Architects find Ojeu 'too much effort'
62% say the process discriminates against small practices, according to BD procurement survey
A third of architects have ruled themselves out of new public sector work in the last 18 months by not responding to any Ojeu notices.
The figure, obtained from a survey conducted by BD and AMA Alexi Marmot Associates, shows the shocking extent to which the profession is dismayed with the public procurement process.
Architects who did not enter into any PQQ since January 2011 predominantly avoided the process because it was “too much effort for low chance of success”. One in 10 were “frustrated with the system” and a quarter blamed the complexity of the application system.
One respondent surveyed said: “The procurement system is about the appearance of a fair allocation of work, not the work itself.”
The AMA/BD Procurement Survey received 427 responses, of which 81% were registered architects. Half of the respondents were from small firms with fewer than ten staff, 27% from medium-sized firms of between 10 and 50 people and nearly a quarter from larger firms with over 50 people.
Responses highlighted architects’ disdain of the Ojeu process, with 62% saying it discriminates against small or young practices and consists of ticking boxes.
Another respondent suggested that “a stronger weighting towards design experience and ability, rather than points gained for winning the bureaucratic hurdles race” would improve the system.
Meanwhile, a quarter of those surveyed said they spend up to £10,000 a year on public sector procurement processes, while more than a third spend between £10,000 and £50,000. Nearly a quarter spend more than £50,000.
This follows on from last month’s research into 362 architecture practices by the RIBA, which estimated the cost of preparing public sector bids at £40 million across the industry.
Its survey corresponded with the launch of its procurement report Building Ladders of Opportunity.
BD procurement survey
- 70% consider the procurement process arduous to complete
- 67% believe is suits large firms or management consultants
- 62% see procurement as a box-ticking exercise
- 5% believe it offers clients good value for money
- 2% think current procurement processes result in the right team
For further questions about the AMA/BD Procurement survey or to read a summary of the findings, contact AMA Alexi Marmot Associates at www.aleximarmot.com