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RIBA report highlights delivery problems with many practices

Published: Thursday, 10th September 2015

A report by RIBA has highlighted client frustrations over the divide between architectural practices with vision and those that can deliver post planning.

The conclusions of the report, ‘Client & Architect: Developing the essential relationship’, are described as “both daunting and exciting” and suggests the profession needs to “adapt to prosper”.

RIBA’s research claims that architects who can design a building from concept through to delivery are so rare that clients claim they are often forced to replace the original practice once planning permission is received.

Many clients said while they would prefer to hire only one firm it was often considered too risky to leave the concept architect in charge of the technical aspects of delivery.

The report claims clients would rather appoint a single practice to take forward the vision from concept to completion. However, RIBA’s research found that clients regard the profession as falling into two broad and separate categories: the concept architect and the technical architect.

It added: “Some clients struggle to find practices that are strong in both categories and commonly feel they have to replace the concept architects with a ‘safer’ pair of hands after stage three.”

“This is based on the perception that the creative flair that makes a good concept architect is an unacceptable risk during technical delivery. In other words, it is a compromise in the face of fear that the value gained with planning permission will be lost through inefficiencies, inaccuracies and waste.”

The 44-page report quoted is the result of a two-year project led by outgoing RIBA president Stephen Hodder. The research involved one-to-one interviews and roundtable discussions with hundreds of clients from many sectors.

Read more on the RIBA website

Roger Milne