ACE Info 3.08
Editorial: Welcome to the June edition of ACE Info, which we hope you will find informative and engaging. It comes just before the long summer break that usually means a quieter time for us all in our professional lives and a busier time with our family and friends. This year, it will be more important than ever for EU advocacy groups, like the ACE, to re-charge over the summer period as the Parliamentary elections and the appointment of a new Commission will both take place in 2009, thus bringing the need to prepare for intensive lobbying actions during the campaign period for the elections. Your comments and suggestions about ACE Info are, as always, welcome.
This edition is also available in French.
Calls for Papers
Commission Launches Public Consultation on Energy Performance Directive
The European Commission has launched an online public consultation on the “recasting” of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that was adopted in 2002. The “recasting” of the EPBD has been rumoured for some time and appeared in the Commission Energy Action Plan adopted in 2007 after the seminal Council meeting of the 8th and 9th March that marked a turning point in the attitude of the EU to the growing concerns surrounding climate change and energy security. Given that the EPBD itself has not yet been transposed in all Member States, it is unusual to open a consultation that aims to gather inputs for the revision of the text of the directive.
Nevertheless, this is a welcome development as the ACE and many other actors in the construction sector are convinced that certain modifications to the text of the directive will significantly assist the EU to achieve the targets that it has set itself in relation to reducing, for example, its CO2 emissions. A matter that is receiving particular attention in the debates around the “recasting” of the EPBD is the idea that the threshold for the inclusion of buildings undergoing major renovation should be reduced below the current limit of 1,000m2.
The deadline for the online consultation document was set on the 20th June:
Green Public Procurement: Commission Publishes Toolkit
The European Commission has been working for some time on Green Public Procurement. It sees great potential for a positive impact on the quality of procurement and a consequential reduction on the environmental impact of procurement in this approach. It has therefore identified a group of training tools (in English only) that are available online and that address the full range of issues that must be taken into account in procurement procedures.
Of particular note is the module that the Commission has devised for the construction sector, which looks specifically at what can be done to ensure that buildings are procured with life cycle costing and environmental impact in mind. The toolkit includes model clauses that can be use in calls for tender and gives guidance and up-to-date information on the environmental impact of building materials. Its contents echo many of the concerns that the ACE has articulated over the years and could have a strong impact if implemented as suggested in the toolkit.
To access the toolkit, including the elements that affect construction, go to:
Changes in the ACE Member Organisations
Since the last edition of ACE Info, the Secretariat has received a notification about a change in the Presidency of one of its Member Organisations as follows:
The Association of Consulting Architects (ACA) in Norway elected Eva Paulshus as its new President. She replaces Gunnar Naess in the post and she took office on the 8th May last. She will also become the Head of Delegation for the ACA in the General Assemblies of the ACE. To find out more about the ACA, go to:
The ACE at External Events
The ACE is frequently represented at external events and conferences by its President, Members of its 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. Since the last report in ACE Info, the following events were particularly relevant to the dissemination of ACE Policy:
AIA National Convention – Boston
The President of the ACE, Juhani Katainen, attended the recent National Convention of the American Institute of Architects in Boston, USA, which was held from the 14th to the 18th May. The Convention was attended by approximately 23,000 architects and they were provided with the opportunity to earn their required annual number of points for continued training by a high number of workshops and courses that were provided at the Convention centre. The ACE President attended the International Presidents Forum at which the topics of diversity, sustainability and standards for education were debated. The event also provided a valuable opportunity for the President to re-establish close contact with his counterparts from Mexico and the USA and to advance discussions on the progress that is being made on the subject of establishing a legally binding Mutual Recognition Agreement with these two countries. He also had contacts on the same topic with his counterparts from the Canadian and Korean Institute of Architects.
Conference- The State of European Cities, The urban Audit
The Secretary General, Alain Sagne attended this Conference on the 10th June to hear the latest information on the European Urban Audit survey carried out by the European Commission (DG REGIO) that records the current state of European cities against a wide range of criteria. The ACE, which has been calling for indicators of the quality of the built environment for some time, recently made suggestions for the inclusion of additional criteria in the Urban Audit work with a view to moving towards the development of meaningful indicators of the quality of our cities.
