Sunand Prasad, the president of the RIBA, has written to the institute’s membership to discourage them from cutting fees to win work

In his letter, Prasad urges architects not to “succumb to pressure from clients in the recession to the extent of making unrealistic fee bids”.

The president warns that buying work or “working below cost” puts projects and clients at risk and increases the likelihood of redundancies. He urges architects to emphasise the value that properly resourced work will bring.

The letter says: “I appeal to all architects to do what they can to avoid further decreasing what are already very low earnings relative to other professions. Let the recession not be a downward ratchet that leaves a legacy of even poorer remuneration.”

The letter also reveals that the RIBA is to lobby the government to ensure public sector procurers are aware of the dangers of fee cuts.

Rab Bennetts, director of Bennetts Associates, welcomed the letter. He said: “Even good firms are cutting fees, which is ridiculous. If they think it’s going to be a short recession, then perhaps they think they can buy some cash flow, but if it’s a long one they will be in trouble very quickly.”