ACE Info 4.05
English language version
Welcome to the fourth issue in 2005 of ACE Info, the monthly update from the Architects' Council of Europe 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.
The ACE General Assembly Adopts new By-laws for the Organisation
On the 23rd April, at its first General Assembly of 2005, the ACE adopted new By-laws for the organisation. The need to adopt new By-laws arose following the adoption of new Statutes of the ACE (AISBL) at the General Assembly in November 2004. The new Statutes and By-laws will enter into force on the 1st January 2006 and they will deliver improved efficiency to the ACE in the pursuit of its priority goals.
At a Special Session of the Assembly, held on the 22nd April, the ACE delegates debated the strategic objectives of the Organisation, reaching consensus around the detailed work that the Executive Board had undertaken on the subject in the first quarter of the year. This work will now be consolidated and it is intended that a multi-annual strategic plan for the ACE will be adopted during the next Assembly meeting in November 2005 in Luxembourg, and that it would subsequently be published.
The ACE Attends the First Meeting of the ECSF
Following the signing of the Bilbao Declaration in November 2004, the ACE attended the first meeting of the European Construction Safety Forum (ECSF) on the 10th May in Brussels. The ACE was represented by the Chairman of its new Workgroup on Health and Safety, John Graby, and by its Senior Adviser, Adrian Joyce. Other organisations attending the first meeting include the two engineering organisations, ECCE and EFCA, FIEC, the European Construction Industry Federation and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), who organised this first meeting. The ACE has been highly critical of the provisions of the Health & Safety on Temporary & Mobile Sites Directive (92/57/EEC) and of the manner of its implementation across the EU. Notably it is concerned about the disproportionate responsibility that the directive seeks to impose on clients and designers for safety on construction sites – a matter that has been reflected even more disproportionately in many Member States national laws following transposition of the Directive. It remains very critical of these matters, but believes that the time is right to engage in constructive dialogue with the other partners in the sector so as to seek to improve the situation for all parties that share responsibility for health and safety matters in the built environment. The outcome of the first meeting promises to permit the ACE and the other partners in the ECSF to achieve an improvement in the Health and Safety reputation of the industry.
UNESCO Planning to drop Architecture from its Programmes
The ACE has learnt that, as part of its restructuring exercise, UNESCO is making cut-backs in its programmes and that it has decided that architecture will be dropped from the list of priority topics in its Human and Social Sciences section. The ACE has also been informed that UNESCO also intends to discontinue the support of the UIA-UNESCO Prize in Architecture as well as the IFLA-UNESCO Prize in Landscape Architecture. Alarmed at these developments, the ACE General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on UNESCO to reconsider its intentions to keep architecture as a priority issue in the UNESCO working structure and work programme. This resolution has been transmitted to those concerned in UNESCO, and in addition, the ACE President specifically wrote to the Director General of UNESCO to express concern.
Pan Hellenic Architectural Exhibition – Awards of Architecture
The Association of Greek Architects (SADAS-PEA) is promoting an action programme for the renewal of architecture, aiming at the improvement of the quality features that affect and shape the built environment and the country’s cultural awareness. To this end it has established an “Awards of Architecture” scheme that aims to promote contemporary architecture in Greece. The SADAS-PEA appointed a jury to select projects for the awards and the ACE, following an invitation, nominated Rania Kloutsinoti to be a member of the jury with Inis Messare as substitute.
The awarded projects will be displayed at the “Pan
Hellenic Architectural Exhibition – Awards of Architecture” to be held
in Athens from the 3rd to the 12th June 2005.
The vote, in Second Reading, on the Qualifications Directive in the Plenary Session of the European Parliament took place on the 11th May 2005. The outcome has been received by the ACE with satisfaction as the Parliament adopted amendments that will ensure that the Commission shall adequately consult the professions and report to the future regulatory committee (comitology) in the execution of its duties. This goes further than the amendment that the ACE sought in conjunction with the health professionals (see ACE Info 3-05) and represents a significant shift towards the interests of the profession since the proposal was first put to the Parliament and Council. In fact, the result is the best that the ACE could possibly expect in line with the so-called “third way strategy” it adopted three years ago. Twenty-three of the amendments adopted by the Parliament were compromise amendments worked out between the tie of the vote in the IMCO Committee (26th April 2005) and the vote in the Plenary Session.
