Posted by Richard Haut on March 14, 2003 at 23:13:25:
In Reply to: Re: Why architects so underpaids in architectural firms. posted by Rog the Dodge on March 14, 2003 at 14:04:45:
the difficulty is in the role of the architect. If the fee is reduced too far, or becomes too closely associated with the development process, then the architect loses the distance from that process required for the giving of objective advice.
the profession has let itself down very badly by undercutting fees and using ludicrous ideas like a "nil bid" (technically of course there is no such thing as a nil bid - it is a form of bribe).
however it has gone so far in Britain that, for example, in the competition process Honoraria are insultingly small or even non-existent.
if the architect is reduced to being a subcontractor, then they are paid an accordingly reduced fee and their opinion is, inevitably, a 'sub' opinion. Even local authorities (traditionally very good clients for smaller architects) are being pressured into coming into "partnering" arrangements with large organisations, carrying huge liability cover, to simply take over their consulting work. This is the result of having a government that is lazy, lacks the fundamental skills needed to balance budgets and obligations, and always assumes that everybody is as crooked as they are and therefore cannot be trusted to undertake proper work for a proper fee.
however this is a short-lived phenomenon. The non-professional professional who merely acts as a hireling ends up like Arthur Andersen - compromised and irrelevant.
It is one area where Britain should learn from France. Virtually all public projects in France are two-stage competitions that pay reasonable Honoraria and often even have an additional sum for the production of an architectural model.
It is not a matter of money - it is a matter of respect, and the professional institutes in Britain should begin by showing respect for those that they are meant to represent; or their role will have to be totally reassessed.
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