LETTER: Small rewards for architects

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The Independent Online
From Mr Owen Luder

Sir: Your article "Taking on the professionals" (9 August) contained inaccuracies regarding the architectural profession.

Unfortunately, fees are not "still very good for those who can win contracts". The architectural profession is far from a monopoly and competition for available work is fierce - fee cutting is becoming common. Earnings are very low compared with other professions. Many small practitioners struggle to reach pounds 20,000 per annum, while employed architects on averagewages do little better. Small reward for the skills, knowledge and risks involved after the seven years of higher education necessary to qualify as an architect.

Most architects take out expensive personal professional indemnity insurance as comfort for their clients and to protect themselves from the failures of others' work on their projects.

Architects, like all professionals, are facing an increase in responsibilities and liabilities, while also facing a decrease in prestige and reward. Despite talk of the "development of knowledge-based industries" and a "meritocratic society", our skills remain criminally undervalued.

Dedicated professionals have a lot to offer their clients and society. They must, and are, changing with the times, but remain vital to the long- term health of Britain's economy.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Luder

President, Royal Institute

of British Architects

London, W1

11 August