It now seems certain that the directive will be adopted by Council as amended by Parliament, thus avoiding conciliation.
Declaration on a European Charter of Culture
At a two day meeting, held on the 2nd and 3rd May, in Paris, held under the high patronage of Jacques Chirac, a declaration in favour of a European Charter of Culture was signed by the Ministers of Culture from the EU-25 countries. This initiative, which follows up a Conference held in Berlin at the end of November last year, has grown out of a desire to elevate Culture to a central place in the construction of Europe and it will be a valuable tool for the architectural profession as it strives to ensure that the value and quality of architecture has a fundamental impact on the cultural heritage of Europe. At the event both Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, current President of the European Council and Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission, strongly called for more attention to be given to the cultural dimension of Europe with a view to raising its importance to the same level as economic and market-orientated considerations in the construction of Europe.
Further, follow-up events are to be held in Budapest in November 2005, in Madrid in 2006 and in Lisbon during the first half of 2007.
Five so-called “co-operation groups” have been set up, in which architecture as a topic is a noticeable omission. The ACE in liaison with the Luxembourg Presidency is striving to obtain that this will be corrected, and that appropriate synergies will be sought to link up this activity with the activities of the European Forum for Architectural Policies.
The Directive on Services in the Internal Market (SIM)
Mrs. Evelyne Gebhardt, the rapporteur in the European Parliament on the SIM Directive, presented the first part of her report to the IMCO Committee on the 19th April last. In the report she has proposed making major changes to the directive including doing away with the Country of Origin principle and replacing it with mutual recognition and the country of destination principle, the reduction of its scope by the exclusion of services of general interest and by clarifying the services to which the directive will apply by the use of a “positive” list of such services. The report got a mixed reception and will clearly need more work before it will get Parliamentary support.
This fact was underlined when, on the 26th April, the Committee on Industry of the Parliament, adopted the report of the German Liberal Jorgo Chatzimarkakis on the SIM Directive by a convincing majority. The significance of this is that the report retains the Country of Origin principle, although it does provide for a longer adaptation period of the provisions of the Directive in order to allow highly regulated services to get ready to be opened up to reinforced competition in a liberalised market. The next debate in the IMCO Committee on the directive is scheduled for the 24th May 2005. It is planned that a discussion on the second part of the report of Mrs Gebhardt will take place om that occasion.
Commissioner Potocnik Presents the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development to the European parliament
The proposal of the Commission for the 7th Framework Programme on Research and Development (FP7), was presented, by the Commissioner for Research, Mr. Janez Potocnik, to the European Parliament on the 6th April 2005. The proposal provides for the doubling of Community financing for Research in order to provide an incentive effect on investment by Member states and the private sector. The Parliament welcomed the proposal and acknowledged the important role that research can play in the future of Europe. A broad welcome was also given to the proposal by the Member State Permanent Representatives.
The European Parliament chose the former Polish Prime
Minister, Mr. Jerzy Busek (now an MEP), as the rapporteur on the proposal.
The next meeting of FOCOPE (The Forum for Construction in the European
Parliament) on 1st June has this topic on the agenda. To read
the proposal go to:
Commission to set up the European Consumer Institute
On the 6th April 2005, the Commission published
a communication entitled “healthier, safer, more confident consumers:
a Health and Consumer protection strategy” in which it presents its action
programme for health and consumer protection for the period 2007-2013.
The creation of the European Consumer Institute will be the cornerstone
of the instrument to implement the actions outlined in the communication.
