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RIAS floats shake-up for Scottish procurement

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The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has launched a report slamming Scotland’s ‘damaging’ architectural procurement which it blames for wasting ‘tens of millions of pounds’

Demanding ‘radical’ overhaul of the pre-qualification questionnaire process, the report calls on the Scottish government to issue new guidelines for commissioning projects below the OJEU threshold.

The investigation chaired by Roy Martin QC found UK public procurement to be slowest in Europe after Greece and revealed that an average project worth £130,000 in architect’s fees wasted £70,000 for the client and £240,000 for the bidders.

It described the system as ‘very costly, highly inefficient and damaging’.

RIAS president, Sholto Humphries, said: ‘The Commission’s report reveals that much that is being done with the best of intentions and in the interests of fairness is having exactly the opposite effect. Small practices, which make up most of the profession in Scotland, are virtually excluded from the vast majority of public projects.

‘The resources required simply to submit a tender are forcing many capable, talented and experienced practitioners to look elsewhere (either to the private sector or outwith Scotland) for work. A generation of Scottish architectural talent is being squandered.

‘Tens of millions of pounds are being unnecessarily wasted by the public purse and by practices across the UK. It would be relatively simple to issue new guidance for projects below the European thresholds and to ensure proportionate tendering for projects above these levels.

‘We urge the Government to radically review construction procurement as soon as possible. Otherwise many more small construction businesses will go to the wall.’

Humphries vowed to petition Scotland’s government for an overhaul of public procurement law at his inauguration in May.



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