Survey Results on UK Government Framework Agreements 2018

Results from the survey to discover if SMEs found the widely adopted Framework Agreement a simple and rewarding process for winning new business from government are now reported below and available HERE.

The survey has been run on behalf of the Frameworks Working Group, a part of the independent SME Advisory Panel advising on central government procurement and targeted key small businesses (& not just construction professionals) providing a wide range of niche products and services to departments across Whitehall.

The results from more than 200 responses are clear.

Framework agreements are often disliked by SMEs who feel that they are written in complex language, have expensive and time consuming tender processes, are inflexible and favour large companies over smaller ones.

Crown Commercial Service are studying the report’s findings and have pointed to several new and ongoing actions government is taking to level the playing field for small businesses including:

  • considering where different kinds of procurement vehicle, including Dynamic Purchasing Systems, are suitable delivery models. Crown Commercial Service itself has launched three DPSs in the last 12 months, with five more being developed. We also know of a number of these flexible systems across other government departments;
  • simplifying public procurement with the new, plain English ‘Public Sector Contract’ – removing duplication from the application process for suppliers;
  • consulting on proposals to exclude suppliers from major government procurements if they cannot demonstrate fair, reliable and effective payment practices with their subcontractors;
  • requiring suppliers to advertise subcontracting opportunities via the Contracts Finder website and to provide the government with data showing how businesses in their supply chain, including small businesses, are benefiting from supplying to central government.

2018_FRAMEWORK SURVEY_RESULTS 

 

Architects face insurance wake-up call post-Grenfell

As Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance costs rise following Grenfell fire, Project Compass Director Russell Curtis joins calls from the profession for the shift to Integrated Project Insurance (IPI).

“Now more than ever it’s surely time to consider alternatives,” .. “Integrated project insurance (IPI) is beginning to gain momentum among some enlightened clients as this leads to a less adversarial, buck-passing approach, instead encouraging teamwork and collective problem-solving – surely something the industry needs right now.”

With the rise of BIM, where the model is often led by the architect, the extent of an architect’s liability could be stretched again. To avoid that, this burden should be shared and other insurance approaches should undoubtedly be looked at.

Architects face insurance wake-up call post-Grenfell. Richard Waite. AJ 23 Nov. 2018. (paywalled)

Further information.

Integrated Project Insurance (IPI), under an Alliance Contract, has been used recently on Dudley College’s Innovative new building.  Insurance under this multi-party contract was provided by brokers Griffiths & Armour, with the project instigated under the Cabinet Office’s 2014 Trial Projects Delivery Programme, supported by an Innovate UK grant and known as known as “Dudley Advanced II”.

An excellent NBS podcast summarising the IPI Insurance model is available HERE, with further NBS resources HERE.

RIBA information on variants of the Single Project Insurance (SPI) model may be found HERE

Advice to clients

Clients might be better advised not to specify the insurance used in any particular project at the time of an architects procurement and appointment. This can ensure that the best, most effective and efficient insurance model suitable for each individual project can be determined as the project brief and design parameters develop.

(Ten Principles for Procuring Better Outcomes. RIBA 2016 pp28 and Building Ladders of Opportunity. RIBA 2012 pp22-24)

Northern Ireland is now open to fixed fee tenders

In N. Ireland methodologies on the procurement of design, where lowest price is no longer the determining factor have now been agreed between the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD), the RSUA & the construction sector (announced Sept. 2018). This halts the race to the bottom.

Under the pilot all construction services contracts to be awarded by CPD, both above and below the EU threshold, will be awarded in one of the following ways:

  • Projects with no quality assessment at tender stage will be awarded based on the Mean Narrow Average calculation;
  • Projects with a quality and price assessment at tender stage will base the price score on the Mean Narrow Average calculation; or
  • Projects with a fixed fee tender will be awarded on the assessment of quality only.

The first CPD procurement using the Mean Narrow Average is currently at prequalification stage.

Mean Narrow Average

In a move to ensure value, the fundamental shift is that the best price will no longer be the lowest price but the price that is closest to an average.  The average that will be used is a ‘narrow average’. The lowest price and highest price are not part of the calculation to establish the ‘narrow average’.

Full details of the Mean Narrow Average calculation are available here.  Those interested in bidding for CPD projects are strongly advised to review this and ensure they fully understand it.

For all in construction, and design professionals in particular this is surely an extremely welcome and long overdue step.