Among these are to improve information for citizens, ensure the security
of goods and services, tackle consumer vulnerability to dishonest traders
and ensure access to essential services. In order to see the full
communication go to:
EU Ministers Back Social Housing
At their meeting in Prague, held on the 14th
and 15th March, European Ministers rejected the European Parliament’s
view that government support of the social housing sector may distort
competition and they called for recognition that EU structural funds should
be used to benefit housing. In their final communiqué and in
a letter addressed to the European Commission, the Ministers argued that
as social housing is “a local service with no significant impact on
trade in the internal market, but with strong added value for social cohesion
in the EU” the decision adopted in February 2004 by the European Commission
to exempt social housing providers from the obligation to notify State
subsidies at EU level should stand. In addition the Ministers proclaimed
themselves “willing to explore all possibilities including the use
of EU Funds under the existing financial framework, to benefit housing,
especially in relation to energy efficiency, the central means of CO2
savings with respect to the Kyoto obligations of the EU”. To
see the final communiqué and letter of the Ministers go to:
The RICS Launches Attack on the Architects
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), through the front page of its publication “RICS European Alert”, has launched an attack on architects. Using the debate on the qualifications directive, the RICS tries to argue that “appropriately qualified” building professionals such as “building surveyors”, so-called “technical architects” (!?), “building experts” and so-called “constructing architects” (!?) should be permitted to design buildings across Europe. The article bluntly states that the practice of the Member States to restrict the design of buildings to those persons holding the qualification or title of architect, is un-competitive. The RICS used these arguments to try to undermine the provisions of the qualifications directive by proposing amendments to the directive. The RICS was supported in its efforts by a group calling itself the Forum of European Construction Professionals (FECP), in which it is closely involved. Fortunately there was no support for the proposed amendments in Parliament and they were withdrawn before the vote in the IMCO Committee of the 26th April (see above).
STOP THAT NOISE!
The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) of
the Commission has chosen the topic of noise at work as its theme for
this year’s European week for Safety and Health at Work. The week
of events will take place from the 24th to the 28th
October, but the accompanying campaign is already well underway.
According to the World Health Organisation, noise-induced hearing loss
is the most prevalent, irreversible industrial disease and the OSHA say
that one-in-four workers across the EU are exposed to such a high level
of persistent noise at work that they have to raise their voices to be
heard. For more on the campaign go to:
Former EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy is Named WTO Director-General
On Friday 13th May, Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Chairman of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Council gave a statement that announced the appointment of Mr. Pascal Lamy as the next Director-General of the WTO for a period of 4 years starting on the 1st September 2005. The ACE, through its membership of the European Services Forum (ESF), enjoyed a good relationship with Mr. Lamy when he was the EU Commissioner for Trade; this means that he is well aware of the services sector and ts demands for the ongoing Doha negotiations.
Guide on new Definition of SME’s
The DG Enterprise at the Commission has published a
new guide explaining the new definition of small and medium-sized enterprise
(SME), which took effect on the 1st January 2005. It
was established on the basis of a Commission recommendation of the 6th
May 2003 and it will apply to all programmes, all policies and Commission
measures in favour of SME’s. The electronic version of the guide,
which can be used to determine whether or not a company can be described
as an SME, can be found at:
Parliament Adopts Directive on Eco-design of Energy Using Products
On the 13th April 2005, the European Parliament adopted, in Second Reading, the proposed framework directive of August 2003, setting ecological requirements for the design of energy-using products, that aims to improve their energy efficiency and limit their impact on the environment. The Commission, in a press release from the Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Andris Piebalgs, welcomed the vote saying “this directive will allow sustainable and growing energy savings to the benefit of consumers, which will go to boost the EU’s security of energy supply”. The directive, when transposed into national laws is expected to have a beneficial effect on businesses, especially on SME’s.
MEP’s Back Mandatory Targets for Energy Savings by End-users
On the 20th April, MEP’s in the Industry Committee backed the report by Ms. Mechtild Rothe (PSE, Germany) on energy end-use efficiency and energy services. The draft directive covers the retail supply and distribution of electricity and natural gas to end-users including households, transport, industry and the commercial and public sectors. The MEPs supported the directive’s most controversial provision of setting a mandatory 1% annual energy saving target for Member States. If confirmed in Plenary this could lead to confrontation with the EU Council of Ministers, which has stated a preference for less rigid national indicative targets.
