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Architects present five-point plan for RIAS reform

January 19 2018

Architects present five-point plan for RIAS reform
A group of disaffected architects have compiled a five-point action plan with which they hope to realise real reform of the RIAS.

A New Chapter went public with their proposals following an open confrontation with the architect’s body, signaling that they are ready to engage to ensure it better meets the needs of those it represents.

As such they have come forward with a handful of suggestions aimed at re-energising the membership and promoting architecture, chief of which is ‘unity and support’ in an effort to end the bickering and build a forward-looking consensus.

The proposals also call for greater ‘collaboration and transparency’, a renewed emphasis on ‘excellence and learning’ and further devolution to attain increased ‘federalism and internationalism’.

A New Chapter, which comprises some 150 members, also wishes to see reform of RIAS ‘governance and best practice’ in a desire to guarantee that the body operates in a ‘democratic manner’.

The New Year peace offering follows a wave of scandals which beset the RIAS at the tail end of last year, ignited when an open revolt brought about the resignation of secretary and treasurer Neil Baxter. A police investigation into alleged financial irregularities is currently underway.
Over 150 architects signed an open letter calling for change
Over 150 architects signed an open letter calling for change


#1 Posted by CadMonkey on 19 Jan 2018 at 12:19 PM
Sounds like more beurocracy.
I don’t really see the point of RIAS.
Times have moved on.
Let’s just close RIAS and be led by RIBA please.
P.s. RIBA also have a much better book shop.
Your face or mine...
#2 Posted by Your face or mine... on 19 Jan 2018 at 12:38 PM
Those mugshots are beyond embarrassing.
#3 Posted by mick on 19 Jan 2018 at 21:29 PM
Do architects really dream that this five point plan can represent change. The malaise which has / is emerging is fundamental to the extent that the only solution now may well be to close down the RIAS, close it like Carillion. When RIAS dislodged RIAS Insurance out to the insurance sector this was the red flag to architects that vision and integrity were no longer evident. Bite the bullet now and cease this continued long running farce.
Just say it like it is and spare us the tears
#4 Posted by Just say it like it is and spare us the tears on 20 Jan 2018 at 14:03 PM
'A group of disaffected architects have compiled a five-point action plan with which they hope to realise real reform of the RIAS.'

Just about says it all.

Or, if you prefer - Turkeys squabble over outmoded and redundant form of existence that never ever really existed other than within the minds and self-aggrandising posturing of their own meaningless and self-perpetuating bureaucratic class before they go on the abattoir conveyor belt.

Now that's certainly got a nice wee jolly ring to it!
An Old Chapter
#5 Posted by An Old Chapter on 20 Jan 2018 at 17:30 PM
God, this is depressing. Not only is the existing professional body largely irrelevant and incompetent, but the campaign group for change is less than inspiring. My initial incredulous reaction to the images of handful of architects holding up scraps of paper spelling out some bland and rather obvious ambitions was not improved by going on to their webpage.
The call to arms by comrade Malcolm Fraser, killed it for me... Its 'A New Chapter' that appears inbred and Masonic, only with a bit more hummous.
Why not just resign membership and (even temporarily) join the RIBA!?...or is this cowering to the 'establishment'.
150no Architects is NOT a groundswell.
Chris Stewart
#6 Posted by Chris Stewart on 21 Jan 2018 at 08:54 AM
I sympathise with many of the points raised above, especially those discussing the relevance of the RIAS. 150 members may not seem that many however knowing first hand how hard it can be to get people involved, groundswell may seem a tad dramatic but 150 (and growing) is pretty significant. Other countries such as those in Scandinavia have relevant professional bodies and although I understand ‘more’ policy could be less than inspiring having one which is clear and meaningful would be.

