Actions & Projects

MEMORANDUM

Costs of Public Procurement in Belgian Architecture POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

Read more: Costs_of_Public_Procurement_in_Belgian_Architecture.pdf

The G30 at Realty 2013: a timely message

On 28th May the G30 held a Conference at realty in partnership with Seco and ORI on the topic of “The City for Citizens”.

The Keynote speaker was Professor Riccardo Petrella, Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), President of the European Institute for Water Policy Research (Institut EuropĂ©en de Recherche sur la Politique de l’Eau). He also teaches “human ecology” at the Academy of Architecture of the University of Italian Switzerland (Mendrisio) created by Mario Botta.

Two eminent Belgian politicians were also invited to debate on the topic on this occasion and until the last minute the organisers were confident also from the intermediate information received that they would be effectively present.  Alas, on the very day of the conference the organisers were informed at a few hours distance that both of them were unable to attend, reportedly due to urgent political meetings.  This very unfortunate situation obliged the organisers to change the actual running of the conference at extremely short notice.

The choice of the Realty Fair to hold the conference was made on purpose.  Nowadays more and more decisions affecting the built environment are taken primarily if not only according to the wishes of financial forces.  Realty as the place where the real estate world meets annually seemed a perfect receptacle for M. Petrella’s message.

Precisely, the message that Riccardo Petrella passed on that was clear enough.  According to his analysis there is a need to devise a coherent and integrated “urban sustainability strategy” along what he sees as the three main lines of action and prospects: cities as the « places for the common good and public services”, cities as the “places for participation”, and cities as the “places for utopia”

We would like to thank here Yves Pianet, CEO of Seco and Bernard Gilliot, President of ORI for their support for the event.  Their contributions during the opening of the conference and the abstract of R. Petrella’s Keynote speech is available on the website of the G30 in English and French as well as a selection of photos from the conference that was followed by a drink designed to facilitate contacts.

Lunch Discussion: The RĂ©gie des BĂątiments - General Features and Strategic Objectives

During the last Lunch Discussion organised by the G30 on the 7th of February at the Hotel "The Dominican" in Brussels, the Keynote Speaker, Mr Laurent Vrijdaghs, General Administrator of the 'RĂ©gie des BĂątiments', gave a presentation on the topic "The RĂ©gie des BĂątiments - General Features and Strategic Objectives".

Newsletter

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LEGISLATION AND PRACTICE - EXPECTATIONS AND HOPE

As the Members of the G30 will be aware the G30 has devoted considerable attention over the past two years to the issue of Public Procurement and, in particular, to the related topics of PPP (Public Private Partnership) and DBFM (Design-Build-Finance-Maintain), two fashionable methods largely used by public authorities these days, which raise serious concern for architects.

Several activities were carried out by the G30 in this field, which should be highlighted:

 

  • The event held at the Solvay Library in October 2011 - which gave an opportunity to express the concerns of the G30 in front of e.g. Members of the European Parliament and to raise the profile of the G30;
  • The steady efforts of the G30, with the assistance of competent lawyers, to promote the views of architects and engineers in a united front vis-Ă -vis the operator chosen by the Flesmish Government, Fortis Real Estate for the construction of schools (see the special article in this issue of the Newsletter);
  • The Lunch Discussions held with the Flemish Bouwmeester, Peter Swinnen, the MaĂźtre Architecte of the Brussels Capital Region, Olivier Bastin and Chantal Dassonville, Architecture Department, Deputy General Director at the FĂ©dĂ©ration Wallonie Bruxelles;
  • The co-operation with the AR-CO Insurance Mutual and the ORI (Engineers) on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of AR-CO.

In this regard it is worthwhile giving a special mention to the legislative process towards the adoption of the new EU Directive on Public Procurement repealing the Directive 2004/18/EC.  This Directive is now expected to be adopted in plenary sitting only in April 2013 (single reading in ordinary procedure, ex-codecision procedure), with a delay of several months.

 

As indicated in the previous issue of this Newsletter (October) there seemed to be broad agreement across the political groups to foster the use of the most economically advantageous tender-MEAT i.e. giving more weight to quality and sustainability criteria.  The lowest price approach would be strictly limited.

After a long process whereby more than 1,500 amendments have been tabled, the Co-ordinators of the various Political Groups were reported to be close to reaching a consensus on the main, compromise amendments.

