ACE Info 2.06
English language version
Welcome to the second issue in 2006 of ACE Info, the regular update from the Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) that will give you, at a glance, information on current issues, highlighting emerging areas of activity and informing you of matters of interest in the field of architectural policy.
This issue is also available in French.
Services Directive – The ACE calls for the exclusion of Architectural Services from the scope
The European Parliament voted, on the 16th February, on the First Reading of the text of the Services Directive. It adopted a significantly modified text that arose from intensive and lengthy negotiations among the main political groups in the Parliament and which is in line with the policy of the ACE on the issues covered. At first sight, the adopted text is one with which the architectural profession could be reasonably satisfied as it significantly clarifies the relationship of this directive to the Qualifications Directive published in October 2005. However, following further, in-depth analysis in the ACE Work Group on Services in the Internal Market and deliberations in the Executive Board of the ACE, it was decided at this stage to call for architectural services to be excluded from the scope of the Directive. A press release was issued. The procedure can be tracked at:
The next steps in the process will see the publication, by the Commission, of a revised proposal that will take account of the vote in the Parliament (expected during the month of April) and the reaching of a Common Position in the Council. It is not known, at the time of writing, what the timetable for these next two steps will be, but the rapporteur in the Parliament has expressed optimism that the Directive, in its final form, can be adopted by the middle of 2007.
Progress on the Transposition of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
A number of EU Member States report that they have transposed the provisions of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) into their national law. By the 5th February 2006, three countries had notified the Commission that they have fully transposed the EPBD – Denmark, Ireland and Italy with Belgium, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Poland and Slovakia reporting partial transposition. It is also reported that Portugal and the Czech Republic will soon notify transposition. Progress in the work to develop the necessary standards for the assessment of energy performance (being undertaken by the CEN) is not on programme and no final standards have yet been adopted. For useful information on the process of transposition, visit the following website:
Urban Futures 2.0
A conference, entitled “Urban Futures 2.0” organised by the City of Stockholm and the Swedish government will take place in Stockholm on the 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2006. It is being held in the context of the outcome of the Informal Ministerial Meeting on urban policy in Rotterdam in November 2004 at which European Ministers responsible for urban policy adopted conclusions on the importance of the development and implementation of urban policies for the future of the EU. There will be a series of workshop sessions taking place during the conference and the ACE, in line with its policy of active participation in affairs of relevance to the profession, will be hosting one of these sessions under the title of “Architecture – a mediator of urban tensions. The format of the session will be innovative with a moderator and three speakers whose interventions will be conceived so as to stimulate lively debate on the basis of a background paper that will be circulated to all participants in the conference. The ACE has also suggested a number of keynote speakers for the conference including Richard Rogers, Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London) and Juan Clos (Mayor of Barcelona). For its own workshop, the Vice-President of the ACE, Luciano Lassari will act as moderator with Jan Olbrycht (MEP from Poland), Teresa Taboas (Minister for Housing and Land Development in Galicia, Spain) and Henning Thomsen (Director of the ACE Member Organisation AA in Denmark) being invited as speakers. More details on the conference can be found at:
Extension of Reduced VAT Rates Directive to 2010
The Council adopted a directive on the 14th February that extends the provisions of the reduced VAT Rates Directive to 2010. The main features of the directive, which is based on directive 77/388/EEC, are that Member States may apply a reduced rate of VAT to district heating and two (or in exceptional cases three) out of the following services: small repair services, the renovation of private dwellings, window cleaning and private household cleaning, domestic care services and hairdressing on condition that they request authorisation to do so by the 31st March 2006. This s expected to safeguard about 250,000 jobs in the construction sector as several Member States have already opted to apply reduced to the renovation of private dwellings. It is also expected to have a beneficial impact on work for architects who are frequently involved in such work.
