EuropEan policy positions 2014 -2019 - Bundesarchitektenkammer

2014 –2019
European Policy
Positions 2014–2019
05 	Quality assurance in access to and practice
     of the profession

06 	Ensure quality in higher education in all
     architectural disciplines

07 	Improve the competitiveness of small and
     medium-sized European planning offices

09 	Integrate quality assurance into public
     procurement and design competitions

12 	Enable better legislation through increased

13 	Stem the flood of standards

15 	Strengthen the international competitiveness
     of architects of all disciplines

16 E
    nshrine the quality of the built environment
   in regional policies and structural funds

17 	A sense of proportion in energy and climate
     policy in the interests of sustainable building
Quality assurance
                                                                                          in access to and practice
                                                                                          of the profession
The built environment affects people’s everyday                                           We welcome the completion of the internal             also usually involved in the tender and public
                                                                                          market and the elimination of existing barriers,      procurement process, as well as being the main
lives and is a testament to the development of our
                                                                                          in particular for small and medium-sized busi-        party responsible for project management.
society. Greater awareness of quality in planning                                         nesses. Statutory regulations governing access           As part of the European Commission in-
                                                                                          to the architects’ profession and the right to        itiative to evaluate the national regulations
and construc­tion, collectively termed “building culture”,
                                                                                          practise as an architect exist in all EU states, as   governing access to the profession, the Fed-
is therefore necessary. In 2007, the Leipzig Charter                                      their services have a significant impact on the       eral Chamber of German Architects together
                                                                                          safety and welfare of the population. As one          with the architects’ chambers of the Länder are
instituted a commitment to a sustainable European
                                                                                          of the liberal professions, architects are also       lobbying for the preservation of the existing
city. These principles should be upheld in all relevant                                   bound by the definition recognised by the Eu-         and functional system in Germany. The system
                                                                                          ropean Court of Justice: “Members of the liber-       places the burden of responsibility on the ar-
European policy areas. To ensure a holistic approach
                                                                                          al professions, by virtue of their particular vo-     chitects and at the same time reduces the bur-
to building culture, key quality requirements in                                          cational qualifications, provide on a person-         den for the state. Compulsory membership of
                                                                                          al, solely responsible and professionally inde-       the professional association with correspond-
archi­tecture and urban planning must also be harmo­-
                                                                                          pendent basis intellectual services in the joint      ing protection of the job title is an efficient way
nised at the legislative level. In particular, this applies                               interests of their client and of society.”            of guaranteeing the correct qualifications, pro-
                                                                                             The profession must be regulated to pro-           fessional supervision and a mandatory system
to regulations governing the awarding of contracts,
                                                                                          tect consumers and ensure that members of             of professional training. Therefore, with a view
cultural policy, the EU’s sustainability strategies                                       the profession are qualified, thus ensuring           to ensuring consumer protection, the EU needs
                                                                                          the quality of the credence goods they sup-           to continue to lobby for professional organisa-
and not least the regulation of the profession in the
                                                                                          ply. Moreover, this is in the interests of con-       tion systems for the liberal professions which
internal market. Given these needs, the building                                          trolled, sustainable development of architec-         prove successful in the Member States, and en-
                                                                                          ture and urban planning. For this reason, Ger-        sure that members of the profession hold the
culture must be strengthened at European level by
                                                                                          many and many other EU Member States have             required qualifications.
focussing on the following:                                                               a well-established statutory regulation system
                                                                                          in the form of appropriate and interlinked reg-
                                                                                          ulations that do justice to the far-reaching re-
                                                                                          sponsibilities of architects and urban plan-
                                                                                          ners, as well as statutory quality targets. The
                                                                                          responsibilities of the architect are greater in
                                                                                          Germany than in almost all other European
                                                                                          countries: from preliminary studies through
                                                                                          to permits and construction planning, they are
4                                                   European Policy Positions 2014–2019                                                                                                        05
Ensure quality in higher                                                                                Improve the competitiveness
education in all                                                                                        of small and medium-sized
architectural disciplines                                                                               European planning offices
One of the main tasks of the Federal Cham-         The levels of qualification set out in Art. 46 of    Over 80 per cent of architects’ offices in Ger-     We call on the EU to argue for the recognition
ber of Architects is to maintain high stand-       the Directive are of particular importance to        many and the other EU Member States have be-        and protection of efficient European business
ards of education for architects, interior ar-     the profession, as they offer a clear, standard-     tween one and four employees and are there-         structures, such as that of the German and Eu-
chitects, landscape architects and urban plan-     ised legislative foundation – for a profession       fore defined as micro-enterprises pursuant to       ropean architecture and planning offices, since
ners. The architects’ chambers of the Länder,      which is not internationally harmonised – at         Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC.              they enjoy a good reputation worldwide and
as the statutory authorities for recognition of    least on a European level. However, this only        The competitiveness of these architects’ of-        are able to compete. The trend towards big-
the profession, also support the automatic mu-     applies to architects in building construction.      fices with their high quality standards should      ger, less quality-conscious corporate struc-
tual recognition of certificates and profession-   For this reason, the Federal Chamber of Archi-       be enhanced. They reflect a broad-based and         tures driven by financial considerations pos-
al qualifications as provided for in the amend-    tects is lobbying for the prompt introduction        thus flexible company structure which should        es a threat to their existence. Recent lessons
ed Directive on the Recognition of Profession-     of a similar European regulation for the disci-      be strengthened so that they can react suc-         learned from other sectors show that the dis-
al Qualifications (2005/36/EC, as amended by       plines of landscape architecture, interior ar-       cessfully to fluctuations in economic activi-       solution of long-established and competi-
Directive 2013/55/EU of 20.11.2013).               chitecture and urban planning, in order to pro-      ty whilst continuing to provide a quality ser-      tive business structures does not lead to more
   In general, however, the Directive on the       mote mutual recognition of these disciplines         vice. At the same time, they provide examples       growth and employment per se. Indeed, it of-
Recognition of Professional Qualifications falls   and their mobility in the internal market. The       of cultural diversity and help promote regional     ten has the opposite effect.
short of the globally recognised International     European Higher Education Area must first            architecture as a special quality characteristic
Union of Architects’ Accord on Recommended         and foremost be designed to guarantee high           of the “Europe of the Regions”. This is why we
International Standards of Professionalism in      quality education in all disciplines. In our view,   welcome the provision of EU funds for SMEs.
Architectural Practice. Under this agreement,      this means at least four years of education for      However, these funds can currently only be ac-
professional licenses can be issued to an ar-      interior architects, landscape architects, ur-       cessed through a laborious, decentralised pro-
chitect with at least 5 years of academic edu-     ban planners and architects (civil engineering).     cess, which acts as a significant barrier for mi-
cation and a subsequent mandatory 2-year pe-                                                            cro-enterprises such as planning offices.                     Over 80 per cent of
riod of practical experience.                                                                                                                                         architects’ offices in
                                                                                                                                                                      Germany and the other
                                                                                                                                                                      EU Member States
                                                                                                                                                                      have between one and
                                                                                                                                                                      four employees and
                                                                                                                                                                      are therefore defined as