From what had transpired at the time of writing this article the Co-ordinators of the various Political Groups were reported to be close to reaching consensus on the main, compromise amendments to the draft report prepared by Marc Tarabella, Belgium (S&D Group, Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) so that the IMCO Committee (Internal Market & Consumer Protection) of the European Parliament was expected to vote during its meeting on 17-18 December for the adoption of the report.  Further, more detailed information will be provided to the Members of the G30 as soon as it becomes available.

 

 

Exporting the Belgian Know-How

The G30 has participated on the 25th of September 2012 to the meeting organised by BICCS, the Belgian International Concept & Construction Services. BICCS is the common platform of Contractors, Engineers and Architects. Let’s recall that Didier Reynders, the Federal Minister of External Affairs, was the Key Speaker at the launch meeting held on the 8th of May. At the second meeting, on the 25th of September we had the pleasure to meet all the leading staff members of the Federal Authorities in External Affairs. The members of ConfederatieBouw/ ConfĂ©dĂ©rationConstruction, ORI and G30 had a very open and a real professional exchange on the different process flow, and on the issue of what support Belgian firms and consortium can receive to develop the Belgian knowledge outside the country.

The next meeting of BICCS will take place on the 24th of October and the Guests will be representatives of the African Investment Bank.

The programme of the future economic Missions to promote the Belgian knowledge is available for download.

Seeking more interaction with the Members

The Board is keen to involve the Members of the G30 and to incite them to take part more actively in the activities that it develops for them.  To this end it has decided to hold more internal meetings.  The idea is to hold contradictory discussions on selected topics, with the aim to e.g. learning more on their specific concerns and also generating new, targeted actions in the public scene.  The Members of the G30 are invited to propose topics, which they would like to discuss in such meetings. 

Picture of bees

 These meetings, reserved for Members only, could be organised maybe in-between lunch discussions in which external speakers are invited.  Suggestions for topics should be sent to Marie-France Lefief at mfl@g30.be

 

AR-CO Conference – Discussion on Public & Private Procurement largely biased by focus on PPP

On 27th September the Conference organised by AR-CO (Insurance Mutual by/for Architects) in partnership with the G30 and the ORI (Engineers and Engineering Consultancies) did not produce all the expected results.  As a matter of fact while the announced theme was broadly quality and sustainability in public & private procurement the topic that dominated the presentations and the discussion was PPP and its variants.  The conference, attended by about 300 participants, was moderated by MarlĂšne de Wouters, journalist.

During a first session several speakers addressed the issue of PPP with different angles, mostly with a critical point of view, including Piet Van Cauwenberghe (Abscis Architecten) who spoke about the experience of the “Scholen van morgen” project.  

After the presentations a round table discussion took place, also moderated by MarlĂšne de Wouters.  The G30 President, Jacques Timmerman, took part in the discussion along with the previous speakers and representatives from the authorities and other actors from the construction sector.   Whilst underlining the specific feature of the architectural firms members of the G30, principally the fact that they have all adopted the form of an SME, J. Timmerman expressed the view that there are not only negative aspects in PPP and DBFM methods, but also positive aspects, i.e. under certain conditions.  In particular, certain principles must be respected such as, the independence of architects and their capacity to act also for the public interest – which is hardly the case at the present time.  He called for a review/actualisation of the Law of 1939 to take account of new developments e.g. the so-called “Loi Laruelle” that has opened the possibility for architectural firms to register as such.  In relation to PPP, JT stressed the necessity to maintain the intellectual independence of architects, which raises, at least indirectly, the question of the monopolistic reserved function.

Jacques Timmerman at AR-CO ConfĂ©renceThe question whether or not one should return to the traditional triangle: client-conception-construction for complex construction projects clearly arises.  Chantal Dassonville from the FĂ©dĂ©ration Wallonie Bruxelles supported this view and she pointed to the short-sighted view of politicians who want to use PPPs because they believe by “de-budgetising” construction projects it allows to move forward more quickly, in line with electoral concerns.  She also recognised that as a civil servant she is often placed in an uncomfortable situation whereby she advocated for quality criteria to be judged vis-Ă -vis the actual stakes of any important public project. See article.

Me Jean-Pierre Vergauwe, a Lawyer specialising in construction law, in an attempt to draw some conclusions recalled the background of the decision of the legislator back in 1939 to devise a function strictly reserved for architects, thus creating de facto a monopolistic situation, and he stressed the need of coherence between the actual evolution in the market, whereby for instance architects have, de facto, transferred their competences to several other professions; indeed other people than architects, including e.g. engineers and contractors, actually design buildings, and the initial intention of the legislator is twisted, one way or another. 

