Minister O’Keefe Mistaken on Architectural Fees
Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland has today (Tuesday, 23 September) moved to correct mistaken information about architectural fees for school projects which was put into the public domain recently by the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keeffe TD.
Minister O’Keeffe stated that fees paid to architects deny the public value for money and said that architects’ fees comprise 13.5% of the cost of a school project. The RIAI has written to the Minister to confirm that this is simply incorrect and out of date in terms of current practice.
President of the RIAI, Sean Ó Laoire explained, “When this figure was operable it covered the full design team fees comprising an architect, civil engineer, structural engineer, fire consultants, mechanical and electrical engineers and a quantity surveyor. However, no design team has been offered an all-in fee of 13.5% for the last five to seven years. Appointments and fees for projects are now procured on a competitive basis.
“The Minister also indicated that he will be advising school boards of management to seek to bypass the service of an architect and use a civil engineer or surveyor to cut down on costs. Neither of these professions is trained to provide an architectural design service and therefore the Minister’s proposal is completely impractical,” Sean Ó Laoire continued.
“While the RIAI supports the Minister’s commitment to value for money, it is important to point out that the level of architectural involvement in primary and secondary school buildings over the last few years ha been quite modest.
“The Minister should also be aware the his own Government has endorsed the registration of the title ‘architect’ as a means of protecting consumers, ensuring value for money and critically, professional competence, liability and accountability. He should also be aware that his Government’s Policy on Architecture – currently being advertised – centres on ensuring that public buildings take account of total life-cycle costs of buildings. In this context, total design team fees comprise 2% of the building cost.
“I am primarily concerned, in the interests of our members and the public, to set the record straight. It gives me no pleasure to have to contradict a Minister, whose portfolio should and must embrace the skills and talents of all who can contribute to the future of education in Ireland, including architects.
I would hope to embark on a dialogue with Minister O’Keefe that could, among other things, look at the real costs of current procurement systems, and indeed the punitive impact they have on many members of this Institute, without yielding any building or public gain,” Sean Ó Laoire concluded.
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