Readers praise those who deserve recognition, be they engineers, the builders of code level 6 homes, or Scottish local authorities that have boosted housebuilding
Regarding your story “New RIBA boss wants architects to take lead” (2 September, page 10), this objective (to reinstate architects to the lead role) is too little too late. The profession relinquished its lead role when it stepped away from costing, leading to the birth of quantity surveying.
I am neither an architect nor a QS and speak with no axe to grind. Engineers lead all kinds of design and projects and are - or should be - best equipped to lead from the front. Of course, focusing on professions is not the whole story and the quality of individuals is more important. In any field of human endeavour there are only a few people that rise to the top and they are the true leaders. Architects are not born with any god-given right to lead and they will have to embrace skills beyond those taught in their training. Maybe in five to 10 years some of them might be positioned to take the project management role, but not immediately.
A F Fraser, via www.building.co.uk
Hats off to code 6 homes
In reference to your story “Only 31 homes reach code level 6” (2 September, page 14), considering that during the past three years new homes have been selling at a discount to second-hand homes, it is commendable that the industry has built over 29,000 homes at these higher standards without having to pass on the costs to homebuyers. This has also taken place in the worst market conditions since the twenties. The fact that the requirements have been a voluntary standard (until October 2010, when many of the requirements were incorporated into Part L) makes it even more commendable.
The “only” 31 code 6 homes are a great step forward. These homes are the result of the research and development (R&D) investment of housebuilders to prove the concept for the 2016 target, likely to become the standard of build from 2018 onwards. How many other firms invest in R&D? And of those that do, how many are looking eight to 10 years ahead as these firms have done? R&D takes courage and can be risky. Those housebuilders and their supply chains that developed the 31 houses have found the goalpost has changed so some of their investment may be wasted, but they will still have the value from the knowledge and know-how they have gained.
Mark Oliver, H+H UK, via www.building.co.uk
Skills for Scotland
The news that Scottish council housebuilding has soared by 94% (30 August, www.building.co.uk) is a welcome development and we congratulate the local authorities. It also presents an opportunity to turn the increased public building into lasting skills legacies for local communities.
Our forecasts show that, on average, the Scottish industry needs to recruit 3,360 new workers each year to 2015 to fulfil its order book - a significant recruitment challenge.
Local authorities need guidance on how to achieve skills and employment targets on projects. Only by generating the right skills for growth can the industry emerge from the downturn in the strongest possible shape.
Graeme Ogilvy, Scottish director, CITB-ConstructionSkills