WTO Trade in Services – Plurilateral Process Launched
The EU Commission announced, on the 28th February, that it has launched a plurilateral process of negotiations in services as agreed at by WTO members at last December’s WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong. This services that are covered by this new process of collective requests are: Professional services (legal, architectural and engineering services); Computer services; Construction services; Postal and Courier services; Telecommunication services; Environmental services; Maritime transport services; Air Transport and Energy services. The EU now expects others to respond to the EU’s requests so as to ensure substantial revised offers are tabled by the agreed date of the end of July 2006. Further information can be found at:
Executive Board Seminar Considers new Working Structure
At its inaugural meeting of the 17th and 18th February, the Executive Board of the ACE, elected at the end of 2005, considered the practical impacts of the coming into force of its new Statutes on the working structure and priorities of the ACE. The deliberations will be concluded at the next meeting of the Board on the 10th and 11th March, after which the Member Organisations of the ACE will be informed of the new approach.
Developments include the setting out of which Work Groups belong to each of the three Thematic Areas that now form the basis of the ACE working structure, the move towards a more streamlined decision process that will rely more on experts and rapporteurs to drive priority issues forward and a decision to prepare a communication policy that will improve the visibility and image of the ACE as a dynamic body with great relevance to the future of the architectural profession.
New President for the BNA
At the General Assembly of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) in December of 2005, the architect Jeroen van Schooten was appointed President. He took up his duties on the 1st January and succeeds Kees van der Hoeven in the post.
The RIAI Adopts a revised Code of Professional Conduct
At its Council meeting of December 2005, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) adopted a revised Code of Professional Conduct. The Code must be respected by all members of the RIAI and it reflects one of the prime objects of the organisations which is:
To foster and promote union, professional integrity and honourable practice and relations within the profession.
The Code establishes three Principles that must be respected and there are a number of interpretations of each Principle set out in the Code that are further elaborated in a number of appendices. The Code can be requested from the RIAI by writing to:
Build-for-All Project Document Open for Public Consultation
The ACE is one of 15 Partners in this EU-Funded project aimed at mainstreaming disabilities policies through the preparation of guidance on how contracting authorities can include accessibility as a criterion in the awarding of contracts in public procurement. The ACE is represented in the project by the Polish architect and expert in accessibility issues, Ewa Kurylowicz and Adrian Joyce, Senior Adviser. The Reference Manual that the Project has produced was launched as a consultation document on the 16th January 2006 in the Headquarters of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. In a welcome address for the event, the President of the Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso expressed his full support for the initiative saying that: “A large part of the built environment is composed of work places. Improving their accessibility opens up new possibilities of employment for people with disabilities…we all want to use, work and live in buildings which are designed to be safe, healthy and convenient. Accessibility is therefore everything but a minority issue”. He went on to add that: “…an accessible built environment is a key of an inclusive society based on non-discrimination. Accessibility is thus an intrinsic part of the strategy launched at the Lisbon Summit in March 2000 aiming at a knowledge based society, which offers new possibilities for reducing social exclusion, both by creating the economic conditions for greater prosperity and by opening ways of participating in society” He concluded his address saying that: “…it will now be up to the public purchasers to make the best use of the legal provisions and their involvement will be necessary to deliver real progress”.
The Reference Manual is now open for a period of public consultation and the project partners are hopeful of receiving a large number of contributions. Readers of ACE Info are therefore urged to access the document and make their contributions to this valuable work by logging on to:
Extension to the Deadline for Nominations for the Towards Class “A” Award
The partners in the TCA Project launched, in late November 2005, a Campaign for the 2006 “Towards Class A” Award. The aim is to reward the best communication campaigns launched by municipalities in the context of the European Display Campaign that encourages municipalities to raise awareness of building users about the energy and environmental performance of their public buildings. The Award is open to all municipalities and local authorities who are members of the Display Campaign and the deadline for the submission of applications has been extended to the 2nd June 2006. Further information on the award can be found on the Campaigns website under the “TCA Award” section at:
Review of the Temporary and Mobile Sites (Health and Safety) Directive - The ACE Calls for Real Consultation
At a recent meeting of the European Construction Safety Forum (ECSF), of which the ACE is a Member, it was confirmed that the European Commission has commissioned a review of the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive that sets down requirements for safety and health issues in the context of the framework directive on occupational safety and health of workers. This review follows receipt, by the Commission, of the reports of each of the national governments of the EU Member States on the implementation of the directive in national law. From the information received at the ECSF meeting it appears that this review is taking place “behind closed doors” and that there is little or no opportunity for affected stakeholders (such as the ACE and its Members) to make inputs to this review at this time. The ACE vociferously objected to this procedure and called for the process to be opened up to affected stakeholders so as to enable real consultation to take place that will ensure that any revision of the provisions of the directive will ensure that equilibrium on the allocation of responsibilities and duties in the issue of safety and health on temporary and mobile sites will be assured in the future. It has always been the conviction of the ACE that the existing directive does not assure such equilibrium.
