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With the news that the RIBA plans a 'sudden hike in the number of competitions' (AJPlus 23.06.05), I wanted to tell you about an excellent process we encountered through our client, Southern Water Services, for the Brighton & Hove Wastewater Project.

Southern Water asked for expressions of interest from nine practices. Three were selected for a one-day design competition.

Each was given a briefing and had four hours to prepare an outline design response, followed by a one-hour presentation to the client. We were advised that we had been successful two days later.

In contrast to many competitions, the process was quick and efficient, and eminently suited to the client's need. I feel this innovative technique should be publicised. In this case, the criteria for selection were:

the ability to understand the brief and, within time constraints, translate it into a creative but deliverable design;

the ability to present the proposal coherently and to respond intelligently to questions raised; and - an attitude of openness and willingness to interact with other project team members.

Nigel Ostime, associate director, REID architecture, London

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