Online Architectural Archives
The French Architectural Institute (IFA-Paris) has
established an online architectural archive that contains a wide range
of information on the architectural archives of Europe and on the keeping
of archive material. It is the result of a three year research programme
on the subject, which was funded under a GAUDI grant. Of particular
interest are the guidelines for architectural practices that can be downloaded
from the site on how and what to archive. The address of the site
France Adopts an Environmental Charter
The French government has “enshrined” an environmental
charter in the French constitution. This has put the right to a
healthy environment on the same legal footing in France as human rights.
It is seen as a pioneering move in environmental protection and it covers
the principles of prevention, precaution and polluter-pays. It also
obliges individual citizens to “prevent or at least limit” actions leading
to environmental damage. The charter can be accessed at:
Rem Koolhaas Awarded the 2005 Mies Van Der Rohe Prize
On the 11th April, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multi-Lingualism, Jan Figel and the Mayor of Barcelona, Juan Clos, awarded the EU prize for contemporary architecture to the Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas for the Embassy of the Netherlands in Berlin. The prize award amounts to 50,000EUR and a sculpture by the Catalan artist Xavier Corbero.
The Emerging Architect Special Mention award of 10,000EUR
went to Basketbar project in Utrecht (the Netherlands) by architects Pieter
Bannenberg, Walter van Dijk, Kamile Klasse and Mark Linnemann. Further
details can be found at:
Internet Portal on the use of Steel in Architecture
A new, multi-lingual, internet portal site on the use
of steel in architecture has been launched by the Arcelor Group.
It contains links to many useful and informative sites about the use of
steel and it is currently seeking to establish links from the site to
architectural institutions around the globe. The site can be viewed
Commission Puts Improved WTO Offer on Services to Member States
On the 20th April, the European Commission proposed to Member States a new revised EU Offer on services for multilateral negotiations at the WTO on the Doha Round. The improvements in the Offer, over the Offer of 2003, lies mainly in the fact that concessions on market opening which, in 2003, only covered the EU-15, now covers the EU-25. Another change relates to environmental services. The Commission is consulting Member States on the Offer before sending it to the WTO by the deadline of the end of May.
The EU, which is the world’s largest exporter of services (with a 24% share of the world market), recently sent individual requests to the 103 member countries of the WTO asking them to agree to greater opening in their markets for services. In doing so, it hopes that the countries in question will take account of European requests when making their own Offers between now and the end of May.
Benchmarking Pilot Study
The Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission has appointed Bernard Williams Associates (BWA) of the UK to undertake a pilot study to investigate the factors, which influence the relative resource usage and competitiveness in EU construction industries. The project will be co-ordinated by Michael Packham who is a partner in BWA and is under the direction of Bernard Williams who is a consultant to the practice. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2005.
Davis Langdon Management Consulting (DLMC) will be
part of the BWA team with specific responsibility for data collection.
The team also includes an advisory panel of European construction professionals
and academics with a special knowledge of this subject area on which the
ACE has a seat. BWA would be interested to hear from anyone who
may wish to provide information of either a general or specific nature,
which will help them in the study. If you wish to contact them then
Demographic Change and its Consequences for Cities
The German Journal of Urban Studies (Vol. 44 (2004),
No.1) has published five articles on this subject. They look at
the consequences that a shrinking and older population pose for European
cities. This is a particularly acute problem for German cities.
To view the articles go to:
Change, Brussels – Capital of Europe
Published by Prism Editions, this book takes the emerging
role of Brussels as the Capital of Europe as a stimulus to a number of
large architectural practices who propose a series of visions of what
Brussels should become as Capital of Europe. The City of Brussels,
the book postulates, can act as a catalyst for the essential incorporation
of Culture into the European project, but
UIA world congress - istanbul
Time is short and the UIA World Congress of architects
is just two months away. You are invited to look at the programme and
events that are planned for this “Bazaar of Architectures” at:
and to register to attend the events.
