Just to clarify for donor information - the architects that we had been working with thus far were introduced to us through a Rotarian who is a senior member of the Sri Lanka architects association. They were introduced to us on the grounds that their services would be free of charge.
As you would have noted in the letter ( posted below)- the architects quote that their services were free up to the point of the 'preliminary estimates' which were submitted to us on 15th of March.....2 months afterwards they start talking fees.....hmmmm! Why not bring this up in March....one wonders!
Today we just had a meeting with the Rotary District APEX committee for school projects headed by PDG Ravindran ( a real Rotary stalwart) - and told them our predicament. The answer was plain and simple ...... firstly that it was very unprofessional on the part of the architects to hold us to ransom at the last moment, and secondly that Rotary should and will manage this project by getting architects and other professionals who wish to donate their time towards rebuilding this country. Its not a commercial venture for anyone. Of course we will spend on actual costs incurred in consumable items and transport etc but man hours should be a donation.
Luckily for us the Rotarian from the institute of architects was also present at this meeting, and though he argued that architects should charge and no clubs will find free services like the APEX committee expects - it was proven that 23 of the 25 schools have got free services ( funnily enough it was the two clubs that went through the SLIA that got served fees last week......). We understand that to charge is a professional's right, but we are looking for professionals who can afford to donate time and effort.
So the APEX committee came to the rescue - we were immediatley given an architect ( A Rotarian from Millenium City). She has already done one school and is willing to take ours and complete the documents up to tender stage in two weeks ( wow....why didn't we meet her before...!). So as it is we will be meeting with the current architect on Monday and asking the minimum fee to get the site plan released ( we have a copy already - but its only right that we pay basic amounts and sever this relationship properly) and then we get cracking - all this on Monday! So there is a silver lining after all!
Keep your fingers crossed guys....leave the rest up to us!