Russell Curtis, Project Compass, on competition culture in UK

Russell Curtis of Project Compass, Architectuur Lokaal’s British partner in the international network Fulcrum.eu, is going to be speaking at the next Fundamentals lecture at Central St Martins in London on 22 February, on the subject of crap competitions and pathetic procurement. Is procurement in the UK too bureaucratic, risk-averse and a barrier to the best design?

Russell Curtis

Stuck in a quagmire of pre-qualification questionnaires, turnover requirements and professional indemnity demands, many practices in UK find much potential work is out of their reach. Unable to get on to framework agreements and denied the chance to design a certain type of building if they haven’t built one already, architects are stuck in a hopeless catch-22 situation. Even when they are eligible, they are often forced to compete on price, rather than design quality, leading to a detrimental race to the bottom. With the cost of procurement to both clients and bidders now reaching up to 30% of a contract’s value, how can these cumbersome, prohibitive systems be overhauled?
Debate with Claire Bennie (Municipal), Russell Curtis (RCKa / Project Compass), Kay Hughes (Khaa) and Malcolm Reading (Malcolm Reading Consultants). Book your tickets here.

In 2014 Architectuur Lokaal (NL) and Project Compass CIC (UK) founded the international platform Fulcrum.eu that aims for better & transparent public procurement for architecture via an e-procurement system, based on the system of the ‘‘Steunpunt Ontwerpwedstrijden” (Helpdesk Architectural Commissions and Design contests) as a uniform European ‘golden standard’. Other national organisations can join the TheFulcrum.eu. In 2017-2020 the international four year program Competition Culture in Europe aims to expand cooperation on competition culture in Europe, a.o. by exchanging knowledge and information.