I have followed the spat between Colin Harding and Rab Bennetts about architects and integrated teams (Letters, 20 January) with interest.
I have always been happy to call myself a builder, and in that capacity I have lots of mates who are architects, engineers and other "professionals". Sometimes, rather than argue, we actually talk to each other, and I am always curious to hear from them the answer to the big question: what is the process of design?
The fact that nobody has given me a consistent, straightforward description of the design process, I suggest, points to one of the root causes of the industry's problems with integration. There isn't an industry-standard integrated process map that sets out who should do what and when from inception and feasibility to completion and handover.
Design is not just the province of professionals; it is also carried out by contractors, subcontractors and the self-employed. For most of us it is the starting point for integrated teamworking in construction. The RIBA Schedule of Services is the nearest thing we have to design process map, but it is not intended, nor is it fit, for that purpose.
It seems to me that if architects, the schools of architecture and engineering, CABE, the RIBA and the other design institutes are to justify their claims to pre-eminence, they should take the lead into researching and publishing a modern design process map. It should clearly show how design is carried out and integrated into the construction process. It must embrace not just architects but the other professions and the contracting side of the industry too, and the different procurement routes available to clients.
Given its claims of pre-eminence, it seems to me that as long as the design establishment fails to deal with this issue then critics such as Colin Harding have a point, and the responses of people such as Rab Bennett will attract little sympathy from the rest of the industry.
One wonders what on earth the average client makes of rows like this …
Tony Clarke, director of management services, JR Knowles