The ACE Surveys its Members on Impact of the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive
The ACE has commenced a survey of its Member Organisations that aims to gather a clear picture of the real impact that the provisions of the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive has had on the profession and on clients. The results of the survey will be analysed by the ACE Work Group on Health and Safety and will be used to underpin any contributions of the ACE to the review of the Directive currently underway (see above). The concern of the ACE is to ensure that the most efficient and effective means of ensuring the safety and health of workers on temporary and mobile sites is brought into force so as to contribute to the reduction of accidents. This means ensuring that the appropriate responsibilities and duties are placed on the right actors at the right stages of project realisation.
ACE Events and Meetings in March and April 2006:
ACE-EAAE Joint Working Party – 3rd and 4th March – Dublin
Work Group Registration and Licensing – 3rd March – Brussels
Work Group Education – 6th March – Paris
Executive Board Meeting – 10th and 11th March – Brussels
Work Group on Health and Safety – 13th March – Brussels
Finance Committee Meeting – 17th March – Brussels
Joint meeting of the ACE work Groups on Research and Urban Issues – 31st March and 1st April - Budapest
Executive Board Meeting – 27th and 28th April – Brussels
General Assembly Meeting – 28th and 29th April – Brussels
European Charter for Housing
The Parliamentary Intergroup Urban-Housing has prepared a proposal for a European Charter for Housing that was discussed at a public meeting of the Intergroup on the 2nd February in Brussels. This political document sets out several principles such as the right to housing and the need for Member States to establish favourable frameworks in which housing policies can emerge. Among the issues highlighted at the meeting is the fact that, although housing is not one of the EU’s competences, policies developed and supported by the EU have definite influence in this area. The ACE, represented by its Secretary General at the meeting, called for the Charter to recognise that housing must, in addition to being provided to the citizens of the EU, be decent and of a high quality. The link to the negotiations on the new period of the Structural Funds was also made in a call that works to social housing should be included as housing is “a necessary good, a fundamental social right, a component of the European social pattern” and that its provision has a direct impact on growth and jobs. The Charter also suggests that setting up of a European Observatory for Housing so as to improve the knowledge of the EU of the situation through the collection of statistical indicators in the Member States.
At the meeting a formal request was made that an own-initiative report on housing should be prepared by the Regional Development Committee of the Parliament that should be based on the text of the Charter.
The proposed text of the Charter can be downloaded (in French) at:
Research on the Protection of Cultural Heritage – EPP-ED Hearing in Parliament
On the 6th February, the conservative group in the European Parliament (EPP-ED) held a Hearing on the seventh EU framework programme for research in which it concentrated on making a call for the inclusion of more provisions within the EU budget for the conservation of historical heritage, including historic buildings. This Hearing comes at a time when the detail of the Commission proposal for the seventh framework programme is still ongoing. The ACE attended the Hearing and underlined that the definition of cultural heritage and historic buildings, as considered at the Hearing, is too restrictive and it called for consideration to be given to the widest meaning of these matters and to the consideration that they should be creatively managed – a concept that was incorporated in the earlier EU document on entitled the “European Spatial and Development Perspective (1999). Furthermore, the ACE took part in a special workshop held by the Commission on the 7th February, in which it called for the built heritage to be considered as a living asset that needs to be cared for while, at the same time, allowing for appropriate contemporary interventions that will form the heritage of tomorrow. The work on the seventh framework programme can be tracked at:
Energy Efficiency – European Parliament Hearing with National Parliaments
On the 24th and 25th January, the Energy Committee of the European Parliament (ITER) held a Hearing with members of Parliament from EU Member States in the context of the Green Paper on energy efficiency, which is also one of the priorities of the renewed Lisbon Strategy. There were two main conclusions drawn at the end of the Hearing. Firstly, the market alone cannot provide adequate solutions in this field and there is a need for a significant political effort to succeed. Secondly there was consensus on the need for a common energy policy for Europe.
