Monday, 14 October 2013

Have RIBA redesigned their procurement reforms?

One of the most amusing stories I've come across in a long time appeared in today's where we learn of what appears a hypocritical approach to procurement by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). RIBA are in the process of procuring an architect to design their new headquarters.

Now RIBA previously published some useful ideas on how reforming procurement could contribute to the economic recovery. Within their recommendations (#1.3.3) they advocate that PQQ's should be simplified, standardised and shortened. While in #3.2 they advocate enabling access for micro-businesses and SMEs and ensuring greater proportionality in their treatment, including in #3.2.4 ensuring financial standing criteria are appropriate to the project and the contract. Just to be clear, RIBA advocate "... turnover requirement should be capped so that the maximum level is ascertained from a fair comparison between the annual fee turnover and what might be earned annually from a project over its duration".

Not only have RIBA now issued an 18 page PQQ but they have set a turnover qualifier of twice the fee averaged over the last three years.

All good procurement professionals know that setting a turnover requirement of three years accounts means young practices just can't compete. Having a turnover requirement of twice the contract value is also restrictive. I wonder how many of the practices RIBA represent feel let down by their own Institute? I wonder have RIBA decided they are unhappy taking the risk for following their own guidance? I wonder have RIBA joined the architectural school of 'do as I say, not as I do'?

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