Even though most of the comments are negative it is great to see that UR readers are willing to enter into discussion. I am one of the 150 and do believe we can make some real change.
#7 Posted by CadMonkey on 21 Jan 2018 at 18:39 PM
I’d like to get a proper understanding of the scale of this “groundswell”.
How many architects actually are there in Scotland?
(I’m assuming the 150 are all architects?)
Not in my name
#8 Posted by Not in my name on 22 Jan 2018 at 10:24 AM
So ARB has roughly 6603 Architects in Scotland.
A New Chapter 150 = 2.27%
Negligible, go away.
Sue Pearman
#9 Posted by Sue Pearman on 22 Jan 2018 at 10:26 AM
I personally think a strong body representing architects is essential.
We need a body that both represents us in terms of promoting the profession (celebrating best practice, promoting through education etc) and lobbying for change at government level (planning, procurement etc) and unfortunately the rumours of corruption at the RIAS suggest this hasn't been a priority and ARB certainly doesn't.
For example in Switzerland, where the level of public comprehension of architecture is much higher and the standard of construction generally much higher, architectural education runs right through the school system to the point that in both primary and secondary school education there are exam questions on architecture. I think this is where it needs to start and maybe the next generation will actually know what architects do. This is the kind of thing that the profession should be pushing for in Scotland that our built environment would benefit greatly from.
Rem Koolbag
#10 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 22 Jan 2018 at 10:46 AM
#8 Not in your name the allegations of corruption and the ongoing police investigation into said allegations as well as investigations by the charities regulator?
Wise up.
Not in my name
#11 Posted by Not in my name on 22 Jan 2018 at 10:55 AM
Yes, 150 people are claiming to represent me and 'Architects'. Some of which I know in person to be divisive or troubling in their own ways. What is wrong with the RIAS is one thing, these people claiming the right to guide is another.

So the title 'Architects present five-point plan for RIAS reform' is not in my name.

Sue Pearman
#12 Posted by Sue Pearman on 22 Jan 2018 at 11:01 AM
By way of another example I understand the RIAS did not engage with the second stage of the Planning reform legislation currently passing through Holyrood …meaning architects were not represented in developing the soon to be current planning legislation.
This is obviously reprehensible!
boaby wan
#13 Posted by boaby wan on 22 Jan 2018 at 11:16 AM
whilst the aspirations are commendable, there doesn't really seem to be anything of real substance coming from the new chapter folks - presenting five bullet points and bumping gums in the architectural press isn't going to get anything done.
The new chapter should be forcing their way into the RIAS and getting their hands dirty in terms of reforming the organisation - or if they don't think that's possible, start a new organisation and lobby for funding etc.
There's a few notable architects writing about these issues regularly but they seem to be in top critic mode (i.e. present problems and not offer solutions) who then don't seem to want to get into the difficult bit as maybe the aj won't give them the soapbox then...

I'm not planning to renew my RIAS membership until there is some clarity over the issues initially raised by a new chapter, but I was really hoping for a whole lot more action from them if they are serious about reforming the organisation.
Rem Koolbag
#14 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 22 Jan 2018 at 11:17 AM
#11 Quite right to not just accept representation if not desired. The irony being, those who do wish for representation, for example by joining the national body, are not getting it as in Sue's post at #12.
Do you not have any concerns about the performance of RIAS?
'The elephant in the room is, of course, class'
#15 Posted by 'The elephant in the room is, of course, class' on 22 Jan 2018 at 13:24 PM
Clearly this groundswell will never be televised as there is a huge great big disconnect between those whose faces have fitted the bill since the day they were born and those for whom being an architect on a D&B contract is the daily grind where their function is primarily a supplier of drawings, details and schedules.

This is the mainstream construction industry today where the designer of the 'bespoke' has been ground down by the real forces of economic change and mass-produced building components and corporate clients for whom standardisation of ALL is their goal.

I see that UCATT has now been absorbed by UNITE. This would have a bit more muscle and relevance to the lives of Architects rather than this noblesse oblige royal incorporation pap.

The times they are a changin...

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