The electronic note from the Architects' Council of Europe
Welcome to the third issue of ACE Info in 2007. The ACE welcomes feedback and comments on the content of this publication, so please feel free to write to us at [email protected]
This issue is also available in French.
Energy and Sustainability – The ACE Issues Statement to Heads of State
To coincide with the recent Summit of EU Heads of State and Governments, at which the topic of energy was high on the agenda, the Executive Board of the ACE adopted a political statement on energy and sustainability. It was forwarded to the Heads of States and Governments of all EU Countries in time for the Spring Summit that took place on the 8th and 9th March. The Statement highlighted the important role that increased energy efficiency in the design and renovation of buildings can contribute to the achievement of the goals of the new Energy Policy for Europe that was adopted at the Summit. The Statement urged the Heads of State and Governments to take full advantage of the potential locked up in successfully demonstrated approaches that have not yet become mainstream across the EU.
To read the Statement of the ACE go to:
Bulgaria and Romania – Clarification on Recognition of Qualifications
Since the 1st January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania have been full Members of the EU. Unlike other accessions to the EU, the “acquis” concerning these two countries has been applied by means of a Directive. In previous accessions the “acquis” was applied by means of an Accession Treaty for each country. For this reason there has been a certain lack of clarity about what architectural qualifications should be recognised when citizens of these countries move within the EU.
The ACE sought clarification on this point from the European Commission and it has learnt that the relevant qualifications for these two countries are contained at page 202 of the relevant directive whose reference is 2006/100/EC. These qualifications are those that fall under the acquired rights provisions of the Architects Directive and must be recognised across the EU. The reference year for the qualifications is 2009/2010 which means that each country will have to notify relevant qualifications to the Commission for inclusion in the Qualifications Directive before September 2010 so that students starting their architectural education in the year 2010/2011 can be sure that they will receive a qualification that is portable across the EU.
To download Directive 2006/100/EC go to:
Commission Adopts New Health and Safety Strategy 2007-2012
On the 21st February last, the Commission adopted a new Health and Safety Strategy for promoting health and safety at work in the period 2007-2012. Its objective is to bring about a 25% reduction in the annual figure of 4 million work related accidents over the life of the strategy. The main means to be used is to improve existing legislation and to ensure its proper implementation. The Commission proposes to simplify the current legal framework and to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the implementation of the legislation, as SMEs account for 82% of all occupational accidents and 90% of all fatal accidents.
Readers of ACE Info will recall that in the last edition we highlighted that the Commission is to prepare a guide on the proper implementation of the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive – the health and safety directive that affects the construction sector. This work will be directly in line with the new strategy announced above.
New Chair and Vice-Chair for the Architects Registration Board (UK)
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) of the UK announced on the 23rd February last that Michael Starling has been elected as Chair of the ARB and that Elizabeth Jane Rees has been elected as Vice-Chair.
Michael Starling replaces Humphrey Lloyd who has served two years as Chair and who has ensured an active engagement of the ARB in the work of the ACE. The ACE wishes the new Chair and Vice-chair every success and looks forward to continued close collaboration with the ARB.
The ACE at External Events
The ACE is frequently represented at external events and conferences by the President, Members of the Executive Board, Chairmen of Work Groups and/or the Secretariat. These activities often go unnoticed, but are very important to the pursuit of the policies of the ACE. It has therefore been decided to start a new regular article for ACE Info in which a selection of recent, relevant activities of these representatives will be reported upon. The next issue will feature an editorial by the President.
Since the last issue of ACE Info, the following three presentations were particularly relevant to the dissemination of ACE Policy:
Housing – A Fundamental Right?
The President of the ACE, Mr. Jean-Francois Susini was a speaker at a recent public debate on the theme of “Housing – A Fundamental Right?” He was invited by Mr. Jean-Marie Beaupuy and Mr. Alfonso Andria, both Members of the European Parliamentary Group ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and co-organisers of the debate that took place in the European Parliament on the 28th March last and which attracted an audience of about 150 participants. The Secretary General of the ACE was also present. The subject of the intervention of Mr. Susini was “European Architects Faced with Questions of Accessibility and Quality”.
