Comment on: HS2 looking to employ smaller practices
Major infrastructure lasts generations, serves huge numbers of people and deserves to be robust, sustainable and built efficiently to the highest design quality. To achieve this also requires it should be well briefed and competitive access given to the widest possible market on a level playing field to elicit the best creative and appropriate responses. The aspirations towards standardisation maybe appropriate but are communicated in this article in such a way as to infer that this standardisation is in effect a dumbing down. Does this large and highly visible commissioning have any real design vision or aspirations? Keeping an eye out for OJEU notices as a way towards alignment with the Gov. policy on pre-market engagement for a project of the scale of HS2 seems remiss. Network Rail was a signatory to the Govs Procurement Pledge of Dec. 2010 which set out early measures intended to represent a long-term reform of public procurement that would help to ensure a level playing field and improve access to public procurement for potential providers of all types and sizes. Is HS2 not covered by this pledge? While this announcement represents a shift in HS2s procurement position bringing it closer towards this pledge, it seems there is a considerable distance still to travel.
Draft policy 2.1.13 states the LP SPG will ... ‘adopt’ the Govs nationally described space standards, which will apply to all homes and will apply ‘optional’ building reg. M4 (2) ‘accessible and adaptable’ dwellings to 90% of homes, and optional building reg. M4 (3) ‘wheelchair user dwellings’ to 10% of homes..... Building Reg. M4 (1) has been excluded in its entirety. The rationalisation & simplification of the Building Regs was meant to deliver more intelligence and sanity. But this is a total absurdity. All architects working in housing should respond to this consultation to highlight this issue.
Paul your comments seemed somewhat disparaging particularly as I couldn't believe you'ld have even read the guide, so wanted to send copy if this in fact you https://www.linkedin.com/in/pauliddon
This enlightened approach to UK infrastructure is welcome and long overdue. Lets hope Victoria Hills get the government, GLA and professions full support to opening up the opportunities for achieving best quality and value at this important hub which represents such a major long term future investment. To deliver the best results from such a design contest needs the full engagement of a top rank competition programmer.
Good design is about the intelligent use of resources to add value. It is extremely depressing that David Higgins does not understand best value nor perceive the opportunity to deliver enlightened infrastructure of the highest possible quality that might also provide some distinction. The opportunity should be taken to have multiple design contests for HS2 infra structure, not only for bridges, but right down to signage and carriages etc to ensure that this project delivers an exemplary outcome for the country.