RIBA urged to act more quickly over wasteful procurement
Institute’s report on the issue is due to be published in May, five months after the original deadline
Architects are calling on the RIBA to speed up its report on wasteful procurement processes after a major public-sector tendering exercise was cancelled last month.
The RIBA is now due to publish its procurement report in May, five months after the deadline promised by president Angela Brady, who made reform in the area one of her key priorities.
In March, Transport for London cancelled its urban realm design framework after shortlisting practices including Pitzman Tozer and East. It will now retender for a new design panel in collaboration with the Greater London Authority.
Graeme Sutherland of Adams & Sutherland, which was on a previous urban design framework under the London Development Agency, said: “Getting work at the moment is ferocious. A lot of people will have put a lot of work into trying to get on the TfL framework. I have zero expectations of the RIBA but they should be much more pro-active in raising public awareness of the value architects are able to bring to a project.”
He added that the RIBA could play an important role in educating clients, whose inexperience is often to blame for risk-averse procurement policies.
Tom Holbrook of Fifth Studio called the cancellation of the TfL framework “pretty unfortunate”.
These processes are entirely abortive and hugely costly
Meanwhile, the RIBA hosted a round-table this week to gather industry views about procurement, before finalising its report.
Walter Menteth, chair of the RIBA’s procurement task force, admitted more action was needed. “These processes are entirely abortive, hugely costly and it’s not just for the architects it’s for the client bodies as well,” he said. “It’s an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money.”
A spokeswoman for TfL said : “We do appreciate that people have put in a lot of work but we hope it hasn’t all been wasted.”
Darlington arts hub axed
Darlington Council has axed plans for an arts hub in the town after it failed to secure up to £3 million of Arts Council funding.
Russell Curtis, director at RCKa, said the council emailed him last Friday cancelling a pre-qualification questionnaire which was due to close for entries the following Monday.
“I can imagine a lot of small practices were interested,” he said.