Competitions cause a stir with designers

Landscape architect has expressed his dismay at unpaid design work for competitions as architects draw up a code of practice that would make clients pay designers’ costs.

Rick Rowbotham said small practices such as his, Guildford’s Urban Red, were being squeezed out of running for competitions because fees rarely filtered down to landscape architects. “Clients may set aside a few thousand pounds to pay for work but by the time it comes down to the landscape architect it’s been swallowed up on other people’s fees.” Royal Institute of British Architects meanwhile is rethinking its rules after an architect was turfed off a job having won a competition for social housing. The client, east London’s Newham council, was unhappy with the type of accommodation and at moving some of the residents. The architect, Piercy Conner, said the firm did £10,000 of work and was out of pocket. RIBA said it would reassess what clients committed to when they signed up to a competition to ensure this did not happen again.

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