06                                                               European Policy Positions 2014–2019                                                                                                   07
                                                                            Integrate quality assurance
                                                                            into public procurement
                                                                            and design competitions
                                                                            As a cross-sectoral instrument, European pub- contracts without a planning competition. The
                                                                            lic procurement law is too broad-based for the “price” of architectural services plays a second-
                                                                            awarding of freelance planning contracts, in ary role in the overall analysis of investment
                                                                            particular with respect to good design qual- costs and the life-cycle costing of a building.
                                                                            ity and design competitions. For this reason, If the “price” of the architectural service is low,
                                                                            the Federal Chamber of Architects is arguing this can even lead to higher building and oper-
                                                                            for the principle of separating planning and ation costs. In contrast, a high-quality, cost-ef-
                                                                            construction work in public procurement to fective plan from the start ensures cost-effec-
                                                                            be universally upheld. This ensures the inde- tive and resource-efficient construction in the
                                                                            pendent monitoring of construction work. In long-term.
                                                                            a market characterised by significant infor-      In addition, the awarding of public con-
                                                                            mation asymmetry, this is of paramount im- tracts to SMEs based on the aforementioned
                                                                            portance in order to protect the interests of structure of German and European architects’
                                                                            the client with regard to quality and cost ef- offices should be facilitated. The qualifying cri-
                                                                            ficiency. Contracts for architects must there- teria for SMEs to participate in public tenders
of architects practising their profession                                   fore be consistently separate to contracts for must be set out in such a way that the client
in Germany are active abroad                                                construction work.                              can use the services on offer to their full po-
                                                                                Design competitions are normally the best tential, but the process does not place undue
                                                                            way of ensuring quality when procuring ar- burden on the client. Thus, the criteria for par-
                                                                            chitectural services, as they offer the client ticipating in the tender should not have a dis-
                                                                            a comparison of the best solutions by pro- proportionate relationship to the company, e.g.
                                                                            viding information on the costs of construc- company turnover, but should be increasingly
                                                                            tion and subsequent building operation costs quality-based with respect to the actual pro-
                                                                            for the individual construction project along ject and construction work.
                                                                            with specialist consultation. To this end, the
                                                                            public procurement criteria enshrined in Euro-
                                                                            pean public procurement law need to include
                                                                            a clearer reference to quality, and the public
                                                                            procurement criteria relating to price should
                                                                            be better defined to allow for a comprehensive
                                                                            cost efficiency analysis. This applies to both
                                                                            public procurement within the framework of
                                                                            a design competition and the negotiation of
8                                     European Policy Positions 2014–2019                                                                                                 09
Most common countries where
German architects are practising abroad

