RIBA research finds almost two-thirds shun process

Most architects have given up bidding to work on public buildings because of the complexity of the procurement process, according to research by
the RIBA.

Walter Menteth, director at Walter Menteth Architects, who is heading a 40-strong group researching the problem of procurement for the RIBA, said he had found that 61% of architects are not engaging in the procurement process.

Speaking at Ecobuild he said: “This is because costs are so high, and, for micro practices particularly, the chances of success are negligible.”

Menteth, who was commissioned to carry out the work by RIBA president Angela Brady, said the RIBA had also found examples of hugely expensive procurement exercises, ranging from £250,000 to as high as £1.2m.

He said: “It’s a total waste - we could be building those buildings for those sums of money.”

Menteth said the RIBA would be launching the full findings of the study “very soon”.

He also hit out at the “batching” of procurement by public bodies, where one procurement exercise is used to generate a panel of architects to carry out work for tens of different local authorities, which he said was starving the rest of the industry of work.

He said: “We’re seeing as few as 15 practices across architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, winning work for that geographic area for four years. This is clearly very, very problematic.”