Responding to the Conservative Party's press release, New figures show almost half a billion spent on Building Schools for the Future programme without a single brick being laid, Ruth Reed, RIBA President said:
"The Conservative Party's statement that there were disproportionate costs for professional expertise including architects on Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects was a clumsy attempt to apportion blame for the failure of BSF when the failure was the bureaucracy and wasteful programme itself.
With new built school projects costing in excess of £20 million each, an average design fee of £860,000 - shared by the whole design team, not just the architect, but also structural and services engineers, and landscape architects - anything up to 30 specialist consultants - represents very good value for the wide-ranging expertise offered by the design team, particularly if the benefits of a well designed school can save operational costs and improve the education outcomes of students over many years. Schools are complex projects that are often undertaken while the site stays in full occupation and use. Good design and preparation is essential to ensure the delivery of good learning environments and for providing value for money to the British taxpayer.
The Secretary of State for Education was wrong when he previously accused architects of creaming off money from the Building Schools for the Future programme. Architects provided a good quality service at a relatively low cost for the size of projects they were working on. There is much that can be improved on to reduce the costs of delivering school buildings in the future but the use of architects in this political game continues to do a disservice to a profession that is committed to delivering the best possible projects and would have earned every penny of their fees."