High Mill and Preparing Rooms, Verdant Works, Dundee – James F Stephens Architects

© GSR Photography

Report on RIAS Council

June 2011

A net deficit of £5,525 was reported which, compared to the budgeted surplus of £1,595, gave an adverse variance of £7,120. This was mainly due to changes in commercial income from bookshop, consultancy, CPD and room hire. A further contribution of £30,000 is budgeted for the ongoing improvements to the RIAS HQ.

Council approved the Membership Report which recorded the deaths of 5 Members, 9 resignations, 8 transfers to retired, 2 transfers to retired Fellowship, 1 transfer from retired to full Membership, 3 re-instatements, 1 election to Affiliate, 25 elections to student membership and 32 elections to Membership. There were two Fellowship nominations and five for Honorary Fellowship.

Council noted that in the recent RIAS election only 4% of eligible members cast their votes. Voters were asked to vote for all five candidates in order of preference. Reservations from two Members over this voting system were reported. The system was endorsed by Council for future elections as the fairest possible, given the geographic spread of our membership and the turnout.

The issue of obtaining a joint protocol between RIAS, RIBA and Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC) in respect of conservation accreditation was discussed. It was agreed this should be pursued by the Secretary. Council also gave its support to the Conservation Committee and the Secretary in seeking agreement on the joint pursuit of a fair and equal Conservation Accreditation agreement with the UK’s statutory bodies.

It was agreed to reduce the Chapter Contingency Fund annual payment to £3,000 from 2012. A proposed uplift to all Chapter grants was agreed in response to a request from the Borders Architecture Group for £1,000 for this year and £500 in following years. That payment will be made through the EAA. The uplift on Chapter payments, calculated on the basis determined in 2007 is; ASA, £176, DIA, £196.89, EAA, £500.00, GIA, £581.28, IAA, £334.16 and SSA, £128.33. The percentage breakdown of Chapter payments is to be reviewed – to reflect the current spread of membership.

Zero fee tendering, internships and working after retirement were all debated by Council. It was agreed that the Secretary should send an e-bulletin to all members, communicating Council’s grave concerns about these issues.

Recognising the changed political landscape in Scotland Council agreed to prioritise a broad based RIAS Scottish award. It is hoped to develop the award in partnership with the RIBA.
The 2012 Convention in Aberdeen will focus on ‘Re-engaging with the Past’. Positive indications have been received from David Chipperfield and Rafael Moneo and acceptances from Benedetta Tagliabue, Gareth Hoskins, David Page and Eric Parry. The format of the Friday evening will change to a ‘meet the speakers’ dinner.

Meetings have taken place with Historic Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy, the National Galleries of Scotland and RCAHMS to discuss the Year of Architecture 2016, the RIAS’s centenary. A meeting is scheduled with Creative Scotland. Official designation of 2016 will be pursued with the Scottish Government by the President’s Committee for 2016.

Council heard that a press release is being drafted by the Scottish Futures Trust, announcing our £3.5m threshold agreement. Scottish Ministers have been made aware in the course of the RIAS discussions of the possible implications of the HubCo systems for quality and local employment. The Procurement Commission, established by the Past President, will now finalise its report to share with the Government, ministers and partner organisations.

The RIAS Energy Design Certification Scheme continues to attract new subscribers. Council noted the increase to 165. Building Standards Division of the Scottish Government has launched Section 7, Sustainability and opportunities for the Incorporation in air and acoustic testing are being pursued.

Progress on the improvement programme for the Incorporation’s headquarters was noted by Council, including the new sub-basement meeting room, the Garden Room. Edinburgh City Council has not responded to requests to repair the damage to the rear garden wall and legal options are now being explored.

Council noted the progress on the new database. It and the new website will go live shortly.

Council were apprised of the activities of the Planning and Development Stakeholders Forum and the Local Review Body Forum on which the Incorporation is represented.