Presentations can be downloaded at: http://arco50.conceptum.eu/fr/presentations.aspx

Public Procurement – Progress Expected

Further to the article published in the June edition of the G30 Newsletter concerning the proposal from the European Commission for a new Directive on public procurement the legislative discussion continues in Council and Parliament (co-decision).  

In the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) of the European Parliament over 1500 amendments have been tabled to the draft report of Marc Tarabella (PS, LiĂšge) by the deadline of 5th July.  Currently the Shadow Rapporteurs and Co-ordinators of the various political groups of the Parliament continue to examine the amendments in camera (huis-clos).  Obviously the stakes are great and the lobbies must be very active in the background


It is recalled that the G30 submitted its position to Marc Tarabella at the end of June, together with two proposals for amendments (for the choice of procedure and to recommend the use of a more balanced appreciation of the most economically advantageous tender-MEAT giving more weight to quality criteria).  From a rapid analysis of the amendments tabled there seems at least to be broad agreement across the political groups to foster the use of the MEAT (i.e. including life-cycle costing) whereby the lowest price approach would be strictly limited.  There are other areas where progress is expected in respect of equity and sustainability criteria. 

The calendar remains unchanged whereby the IMCO Committee is expected to vote on the final, compromise amendments on 28th/29th November.  In the meantime a number of meetings of the (Shadow) Rapporteurs in the IMCO Committee will take place to examine the amendments by clusters, during October-November.  The first reading (single reading) in the Plenary of the Parliament is still scheduled for week 50 in December 2012 (10-18).

In parallel, the Council is expected to consider its draft position on the 23rd of October.

If adopted by the end of 2012 as provided for in the Single Market Act, the Directives will have to be implemented by Member States at the latest by 30 June 2014. See also article on the AR-CO Conference.

Support for G30 views on quality & references for cost of architectural services

During the last lunch discussion organised by the G30 on 20th September, Chantal Dassonville, Deputy Director-General in charge of Architecture at the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles-FWB, has addressed several concerns of the G30.

She explained that she has three axes at the political level when it comes to public procurement: the first one is to give priority to the cultural dimension; the second one is to bring support to local authorities; and the third one is to favour multidisciplinary teams.  While she admits that it is difficult to define architectural quality in her view it is the overall result of a process. 

She considers that her mission lies somewhere between that of a Bouwmeester and that of a warrant of culture whereby when it comes to architectural firms she tends to give priority to small entities.

She declared that in her view when seeking to set a price for architectural services, it is useful, even necessary to have a point of reference.  She stated that in procurement contracts for architectural services launched by her administration she sets a price at the outset, thus avoiding any competition on fees, which she believes is contrary to achieving the goal of quality, and that in order to determine a price for each competition she refers to the scale of fees that was available in the so-called “norme dĂ©ontologique n°2”.  She is well aware that this is no longer in use, but she believes that it is useful as the only reference of this kind that is available.

CD expressed the opinion that there is not enough coherence in the various competitions launched by the FWB whereby she believes that there is too often confusion at the political level about what is architecture and what is urban design.  For her there are two issues of fundamental importance: schools and public residential lodging.  She mentioned a new Partnership of her administration with the “FĂ©dĂ©ration wallone du logement” as a good example of quality-driven procurement.

Referring to the recent experience of the launching of a PPP to design a number of schools in Wallonia she stated that it has evolved towards a DBFM and she observes that the new government has changed its approach to address rather smaller clusters.  She admitted that when striving to apply best practices in procurement, in particular in seeking architectural quality and sustainability, her administration is subject to considerable pressure from the part of other authorities, primarily from the financial sector in the government, who tend to consider that there is an obligation of result, not just of means.

Chantal Dassonville firmly believes that for the built environment the traditional approach, the so-called “triangle”: client-conception-construction is preferable to any PPP/DBFM contracts.  Her presentation is available for download (see attached file).

Public contracts: How to achieve sustainable quality?

An initiative of the G30 Association of Architects1, the discussion organized on October 18th, 2011 in the Solvay Library in Brussels, aimed at questioning a panel of eminent
national and international speakers about the future of public contracts when faced with the challenge of sustainability when shaping the built environment in Europe.

