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Architecture Contests Guidance, Selecting Architects for Design Competitions, News

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Architecture Competitions Guidance: Design Contest Information

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Scope of this guidance

Project Compass Community Interest Company has been set up to provide UK construction procurement intelligence and service for architects and their clients. Project Compass has been developed with the aim of opening, promoting and making access to a high-quality built environment easier, simpler, more economical and transparent.

Dublin City international design contest for the Spire of Dublin by Ian Ritchie Architects
Spire of Dublin
photo from Project Compass Community Interest Company

For selecting architects and design teams, Project Compass recommends that design contests or negotiated procedures are the two procedures that deliver the best outcomes. This document provides guidance for private or public authority clients on how to commission architects for a project by design contests. This is the procurement route we recommend as being the most suitable to achieve the best outcomes.

For many years now European Union legislators have termed what is colloquially known as the architectural design competition, a design contest. This is to distinguish it from other forms of competition used in procurements. Therefore, to ensure clarity and enable better comprehension of the legislation the term design contest is used throughout this guidance document.

This guidance document does not cover other competitive procurement processes in the public and private sector, or the commissioning of design consultants where they are employed as sub-contractors. Further guidance on other forms of public and private competitions will become available in due course.

The Collection, Lincoln for Lincoln City & County Councils by Panter Hudspith architects:
The Collection, Lincoln
photo © Helene Binet

For public authorities
The guidance applies to public works above and below the EU thresholds and complies with design contests held according to the requirements of the Public Works Directive 2014/24/EU (the directive) of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union, unless otherwise specified.�specified

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland this legislation has been transposed in the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (‘the regulations). Part 2 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) is a ‘copy out’ of the EU text, and has the same organisation, structure and language as found in the directive. Therefore wherever Public Contract Regulations 2015 ‘regulation’ numbers are given in the following guidance these correspond directly with the ‘article’ number found within the originating EU directive.

Scotland will transpose the directive in late 2015. While the principles of this guidance are applicable in Scotland the detail is not confirmed. In the interim readers are referred to the governing regulations currently provided under the Public Contracts Regulations (Scotland) 2012 (design contests – Part 6). If required this guidance will be revised and updated following Scotland’s transposition.

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Project Compass CIC Architecture Competitions – page

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