Winning contracts to provide architectural services is the lifeblood of the architectural profession and it is therefore a matter of central policy concern to the ACE. Within procurement there are two distinct aspects regulated in different ways; the first is public procurement where public funds are expended by government bodies or agencies in the construction of the built environment. This type of procurement is regulated by directives of the EU that set down strict rules to ensure fair competition between providers. Architectural Design Contests - this is a core issue to help architects obtain work and promote high quality outcomes, requiring transposition of rules and best practice criteria. The work group will publish on the ACE website recommendations for the implementation of the new Public Procurement Directive as well as information on procedures in Member States.
At the beginning of 2010, the ACE Executive Board set the Scope of Services Work group, which was later merged with the Liability and Insurance Work group in 2013. There is a more or less identical set of core architectural services offered by architects all over Europe. However, on closer inspection we note that planning and building activities are subject to special regulations, which are based on general interest. The nature of these regulations, to which the stakeholders are bound, varies greatly from country to country. In all Member States of the EU, architects carry liability for the work they undertake. This liability arises from the duty of care that architects owe to their clients as well as to society in general. The ability to act independently of vested interests on behalf of society is a characteristic feature of liberal professions and much cherished by architects. Nevertheless, there is a need to ensure that the liability imposed on architects is balanced against the range of their duties and the influence an architect can exert on a project during his or her working life. The Scope of Services Work group is examining these issues in the light of new developments and requirements recently imposed by the European Union.
In view of growth of Building Information Modelling in various EU Member States, ACE has established a work group to look at the legal, technical and financial issues surrounding the advent of BIM, develop its policy and engage with work to develop an European (CEN) standard.
In 2015, ACE expects to conclude its mutual recognition agreement with CALA (Canada), participate in on-going dialogue with NCARB (USA) facilitated by the European Commission and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and follow up the December 2014 EU-South Korea telephone conference to mark the anniversary of the Free Trade Agreement (cf. International Programme).
The Internationalisation & New Business Models (IBM) Task Force will focus on the impact of internationalisation on the profession and how architects might “upskill” in order to remain globally competitive and export their services.