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22 February 2012 | Adam Leach
The Design Council has called for reform to simplify
and improve public sector construction procurement, recommending that a code of
practice be established for buyers.
Criticising current processes as “time
consuming”, “complex” and resulting in the delivery of projects that “fail to
match initial ambitions”, the body - which is the lead advisor to the UK
government on matters of design - proposed a new code to simplify the process
and make it easier for companies to bid.
Outlining what it sees as the key features
of a potential code, the Council identified the need for: expert advice on the
procurement process to be provided to client bodies from the outset of projects;
appropriate assessment criteria for projects; fair scoring systems and best
practice guidance for bidders. It also called for mandatory feedback for suppliers
and a combined evaluation of fees, resources and personnel.
Speaking to MPs in the All-Party
Parliamentary Group on Excellence in the Built Environment, architect Rab
Bennetts, director of the Design Council Commission for Architecture for the
Built Environment, said: “The advent of mandatory procurement processes over
the last 20 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.
“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.”
Royal Institute of British Architects
and the Royal Incorporation of
Architects in Scotland
have made similar calls to reform to public sector buying in recent months.