Carillion’s Collapse. Lets 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 Directrive 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.

Carillion’s Collapse

But Carillion’s collapse will most likely also have a devastating impact on a multitude of small sub-contracting firms and suppliers across the country, including architects.

But if payment security had been in place most of these anticipated losses would have been largely avoidable as money could have been secured.  This would have also better served to secure work flows better with less disruption through any administrative process.

Project Bank Accounts

Project Bank Accounts (PBA’s) provide such payment security. They ring fence funds for project payments in a client funded trust account, held independently of the main contractor, with payment cascaded out when work is discharged. PBA’s have been allowed within all public contracts since ythe transposition of Directicce 2014/24/EU & PCR 2015.  Scotland (for contracts above £4m), Wales and N. Ireland (for contracts above £2m) have now mandated their use and Highways England have adopted them.  However many may now ask why the use of Project Bank Accounts was not mandated across England, where there use has only been a ‘recommendation’.

Essentially the unfair apportionment of a contracts risk down through the multitude of small scale suppliers and sub-contractors, has been shown to leave those at bottom of this feeding chain more likely to be destroyed by such lack of payment.  It is these many smaller companies, the bedrock of the UK construction industry that may now go to the wall.  We have no doubts this could have a prolonged impact on industry capacity and skills.

RIBA adopted Project Bank Accounts in its procurement policy recommendations ‘Building Ladders of Opportunity’ in 2012 (1.2.5). It is now to be hope that with the support of members the institute will join with all other industry representatives in seeking there mandatory and early adoption.

Retentions Protection Scheme

With Carillion’s collapse retention payments withheld – as security in case of defects – will also have been lost. The Parliamentary Bill from Peter Aldous MP which passed its first hearing earlier this month for a Retentions Protection Scheme, modelled on the rent deposit protection scheme, is therefore equally important. Details HERE

Project Compass call on Parliament & Government

We therefore call upon all construction design professionals to petition their parliamentary representatives and call upon Parliament and the Government to:

  • Support the Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill known as the ‘Aldous Bill’ which passed its first reading on 9 January 2018
  • Legislate to require that PBAs are put in place for all construction works in England over £1 million.

 

BESA Building Engineering Services Association survey Jan. 23, 2018

The Building Engineering and Services Association (BESA) and the electrotechnical engineering survices trade association (ECA) survey of January 23, 2018 gives an early indication in this infographic of the scale of the problems now faced.

 

Informative: From the Public Contract Regulations 2015.

Under Regulation 46.(1), (2) and (4); contracting authorities may decide to award a contract in the form of separate lots and may determine the size and subject-matter of such lots; Contracting authorities shall provide an indication of the main reasons for their decision not to subdivide into lots, which shall be included in the procurement documents or the report referred to in regulation 84(1); Contracting authorities may, even where tenders may be submitted for several or all lots, limit the number of lots that may be awarded to one tenderer, provided that the maximum number of lots per tenderer is stated in the contract notice or in the invitation to confirm interest.

The division of contracts into more numerous lots is also a material consideration in the UK for improving social value and economic sustainability under The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

Project Compass Newsletter December 2017

Newsletter December 2017

The Project Compass Newsletter December 2017 highlights some of our activities  over the past 18 months, the publications that have been output, a procurement trends report and our anticipated future activities.

Information on our exciting programme and the range of new activities we plan may be of particular interest to all our supporters and site users.  We welcome your participation, collaboration and engagement in some, or any of these, and particularly any contributions towards the Venice Biennale 2018 works. Submission information on this will be made available shortly.

Other activities of interest include the development of more and better engagement in educational modules and our Guerrilla Competitions programme.

As an organisation promoting open access and engagement we always remain open to advancing projects that may be brought forward to us by others, so long as they lie within our Community Interest Company remit. If you have any projects, programmes or ideas which you individually wish to advance, please talk to us or email us at projectcompaccCIC@gmail.com

Peter Aldous MP’s Jan. 2018 Bill to protect retentions

Peter Aldous MP will introduced a Parliamentary Bill on 9 Jan. 2018 to protect cash retentions in a retention deposit scheme (similar to a tenancy deposit scheme). Project Compass invite you to write to your local MP to express your support for this.

This is an important initiative being promoted by the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC) Group and their full briefing paper is published below.

Retentions withheld unduly in construction contracts are a significant concern for all in the construction industry including design professionals, whether they are withheld for excessive time or because a contractor goes bankrupt. It has an adverse impact on all and particularly SME’s in the supply chain.

This Parliamentary Bill aims to secure much needed reform.  We hope you will help to advocate this change by writing to your MP in support.  A letter template for your use is also provided HERE.

FULL TEXT OF THE BRIEFING PAPER PREPARED BY SEC GROUP.  November 2017
Continue reading “Peter Aldous MP’s Jan. 2018 Bill to protect retentions”

Call for ‘bottom up’ enablement by regulatory clarity

Following investigations into London’s Garden Bridge nineteen architects have written to the Chair of the GLA Oversight Committee, calling for better ‘bottom up’ enablement of public services through regulatory clarity.

“There is now little motivation for design professionals to initiate and nurture projects from inception as almost invariably the original designers will be preclude as the established competition processes are highly restrictive.

This effectively ‘locks out’ many of those who would be particularly well placed to support ‘bottom up’ endeavours, whether for example through the engagement of design professionals with their communities or by creating imaginative and valuable design ideas contributing to the city’s wider needs, vitality and wellbeing.”

