Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh – Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd

© Kevin McCollum

Report on RIAS Council

June 2010

The Management Accounts to the end of the first quarter indicated a positive balance of £1,794 and a small increase on the budget of £1,657 approved by Council in March. Within those figures there have been a number of pluses and minuses with a greater increase in the reduction in subscriptions, bookshop turn-over, CPD income and room hire down, offset by positive figures from accreditation, bank interest, membership costs, postage and storage. Council noted the Management Accounts and approved the revised budget of £1,794.

A simplified mechanism for the nomination of Fellows and Honorary Fellows was approved, along with an increase in Affiliate membership subscriptions, the introduction of monthly admissions for new members, dropping of the ‘Associate’ suffix and an amendment to the retiral provisions for Members and Fellows who have been forced to retire early by illness.

On membership matters Council noted with regret the death and resignations of a number of Members and Fellows. The retirals, re-instatements, elections of Members, Affiliates and Students and nominations to Fellowship and Honorary Fellowships were approved.

Following on from recent internal improvement works Council approved the expenditure of a further £15,000 to undertake the redecoration and re-carpeting of the basement and sub-basements to improve the amenity for staff and members.

The Convention 2010 was noted as a success with comment to that effect being received from one of the eminent speakers, Louis Becker. Despite generous sponsorship from VELUX and SELECT the Convention made a small loss.

Following the launch of the first issue of RIAS Quarterly in April a detailed breakdown of the costs was submitted to Council and further sponsorship is being pursued to ensure a break-even.

A member’s query about duplication of judges between the Doolan and RIBA Awards was discussed at length by Council. It was agreed that the past year’s events were highly unusual and that we would ensure no such overlap in future. A complaint from a member against a local Chapter’s objection to a planning application was discussed and it was agreed that such objections should be notified to A+DS in the future.

Amalgamation of Membership Committee into the Awards Committee was approved by Council and the present Convenor and Vice Convenor of the former will continue to review applications for membership within the expanded remit of the Awards Committee.

Council approved changes to the process for the nomination of RIAS representatives to RIBA Council to avoid conflict with the RIBA’s standing orders. Adjustments were also agreed to ensure that members were not over-charged for the first year of membership.

Members had indicated concerns over pressure on architects by banks to extend their liability into certifying a supervisory role in small domestic projects. Council approved measures for countering this behaviour.

Council noted that the RIAS, under the Arbitral Appointments Referee (Scotland) Order 2010, had been authorised to act as an Arbitral Appointments Referee. Training and assessment procedures will now be developed. RIAS will also examine the development of proposals for similar training for mediators.

Council considered an invitation by the Prince of Wales Philanthropic Medal to the President to nominate a candidate for the award and the sponsor for a recent project was agreed to be contacted to ascertain their interest in being put forward.

A long running dispute with Yell Ltd over their breach of copyright in using the RIAS crest in its printed directories was discussed and Council approved the strengthening and clarification of RIAS guidance on the use of the crest and the taking of appropriate action against Yell.

The RIAS objections to the proposed Aberdeen Civic Square Competition were discussed and it was agreed to monitor the situation and agree further action, as required.

Council noted progress on the drafting of further documentation and amendment of existing documents for the RIAS Energy Design Certification scheme following the April re-audit, and this was confirmed as nearing completion. Further work will be necessary to take into account the revisions to Section 6 of the Building Regulations to be implemented in October. There are now 40 Approved Certifiers of Design of which 21 are producing Section 6 Certificates.

A recent Practice Essentials CPD event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre was a sell-out and a further similar event took place at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness in early June. A talk by Dr James Macaulay at the RIAS on 9th June to launch his new biography on Charles Rennie Mackintosh was also a success and enjoyed by participants.