New code of practice to include relevant requirements in relation to size, scale and experience, and mandatory feedback for bidders

Design Council Cabe calls for a code of practice for design procurement in the built environment

Design Council Trustee, Rab Bennetts, giving evidence to the All Party Group for Excellence in the Built Environment, has called for a new code of practice for design procurement, which would replace the current ‘tick-box’ methodology with one that ensures the most appropriate designers are selected for public buildings of all kinds.

Speaking after addressing the group in the House of Commons on Monday 20th February Rab Bennetts said: “Gone are the days when an act of enlightened patronage could determine the quality of our town halls, schools, libraries, galleries or colleges. Individual leaders with the vision to create fine civic buildings or public spaces are now the exception rather than the rule. 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.”

  • According to Design Council Cabe, the key features of the new code of practice would be:
  • Expert advice for the client body at the outset
  • Assessment of capability separate from project-specific submissions
  • Appropriate selection criteria for projects
  • Relevant requirements in relation to size, scale and experience
  • Combined evaluation of fees, resources and personnel
  • Fair scoring systems
  • Best practice guidance for design competitions
  • Mandatory feedback for bidders

And, developed in collaboration with the built environment design sector the proposed code would be:

  • EU compliant
  • Efficient and adaptable
  • Reduce the burden on the construction industry
  • Achieve the most appropriate result for the project

The LI joined RIBA and RICS to give evidence at the first evidence-giving session at the All-Parliamentary group for Excellence in the Built Environment for its Commission of Inquiry into Excellence in Construction Procurement in January. To find out more, see previous article Is urgent reform needed?

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