It should be recalled that Mr. Beaupuy is the President of the Intergroup Urban:Logement of which the ACE is one of the external partners.
The debate was also linked to an own-initiative report of the Parliament on housing and regional policy for which Mr. Andria is the Rapporteur and which was adopted on the 20th March by the Regional Development Committee by near unanimity and which is due to be adopted in Plenary in May. The report, as underlined by Mr. Andria, puts emphasis on quality, a matter that is precious to the ACE which had made contributions to its content, something which was acknowledged during the debate by Mr. Andria.
Among the other speakers were the Rapporteur for the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee, Mr. Angelo Grasso and the Rapporteur for the Committee of the Regions on the housing report together with representatives from the Commission (DG Regional Policy) and the German Presidency on the subject of the Leipzig Charter for sustainable cities. Mr. Richard Howitt (PSE Group), President of the Disability Intergroup, also a speaker, recalled the excellent cooperation that had taken place with the ACE in the context of the “Build-for-All” Project, whose reference manual was officially launched at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in November 2006 (see ACE Info 8/06). The text of Mr. Susini’s Intervention will shortly be posted on the website of the ALDE Group:
Quality of the Built Urban Environment – Research for Sustainability
In accordance with the Political Agenda of the ACE 2006-2008, several initiatives have been undertaken in order to strengthen the cooperation between the ACE and networks of cities and, in particular, with EUROCITIES the association of large cities. These include ongoing initiatives at political level.
Following the participation of the Secretary General of the ACE, Alain Sagne, at a meeting of the EUROCITIES Work Group “Urban Research” and at its Conference in Manchester in 2006, he was invited to make a presentation at the latest meeting of the Work Group, held in Berlin on the 16th March last on the theme of “Quality of the Built Environment – Research for Sustainability”. On this occasion the ACE proposed that EUROCITIES and the ACE launch a joint project aimed at developing, at European level, a set of indicators that could be used to measure the quality and sustainability of the built environment recognising that cities are the real-life “laboratories” in this respect. The proposal was well received and contacts are being pursued. The presentation made by A Sagne can be requested from the Secretariat of the ACE by writing to:
Quality Versus Procurement and the Market
As the keynote speaker at the recent “General Assembly” of the Belgian Council for Francophone and Germanophone architects, John Wright (UK), Chairman of the ACE Work Group on the Services Directive, gave an impassioned plea for the introduction of quality based selection in calls for tender for public works across the EU. Emphasising the perverse effects of always going for the lowest price that leads to the majority of problems associated with public procurement, he warned Belgian architects against the use of this procedure in the emerging Public Private Partnership (PPP) market. The full text of the intervention of J Wright can be requested from the Secretariat of the ACE by writing to:
ACE Events and Meetings in April and May 2007:
Work Group Cost Information Systems – 19th April – Brussels
Third Executive Board Meeting – 19th April – Brussels
Joint Meeting of the ACE Executive Board and the Council Members of UIA, Regions I and II – 19th April – Brussels
First General Assembly in 2007 – 20th and 21st April – Brussels
EU/G8 Conference on Energy Efficiency – 20th and 21st April – Berlin
German Presidency EFAP Event – 26th and 27th April – Hamburg
Work Group Procurement – 11th May – Brussels
Forum on Administrative Cooperation – 18th May – Dublin
Work Group on Professional Experience – 21st May – Brussels
Commissioner McCreevy Urges Member States to Ensure Timely Transposition of Services Directive
With the clock running for the transposition of the Services Directive (deadline December 2009), the Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Charlie McCreevy has written to the Member States urging them to give the transposition and effective application of the Directive priority and to devote the necessary resources to this work. The European Commission is offering help to the Member States at special workshops and is urging them to appoint “qualified” contact persons in the relevant ministries. For its part the ACE has mandated its own Work Group on the Services Directive to prepare a guidance document on the aspects of the Directive that are of special relevance to the architectural profession. Finding a way to link the action of the ACE to the work of the Commission would be most helpful and the ACE, in order to ensure such coordination, is encouraging its Member Organisations to establish strong dialogue with the relevant ministries in their respective countries.
