This week, readers assign leading roles to the overlooked Construction Industry Council; adjudicators experienced in the art of delay and disruption disputes; and architects with business nous

Under my umbrella

Rob Charlton’s call for a single professional body (25 February) rings many bells for me, as a lifetime multi-discipline man. Once someone qualifies, they enter a shared space: the built environment. They can then move laterally in a variety of roles, as our skills overlap so much. Collaboration has never been our industry’s strong point but it is increasingly vital. Sustainability demands it; proper use of BIM demands it; better service to clients and society demands it. The diversity of professional cultures in construction is a serious issue.

However, I don’t see how we can jump to a shared institution easily. The qualification process gets more specialised, not less, even while the common curriculum expands too. A shared institute would inevitably have many “colleges” within it. The best answer is to make full use of the Construction Industry Council. This 20-year-old body speaks for us all to government and is co-ordinating our professions in responding to the sustainability challenge and to BIM. It could do more, with stronger support from the institutions. An umbrella makes more sense than a big tent, for the next few years.

Richard Saxon, executive board member, CIC

Horses for courses

Two interesting contributions from Alan Harris and Steve Rudd (Inbox, 25 February) on the matter of adjudicators obtaining specialist help, where the crux of the
referred dispute concerns time and the programme.

While both contributors are generally correct, where the crux of the dispute concerns time, for example delay, disruption and/or the extension of time due, then the best approach is for the adjudication nominating body to appoint an adjudicator who has first-hand experience of such matters. In other words: “horses for courses”.

While many commentators criticise the over-emphasis of a critical path analysis in such disputes, this analysis is only part of the evidence necessary to demonstrate an entitlement to an extension of time or time-related loss and expense dispute. The focal point of such disputes is the factual investigation and evidence to demonstrate causation for each event.

Roger Gibson, project planning consultant and adjudicator, Gibson Consulting

More than an architect

With regards to RIBA’s report, “The future for architects?”, at Hays Architecture we are seeing a similar trend with firms looking to appoint candidates who can offer a wider selection of commercial skills. While some may fear that this is diluting the role of the architect, it is giving the profession a chance to become more aligned with business needs and therefore more valuable.

Demonstrating knowledge of fee structures and an understanding of current bid projects are some of the ways in which architects can show greater business awareness. We are seeing many professions and industries diversifying to meet market needs, and those that can adapt - while still maintaining core skills - will benefit in the long run.

Gary Sheldrake, senior manager, Hays