The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Edinburgh – Malcolm Fraser Architects Ltd

© Dave Morris

Report on RIAS Council

June 2013

Council noted and adopted the Management Accounts up to the end of March 2013 and the improved forecast for the year.

The Membership Report was noted with 8 Deaths, 23 Resignations, 12 Removals, 7 Transfers to Retired, 1 Transfer to Retired Fellowship, 29 Reinstatements, 15 Elections to Student Membership, 28 Elections to Membership, 8 Nominations to Fellowship and 4 Nominations to Honorary Fellowship. This represents an overall increase in membership of 33.

Council considered a procurement issue where the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists has insisted on its members being given equal standing to architects in the procurement process. It was agreed to liaise with the RIBA and to make CIAT aware of our concerns.

After much previous discussion Council adopted the UK conservation accreditation protocol agreed with Historic Scotland that only Advance Accredited architects can work on grant aided projects on A Listed buildings and Accredited architects can work on B and C Listed projects (and their UK equivalent).

Council noted that AVIVA had withdrawn from the SME Professional Indemnity market and is no longer the insurer for the RIAS Scheme. XL Insurance has agreed to be the lead insurer for the Scheme. RIASIS past performance demonstrates a good long term return but there are challenges ahead. Rates will also rise an estimated 10 to 15% next year.

The problem of low fee bids skewing the competitive process in competitions run by the Incorporation will be considered by a working group agreed by Council.

The EAA Council’s proposal to carry out a general survey of architects in Scotland on personal, business, economic issues and education was considered by Council. After discussion it was agreed to focus in the first instance on the development of an educational survey by the Education Committee.

A report on the Convention was received with acclaim by Council. Responses indicate a clear preference for a Friday/Saturday format. This was noted for next year.

The issue of the garden wall at Rutland Square may be drawing to a close. The City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to make good the damage caused by the surcharging of the Canning Street roadway. Council commended the tenacity by the Secretary and Special Advisor.
Council noted the circumstances in which the Scottish Parliament – Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee appointed Malcolm Fraser to represent the Incorporation in its scrutiny of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill.

A complaint by Covell Matthews against the City of Edinburgh Council for inadequacies of procedures in their restoration of a C-Listed property was discussed. The case is the subject of a Hearing with the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA). This could establish a precedent where economic return over-rides historic interest and the Scottish Historic Environmental Policy (SHEP) test. Council agreed to support Covell Matthews.

Council considered the request from AJ to include a link to a survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual architects in the RIAS e-bulletin. Council agreed that the Incorporation always focusses on the individual’s qualities as an architect and that the proposed survey ran the risk of being more divisive than constructive.

Council commended the extensive media coverage achieved from March to June.
Eligibility criteria for the Directory and the Chartered Practice scheme were approved.

Council approved the proposal for developing a Specialist Register in Public Sector Construction Procurement, confirming that it is imperative that the profession stays at the forefront of procurement and that the Incorporation should establish a list of experts. A system based on our dispute resolution registers was proposed with a fee for entry, a training programme, nominated assessors and a panel.

Council also approved the proposal to establish a simple dispute resolution service for small scale disputes with a draft Conciliator Appointment Document.

Council noted that the Government’s Public Procurement in Construction Review is making a number of recommendations to Ministers covering leadership, inefficiencies, contract terms, frameworks, monitoring, sustainability and new technology. They are also pressing for Project Bank Accounts to be adopted in Scotland to assist towards a fair payment culture.