The proposals tabled would “..allow all to benefit from the positive and creative endeavours of those developing built environment ideas for public good.

“London has many challenges and it is clear that we need to find a way that will encourage design professionals to come forward with ideas and to engage with communities in order to meet these challenges, and for client bodies to know they can access those ideas and benefit from the knowledge and work already carried out.”

Continue reading “Call for ‘bottom up’ enablement by regulatory clarity”

Design Contest Portals, by country

Design Contest Portals from thirty three European countries that announce architectural design contests and competitive opportunities are now published on thefulcrum.eu .

Open International contests, private contests and opportunities below OJEU thresholds and can also be found through this unique public listing

Produced as part of the four year programmeCompetition Culture in Europeand issued accompanying publication of Competition Culture in Europe 2013-2016, the list makes information more accessible for those seeking to engage.

We will continue to update this list but if you know of a country or a website that is missing, please notify us by email. Many of the results are also included along with the many opportunities and other insights now available.

the independent European portal for architectural competitions & contests.

Heart of the matter: Why architects need a key role in the construction process

(This article was originally published in Planning & Building Control Today).

To find an architect lamenting the erosion of the profession’s role within the construction process may elicit from many little more than crocodile tears, and to others, smack of a futile act of self-preservation when faced with challenging financial targets, shrinking capital budgets and the avoidance of risk. But whilst architects’ railing at the demotion of quality in favour of ‘certainty’ is hardly new, events of the last year have suddenly thrust our concerns into the spotlight.

It is still far too early to apportion culpability for the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in June, but it is possible that this may emerge as the latest, and most tragic, manifestation decreasing oversight that architects have been warning about for so long. At the very least, there is clear evidence that a lack of professional, independent scrutiny has resulted directly in catastrophic failures elsewhere which could — had circumstances been only very slightly different — have resulted in tragedies of their own.

Continue reading “Heart of the matter: Why architects need a key role in the construction process”

Procurement reforms at TfL after Hodge Review

After the Thames Garden Bridge debacle and in response to the Hodge Review, on 17 July TfL Board were invited to approve a series of recommendations for governance changes to increase oversight and effectiveness of their procurement activities. This follows on from a number of other previously implemented changes also made public HERE.  Whilst this represents progress following the Project Compass report into the ‘Thames Garden Bridge Procurement Issues’ (feb 2016) we will continue to work forward on the need for further reform of procurement governance, practices, procedures and opportunities, particularly for design professionals, both across London and elsewhere.

Conference on Competition Culture

How can architects, especially the new generation, find out what design contests are announced in Europe? What considerations should they make to decide if they’re going to participate in an architect selection abroad? And what is the chance a winning plan will be built? Architect selections for commissions below EU thresholds are not published on the official website Tenders European Daily (TED). Smaller commissions stay below the radar and, above all, not all European countries are members of the European Union.

In order to gain better insight into the current situation, Architectuur Lokaal will host a two day international conference in Amsterdam: Competition Culture in Europe, on September 28 and 29. The conference will mark the start of a four-year program on competition culture in Europe.

Survey

A10 Logo

Architectuur Lokaal has mapped out the competition culture in seventeen European countries by means of the Steunpunt Architectuuropdrachten & Ontwerpwedstrijden (Helpdesk Architectural Commissions and Design contests), Project Compass CIC and the correspondents of A10 new European architecture Cooperative. At the conference, the results of the survey will be shared among the participating countries. The results will be analyzed in-depth in the presence of the researchers, various architectural organizations and other stakeholders from European countries. Afterwards, the preliminary results will be published online. Participation by invitation only.

Four-year program

Architectuur Lokaal is the only independent organization in the Netherlands that is consistently engaged in improving the competition culture. In recent years we have noticed a growing interest in design competitions in the Netherlands. Design competitions contribute towards new solutions to new questions and offer opportunities to young architects who struggle to get access to (European) tenders. Competitions have proven to be a relevant instrument that fits well into the new relationships and positions surrounding spatial assignments.

The conference Competition Culture in Europe will mark the start of a four-year program of Architectuur Lokaal which will continue to work across the border in the coming years. The purpose of the program is to:

  • Further expand cooperation on competition culture in Europe by exchanging knowledge and information;
  • Increase access to competitions outside the Netherlands by disclosing the national platforms on which these competitions are announced;
  • Investigate possibilities for structural cooperation in accordance with Project Compass.

Information

For more information: contact Margot de Jager.

the independent, European portal for architectural competitions & contests.

Good riddance to the Garden Bridge

Good riddance to the Garden Bridge: an eye-watering waste of public funds

Walter Menteth article originally published 11 May, 2017 in

 

 

With one swift blow, London Mayor Sadiq Khan confounded plans to construct a leafy walkway above the River Thames. By refusing to guarantee further public funds, the mayor leaves the Garden Bridge project with a funding gap of some £70m, and a countdown of just eight months until planning permission expires.

Continue reading “Good riddance to the Garden Bridge”

A synopsis of UK Architectural Competitions Practices & Trends

Project Compass CIC have published a newly commissioned report covering UK architectural competitions that forms part of a comparative evaluation, stocktaking & exploration of European competition culture. It includes some case studies & has been undertaken to collate info. to further research the opportunities & potential expansion of alternative innovatory European practices. PCompass director Walter Menteth has written on some of the findings from the case studies separately in further detail here.