Architectural Design Competitions:

A Key Policy Tool to Ensure Quality in the Built Environment


UIA PRESS RELEASE
30 OCTOBER 2019
Signature of the declaration by Georg Pendl, ACE President & Thomas Vonier, UIA President

Full Press Release transcript from the:

Conference on International Design Competitions organised by the International Union of Architects (UIA) and the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE), 25 October 2019. UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

DECLARATION

Architectural design competitions (ADCs) are among the most effective ways to achieve excellence in building and community design. They yield optimal concepts and plans for a given building programme, planning or landscape design task. Because they are based solely on the quality of proposed solutions, focused on the specific needs of a carefully defined project, competitions result in high-value solutions of great benefit to end-users, adding to the overall quality of life and design excellence in the built environment. The International Union of Architects (UIA) and the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) urge policymakers and government bodies to include architectural design competitions as a recommended procedure in public procurement laws, in order to promote enduring, excellent and responsible solutions for buildings and communities.

• • •

Architectural design competitions place focus on quality-based, project-oriented procedures. Competitions in architecture, town planning and landscape design offer an excellent way to evaluate multiple design proposals in a formal, professionally driven procedure, in order to find the best project for the defined need. In accordance with evaluation criteria set forth in a competition brief, professional, independent jurors assess designs submitted by competitors. Competitions are quality-based because juries make decisions solely on the basis of the quality of the proposals. They are project-oriented because their objective is to provide optimal solutions, tailored to the needs of the clients and the site.

Architectural design competitions have produced many culturally significant buildings across the globe, including the Sydney Opera House, the Centre Pompidou, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Tokyo International Forum and the Egyptian National Library in Alexandria. We urge government bodies, public authorities and private clients to pursue quality and design excellence through competitions.

Competitions offer multiple benefits to clients, competitors and society

  • Quality: They result in architecture and urban developments of high quality.
  • Innovation: They are a source of innovative, economic and sustainable solutions.
  • Transparency: They are transparent and non-discriminatory, building credibility and public trust while promoting fairness and non-corruption via anonymous entries.
  • Flexibility: They are suitable for small and large entities, and for experienced clients as well as those with little experience.
  • Guaranteed quality: Highly qualified, independent professional jurors, along with client representatives, assess proposals against well-defined criteria.
  • Cost-efficiency and visibility: Costs for competitions are on the level of one percent of the overall construction budget, while compensating competitors adequately.
  • Public participation: They offer the opportunity to involve citizens in shaping the built environment, stimulating public debate on needs and design approaches.
  • Equal opportunity: All competitors have equal chances. Competitions can provide young and relatively unknown designers with the opportunity to complete major works; they are especially helpful in providing young professionals with a very good chance to enter the market.
  • Creativity: They create opportunities to test new ideas, inviting various approaches to formal expression.

The Architects’ Council of Europe and the International Union of Architects have developed detailed guidelines for organising fair and affordable competitions, covering these issues:

  • Principles of anonymity, transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination,
  • Independence and composition of the jury,
  • Nature and scope of the competition brief,
  • Prize monies and remuneration,
  • Copyrights,
  • Dispute resolution.

There are many possible competition forms and procedures. We have experience with all of them. Regardless of the chosen form and procedures, the combination of a good design briefgood procedures and a good jury guarantees a good result.

________________________________________

THOMAS VONIER
President
International Union of Architects
(UIA)
GEORG PENDL
President
Architects’ Council of Europe
(ACE)

TheProject Compass Design Contest Guidance: for selection of Architects and Design Teams’ for UK Architectural Design Competitions is available on our publications page.

This Project Compass Guidance provides recommended practices and procedures as described and aligned to the above UIA ACE declaration.

To find architectural competition across across Europe go HERE and/or to:

UIA COMPETITIONS WEBSITE

PODCAST OF THE UIA ACE CONFERENCE DECLARATION

thefulcrum.eu – expanded & relaunched

TheFulcrum.eu the first international portal for architecture commissions covering all European countries has now been relaunched. It remains free to all but with its new and expanded form it now covers thirty-nine European Countries. TheFulcrum.eu offers greater access and insights into public procurement and competition culture in Europe, contributing to improving construction culture across the continent.

The new easy to use TheFulcrum.eu homepage provides access to:

  • The European legislation which applies, and which can be read in each countries operating language.
  • The national flag links to the public procurement legislation of the country in question.
  • Public procurement and competition portals for each country so they can be directly accessed and consulted.
  • Competitions guidance, information and research publications from each country
  • Links to architecture networks along with public and private organisations involved in public procurement and competitions in that country.