The Day of the Liberal Professions - EESC
This event, the second of its kind organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and for which it is envisaged that it will be organised on an annual basis in the future, was held on the 9th June in Brussels. The ACE was represented by Alain Sagne. During the discussion in connection with the preparation by the European Commission of a Small Businesses Act that would include provisions for the Liberal Professions he expressed the view that it would, ideally, be preferable and more appropriate to nave a separate instrument that would cover the Liberal Professions, thus allowing for the specific nature of these professions to be fully recognised. But in the circumstance he made a call for the idea that at least the Small Businesses Act should be written in such a way that the Liberal Professions are covered by their own Chapter in any such Act and hence their specific features be adequately recognised.
Lead Market Initiative – Sustainable Construction and the Proposed Construction Products Regulation
Alain Sagne participated in a stakeholder consultation meeting held by the European Commission on two major initiatives that are being pursued by the Commission at the present time. The first is the Lead Market Initiative on Sustainable Construction, which aims to ease regulatory and other barriers so as to stimulate this potential market and thus ensure that Europe remains a world leader in the field. The work proposed by the Commission will touch on a number of fields including Public Procurement, standardisation and legislation in the field.
The second part of the meeting touched on the proposed new Construction Products Regulation (CDR) that will replace the Construction Products Directive and that aims to simplify, clarify and strengthen the European market for construction products. If adopted, the Commission believes that the new procedures will lead to the availability of better, more complete and reliable information from manufacturers on their products. Of note is the fact that the CDR includes a new essential requirement that will see manufacturers addressing the issue of sustainability in their declarations.
Directors General Meeting on Territorial Cohesion and Urban development
Alain Sagne attended, by invitation, the meeting of Directors General in charge of urban development in the Member States organised by the Slovenian Presidency in Brdo, Slovenia, on the 15th May 2008 where he represented both the European Forum for Architectural Policies (EFAP) and the ACE.
Irish Policy on Architecture – Focus Group on Promoting Quality
Adrian Joyce, Senior adviser, attended, at the invitation of the Irish Government, a meeting of the Focus Group on Promoting Quality that is assisting the Government to draw up a new Policy on Architecture. The meeting was held on the 13th May last and the ACE made a presentation to the Group that informed it of the situation in Europe and that brought to its attention several policy developments in other EU countries. It also provided an opportunity for the ACE to demonstrate its own involvement and strong commitment to the question of devising policies that permit the emergence of high quality and sustainability in the built environment.
EESC Hearing on Urban Development
Alain Sagne was invited to attend as an expert a Hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Bilbao on 12th june 2008 on the topic of balanced sustainable urban development: challenges and opportunities. This was in the context of an own-initiative opinion prepared by the EESC at the request of the upcoming French Presidency. The rapporteur is M Joost van Iersel (NL) and the co-rapporteur is M Angelo Grasso (IT). Alain Sagne was asked to speak on the contribution of architecture to the current debate on territorial cohesion.
ACE Events and Meetings in June, July, August and September 2008:
Work Group Cost Information Systems – Brussels – 20th June
Work Group on Professional Indemnity Insurance – London – 18th July (tbc)
Work Group on Health and Safety – Brussels – 18th September
General Coordination Meeting – Brussels – 19th September
Work Group Education – Budapest – 26th September
Commission Publishes the Construction Products Regulation
After a long period of work on the topic, the European Commission published, on the 26th May last, its proposal to replace the Construction Products Directive (CPD) with the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The main aim of the CPR is to simplify and clarify the procedures that lead to EC marking for construction products with the objective of improving cross-border trade in these products, whilst at the same time reducing costs for manufacturers and ensuring that the product declaration that accompany them are accurate and reliable. This is important for architects, as they are the ones who specify which products should be used in buildings and having reliable information on the performance and main characteristics of such products is essential in order to permit architects to make good choices. Furthermore, as architects usually carry the liability for the products used in buildings, it is essential that the declared performance matches the actual performance.
To download the proposal, go to:
European Census on Population and Housing
On the 20th February last, the European Parliament adopted a report by Ona Jukneviciene (ALDE Group, Lithuania) amending the proposal for a regulation on censuses of the population and housing. By doing so, MEPs have given the green light to the regular collection of comparable information at European level on these two issues. Questions that will be answered during the censuses include: How many people live in the EU? Which regions have the youngest populations? Which is the largest city? Who lives in detached house, or in skyscrapers? The Parliament has decided that the first census will take place in 2011 and at the start of each decade thereafter.
New Name for Architects for Aid (A4A)
On June 1st 2008 the architects’ humanitarian organisation, A4A changed its name to Article 25, Development and Disaster Relief. The name change has been inspired by the 25th Article of the Universal declaration of Human Rights as it is the only Article that refers to the built environment. It states that adequate shelter and housing are a fundamental human right. Its website has also change (see further below), but its register of volunteer built environment professional, BEAR, remains unchanged.