11,2 %

11,1 %

6,4 %

6,3 %

4,9 %
10                                 European Policy Positions 2014–2019   11
Enable better
through increased                                                                          Stem the flood
transparency                                                                               of standards
Legislation should be limited to what is neces-                                            Technical regulations and standards have a          At the same time, European standards are pri-
sary and must be rooted in practice. With re-                                              significant impact on the quality of the over-      marily the instruments of economic operators
spect to new legislative initiatives, informa-                                             all planning and execution of buildings and         who agree on standardised rules. Standardisa-
tion and reporting duties must be delimited,                                               infrastructure facilities. European standards       tion should primarily focus on technical stand-
consultations must be held in a user-friendly                                              regulate building products in particular, but       ardisation and should once again be limited to
manner and chambers and associations must                                                  also increasingly planning principles, certifi-     what is necessary. To this end, it is of particu-
be involved at an early stage in order to be able                                          cation and construction work. They apply to         lar importance that best engineering practice
to directly incorporate information from busi-                                             the work of the architect in the performance        is considered and no additional bureaucrat-
ness concerning the practical relevance of the                                             of their core functions, not only in terms of       ic hurdles are set up. The European Commis-
application of legislation. Properly scheduled                                             technical requirements for construction but         sion should be selective when issuing direct
consultations in the key official languages of                                             also increasingly in the area of services, partly   standardisation mandates to European stand-
the EU promote communication and prevent                                                   through plans to harmonise service provision.       ardisation organisations. These cannot replace
anti-EU sentiment among the relevant parties.                                              In total there are almost 24,000 DIN standard       careful legislation and democratic participa-
The effectiveness of these consultations would                                             parts which are relevant to the construction        tion. The principle of voluntary application of
be significantly enhanced in view of the legis-     The Federal Chamber of                 industry in Germany, of which around 2,500          standards should be retained at European level.
lative purpose.                                     Architects is advocating               standard parts are relevant to architects in the    We require transparent, public processes and
                                                                                           performance of their core functions. Around         more parliamentary input on the issuing of
                                                    for the principle of
                                                                                           90 per cent of the standardisation which tan-       mandates within the framework of European
                                                    separating planning and                gibly affects the construction industry and ar-     standardisation. The national principle of del-
                                                    construction work in                   chitects stems from European or international       egation must be strengthened in order to allow
                                                    public procurement to be               standardisation projects. The scope and com-        the affected parties to be involved in the stand-
                                                                                           plexity of the standards have increased signif-     ardization process to at least some extent.
                                                    universally upheld. This
                                                                                           icantly. In the meantime, the sheer diversity
                                                    ensures the independent                of standardisation procedures and processes
                                                    monitoring of construction             is overwhelming.