Four New Websites of Interest:
Green Public Procurement
The European Commission, that is actively promoting the concept of Green Public Procurement (GPP), has recently launched a website dedicated to the topic. It says that the new structure and layout of the website offers a multitude of new and updated information on environmental purchasing in the EU and beyond. To tryout the new website for yourself got to:
The Green 10
For several years the big environmental NGOs working on EU Affairs have been collaborating in an informal platform known as the “Green 10”. They work together o high-level topics such as the EU Sustainable Strategy, “greening” the EU Constitution, the EU Budget etc. They have now launched a website where interested persons can follow the group’s activities as well as find easy access to the websites of each organisation. To judge for yourself, go to:
German Website on Competitions
A German-language website that is dedicated to and covers all aspects of architectural competitions has recently gone live on the World Wide Web. For those who are interested it can be accessed at:
Online Library Dedicated to Construction
The French publishers “Le Moniteur” have announced the establishment of what it claims is the first online library dedicated to construction. To see the extensive range of books offered on this new resource, go to:
European Intelligent Energy (IEE) Projects: The 2007 Call for Proposals
The European Commission has announced that the First Call for Proposals under the IEE II Programme is scheduled for publication in April 2007. The deadline for submitting proposals will be the 28th September 2007. There is about €55 million available to support promotional projects and so-called “integrated initiatives” and the co-funding rate will be up to 75% of the eligible costs. The programme for 2007 will cover three themes (energy Efficiency, renewable energy sources and transport) and will focus on five policy objectives (enabling policies, market transformation, behavioural change, access to capital and training). The ACE esteems that the IEE II Programme probably offers better opportunities to architects for involvement in EU-funded projects than the 7th Framework Programme on research and Development. For further information go to:
IEE II Programme – Information Day on the 19th April 2007
The Intelligent Energy Europe Agency (IEEA) is organising a European Information Day on the First Call for Proposals under the IEE II Programme (see above) in Brussels on the 19th April 2007 (the day before the General Assembly of the ACE, also being held in Brussels). It is expected tat there will be about 600 participants at the event and tat it will be a valuable opportunity for networking and seeking potential partners for project proposals. It will also provide an opportunity to learn from the coordinators of previous successful projects. For more details got to:
If you cannot go to the Information Day event and you want to follow proceedings live on line, note that the morning session will be broadcast on:
Questions Arise About the Effectiveness of Self-Regulation
At a Friends of Europe Conference on the 5th March 2007, the difficulties associated with self-regulation through voluntary business agreements were highlighted. Of note was the intervention of Jim Murray, Director of the European Consumer Organisation BEUC, who questioned whether or not self-regulation is the best practice to regulate the relationship between business and consumers. He pointed to several self-regulation initiatives that have ended in failure (such as detergents, CO2 emissions form cars) saying that it is time to carry out an independent study to evaluate the self-regulation drive currently being made by the EU.