The Hearing reflected on the fact that Member States generally did not display the political will needed in this field and it concluded, following presentations from two Member States (Denmark and Slovenia), that spectacular results in energy savings can be obtained where action is taken. It also noted that the lack of political will was further demonstrated at the time of the recent adoption of the End-Use Energy Efficiency Directive when Member States refused to adopt mandatory targets for energy saving. On the contrary the Hearing learnt that public awareness of the issue of energy efficiency appears to be high with 80% of citizens saying in a recent poll that they pay attention to the energy efficiency of domestic appliances when making purchasing decisions. The Green Paper can be viewed at:
Arlene McCarthy Appointed Chair of the IMCO Committee
Following the sudden death of Philip Whitehead (see ACE Info 1-06) the UK MEP, Arlene McCarthy (PES) has been appointed as Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs (IMCO Committee). The ACE has long-standing contacts with Ms. McCarthy and it wishes her success in her new role.
EU Cohesion Policy 2007-2013
The current programming period for Structural Funds will come to an end in December 2006 and so the Commission, European Parliament, Member States and Regions are currently preparing for the new 2007-2013 period. The main document on the future of European regional policy is entitled Cohesion policy in Support of Growth and Jobs: Community Strategic Guidelines, 2007-2013. It sets out the priorities and objectives of the policy. The main objectives are:
1. Making European and its regions more attractive places to invest and work.
2. Improving knowledge and innovation for growth
3. More and Better Jobs
Actions supported within the Cohesion Policy should be concentrated on promoting sustainable growth, competitiveness and employment as set out in the renewed Lisbon Strategy. The three objectives will be financed by three financial instruments:
1. The “Convergence” objective by the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund (81.9% of budget)
2. The “Regional competitiveness and employment” objective by the ERDF and the ESF (15.7% of budget)
3. The “European territorial cooperation” objective by the ERDF (2.4% of budget)
(ERDF: European Regional Development Fund; ESF: European Social Fund). On the 17th December 2005 the European council approved the budget for the new Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 at 308.1 billion euro, but this was rejected by the European Parliament as being too low in January 2006. The final budget that will be allocated is therefore not yet known.
It is noteworthy that the Commission issued a Staff Working Document on the urban contribution to growth and jobs (see ACE Info 1-06) and that the Commission are expected to issue a communication on the topic following a public consultation that ended on the 17th February last.
Further information on the Cohesion Policy can be found at:
Eco- Design Consultation Forum
Directive 2005/32/EC (Article 18) establishes a group of experts called the “Consultation Forum” which will allow stakeholders to be informed and provide their contribution on the implementation of the Directive. The task of the group of experts is to contribute in particular to the definition and review of the implementing measures, to monitoring the efficiency of the established market surveillance mechanisms and to the assessment of voluntary agreements and other self-regulatory measures taken in the context of the Directive. Interested groups and persons can access the call for applications to be appointed to the forum at:
EU Countries top Yale Environmental Scorecard
Seven EU Countries feature in the top10 of Yale University’s 2006 Environmental Performance Index, which racks indicators such as air quality and sustainable energy. It seems that sound policy choices emerge as a critical factor in this success. New Zealand tops the list followed by six EU Countries (Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, UK, Austria and Denmark). For further reading see:
EESC Adopts Report on the Future of the Lisbon Strategy
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted, on the 14th and 15th December last, a report on the future of the Lisbon Strategy as seen by the members of the EESC. In particular it has arisen out of consultations with representative organisations from civil society and is due to be presented at a conference to be held in Vienna in March 2006. A copy of the opinion can be requested from the Secretariat of the ACE by writing to:
European Services Platform (ESP) meets for the First Time
The first meeting of the ESP was held on the 17th January last under the Chairmanship of the Secretary General of the ACE, Alain Sagne. The platform is co-sponsored by UNICE and the European Services Forum (ESF), which joined forces to collaborate for their memberships mutual benefit on issues related to the issues surrounding services in the internal market of the EU. The current Chair of the Council Working Group on the Services Directive, Mr. Alois Michner, briefed the meeting on the progress of the Services Directive in the deliberations of the Council. The next meeting of the ESP is scheduled to take place at the end of March 2006.
