Moving the wholesale markets outside the city centre is ‘a momentous, colossal mistake’

from Our Birmingham

Our Birmingham

A visitor from London who had not been in Birmingham for several years looked keenly around. Thumbs down for Selfridges and thumbs up for the Madin Library – we never got to Centenary Square.

Carol Byrne outdoor market

As we passed by the outdoor market she spoke about the investment in Spitalfields Market (covered on this site) but thought all our markets had been moved out. A stumbling impromptu account was given but today I shall send John Clancy’s account, summarised here.


CouncillorJohn Clancywrote in March:

The decision which the City Council is now prepared to make to dismiss from the city centre some of its oldest business inhabitants, by moving the Wholesale Markets out of their current site to somewhere outside the city centre, is a momentous, colossal mistake . . .

The knock-on effects on the retail markets will be catastrophic, which is why the two have…

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Out there – an architecture festival

Next week there is a national architecture festival organised by the RIBA. Some of the events are out there in the West Midlands and the Love Architecture website lists the regional events here. The events in Leek and Ingestre look good. For new buildings, try the Michael Baker Boathouse tour in Worcester or the Ditherington Flax Mill re-use talk in Shrewsbury with Fielden Clegg Bradley. Enjoy!

Busy Busy Busy

I usually like to post on Monday mornings. It’s a nice way to start the week and do a bit of daydreaming. Over the last few weeks the ideas have been piling up and I have seen a few things that need to be photographed, but work has got in the way. Lots of projects, lots of clients. Which is good. So, if you like, I have been at my other desk.  Thank you once again to my clients, who make all this possible. Soon I hope to find a few moments to build the (entirely fictitious) Moseley School of Architecture, which will (not, actually) welcome it’s first students in September. Or, perhaps, it has been running quietly for years, producing a thoughtful body of work that has, until recently, been entirely undiscovered…

How was it for you?

So, last night… well Sunday, actually. I gave out hundreds of flyers, put up posters and posted up on here, but I had no idea what to expect. Hundreds? Dozens? Nobody? I got to Cherry Reds, took out my pad, opened up my laptop and did a bit of work. Laura brought me a coffee. After a while I wondered whether this was really such a good idea. A bit more work. Then, in come a couple who live on my street, who I have never met before. Two adults, two kids, two dogs and only two bedrooms. I gave them some options, took an email address and phone number and hey presto it’s an enquiry for a real project. There we go, marketing works after all. 

I will let you all know when the next one is.

A Date with Destiny

Happy news, another client – hopefully – we are meeting tonight! Best of all he has come to me through what I hope will become a popular route: he saw my signboard and came right here, to the website. Hopefully I will be back with some good news later!

Update: he (and also she) are looking for design and specification, competitive tender and traditional contract administration. Now to write my fee proposal. So far, a success! I may even be able to talk him into a bit of cycle racing…

About our agreement

I’m an architect. That means that my professional life is governed by the architects registration board (who are against apostrophes, probably for aesthetic reasons). One of the consequences is that any agreement I make with a potential client has to meet certain standards as set out in the architects code (see what I mean?). So that, if my client decides to sue me, the terms of our agreement are clear. You can use a special form of agreement, like the RIBA Concise form of Agreement, which is pretty thorough, but I’m not sure that any of my clients would want me to include a 36 page legal document in their fee. Traditionally, a lot of architect appointments have been by letter and case law has led to a need for standard forms. On a large project I can understand this and having worked in commercial practice I feel confident in saying that some architects could really tighten up in this area. For a minnow like me, the letter is definitely the way to go. I like to spell out in the letter what I think I am being asked to do, the work I am pricing for (survey, drawings, that kind of thing) and what my fees will be. Then, for the small print I like to put in something like this. If you are an architect, or a lawyer, let me know what you think.

About our agreement:

If you would like me to go ahead with this work, this letter will become a contract of appointment for the work stated on this letter and for the fee shown above, between the parties at the top of the letter. If either party wants to change this agreement, for example add to or change the services, this will need to be agreed in writing. I have professional indemnity insurance cover up to £250,000, which I really hope I won’t need. I am registered with the Architects Registration Board and I am subject to the architects code. My job is to help you but if you feel that I am not doing that, please write to me about it. If we really can’t agree then either party can go to arbitration or you can tell the ARB about your concerns directly.