Some thoughts on Procurement and all things Awards – from the SA ED

It is amazing to see the effect a little sunshine and the good news that there are no active COVID-19 cases in South Australia.  It feels as if we have turned a corner, and the level of activity in Goolwa, where we spent the weekend, was energising.  There are still difficult times ahead, but it is encouraging to see a return of optimism and sensible social interaction.

The SA Chapter is continuing to advocate for the role of architects in well managed and sustainable construction activity.  It is important that we learn from previous and current stimulus packages and achieve both long term benefits resulting from well designed and constructed buildings as well as immediate economic activity. 

We are working with government to review consultant procurement and to investigate how architects can work with client departments to development of new projects.  The aim is to increase the value placed on skills, reduce the weighting of price criteria and to develop a submission system that is less onerous for all involved. 

This builds on the excellent work done at a national level on procurement of architectural services, which produced the Guidelines for EOI and RFT for Architectural Services.  We encourage members to refer client organisations to this document.

It was therefore disappointing to read the Adelaide Festival EOI for the design of a temporary venue.  While the Institute is highly supportive of the concept and appreciates the value that these temporary venues have added to the Festival over the years, the call for architects and designers to provide detailed designs including budgets and an environmental management plan as their submission is extremely disappointing and demonstrates a naivety in understanding of the procurement of design services.

 There are also concerns relating to the timeframe for the submission, the lack of data available regarding the site and the proposed budget.  These concerns, and the poor procurement process, have been communicated to the Adelaide Festival and raised with ODASA and the Office of the Industry Advocate.

We remind architects who are considering providing a response to the EOI that providing free design services does not diminish the standard of services that must be provided or the level of legal responsibility.  There is a significant risk to all tenderers in the proposed process, even to the successful tenderer, with the likelihood that the submitted design will require revision being significant given the lack of engagement with the end users and the inadequate briefing material provided.

We also refer you to the on line CPD Fee Psychology and Negotiation, which explains why offering free services when there is no defined benefit to the client, is unlikely to result in any benefit to the architect.  It has a lot of other relevant information regarding maximising your fees too.

Having observed the secondary interviews with the SA Awards entrants over the last fortnight, it is clear that clear communication and a relationship of trust between client and architect are vital to a successful project.  It has been a great privilege to be able to develop a greater understanding of these projects and to experience the passion and professionalism of the entrants. 

We invite you all to join us on 2 July at 6:00pm for the live stream presentation of the SA Awards.  COVD-19 may have put a stop to the awards presentation dinner, but it has enabled us to share the presentations with our members and the public in a way we have not done before.  There will also be a competition to reward those who tune in – more information coming soon!  Let’s use this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the profession and to create a collective energy to create wonderful places for our future.

Nicolette Di Lernia
SA Chapter Executive Director