Aho Report – Last Chance for European Research
An independent expert group, set up after the Hampton Court European Council last year, led by the former Finnish Prime Minster, Esko Aho, has concluded that unless Europe takes radical actions on research and innovation, it will be “too late” for the EU to achieve its ambitions of becoming the world leader in the knowledge stakes. The expert group identified the lack of an innovation-friendly market as a major obstacle to the investment by business in research and innovation. The report brings fuel to the calls of the Commissioner responsible for Research. Janez Potochnik, for early adoption of the seventh Framework Programme for Research that was made on the 26th January to the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. To download the Aho report go to:
Parliament Calls for Tougher Sustainable Development Strategy
An own-initiative report, by French socialist Anne Ferreira, on the environmental aspects of sustainable development makes a voluntary contribution to the Commissions report on its review of the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS). The report expresses concern that, without urgent action, the EU will not meet its Kyoto targets by 2012 referring in particular to public transport and to the huge increase in air traffic that the EU is currently experiencing. The Parliament also wants the European Commission to beef up its action in many other areas such as transferring road traffic to more environmentally-friendly modes of transport, promoting the use of bio-fuels to replace fossil fuels, tackling waste at source, promoting sustainable building and town and country planning, making more efficient use of energy sources, strengthening environmental impact assessments of all Commission decisions and draft legislation and adopting all of the “thematic strategies” outlined in the 6th Environmental Action Plan before the summer of 2006. The report emphasised that sustainable development was not a slogan but responds to ordinary peoples aspirations and allowed a synthesis to be established between democracy, promoting social justice and the need to respect the environment.
The MEP’s agreed with the report, pointing out that sustainable development should be a guiding principle of the European Union in all domains because failure to take action will have ever more burdensome costs and direct consequences. The fill report can be accessed at:
Olympic Village in Turin to be Awarded the Community Ecological Label
The main Olympic village in Turin, is considered to be an example of sustainable architecture. It incorporates solar panels to heat water, glass surfaces facing South for optimum sun exposure in the winter, use of low-energy lamps and the use of rainwater cisterns to water green areas. The main village is to be awarded the European Community ecological label as it meets the criteria of low consumption of energy and water, low production of waste, use of bio-architectural techniques, use of renewable energy sources and substances with the lowest possible impact on the environment and because it will be transformed into university halls of residence after the games. The use of green public procurement contracts by the organising committee has ensured that 39% if the products purchased for the development fulfil ecological criteria.
URBACT Project – Living above Shops
This project entails the funding of architectural and financial studies on the feasibility of bringing back into use empty floors above shops in city centres. The management of housing above shops by Agences Immobilieres Sociales and renovation subsidies are also taken into account. The project has four goals of equal importance: facilitating the return of inhabitants to city centre districts by reactivating the potential of empty housing units, restoring diversity in mono-functional shopping areas, safeguarding city centre heritage and developing housing density in the city centre. Further details can be found at:
None to note this edition
4th European Business Summit
To be held on the 16th and 17th March in Brussels, this Summit will address the theme of building a Europe of excellence by turning knowledge into growth. Full details available by starting at:
L’architecture, Vertu Thérapeutique?