But this is not the only one of the advances being made in the UK nations -N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all now also adopted Project Bank Accounts although from different threshold values.

Isn’t it now time for England to advance, reform and follow suite?

Competition Culture in Europe: Voices

Competition Culture in Europe: Voices
Competition Culture in Europe: Voices

Competition Culture in Europe: Voices is a publication from Project Compass on architectural competitions, with a series of essays by 17 distinguished architects, competition organisers, scholars and commentators in 22 chapters, covering 11 countries.

The case studies, project data, discussions and interpretive glossary, that together include reflections on historic, contemporary and future competitions and their practices, opportunities and potential, in Europe and beyond, offer a valuable resource, practice compendium and unique insight into competition culture.

The publication, launched at the Venice Biennale, 25 May 2018, follows an open call in Dec. 2017 for articles and data on competitions which contributes to advancing the agreed 10 ten steps under the Competition Culture in Europe (CCIE) programme.

Hardcopies of the publication are available from Project Compass for £25.00 by emailing  ProjectCompassCIC@gmail.com.

The four-year Competition Culture in Europe (CCIE) programme is a collaboration between three not-for-profit organisations Project Compass, Architectuur Lokaal and A10 new Architecture cooperative, under thefulcrum umbrella, which commenced in 2017. The aim is to join together with others across Europe who value the culture of architecture, to inform a brighter future for design competition culture across Europe.

This is the second CCIE programme publication following the launch of ‘Competition Culture in Europe 2013 – 2016’, at the CCIE conference in Amsterdam, Sept. 2017 which provides the results of a pan-European survey executed by Architectuur Lokaal, A10 new European architecture Cooperative and Project Compass CIC. With EU data cards and examples of competitions in 17 European countries.

25 May 2018, 7.00-8.30pm, Palazzo Widmann, Venice

Competition Culture in Europe will be gathering and launching the publication ‘Competition Culture in Europe: Voices’ on 25 May 2018, 7.00-8.30pm, Palazzo Widmann, Cannaregio, Venice (Calle Larga Widmann 30121 Venice).   The publication arises from the European call in December 2017 for essays on architectural competitions.

The detailed programme is below.

In 2017 the collaboration of Project Compass CIC, Architectuur Lokaal and A10 new European Architecture Cooperative  started the Competition Culture in Europe program. At the end of the first year 10 concrete quick wins for 2018 were formulated.

During the Biennale in Venice we have been invited by AIAC (the Association of Italian Architecture and Criticism)  to present the progress made so far. We are happy to present a follow-up on the 50 case studies we collected last year in a new publication ‘Competition Culture in Europe: Voices’ which will be launched at the event. This publication draws on experiences from architects and organisers undertaking competitions, with discourse on competitions, and a draft-dictionary of terms for improving the pan-European understanding of competition discourse.  Research on the Reinventer. Paris project will also be presented.

In Venice we will focus on experiences with competition culture throughout Europe, compare practices all over Europe, and work towards mapping and establishing some common ground in terminology. You are welcome to join us at Palazzo Widman, Cannareggio, Venice.

The program

7.00     Welcome by Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi (AIAC-Italy)

7.05     Introduction by Indira van ‘t Klooster (A10-NL-moderator)

7.10     Tarja Nurmi (Finland) – Competition Culture in Finland – The MONIO Community School and Culture Education Building competition, organized by the Municipality of Tuusula in Southern Finland

7.20     Anna Yudina (France) – Reinventer.Paris

7.30     Q&A with presenters and audience, exchange of experiences, also in Italian context with Zaira Magliozzi (AIAC-Italy)​

7.45     Walter Menteth (Project Compass-UK) – ‘Competition Culture in Europe: Voices’ book presentation

7.55     Cilly Jansen ​(Architectuur Lokaal-NL) ​- introduction to discussion on European vocabulary on Competition Culture

8.05     Debate on vocabulary, glossaries, practices, confusions, solutions, etc

8.30     Conclusions, next steps

​            Drinks

Hardcopies of the publication will be available at the launch and digital copies will be made available on the Project Compass website shortly after.

Please feel free to disseminate this invitation to any others who may be interested in joining us. We look forward to welcoming you.

