Landscape Institute welcomes government report on public building
This is the key finding of a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment. It notes that the London Olympic Games were delivered on time and on budget, ‘making the procurement methods used a model for others to follow’, and is welcomed by the Landscape Institute, particularly for its emphasise that savings must not be made at the expense of good design.
Public sector clients are often poorly equipped to commission construction work, the report claims. Nothing short of a cultural shift is needed if they are to develop lasting and sustainable improvements in the procurement of buildings and infrastructure, it says.
Among the key recommendations are: setting up a Best Practice Procurement Advisory Group to assist public-sector clients in defining their objectives clearly and adopting appropriate procurement arrangements; procuring projects on the basis of integrated teams of designers, contractors and others; encouraging dialogue between client and designers in contractor-led procurement; selecting an integrated team based on a balanced scorecard, not lowest price; and simplifying pre-qualification questionnaires and avoiding ‘gold-plating’ EU regulations.
Landscape Institute chief executive Alastair McCapra, who gave evidence to the inquiry which led to this report, commented: ‘The report is grounded in an understanding of the value of good design in the built environment. It challenges the tick-box culture and the risk aversion which so often hamper landscape architects and other professionals in construction projects.
‘Landscape architects have a tremendous offer to the public, of places which are innovative, enjoyable and sustainable as well as great value for money. Too often at the moment public procurement practices make this very difficult or impossible to deliver. We want this report to mark the beginning of a decisive change which gives the public better design and better value.’
The report, A Better Deal for Public Building, will be considered by Cabinet Office Minister the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP as part of the government’s continuing drive to improve government efficiency and reduce red tape.