The practice of housebuilders employing good architects to help come up with bid and planning permission schemes is good.
The fact that innovative architects are engaging with housebuilders to win all these public sector brown field land releases is great
But the fact that these architects are happy to allow the detail design stage to pass to a cheaper architectural practice is a recipe for disaster.
Its financially prudent for the architect and developer but morally reprehensible for any designer who is designer for the public good to enter into a contract that leaves the door wide open for their great ideas to be bastardised.
It makes a mockery of the judging process and the hopes that stem from design competitions.
So what is the answer? Its probably too much to ask all architectural practices to put morals over money when they have mouths to feed, major housebuilders are usually shareholders and have a commitment to cost saving. Thus its down to contracts and planning again. One option would be a clause in the contact of the winning land bidder to stick with the design team that produced the winning bid or to open themselves to the possibility of losing the right to complete the contract.