RSVP to ProjectCompassCIC@gmail.com

The Competition Grid: Experimenting With & Within Architecture

 

hCompetition Grid. Experimenting With & Within Architecture CompetitionsThe Competition Grid: Experimenting With & Within Architecture Competitions   (Theodoru. M., Katsakou A. (eds) RIBA Publishing, 2018. Project Compass Director Walter Menteth has contributed Chapter 10, ‘E-Procurement Delivering Better Design Competitions’ in Part 3-‘Experimenting with Architectural Competitions’.  “This is an engaging and extensive review of architectural competitions. Merging the immediacy of practitioners’ competition experience and the rigorousness of scientific writing, each section features comprehensive research and lively discussion from an international set of experts.”   Available from RIBA Publishing.

Public Procurement Policy 2018 guide

A new and updated PUBLIC PROCUREMENT POLICY 2018 guide covering directives, regulations, policies and guidance relating to the procurement of services, supplies and works for the public sector was issued by Crown Commercial Services on March 26, 2018

Central Government Framework Agreements Survey

Framework SurveyFrameworks bedevil SME Design Professionals so please take this opportunity to complete this survey here on Government Framework Agreements to communicate your views and help formulate better policy for SME access & engagement, before the 31st of March deadline.

The survey results will be reported on Project Compass in due course.

The letter transcribed below sets out the purpose and objectives of the survey:

” The UK Government is committed to achieving a target that one pound in every three of public money spent annually on goods and services will be spent with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by the end of the parliament.  One of the areas under consideration for improvement is Government Framework Agreements as they relate to SMEs.

By engaging with SMEs differently it is hoped that many more will take part in, and benefit from, new business either directly with government, or indirectly as sub-contractors to Prime Contractors.

The Frameworks Group working within the Cabinet Office SME Panel has been considering this matter and we are now conducting some independent research amongst SMEs to gather measurable information.  The results will inform our advice to the Crown Commercial Service, which is part of the Cabinet Office, about the future direction of this type of central government agreement.

If your company is an SME and has had experience of Framework Agreements whilst working with, or attempting to work with the UK Government or its Prime Contractors, we would be interested to hear your views.  If you have had no experience at all then please disregard this survey.

All contributions are anonymous and should be completed before 31st March 2018 in order for your data to be included in the results.

We have timed participation to less than ten minutes.  We greatly appreciate your help in this matter.

Please click here to participate in this independent study.

Many thanks and kind regards.

Jonathan Lewis

Chair, Frameworks Working Group, Cabinet Office SME Panel”

 

Carillion’s Collapse. Let’s learn lessons from this failure.

Carillion’s collapse: Project Compass director Russell Curtis has called in ‘Let’s hope the lessons of Carillion’s failure will be learnt’, (AJ 17 January 2018) for “a more diverse supply chain to avoid another Carillion catastrophe, so we can face a future with a diverse, specialist and varied supply chain, which matches projects with proficiency and project scale with practice size.”

The growing crisis within the building industry shows that the driving policies and practices which are aggregating contracting into ever larger private contracts is simply failing, from the Edinburgh Schools fiasco, Grenfell and now Carillion’s collapse.

In UK procurement far practice greater regard now needs to be placed on the available provisions within Directive 2014/24/EU and the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (noted in the informative below).  These provisions have to date been in effect disregarded in procurement within England.

Continue reading “Carillion’s Collapse. Let’s learn lessons from this failure.”

Procurement threshold values from 1 January 2018

Procurement threshold values from 1 January 2018 for Public Contracts are revised. These revisions are biannual and are showing an increase in the GBP values due to fluctuations in exchange rates over the previous two years. These are the new threshold values which now apply generally in construction under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Small Lots are more fully described in PCR 2015 6 (14) (15) but occur where a defined public procurement is defined as otherwise taking place but lots within it may be excluded.

Services & Supplies contracts

Works contracts

Central Government

£118,133

(up from £106,047)

€144,000

£4,551,413

(up from £4,104,394)

€5,548,000

Other Contracting Authorities

£181,302

(up from £164,176)

€221,000

£4,551,413

(up from £4,104,394)

€5,548,000

Small Lots

under PCR 2015 6 (14) (15)

£65,630

(up from £62,842)

€80,000

£820,370

(up from £785,530)

€1,000,000

(With the exception of service contracts under Directive 2014/24/EU Article 74. Article 13 and R & D services under Article 14)

Although these do not so frequently apply within the construction sector, for the thresholds under the Light Touch Regime, thresholds for Social and other specific Services, and thresholds under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016, and the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 please refer to Procurement Policy Note PPN 04/17