A PANEL OF 8 PERSONALITIES

Made up of JACQUES TIMMERMAN (Belgium), Architect, President of the G30 Asbl / JAN BROUWER (The Netherlands), Architect, Adviser to the Rijksbouwmeester / MALCOLM HARBOUR MEP (United Kingdom), Chairman, Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament / FRANK JUDO (Belgium) Partner Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick /  JAN OLBRYCHT MEP (Poland), President of the URBAN Intergroup of the European Parliament (*) / SUNAND PRASAD (United Kingdom), Architect, Former RIBA President / HEIDE RÜHLE MEP (Germany), Rapporteur for EP’s Opinion on the European Commission’s Green Paper on the modernisation of public procurement and EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA (Portugal), Architect, Pritzker Prize 2011, the panel of speakers, moderated by Hughes BELIN (Journalist), was invited to exchange views on the current situation regarding public procurement contracts for architectural and urban design services through four major questions.

CONTEXT: LEGISLATING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

With more than 70% of Europeans now living in urban areas, cities have become national and regional driving forces in terms of the economy. Yet while sustainable development is one of the priorities of the EU, we are currently witnessing a deterioration in the overall quality of our built infrastructure, along with the emergence of problems related to issues such as environment, energy efficiency, mobility (urban transport), housing, social challenges (social exclusion, immigration, the ageing population), public services and local public finance, etc.
One of the reasons behind this situation lies in the way public contracts are allocated. Too often, those responsible for placing orders take account of financial considerations only (lowest price and short term view) and thus neglect the real (life cycle) costs, including those involving sustainability, which can generally only be measured over the long term.
The revision of the EU legislation with regard to public procurement (currently under discussion) was initiated by a European Commission’s ‘Green Book’ published at the beginning of 2011. This process as well as a more recent report, ‘The Cities of Tomorrow’ by Commissioner Johannes Hahn (DG REGIO), represent an opportunity to ask questions and propose solutions about how the European legal framework can be further elaborated which encourages a global approach to sustainability as applied to the built environment.

FOUR QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND AND ACHIEVE THE GOALS

The debate focused on four major questions. These involved the conditions related to society, economy and ethics, which need to be established in order to arrive at practices in public procurement contracts, which effectively respond to the needs of sustainable quality.

  • How do we reconcile the necessity to leave sufficient freedom to the Public Purchasing Authorities, on one hand, and to respond to the essential requirement of achieving overall quality and sustainability of the built environment from the point of view of the public interest, on the other hand?
  • In the case of architectural and urban design services specifically having regard to their strong societal impact, how can we ‘correct’ the potential perverse effects of the horizontal nature of the Public Procurement Directive whereby insufficient distinction has been made between very different categories of services for selection criteria, in particular intellectual services?
  • To what extent is it possible to set mandatory requirements to further encourage the Public Sector to effectively use quality selection and award criteria that duly take account of the life cycle cost of in all building and urban project design and renovation?
  • How is it possible to guarantee the independence of architects including their financial independence so that they are able to act as true guarantors of the public interest in public procurement contracts including when public purchasers choose to have recourse to PPP and DBFM methods?

 

Lunch Debate - 22 September 2011

Mission & Fees
Stephan Stouffs

Annual accounts

Professional insurance

Recommendation of the Council of the Order of Architects (b) about the compulsory insurance. Object of the guarantee/Minimum limits for the guarantee/Exclusion and expiry of right, obligation to declare/Scope of the guarantee in the space / Foreign architects with occasional assignments (...)

Standard contract for recruiting architectural subcontractors

A standard contract for the provision of services by a subcontractor, either a natural person as well as a legal body.

The problem of architecture competitions/Conditions of public and private calls for tender

Define a strategy for all architects so that we can present from September a common vision of how architecture competitions should be organised to new elected members (but also to all competent authorities).

Global insurance for principals

As a result of a decree of the Constitutional Court of July 2007 about the unequal treatment of different parties active in the building sector, the G30 called on a specialist in buildings insurance - CEA Belgium.
In a first instance we wanted to gain an overview of the concerns and wishes of the members of G30 about the proposal to review building insurances so that we are able to speak with one voice.
CEA BELGIUM organised a survey and sent out a questionnaire to all members in December 2008.

Member Area

Who's online

There are currently 0 users and 1 guest online.

Association of Architects G30
9 rue J.Jordaensstr.
B-1000 brussels
Tel +32 (0)2 627 08 40
Fax +32 (0)2 640 53 55
info@g30.be