RIBA is an organization that strictly controls the quality of the service of architecture bodies in the UK. Membership in RIBA guarantees the trust and respect of customers. Apart from this the Royal organization provides a wide technical support of its members. Thus, participation in the “Chartered Practice” scheme looks profitable and advantageous. It is also proved by the fact that nowadays RIBA consists of almost 50 thousand members. But still there is no perfect scheme organized by humans. So let us now dwell upon the advantages and disadvantages of a new RIBA “Chartered Practice” scheme its benefits (customer’s business profile, further development of the customer, self-education) and disadvantages (the conditions of becoming a member, annual fee and rights restrictions.)
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The benefits for Chartered members are widely known and advertised. They are even included in “Chartered Practice Conception”. The most attractive points are:
“RIBA Nomination Service used by over 8500 clients to find their architect; entry in the specialist RIBA Sector Reviews with an opportunity to publish your projects; promotion at UK and worldwide exhibitions and conference.” (Duncan, 2008).
In such a way a customer’s business profile is raised and outstands amongst other potential competitors due to: the access to the widest client database and thus the possibility to get a better order, and wide promotion of the projects and services of the member of RIBA which also greatly influences on the effectiveness, inner structure, and the possibility to “attract best labor who are seeking for the managerial promotion” (Lewis,2010).
The scheme includes different sources of the further development and support of the customer: “Giving an objective assessment of areas critical for the success of the customer and identifying new business areas” (Strom, 2010). This point is of crucial importance for the representatives of the small regional practice as it gives giant possibilities for further development in the neighboring areas and in various architectural trends.
And last but not least is the production of wide opportunities for self-education and self-development. The participation in the scheme enables to use of the largest library, the selection of technical information and developed member website.
All of the above-listed privileges look very catching but now let us closer consider the conditions of becoming a member. First of all:
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“One of the principals should be a Chartered Member and at least one of eight of the staff must be an architect registered at the Architect Registration Board. And one in ten must be a RIBA Chartered Member.” (Code of professional conduct, 2010)
Particularly every architect body in UK which pretends to be a RIBA Charted Practice should have at least one worker who is a Chartered Member and architect of ARB. The last point becomes a stumbling block for many regional practices as ARB demands a very high standard of practice:
“You should ensure that you are able to provide adequate professional, financial and technical resources when entering into a contract and throughout its duration. You should also, where appropriate, ensure you have sufficient suitably qualified and supervised staff to provide an effective and efficient service to clients”. (Standards of Conduct and Practice 2010 Version, 2010)
The specialists of such level can be hardly present in the small regional communities. Thus, participation in Chartered Practice will be impossible for the local practices.
The other side of the membership conditions is the annual fee. Its volume is in linear response to the number of the staff members. This fact seems much acceptable for small authorities as they may control expends in such away.
Getting into a scheme also presupposes the constant control of the customer’s projects and architectural works, management system and health and safety policy. In such a way the small architectural bodies are getting dependent on RIBA and their right to self-development is restricted.
Thus the new scheme of RIBA has several benefits and shortcomings. Getting involved in the Chartered Practice presupposes the discovering of new valuable opportunities and outstanding benefits but restricts some business rights. Besides, the small practices often are not able to fulfill the requirements of RIBA. Therefore much points of the scheme are to be improved and adapted to the requirements of the regional practices.
Architects Registration Board (2010) Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice 2010 Version. London, Architects Registration Board. Web.
Duncan, Jane. (2008) RIBA Charted Practice. London, RIBA Information Centre.
Lewis, Zoe. (2010) RIBA Charted Architect. Architectural practice, p.16.
Magnus, Strom. (2010) Strom Architects become RIBA Chartered Practice. Architects, p.3.
RIBA (2007) Code of Professional conduct. London, RIBA. Web.