10m spanning beam. The foundations for an Irish house are every bit as troublesome as the foundations for the Sydney Opera House, that is the case of course if the person designing them truly knows what he/she is doing and is in search of the most economic design.
I am beginning to think that Bolton St. is getting a bit like Trinity and spending a lot of time selling themselves like a cut throat commercial entity, advertising USP’s , having the I.struct.E. set up base there. The name of the course being structural engineering is exactly just that, it is only a name, it has to be as their graduates would be insufficiently trained if they only had acquired knowledge in that field.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:00 pm

The foundations for an Irish house are every bit as troublesome as the foundations for the Sydney Opera House

I love it ! :clap:
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby Paul cuddy » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:07 pm

teak wrote:The foundations for an Irish house are every bit as troublesome as the foundations for the Sydney Opera House

I love it ! :clap:


I don't know if you are being sarcastic or what but the underlying principle is that mechanics do not respect the attributes of aestetics, a load load from a party wall creates the same bending stresses as a load from a shell.
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Re: Architect Registration

Postby teak » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:03 pm

I think the trigger word in that quote was 'Irish' . . . . :thumbup:

Unfortunately, at times it's almost true . . .
. . . because of the lack of official guidline documents on anything other than strip foundations.
Not to mention the unfamiliarity of so many builders with non-strip foundations.
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