RIBA publishes public procurement recommendations

24 May 2012

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24 May 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has set out recommendations to cut the amount spent bidding for public contracts, which costs the sector £40 million a year.

A report published today, Building Ladders of Opportunity: How reforming construction procurement can drive growth in the UK economy, said reform would help stimulate the UK economy, as public sector spend represents 40 per cent of the £100 billion that is the annual turnover of the UK construction industry.

“The current public procurement system is frustrating and wasteful, too often resulting in buildings of a poor quality that cost too much money to build and run. We need an improved and streamlined procurement process that strives for better outcomes,” said RIBA president Angela Brady in a statement.

The first recommendation is to ensure the public procurement system is efficient and cost-effective. Savings could be made by reducing the bureaucracy of procurement, such as reducing the number of organisations involved in the tendering process.

Sustainability in the design of a building is key to the second suggestion. RIBA said contract awards should take into account the whole-life costs of a building rather than just focusing on the cheapest building bid.

The third recommendation focuses on creating a competitive market in which SMEs are able to compete for public sector contracts. This would be achieved by creating a ‘value banding’ approach, where projects and clients can be matched based on the price of a project.

RIBA has been critical of public procurement for some time, and Brady previously described the procurement system as “the bane of our – architects’ – professional lives”.

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