3 Necessary Preparatory Work – Architectural Companies

The acquisition of the architect is the first concrete and important step in the development process. Already at this level decisions are made that can have great economic and quality significance. Therefore, it is important to make a good preparation so that one gets the most out of the competition. Well-planned and precise competitions, regardless of the form of competition, provide the best starting point for the solutions to be developed. At the same time, the risk of conflicts is reduced both during the evaluation and during the process.

Define the “object” for the competition!

Since the competition is to form the basis for later purchase of the architectural services, it is important to be precise about what it is actually competing for.

Required clarifications will be, for example:

– Is it an area plan, building or both?

– What kind of building or what type of plant?

– Do you want competition for a complete project, or just about an idea proposal?

– should the providers base the proposals on a detailed space program or on a more rough-meshed function description, with the desired gross area?

– Which architectural subjects should be acquired? (Building architect, landscape architect, interior designer)

Precise answers to such questions will depend on different local conditions: plan status in the area, how realistic it is that the building case is actually to be carried out, the desire for participation and roles in the future process, etc. The questions should be answered in the form of an overall program so that the “object” for the competition is indisputable and easily understandable to the participating architects. For a building proposal competition, in most cases it would make sense to develop a relatively detailed space program. Through a program process, which must be done sooner or later in any case, ordering itself becomes more aware of its actual needs, necessary room sizes and technical requirements, and can thus better define the project’s financial framework.

Public clients are responsible for buildings with a number of different users, such as. teachers in school buildings or nurses in retirement homes. It makes sense to include the user perspective early, eg. when preparing a space program for competitions on building proposals.

In a construction project, many decisions are made along the way, and changes are often made in relation to what one originally thought. After completion and use, there may be a need for changes to, or additions to, what was included in the original acquisition. It can therefore be considered to be advantageous to include a change / additional work in the procurement, so that such work must not be illuminated separately and that it can also be carried out by the original architect. This can be designed as an option that the client can choose to utilize, where either the estimated amount and / or time period is defined.

In that case, this option must be priced by the providers in the competition and the most practical will probably be that an hourly rate is given for such change / additional work.

Define the main goals of the project and process

In addition to defining the “object” for the competition, it is also necessary to define goals for the project and the process after the completion of the competition. Such project goals are always complex, as a result of discussion and prioritization of:

  • Cost : Many buyers will initially think that low cost, both for the competition and the final project, is the overriding goal. At the same time, building experts know that it is very difficult to determine the final cost at an early stage. It is also important that lifetime costs are discussed, not just the investment costs. Often, ordering will want desired changes with cost impact along the way. Projects with an early defined “fixed price” will, in most cases, give orders less action space in the process, and limited opportunity for participation.
  • Time : In some projects, eg. school building, the time aspect can be very important.

Nevertheless, we see that the overall progress in practice is dependent on a number of uncertain and unpredictable conditions, related to planning basis, case processing, market situation, etc. The project’s progress is rarely dependent on the type of competition chosen.

  • Quality: In practice, the quality of the project, not least from the users’ and the public’s point of view, will always be decisive for the project’s reputation. Quality can be linked to the functional solutions, aesthetic form and material use, freedom of maintenance, lifetime costs and sustainability. In many cases, it will be important that building proposals allow for innovation and are sufficiently elastic for changes in the planning process and later.

By conducting and concluding thorough target discussions, the commissioner has laid an important foundation for exciting and good competition, and for the evaluation of any project proposals.

After defining the “object” and the main goals of the competition, the ordering company can make the choice of the form of competition, see chapter 4.

Define contract strategy

In the planning of the competition, the contractor must also choose the contract form for the assignment, which must be highlighted in addition to the procurement procedure, qualification requirements and award criteria. He must take a position on the benefits to be delivered, contractual provisions, distribution of responsibility and possibly for contract form. The choice of contract strategy is of great importance to which the market is reached. Balanced terms, e.g. based on standard contracts, will reduce the risk of conflict. Unpredictable terms increase the interest of the rogue and increase the risk of cost growth. If the contract offered is an unreasonable transfer of risk, it will mean that providers either do not participate or make reservations and they may have to reject those that would otherwise have been well-qualified providers.


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