International news - June 2011

Overseas earnings survey

RiverCity Gothenburg

Tokyo solidarity & sustainability

Bribery Act


Overseas earnings survey

The RIBA recently commissioned Mirza & Nacey to carry out a piece of research in two parts:

1. Desk research of existing sources of information

This was received in early April. The key messages are:  

  • 3% of architects' workload is for projects outside the UK (ranging from 2% for small practices to 9% for practices with over 50 staff).
  • This is worth an estimated £150 million to UK architects in fee income. 
  • Work outside the UK accounts for an estimated 6% of UK architects' total fee income. 
  • Over 3000 students from outside the UK are studying in UK schools of architecture - that is 22% of all students in UK schools of architecture. 
  • 20 of the 100 largest architectural firms in the world had UK headquarters in 2010 including three of the world's 10 largest.  

2. Extension to the annual on-line earnings survey (still underway at the time of writing)

This was sent to one in three RIBA chartered members based in the UK in the second week of April. Final reminders were sent out in the third week of May and the closing date is 1st June. Data analysis should have been compiled by the third week of June.

A new section (on overseas work) was added to the usual earnings survey and asked: 

  • Has your practice carried out any work on a project based outside the UK in the last 12 months? 
  • In which region of the world are these projects located? 
  • For how many projects has your practice provided the following services to your clients? 
  • What type[s] of buildings has your practice worked on?

The headlines will inform the messaging we are developing as input to the UKTI Creative Industries Architecture Strategy, and will service as a baseline against which to measure the impact of UKTI's work (and ours), year on year, in helping members to gain more work abroad.

For the full report contact: Ian Pritchard, Director, International Relations & Regulation.

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Major interest and exciting ideas for the future of RiverCity Gothenburg 

Gothenburg Bridge

Update since the last edition of the International Newsletter

In June, teams from all over the world gathered in Gothenburg for a workshop to develop ideas for a sustainable RiverCity Gothenburg. It was decided which of the 84 competing teams would be selected to participate.

Out of the 84 received entries, ten were chosen. These are:

  • Team Happold (Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden)
  • East (Great Britain)
  • Schonherr (Denmark, Great Britain and Denmark)
  • Grau (France, USA and Belgium)
  • SLA_HLA (Denmark)
  • West8 (Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark)
  • GüllerGüller (Netherlands, Cyprus and Switzerland)
  • EGA (France and Sweden)
  • Espinàs (Spain)
  • Sweco (Sweden)

Of the above list, three of the selected teams are British. The teams have mixed fields of expertise and include architects, landscape architects, artists, environmental specialists, water specialists and traffic planners.

The received entries were assessed by an independent evaluation group, led by Lars Reuterswärd, the new head of Mistra Urban Futures and previously active at the UN Habitat in Nairobi.

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UIA2011 TOKYO solidarity and sustainability 

Update since last Newsletter

The Coordinating Council of the UIA Congress, UIA2011 TOKYO, met on April 8 and 9 in Tokyo and examined very carefully the current situation after March 11 when a huge earthquake and tsunami devastated the north east of Japan.

The Coordinating Council reached the conclusion to make maximum efforts and continue to work for the success of the UIA Congress, the UIA General Assembly and the council meetings in Tokyo as scheduled on September 25 through to October 1  2011, under the pressing primary Congress' theme:

  • Design 2050
  • Beyond Disasters, through Solidarity, towards Sustainability

Next September the participants will talk, transmit, discuss together according to
Environment, Culture, Life, the sub-themes being deeply related to the Human Security. They will examine together images of urban, architectural and living environment towards and beyond 2050.

Thereby, a firm solidarity of our professional community will be encouraged to work for the equity for all, beyond the boundaries of nations and regions, and beyond any kind of discrimination. The architects of the world will support, with the UIA, the affected people and areas and propose what architects should do now and in the future within the global context.

Find out more...


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The Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 comes into force on 1 July, replacing old and fragmented legislation with a consolidated law. It creates:

  • Offences of offering, promising or giving a bribe, as well as requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe either in the UK or abroad, in the public or private sectors. 
  • A discrete offence of bribery of a foreign official in order to obtain or retain business. 
  • A new offence in relation to commercial organisations (including companies, NGOs and Charities) which fail to prevent a bribe being paid by those who perform services for or on behalf of the organisation (including staff).

The Act introduces new anti-corruption regulations that will affect all employers, who will need to ensure that 'adequate procedures' are put in place to prevent bribery, which may later be used in defence.

Procedures should be:

  • Proportionate to the level of risk/complexity of the organisation.
  • Demonstrate top level commitment to the prevention of bribery.
  • Provide for risk assessment.
  • Require due diligence on persons who will perform services for you.
  • Provide for the communication of the procedures to ensure understanding within your organisation.
  • Include some form of monitoring and review.

Key areas: 

  • Any act of bribery by a UK organisation or nationals, anywhere in the world breaks the law in the UK (i.e. the Act has extra-territorial jurisdiction, so even if an organisation is not incorporated or based in the UK, it is subject to this law if it conducts part of its business in/has close connections with the UK). 
  • If a bribe is paid by someone else on your behalf, you are still guilty. 
  • Your organisation is liable, as well as the employee or business partner who paid the bribe. 
  • An organisation may use the 'adequate procedures' defence if these have been put in place with a view to stopping incidences of bribery. 
  • Trustees, directors and senior managers also have personal liability. 
  • Unlike some foreign bribery laws, the UK Bribery Act provides no exemptions for 'facilitation payments' (small bribes to facilitate routine government action where there is an intention to induce improper conduct). 
  • However, hospitality, promotional or other business expenditure is still permissible under the Act.

Employers should:

  • Establish clear guidelines and a comprehensive anti-bribery policy, as well as procedures for assessing risks of corruption. 
  • Publish, internally, a clear and accessible policy regarding gifts and hospitality, which should be overseen by a designated person at board level. 
  • Provide regular training programmes for all employees, stressing the personal liability imposed by the Act on those 'consenting to' or 'conniving in' the commission of offences (individuals face custodial offences of up to ten years, with organisations could face unlimited fines). 
  • Keep comprehensive internal financial records and monitor employees to minimise risk. Establish standardised processes for carrying out due diligence on staff/costs. 
  • Ensure employment contracts state expressly the penalties relating to corruption and refer to the main provisions of the Act. 
  • Consider establishing a hotline for staff to report concerns and incorporate into whisteblowing procedures. 

For more information, guidance as well as a quick start guide has been published by the Ministry of Justice. 

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France honours Louise Cox

French Minister of Culture & Communication, Frédéric Mitterand, invested UIA President Louise Cox, with the rank of Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters, one of the highest honorary distinctions granted by the French Republic. The Ministry of Culture & Communication awards this distinction to individuals who have distinguished themselves by virtue of their creativity in the arts and literature, or by their contribution to the advancement of culture in France and around the world.

UIA 10th Gold Medal: Alvaro Siza Vieira

Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Vieira has been selected as the 10th UIA Gold Medallist. His work is internationally acclaimed having won the 1002 Pritzker Prize and the 2009 RIBA Gold Medal. His pure, coherent and uncluttered works are nonetheless both complex and sophisticated. The medal will be presented to him in Tokyo, in September, during the UIA Congress.

2011 Mies van der Rohe Prize

Only months after receiving the RIBA Gold Medal, David Chipperfield has been awarded the coveted Mies van der Rohe prize. His reconstruction project for the Neues Museum in Berlin gave him the advantage over other illustrious finalists for this year’s prize including Zaha Hadid and Bernard Tschumi.