Reducing the design and specification to the lowest common denominator has been going on under D&B procurement for as long as I can remember.
At the time D&B was introduced, it was seen as a panacea within public procurement for regulating the supposed very high costs of architects' 'fanciful' and 'expensive' design proposals by bringing these impractical designs 'down to earth' with more pragmatic and less expensive materials options proposed by the D&B contractor.
The tender process was documented by an 'Employers Agent' more often than not from an estimating background who issued tenders containing the 'Employers Requirements' following which the 'Contractors Proposals' were then received back as a tender. This process allowed for 'equal or approved' substitutions of materials, form and structure, across the board (without the participation of the original designer who was inevitably sidelined within a novation process) with many changes that were often camouflaged within the extensive documentation and geared to presenting appealing competitive prices to the client that then facilitated the reduced quality of finished product whilst enhancing contractor profitability.
Has this changed - very little it seems from the published report!
With homelessness spiraling out of control, 1 billion pounds was spent by local authorities in 2018 on temporary accommodation to house the growing numbers, fueled by urbanization and population growth, and with no permanent affordable housing available, is it really surprising to see these headlines. This discussion on using shipping containers for housing has been trending on social media with many people writing to say that they aspire to live in converted containers as an economic means of getting a roof over their heads, with a high percentage writing from the US, and there are many very good examples of homes designed using repurposed containers on sites like Dezeen that show what architects and self builders have created with them. Housing a homeless family of 4 in one or two container modules is going to be claustrophobic, but until we get down to addressing the root causes of this growth in homelessness in a constructive way, then we are likely to hear many more similar stories on the news in the coming decade. There are solutions to address the issue in the short term, however, we need to be looking at a long term fix!
High drama in this gravity defying design proposal that seems to incorporate all the in vogue ingredients look likely to double the budget costs and programme. The angular irregular layered multi tiered concert hall seating has a semblance to the ‘Star Wars Galactic Republic Senate Chamber’ and i’m not sure you will want to be occupying the ‘cheap’ seats (if there are any) especially if you have any mobility issues, not to mention hearing difficulties, as it’s not apparent how this concert hall shape will work acoustically.
Thank you for this review - what about 'Project Specific Insurance' as an option - https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/project-specific-professional-liability-who-really-pays-for-design-errors
Also what about the relevance of Collateral Warranty Agreements that consultants are requested to sign - can the AJ de-mystify these in a future article?