This concurs with the general view developed by the ACE on the topic that believes that co-regulation offers a far more promising future for developing a transparent and viable relationship between providers of services and their clients. To see more about the Commission’s work on better regulation, go to:
The EU27 are Ready to set up a Joint Strategy to “Promote” Cultural Industries
In a recent report on the economic value of culture, architecture was seen as a “Cultural Industry” and was included as part of the review that formed the central part of the report. Now Ministers from the EU27 responsible for Culture have agreed, at a meeting held on the 14th February last, on a series of proposals for a future strategy on cultural industries in the coming years. In coming to this agreement it was stressed that cultural industries already employ more people than the automobile industry and are growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy. At the same time, the Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Jan Figel, said the Commission intends to adopt a communication on culture that will underscore the economic significance of culture in achieving the aims of the Lisbon Agenda and to locate culture within a larger strategy describing the multi-faceted contribution of culture to the programme of European integration. To learn more about European Commission actions on Culture, go to:
Lift Industry Fined Over €990 Million
On the 21st February last, the European Commission announced that a series of fines would be imposed on four companies in the lift industry for illegal cartel agreements that it has been operating on a local level in a number of EU countries. The total amount of the fine is €992,312,220 and was imposed on Otis (owned by US United Technologies), ThyssenKrupp (Germany), Schindler (Switzerland) and Kone (Finland). It was found that these companies were dividing up the markets in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg ad the Netherlands between 1995 and 2005. The decision of the Commission emphasised that it was the national management of these companies in these countries that were knowingly behaving illegally and that they were trying to conceal their actions. Despite being aware of the illegal nature of their activities they went ahead anyway. The accused did not oppose the statement of objections or call for an oral hearing. There are carrying out an analysis of the Commission’s investigation before deciding on what approach they might take in response although the fine must be paid in any event.
The Innovation Gap Between the EU and the USA Continues to Narrow
For the fourth consecutive year, the innovation gap between the EU and the USA has narrowed. Nordic countries and Switzerland continue to be the innovation leaders worldwide, while many new Member States are steadily catching up with the EU average. These are some of the main findings of a recent report published by the European Commission. Eurostat took the opportunity provided by the publication of the report to reveal that, in the EU27 between 2002 and 2004, 42% of enterprises from industry and services developed some form of innovation activity.
This is good news for the Lisbon Strategy and the EU as it seeks to become the most competitive, knowledge-based region in the world. To read the full report go to:
First Meeting of Commissions Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change
On the 6th March last, the 11 “independent” experts of the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change established by Jose Manuel Barroso met in Brussels to consider the new EU energy policy and how it impacts on policy to combat climate change. The Group will provide the Commission with scientific and technical advice independently of DG Energy and DG Environment. The members of the Group are: Cesar Dopazo, Nicolas Hulot, Claudia Kemfert, Allan Larson, Claude Mandil, Carlo Rubbia, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Viriato Soromenho-Marques, Sir Nicholas Stern, Peter Sutherland and Micahel Zammit Cutajar.
MEPs Launch Energy-Efficiency Watchdog
In parallel with the first meeting of the Commissions Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (see above), five Members of the European Parliament announced the setting up of an Energy-Efficiency Watchdog that will be a cross-party coalition of politicians, industry associations and NGOs. The press launch, in view of the reluctance of Member States to introduce serious measures to improve energy efficiency, called for “action, not talk”. The Energy Efficiency Watch will accompany and monitor developments on energy efficiency, offer best-practice advice to governments and provide an Internet site for energy efficiency communication. To view the website go to:
EU Environment-Related Indicators 2007
The European Commission is aware that a clean and healthy environment is essential for achieving the quality of life and prosperity that the citizens of the EU want for themselves and for their children. It has therefore developed a set of indicators on environmental quality and has recently published a leaflet containing ten of those indicators. It can be downloaded at:
European Business – Facts and Figures – 2006 Edition
The new edition of this annual publication has just been published. It gives an overview of all sectors of business in the EU presenting pertinent facts and figures. It can be bought online for €40 or can be downloaded free of charge by going to:
First Edition of International Journal of Architectural Heritage, Conservation, Analysis and Restoration has been Published
The publishers believe that the articles published in the first edition are significant contribution to this field of expertise. To learn more, go to:
Wood and Energy (Bois et Energie)
This Event will be held in Orleans, France from the 19th to the 22nd April and will address all issues surrounding the question of producing energy from wood. The Event will see an exhibition, competitions and colloquiums taking place concurrently. For full details go to:
Energy and Climate change: Communicating to change our behaviour
This Event will be held in Brasov, Romania from the 25th to the 27th April 2007. This event is in fact the annual Conference of the European Organisation, Energie-Cites, an organisation dedicated to encouraging greater awareness and best practice in energy issues among cities. Full details at:
Cogeneration Conference and Workshops 2007
This Event will be held in Brussels from the 8th to the 10th May and will inform and update participants on the transposition of the Cogeneration Directive in the Member States of the EU. The Event is being supported by the Intelligent Energy Executive Agency. Full details at:
Healthy Air – Better Work 2007
This Conference is scheduled to take place in Helsinki from the 29th to the 31st May and will focus on the quality of indoor air and environment in non-industrial workplaces such as offices, schools, day-care centres and hospitals. Full details can be found at:
Green Week 2007
A week long Conference that will take place in Brussels from the 12th to the 15th June to mark Green Week 2007. This year green Week will take part in celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome and will identify past successes and failures while also exploring future challenges. For full details go to:
Listing of events relating to Urban Issues
The European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) maintains a very good listing of events that relate to urban issues on its website, many of which are interest to architects. It can be accessed at:
UIA Turin 2008 – Congress Website Opens
The next triennial UIA (International Union of Architects) Congress is to be held in Turin from the 29th June to the 3rd July 2008 at the Lingotto, once the main factory for Fiat and converted in recent times to a convention centre by the well-renowned architect Renzo Piano. The website for the Congress has now been opened 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:
Architecture – The Mute Transmitter of the Outspoken Emotions. Integrating Role of the Spiritual Spaces for the People in the Cities in the 21st Century
The UIA has issued a call for papers under the theme noted above. It is in preparation for an international conference on the theme that will be held in Warsaw on the 6th October 2007. The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 15th May 2007. For further information go to:
Futures of Cities
This call relates to the organisation of the 51st IFHP World Congress that will take place in Copenhagen from the 23rd to the 26th September 2007. For full details go to:
Roland Rainer Ideas Competition 2007
This is an open, international, single-stage, anonymous ideas competition for architects, town planners and graduates of schools of architecture and town planning. The aim id to find ideal design concepts for a garden city type district in a European city. For further information go to:
Hungarian Architectural Photography Competition
The Association of Hungarian Photographers and the journal “The Hungarian Architecture” have announced the organisation of an architectural photographic competition. The theme of the competition is “Europe Undergoing Change – Man-made Environment – Protecting Values”. Full details can be found at:
An English language version of the application form can be requested from the Secretariat of the ACE.
European Commission homepage
Search page for Commission documents
The Barroso Commission:
Website of the German Presidency
European Forum for Architectural Policies
URBACT Hous-Es Network website:
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 Technology Platform:
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 Commission:
ArchiEuropa website – comparative information on practice of architecture:
Archi-Student website – a wealth of information on schools and students of architecture in Europe:
Link to the Newsletter of the International Union of Architects (UIA):
Website of the UIA Practice Commission – contains useful information on the work of the global architectural association, UIA, on practice related issues:
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:
French _fr German _de Danish _da Swedish _sv
Italian _it Spanish _es Greek _el Dutch _nl
Portuguese _pt Finnish _fi Czech _cs Maltese _mt
Estonian _et Latvian _lv Lithuanian _lt Polish _pl
Hungarian _hu Slovene _sl Slovak _sk Bulgarian _bg
The editorial board for the compilation of ACE Info is:
The ACE President: Jean-Francois Susini
The ACE Vice-President Luciano Lazzari
The Secretary General of the ACE: Alain Sagne
Senior Adviser to the ACE: Adrian Joyce
ACE Info is issued on a regular basis, with about ten editions 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/ACEINFO/subscribeEN.asp
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 URBACT, Le Moniteur, Jean-Marie Fauconnier, the IEEA, Raimund Schueller, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.
[email protected] - Comments and contributions welcome