For further information, go to:
Oslo, London and Copenhagen are the Most Expensive Cities in the World
Maybe it is no surprise, but all 10 of the world’s most expensive cities (rents excluded) are in Europe. This is the finding of a study that compares purchasing power around the globe carried out by UBS in March 2008. When rents are included the order is reshuffled, New York enters in fifth place and all other nine cities remain European. The full ranking for the most expensive cities when rent is excluded is: Oslo, Copenhagen, London, Dublin, Zurich, Stockholm, Helsinki, Geneva, Paris and Vienna and the ranking when rents are included is: London, Oslo, Dublin, Copenhagen, New York, Zurich, Stockholm, Helsinki and Geneva. Much is due to the weakening of the dollar compared to other currencies and, maybe, to the methodology used which favours a sample of goods that is biased towards a Western European lifestyle.
To read more, go to:
New Directive on Civil and Commercial Mediation
The European Parliament gave its approval on the 23rd April, in Second Reading, to the directive on certain aspects of civil and commercial legislation that aims to facilitate access to amicable settlements of cross-border disputes by promoting the use of mediation. The directive imposes certain obligations on Member States and its provision on periods of limitation and prescription will ensure that parties that have recourse to mediation will not be prevented from going to court as a result of the time spent on mediation. Thus the directive preserves the parties’ access to justice should mediation not succeed. This is a matter of interest to the ACE as it has recently adopted a proposal to develop a system of dispute resolution for architectural services at European level that will concentrate on cross-border contracts between architects and their clients. Work is yet to start on the task, but the adoption of the directive will act as one possible starting point for the ACE proposal.
To read the directive, go to:
Professional Qualifications Directive – New Infringement Procedures Launched
In relation to the implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC), the Commission has issued infringement procedures against Germany on account of Saarland training legislation. It has also issued reasoned opinions to eight Member States: Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and The United Kingdom for failing to inform the Commission of their transposition measures. It also decided to refer Italy and Poland to the European Court of Justice over their failure to inform the Commission of measures taken to implement Directive 2006/100/EC adapting certain directives in the field of freedom of movement of persons by reason of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
Ten International Architects are to Present Ideas for Greater Paris
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, met with ten ‘big names’ in the field of architecture and urbanism at the Elysee Palace on the 4th June in order to launch them on a project to re-image Greater Paris. Each architect/urban designer will have a budget to cover their work and a team of professionals that will permit full inter-disciplinary consideration of how to give birth to a new city. Those chosen to undertake this mammoth task are Antoine Grumbach (FR), Roland Castro (FR), Christian de Pontzamparc (FR), Jean Nouvel (FR), Yves Lion (FR), Finn Geipel (DE), Richard Rogers (UK), MVRDV (NL), Bernard Secchi (IT) and Djamel Klouche (FR). The teams are expected to present a prospective diagnosis at the beginning of 2009 that will contain concrete proposals for the metropolis in the post-Kyoto epoch.
Wanted – Expert Evaluators for Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE)
The European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) is seeking to find experts in energy efficiency, renewable and transport to assist it in evaluating project proposals, current or closed projects and the overall impact of the IEE Programme. A new call for experts is currently open and you may apply for consideration. Note that if you are already on the IEE evaluators list, you must apply again if you wish to remain on the list. The process is undertaken online at:
Three European Projects of Note
The ACE has been informed about three projects that are of direct interest to its policy concerns and that are susceptible to be of wider interest in the profession. They are as follows:
Energy Web-tool for Architects
The end of the IEE Project known as E-RETROFIT-KIT is close and the coordinator has informed the ACE that a preliminary version of the tool prepared by the project team is now available online. It provides information to architects and others on passive house retrofitting measures and is available in 11 languages! The tool can be accessed at:
Results of the INTERREG IIIB Project BEEN
The project results of this work were presented at a Conference in Berlin on the 11th December 2007 and they have now been posted online. The project looked at how to get the implementation of energy saving measures going on a large scale, in particular in pre-cast concrete buildings in the EU-12 countries. You can view the results at:
LEnSE – Sustainability Labelling for Buildings
This project aimed to respond to the growing European need and demand to assess the sustainability performance of buildings. It developed a methodology for the assessment of the sustainability performance of existing, new and renovated buildings and tested the methodology on a number of buildings in a number of countries. Its approach is truly holistic in that it addresses the economic, social and environmental issues raised by a truly sustainability-oriented assessment of a building. You can read more about the project at:
Involve Stakeholders and Citizens in your Local Energy Policy – Turn over a new LIEF!
