A Message from the President !

One of the I.B.O.’s roles is to represent the interests of the profession in discussions with other relevant bodies. The subjects cover matters of mutual interest or concern. In the past few months there have been several such meetings. The first was with the Association of Independent Organ Advisers (A.I.O.A.), the professional advisers’ body. They raised a matter which has also been of concern to me, that is the need for better skills in communication, contract management and project management among I.B.O. members. A recurring theme with those organ builders who are taken through the arbitration procedure is poor communications and commercial practice, and a lack of project management skills resulting in, for example, long overruns on promised completion dates.  

The I.B.O. has catered very well over the years for technical skills such as tuning, voicing, leatherwork, electrical training and so on which we tend to find most interesting. But those running businesses must also have a multitude of other skills making us veritable jacks-of-all-trades. The I.B.O. has not, to my knowledge, offered training in the less glamorous but necessary business skills, which is something I am keen to put right. They are also topics which should be of interest to those on the other side of the counter, including organ advisers. The way clients perform can either help or hinder the smooth running of a contract. An appreciation of one another’s needs and problems will go a long way towards satisfaction all round.

In the forthcoming residential weekend at Torquay, the intention is to include a session on project management. A worked example will be followed by a forum during which members’ experience can be shared. Good commercial practice and communication skills will be topics for a future meeting and I shall be approaching those in the trade who have experience that they might be willing to share.

As a follow-up to this column in last September’s newsletter, a meeting was held at the Church of England’s Church House, Westminster, with representatives of Diocesan Organ Advisers and the Church Buildings Council. One matter of concern was the difficulty in communication with D.O.A.s as a national body. It emerged that dioceses have a large degree of autonomy historically and it has been C.B.C. policy to respect that. The dilemma is that the C.B.C., while claiming to represent D.O.A.s nationally, does not have an up-to-date list of the advisers. Indeed, it was acknowledged that the I.B.O.’s Administrator’s list is as good as any.  

In addition to sending free copies of our Organ Building Journal to all known D.O.A.s and advisers from other denominations, the I.B.O. wishes to offer training in organ building related matters. Some of the courses already being run for I.B.O. members are relevant and the I.B.O. is willing to cater for advisers at these or even to organise special events. In the circumstances, it is felt that the best means of communication would be to include D.O.A.s in the circulation of this newsletter. Approximately half of D.O.A.s are subscribing members and receive it already; we would like to reach the other half too by providing complimentary copies. Carol is dependent on feedback to keep her list up to date and will welcome any updates from readers, be that from D.O.A.s themselves or organ builders. 

Concerns have been raised that accreditation in the ‘new tracker organ’ category should not be granted on the basis of building a one-manual box or continuo organ. While such organs undoubtedly present problems of their own in design and construction and require some unique skills, it was felt that the simplicity of the tracker action does not adequately demonstrate the skills needed to build a larger two- or three-manual tracker organ. Instead it was suggested that there should be a separate category for one-manual organs. After due discussion, the Board agreed and directed the Accreditation Committee to create the new category. The next issue of Organ Building will have the additional column next to the list of accredited builders and the website already features the change. It does mean that builders who seek accreditation in both categories will in future need to submit both types of organ for inspection.


Andrew Moyes - President