Strangely, your leader (Building, 7 August) on the acquisition of architect DEGW by Davis Langdon didn’t include Building Design Partnership among the multidisciplinary firms mentioned
As one of the largest design firms in the UK, it still comprises many of the disciplines. When George Grenfell Baines founded the practice in the early sixties, he was determined it should provide all of the disciplines required to produce the design for a building. He succeeded, and until the eighties, BDP persuaded most clients to have the whole design carried out under one roof.
However, in later years, George Baines’ dream began to fade and the traditional design route became the norm. There were many reasons, including clients who preferred to put their own teams together, and fee competition.
But for the QS profession the reason was somewhat different. Clients perceived that an in-house QS might not be able to offer the same independent advice as a separately appointed practice. Because of their detached position in the design team, they are always aware of the management qualities of the team as well as the economic viability of the scheme – a valuable source of feedback to the client. Thus, BDP found it increasingly difficult to market its QS skills, and dropped the profession from its portfolio.