Angela Brady calls for architects to be reinstated as project leaders

Incoming RIBA president Angela Brady has called on the current government shake-up of procurement to reinstate architects’ traditional role as project leaders.

Speaking to Building ahead of the start of her two-year stint in charge of the institute’s 42,000 members on Thursday, Brady said the combined impact of BIM and localism would help architects “re-engage” with clients and lead better integrated teams from the start of a job to its finish.

We have the leadership qualities needed. I think the industry wants us to lead it

Angela Brady, RIBA president

She admitted that some architects had been poor at managing cost in the past but said BIM would help tackle this.

“We are the innovators who have the leadership qualities needed … I think the industry wants us to lead [it],” she said.

“Many people have said to me ‘Where are you architects? You are the ones who could pick up the phone to politicians’. We are the only profession that can deal with a job from inception to completion.”

Brady - co-founder of Brady Mallalieu Architects and a former design champion at the London Development Agency - claimed the RIBA’s regional structure could help it become a key player in delivering localism.

“We are best placed to deliver [localism], with a network of over 40,000 architects,” she said.

She pledged to be an “outward-looking” president seeking cross-industry campaigns including one on reform of public-sector procurement. “It is wasteful,” she said. “The tick-box approach is responsible and means that design and quality are not at the top.”

In June, chief construction adviser Paul Morrell raised the prospect that BIM could herald the return of architects to the role of “master builder” although he warned practices to check their balance sheets first.

Peter Rogers, director at Stanhope, said: “Too often institutions are about mediocrity. If Brady’s agenda is for the RIBA to be brave and to stand out, good luck to her.”