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New regs push up architects fees

ARCHITECTS are set to inflate their fees as the effects of new construction safety laws swing into action next month.

Designers will have to take the safety of building and maintenance workers into account when the Construction Design and Management regulations come into force on March 31.

And research by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) shows architects will be keen to pass on any extra costs by increasing their fees.

Leaders at the CIC have been examining the implications of the new laws on site.

And cases are contained in a new video to provide a simple guide for clients and designers, showing their responsibilities under Condam regulations.

Research for the video threw up a number of potential problems, including the question of architects fees.

CIC construction expert Professor Donald Bishop said: The extent of fee rises will vary enormously from job to job, but the feeling is that it will generally be lumpy.

Some jobs will involve a lot of redesigning and consultation. And our feeling is that the designer will create a string of benefits and should be rewarded.

Officials at the CIC are hoping the Condam regulations will bring all sides of the industry closer together.

Professor Bishop said: If we can get the hard-hatted builder standing at the shoulder of the architect, advising him on how safe things are to build, then that can only be a good thing.

The video, A Safer Bet, shows how lack of co-ordination causes problem on site.

It highlights a case history where specially-designed steel beams provided almost insurmountable lifting problems for steel fixers.

And a maintenance engineer is shown crawling at impossible angles through a badly-designed plant room to service a boiler.

Professor Bishop said: A lot of this is common sense, but there has been some resistance from architects because it is such a change.

I think the small practices will be fine because they are used to close liaison on site. And large practices have their own specialist departments.

The main problems will come with the medium-sized companies, he said.