Never before has all this information about each of the 39 European countries been compiled, presented and made so fully accessible.

This project aligns with the European Ministers of Culture’s call in the Davos Declaration 2018, for development of a high-quality ‘building culture’ in Europe. TheFulcrum.eu has been created in close collaboration between ourselves (UK), Architectuur Lokaal (NL), A10 new European architecture cooperative (EU) and many partners in various European countries. The relaunched site further implements collaborations, analysis, research, findings and development scoped by Project Compass CIC, Architectur Lokaal, within the ‘European Competition Programmer Handbook:GreenArch project results‘, by the ‘Competition Culture in Europe Programme‘ and at International competitions gatherings held in Prague (CZ), Paris (FR), London (UK), Amsterdam (NL), Venice (IT), Chęciny (PL) and Vilnius (LT).

TheFulcrum.eu is being maintained with the support of the Creative Industries Fund NL by Architectuur Lokaal (NL). The portal will continue to develop over time.

Additions and feedback are welcome.

Isn’t it time for the RIBA to do more to address the appalling state of UK public procurement? Here’s an idea.

Project Compass Director Russell Curtis explains the Bloom Framework.

Here’s a brief thread on how, were it so minded, the RIBA could radically transform the UK public procurement landscape…for architects, at least.

The Bloom Framework is a privately-owned, OJEU-compliant framework

Let’s start with Bloom. Bloom is a private framework with which many architects may already be familiar. Public bodies can use this to “call off” individual practices, run small invited competitions, or full open tenders.

The reason they can do this is because Bloom is already a tier 1 supplier on an OJEU-compliant framework (NEPRO). It can appoint who it likes as a sub-contractor, hence its ability to run procurements however it wants.

This is not an altruistic enterprise: Bloom simply charges 5% on top of the agreed fee to administer the service. Both client and consultant accept this as it’s cheaper and quicker than running a separate procurement exercise for every project. It’s big business: last year Bloom Procurement Services Limited turned over £92m (note that all payments to the supply chain are made through Bloom as an intermediary, so this turnover is likely to be the total value of work procured through the framework, of which Bloom itself will take around 5%).

Now imagine that instead of running dubious competitions, RIBA was to set up a similar framework, offering architectural services to public clients. There are few organisations with the weight and reputation to fund and administer such a thing[i].

Also, now that it has a chunk of cash to spend, it could set up a similar framework, either running a full OJEU procedure itself or by applying to be a supplier to an existing one (as with Bloom)[ii].

The RIBA could demand of its subcontractors any qualification requirements it wishes…for example, that all should be Chartered Practices (or at least, if this was an OJEU framework, that all suppliers are architects with Chartered Practices or RIBA members receiving free access). Think about it: exclusive access to framework which circumvents costly, complex OJEU and is only accessible to its members! A further advantage is that the RIBA could re-establish a fee scale, requiring all architects on this framework to adhere to a predetermined range of fees. Public bodies could then choose whether to accept the terms of this framework, or to go elsewhere. My feeling is that many, in light of the Grenfell tragedy, have a new focus on delivering quality, and therefore are more likely to accept this over lowest cost.

That would certainly be something worth joining the RIBA for. And it wouldn’t cost the institute anything—in fact, as Bloom has demonstrated, it could actually make it money! People would join the RIBA just to get access to this framework, helping to combat declining membership and bringing income into the institute to subsidise its other work.

So isn’t it time for the RIBA to step up to the plate and do something to address the appalling state of UK public procurement? What is there to lose?


[i]  RIBA Competitions Office. Upper Orwell Crossings Project. https://www.architecture.com/awards-and-competitions-landing-page/competitions-landing-page/upper-orwell-crossings

[ii] RIBA sells £31.8m stake in its commercial arm to Lloyds Bank https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/riba-sells-318m-stake-in-its-commercial-arm-to-lloyds-bank/10032009.article

 

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 

 

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?

No Brexit deal – Accessing Procurement Notices

If there is no Brexit deal significant questions need answering about how all UK public contracts covering services, works and supplies, will be published, accessed, completed and remain transparent for public clients and commerce. Government announced on 13 September 2018 that if there is no deal a new UK e-notification replacement system will be made available on 29 March 2019, and notices will be published there, rather than in ‘The Official Journal of the European Union’ (OJEU) published online via Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) .  Continue reading “No Brexit deal – Accessing Procurement Notices”

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.

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