Due to take place in Brussels on the 16th and 17th March 2006, this event will examine the question of whether or not the architecture of hospitals can have a therapeutic effect on patients, thus speeding up their recovery time. Full details can be found at:
Green Public Procurement
To be held in Graz, Austria on the 3rd and 4th of April 2006, this conference will focus on strategies and examples for the implementation of green public procurement which further the introduction and penetration of the market for environmentally compatible products, services and technologies in Europe. Full details at:
Un Estuaire et ses Villes
A colloquium on the subject of estuarial cities will be held in Nantes, France on the 23rd and 24th March 2006 which will include a visit to the project for a port town at St. Nazaire. Full details on the event can be requested by writing to Didier Prost at:
International Solar Cities Conference 2006
To be held from the 3rd to the 6th April 2006 in Oxford, UK this conference will bring together significant figures in the world of science and business with mayors and policy-makers from major cities around the globe to exchange ideas and solutions on how to tackle the problems being faced by an increasingly urbanised world. Full details at:
Urban Futures 2.0
To be held from the 3rd to the 5th May 2006 in Stockholm, this conference takes place in the context of the outcome of the Informal Ministerial Meeting on urban policy in Rotterdam in November 2004. There will be a series of Workshops taking place during the conference and the ACE will be hosting one of these break-out session under the title of Architecture – a mediator of urban tensions. Full details can be found at:
Calls for Papers
The ACE frequently receives notifications of “Calls for Papers” for conferences and seminars worldwide. You may have written a thesis or doctorate paper that you would like to present or you may have an idea that you wish develop and to share with a wider audience – here is your chance:
1st Urban Design International Congress
An international Congress on urban design is to be held in Isfahan, Iran from the 4th to the 7th September 2006 and a call for papers has been issued by the organisers. The themes of the Congress, which will take a broad definition of “cities” and “urban design” into account, include Historic Urban Fabric, City Centre and Informal Settlements. The deadline for the submission of abstracts for consideration is the 15th March 2006. Full details can be found at:
Shrinkage Worldwide Award 2006
An international design competition intended to result in a multidisciplinary multiuse poster to explore, divulge, foster, sensitise, awaken “shrinkage” nature, culture and experience. The deadline for entries is the 15th September 2006 and full details can be found at:
Best Practices on the Living Environment
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Municipality of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, have invited organisations and communities to submit best practices for the Sixth Dubai International Award for Best Practices to improve the Living Environment. Prize money totals 480,000 dollars to be divided amongst ten prize winners. Deadline for submissions is the 31st March 2006. Full details at:
European Prize for Urban Public Space
The European Prize for Urban Public Space welcomes the submission of major projects for the creation and remodelling of public spaces that have been completed in Europe during 2004 and 2005. The registration period closes on 15 March 2006. The call for entries, the rules, information about the international jury and all the registration details can be found at:
European Commission homepage
Search page for Commission documents
The Barroso Commission:
Website of the Austrian Presidency
European Forum for Architectural Policies
Sustainable building website
Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya
(COAC) international relations database:
Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti,
Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori (CNAPPC) database - ArchiEuro:
Website of the European Construction
EU Impact Assessment in Practice
Consult a list of impact assessments
that the EU has carried out on various legislative packages at:
Register of Expert Groups of the European
ArchiEuropa website – comparative information
on practice of architecture:
Summary of current competitions:
In the website addresses given in ACE Info for the documents of the EU, you will frequently see the following near the end of the address: “_en”. These two letters define the language of the document (English in the case of “en”) and you can usually change these two letters in order to bring you to a different language version as follows:
The editorial board for the compilation of ACE Info is:
The ACE President: Jean-François Susini
The ACE Vice-President: Luciano Lazzari
The Secretary General of the ACE: Alain Sagne
Senior Advisor to the ACE: Adrian Joyce
ACE Info is issued on a regular basis, with about ten editions issued per year. You are free to circulate the document as widely as you wish, to translate its contents for use in your publications and to refer to the information it contains once you credit the ACE as the origin.
If you wish to receive ACE Info regularly and you are not on the mailing list, you can register online at: http://www.ace-cae.org/Public/fsPublicNetwork_EN.html
If you have information that you wish to have included in the next edition then e-mail it (in English or French please) to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is the first Friday of each month.
The editorial board wishes to acknowledge the sources of information for this edition of ACE Info which include the RIAI, the European Urban Knowledge Network, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.
[email protected]org - Comments and contributions welcome