This guide, published by Energie-Cites, was designed to help local authorities unite stakeholders and citizens around common objectives and projects, especially in the so-called LIEF (local energy forums) with the ultimate objective to develop participative local energy policy. It can be downloaded at:
Handboek voor Toegankelijkheid – 6th Edition
This Dutch publication (Handbook for Accessibility), written by Maarten Wijk has recently been published by Reed Business. It takes a fresh and very innovative approach to giving guidance on the design of the built environment to account for the needs of all users, especially critical users for whom particular measures are required. Maarten Wijk is an architect and an authority on the subject of design for all and is a teacher at the Delft Technical University School of Architecture. The book will shortly be translated to English and German and promises to bring renewed vitality to this aspect of architectural design. The Dutch version can be ordered online from:
Call 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:
Glass Performance Days 2009
The organisers of the Glass Performance Days Conference 2009 (11th to 15th June 2009 in Tampere, Finland) have launched a call for papers. Abstracts much be submitted by the 10th October 2008. Full details can be found at:
15th Joint Doctoral Seminar in Theory and History of Architecture
The research groups in the theory and history of architecture of the Universities of Leuven, Ghent and Louvain together with the architecture departments of Sint-Lucas of the Hogeschool voor Wetenschap &Kunst and Henry van de Velde of the Hogeschool Antwerpen regularly organise a joint doctoral seminar where doctoral students can present their research and get feedback from faculty, invited speakers and peers. This years event will take place on Friday November 21st and the call for submissions is now open with a deadline for the submission of abstracts of the 15th September. For further information write to:
[email protected] and [email protected]
OPEN DAYS 2008 – European Week of Regions and Cities
This major European event is scheduled to take place in Brussels from the 6th to the 9th October and promises to bring together a huge number of participants from all over Europe to discuss the main theme of the week which is: Regions and Cities in a Challenging World. For full details:
European Summer University, Birmingham, UK
This unique course combines courses in English with courses on urban regeneration and environmental issues linked to social activities and creative debates. The course will run from the 28th July to the 15th August with many options for participation. Full details can be found at:
Architecture Summer School – Rotterdam, The Netherlands
For the fourth consecutive year, the Rotterdam Academy and Urban design in hosting its international summer school from the 6th to the 18th July. Full details can be found at:
Shaping Tomorrow Today
This Conference, organised by the International Federation on Ageing, is to be held in Montreal, Canada from the 4th to the 7th September 2008. For more information 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
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 and trial centre for Fiat, it was converted in recent times to a convention centre by the world-renowned architect Renzo Piano. See the website for the Congress at:
Adaptable Architecture Gallery on the River Thames, London
Arquitectum presents it 8th International Contest entitled “London 2008” for the design of a movable architecture gallery that will contain and distribute design to the city, collecting visitors along the river and connects various art spaces, especially in the South Bank. The last date for registration is the 30th June and submissions must be made by the 30th July. Full details at:
FLOW – A Canal in Brussels
Joel Claisse Architectures is organising a European Student Competition for which the object is a 14km stretch of canal that runs right through the heart of Brussels and that will present significant challenges and opportunities for the participants. The Competition is open to students in their final year of academic training (5th year) and the website for the competition will go online in mid-July at the following address:
Selection of Useful and interesting links:
European Commission homepage
Search page for Commission documents
The Barroso Commission:
The European Parliament Homepage:
Website of the Slovenian Presidency
Website of the French 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:
Website of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPED) Platform:
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:
Passive and Downdraught Cooling in Buildings – The website of an EU-funded project that shows the way towards a pragmatic alternative to conventional air conditioning in buildings:
Database of Digital Architecture – A new, subscription based website that contains several sections including one that provides images of the works of the great masters of architect and videos of talks by famous architects has been set up. For full information go to:
Interactive Database for Architects – Launched in March 2008, this site provides an opportunity for all architectural practices to become globally recognised. Check it out at:
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: Juhani Katainen
The ACE Vice-President Jordi Querol
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 eight 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/MemberN/Content/EN/sub/sub/subscribe.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 the EBC, the EUKN, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com), the URBACT Newsletter and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.
[email protected] - Comments and contributions welcome