12                                                   European Policy Positions 2014–2019                                                                                                    13
Strengthen the inter­national
                                                                       competitiveness of architects
                                                                       of all disciplines
                                                                       Architects from Germany are involved in plan-       The requirement for micro-construction pro-
                                                                       ning and construction projects beyond na-           jects to be put out to international tender does
                                                                       tional borders. The Federal Chamber of Ar-          not reflect the market reality of the contract-
                                                                       chitects supports the global export of archi-       ing authority, nor the predominantly medi-
                                                                       tectural services. Our objective is to facilitate   um-sized enterprise architects’ offices, and
                                                                       the cross-border exchange of planning servic-       does not add value at any point. If the market

     83 %
                                                                       es and to increase professional mobility. The       is to be opened up, thus ensuring better access
                                                                       positive image of German architects of all dis-     to and greater transparency in the area of pub-
                                                                       ciplines abroad should be promoted, thus cre-       lic construction projects, then the high stand-
                                                                       ating opportunities for them.                       ards in health and safety and environmental
                                                                          Free trade in services must therefore be         and consumer protection must be maintained.
                                                                       strengthened. To safeguard professional op-
                                                                       portunities for graduates, certificates must be
                                                                       recognised internationally. At the same time,
                                                                       the Federal Chamber of Architects argues for
                                                                       the current international public procurement
                                                                       thresholds to be raised.                                       Our objective is to
                                                                                                                                      facilitate the cross-border
                                                                                                                                      exchange of planning
                                                                                                                                      services and to increase
                                                                                                                                      professional mobility.

     for all office sizes, the primary focus
     of activity for architects abroad is Europe

14                               European Policy Positions 2014–2019                                                                                                   15
Enshrine the quality                                                                      A sense of proportion
of the built environment                                                                  in energy and climate policy
in regional policies                                                                      in the interests
and structural funds                                                                      of sustainable building
Europe needs vibrant towns offering a high                                                The strategic framework for EU climate and          Simply assessing individual products or build-
quality of life. They can only uphold their func-                                         energy policies for the period up to 2030 has       ings is inadequate for the task. We argue that
tion as cradles of societal change and econom-                                            been defined taking into account the targets        energy efficiency targets and requirements
ic growth if the social balance within and be-                                            and lessons learned from the 20-20-20 strat-        should go beyond the individual building to
tween the towns is maintained, their cultural                                             egy which focussed on three objectives: reduc-      focus to a greater extent on the built environ-
diversity is allowed to flourish and a high qual-                                         ing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing en-        ment, the urban district or the town or mu-
ity environment is created in both design and                                             ergy efficiency and increasing the share of re-     nicipality itself, for example in the Directive
construction.                                                                             newables. In our opinion, sustainable and thus      on Energy Efficiency in Buildings (2010/31/EU).
   Urban development policy is the responsi-                                              resource-efficient construction, both for new          Furthermore, the obligations with respect
bility of the Member States. In order to pro-                                             buildings and existing stock, is one of the de-     to control mechanisms applied via certifica-
mote the urban dimension of the European                                                  cisive factors in reaching the targets set out in   tion and qualification systems must be re-
sustainability strategy and the Europe 2020                                               European climate and energy policies.               viewed for proportionality. A stronger focus
growth strategy, the EU should consider the                                                  However, key renovation work on buildings        on the effectiveness of these systems is need-
quality criteria of the built environment and                                             to improve energy efficiency has shown that         ed, to avoid hampering their quality-orientat-
the qualifications of the specialists needed to                                           energy efficiency requirements must be set          ed implementation in the design and planning
meet these criteria when granting Structural                                              with a sense of proportion. They must be fi-        process with increased bureaucracy. Through
Funds and authorising the corresponding pro-                                              nancially viable, sustainable, non-contradic-       sustainable architecture, we can and want to
grams and projects.                                                                       tory and proportionate to other requirements        make an effective and decisive contribution to-
                                                                                          (e.g. fire protection, sound insulation, age.ap-    wards a vital change in the way we use our nat-
                                                                                          propriate construction etc.). Sustainable build-    ural resources.
                                                                                          ing quality can only be achieved by drawing up
                                                                                          a holistic plan and at the same time motivating
                                                                                          clients, investors, building owners and users to
                                                                                          renovate buildings to save energy.

16                                                  European Policy Positions 2014–2019                                                                                                  17
Publisher & Editor
Bundesarchitektenkammer e.V. /
Federal Chamber of German Architects
Askanischer Platz 4
10963 Berlin, Germany

Editorial deadline
September 2014

Source of statistical data
Hommerich Forschung

4S, Berlin

DCM Druck Center Meckenheim GmbH

18                                     European Policy Positions 2014–2019
Askanischer Platz 4
10963 Berlin, Germany
Postfach 61 03 28
10925 Berlin, Germany
T +49 . 30 . 26 39 44 - 0
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