Inuagural speech by Angela Brady pledges reform while outgoing president attacks coalition

New Riba president Angela Brady used her inaugural speech in the role to describe procurement of design as the “bane” of architects’ lives.

Brady pledged to use her two year post to reform procurement, with a task-force already set up to push this aim forward. She also pledged to start a conversation with government, the profession and the public about how to kick start development, and support the implementation of the government planning reform agenda.

Brady said: “As Riba President, I will campaign …to bring about reform of the procurement system which is the bane of our professional lives. And I have a task force set up for this.”

She also suggested that architects should be leading the debate on how to respond to the recent riots in England, by helping the creation of more civilised environments.

Speaking to a packed crowd at the Riba head office in Portland Place to celebrate her appointment, Brady said: “We architects have a huge responsibility and a huge amount to give.  The physical environment can often embody a post code marginalisation. We have a disenfranchised youth, whose values lack leadership and aspiration, And very importantly, many of them live in a third  rate physical environment, whose conditions are acknowledged by all politicians.

“As architects we are trained and experienced specialists.  We can help in rebuilding communities and cities, in a far more visionary and realistic way than any other sector.”

Brady’s speech followed another by outgoing Riba president Ruth Reed, in which she attacked the government for its built environment policies, accusing it of “attempting to destroy the economic future for architecture” by the introduction of tuition fees for students.

She also hit out at architects who have responded to the recession by cutting fee levels.

She said: “I had hoped that I was going to persuade the profession to really value itself and to begin to price itself accordingly. Instead I watched as lemming-like many practices slashed their fees in a suicide pact as bad as the early nineties, chasing a diminishing workload.

“Not only did some practices try to destroy the economic future for architecture, the new coalition government did too, effectively pricing diversity out of architectural education, making it the preserve of the rich or fool-hardy, denying us the talents of the rest.

“Capping it off with accusations that all along we had been creaming off cash from the school desks of the BSF programme.”