Design Council Cabe has urged the government to replace the ‘tick-box’ procurement of architects with a new eight-point code of practice
Giving evidence to the All Party Group for Excellence in the Built Environment yesterday (20 February), Design Council trustee Rab Bennetts said the code would stop the ‘loss of work for able firms’ and halt ‘the delivery of poor quality buildings that fail to match initial ambitions’.
Procurement processes are having a detrimental impact on the final outcome and the UK’s economy
Bennetts explained: ‘Gone are the days when an act of enlightened patronage could determine the quality of our town halls, schools, libraries, galleries or colleges. Individual leaders with the vision to create fine civic buildings or public spaces are now the exception rather than the rule.
‘The advent of mandatory procurement processes over the last twenty years has been accompanied by dramatic changes in the way that architects and other members of the design team are chosen having a detrimental impact on the final outcome and the UK’s economy.
He added: ‘The proposed code of practice is intended to provide appropriate guidance and encourage a change of culture that would be of enormous benefit to both the industry and the economy.’
The organisation is working closely with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on delivering its Innovation and Growth Strategy, a pivotal part of which is to ensure the UK Government becomes ‘a world leader in the procurement of good design’.
According to DC CABE, the new code of practice would simplify the current ‘complex’ system, seek to deliver better value for money for clients and benefit the public by creating better quality schemes.
The key features of the new code of practice:
1 Expert advice for the client body at the outset
2 Assessment of capability separate from project-specific submissions
3 Appropriate selection criteria for projects
4 Relevant requirements in relation to size, scale and experience
5 Combined evaluation of fees, resources and personnel
6 Fair scoring systems
7 Best practice guidance for design competitions
8 Mandatory feedback for bidders
Developed in collaboration with the built environment design sector the proposed code would be:
- EU compliant
- Efficient and adaptable
- Reduce the burden on the construction industry
- Achieve the most appropriate result for the project