In October 2017, the European Commission issued a Public Procurement Package with the aim of making public procurement more efficient and thereby creating jobs and growth. The package contains recommendations for a better implementation of the EU public procurement directives revised in 2014.
On 19 February 2018, the Internal Market Committee in the European Parliament (IMCO) organised a workshop to discuss the package. On this occasion, representatives of the professions concerned were invited to set out their views on the topic. The President of the Federal Chamber of German Architects (BAK) Barbara Ettinger-Brinckmann spoke on behalf of the European architectural profession.
In her statement, she underlined the importance of a quality based procurement: “There is no lack of regulation, but rather a problem of implementing the regulation that we have. Award criteria should focus on a comprehensive analysis of cost-effectiveness. In the first place, effectiveness is determined by the quality of the design concept. The comparison of different concepts, for example by means of an architectural design contest, guarantees an award decision that favours the best possible and thereby most efficient solution. The price of the architectural work constitutes a very small percentage of the overall investment and Life-Cycle Costs. In the end, a low price for the planning service might result in higher total costs of the building. Therefore, high-quality planning is the basis for durable, economic and sustainable buildings”.
Ms Ettinger-Brinckmann emphasised that, as a rule, architectural design contests are best suited for the award of architectural contracts as they allow for quality assurance. She welcomed the Commission´s idea to include architectural design contests in a Guidance note on Public Procurement of Innovation.
The Federal Chamber of German Architects as well as the Architects´ Council of Europe (ACE) had previously contributed to a consultation on how to stimulate innovation through procurement. Beforehand, ACE President Georg Pendl stated: “The procurement package offers good opportunities to promote the profession´s common goals of transparency, openness and access to the market for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as to identify problems”.
The objective of the workshop was to prepare the own initiative report on procurement that the Parliament will draft within the coming months. Academics, regulators and stakeholders expressed their positions and contributed with their expertise to the debate on procurement.