Construction Safety 2006
A major international conference that will address
the wide range of issues that surround the Health and Safety in the construction
industry. It is being organised by the Finnish Association of Civil
Engineers and it will be held from the 10th to the 12th
May 2006 in Helsinki. The organisers have issued a call for papers,
which can be accessed at:
CIB 2005 Helsinki Symposium: Combining Forces
The main objective of this symposium, which will be
held in Helsinki from the 13th to the 16th June
2005, is to put modern construction management and economics into the
perspective of modern real estate and construction businesses and projects.
Full information can be found at:
An Estuary and its Towns
To be held in Nantes on the 23rd and the
24th June 2005, this conference is being organised by UNSFA
(Union des syndicats français d’architectes) and it will address
issues of urban planning in the context of architecture and sustainable
development. Full details can be found at:
EFAP Event in Luxembourg
The European Forum for Architectural Policies (EFAP)
is holding its next plenary event in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency
of the EU. It is scheduled to take place on the 27th
and the 28th June and it will coincide with an informal meeting
of the European Ministers of Culture. This coincidence will permit
the participants in the Forum event to hold a joint session with the Ministers
on the morning of the 27th June. For further information
see the website of the EFAP at:
Intensive Seminar on the European Union
The College of Europe is organising a training programme
on the European Union for civil servants, managers from private companies
and NGO’s, lawyers and academics for whom knowledge of the workings of
the European Union is crucial to their work. There are two possibilities
to take the course. The first is the “classic” approach lasting
from the 4th to the 22nd July 2005. The second
is the “compact” formula, lasting from the 11th to the 15th
July 2005. Full details on costs and booking at:
URBAN Future Conference
What place should “Integrated Urban Regeneration” be
given within the future EU Cohesion Policy? This will be the question
that will be at the heart of debates at the URBAN Future conference for
URBAN cities and networks. The conference will take place in Saarbrucken
(Germany) on the 8th and 9th June 2005. For
futher information see:
Rural Landscape and Architectural Quality
The Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna and
the International Network of Building Art and Urbanism, under the patronage
of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, has announced the International
Summer School in Architecture on the above theme. It will be run
at the Atelier at Morciano di Romagna in Rimini from the 18th
June to the 2nd July 2005. Full details at:
Global Summit on Construction Industry R&D Strategies
To be held in Helsinki on the 15th and 16th
June 2005, this conference will seek to integrate thinking from across
the globe on various ways to accelerate technological integration and
automation in the construction industry. It is being held in conjunction
with the CIB2005 Conference (see above) and more details can be found
Competing and Caring: Urban Research for European Urban Policy
To be held from the 14th to the 17th
September 2005 in Amsterdam, this conference is designed to assist cities
with practically orientated research and concrete policy instruments to
reinforce the economic and social strength of cities. For full information
San Agustin 2005 International Ideas Competition
This competition is being organised by the Tenerife,
La Gomera and El Hierro District of the Official Association of Architects
of the Canary Islands. The main objective of the competition is
to begin the process that will culminate in the recovery of the city’s
emblematic complex and, as a first stage, to select the best idea within
those participating in the Competition. Full details at:
Children in Scotland – International Award for Architecture 2005
With the support of the Scottish Executive and the
OECD International Award (with the support of the Royal Incorporation
of Architects in Scotland), Children in Scotland is inviting submissions
from architects for an award for the most successful building or space
providing for children aged 0-10. Projects should have been completed
in the period December 1999 – December 2004. The deadline is the
17th June 2005 and full details are available at:
European Commission homepage
Search page for Commission documents
The Barroso Commission:
Website of the Luxembourg Presidency
European Forum for Architectural Policies
Sustainable building website
COAC international relations database:
CNAPPC database - ArchiEurope:
Website of the European construction technology platform:
EU impact assessment in practice
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: Marie-Helene Lucas
The Secretary General of the ACE: Alain Sagne
Senior Advisor to the ACE: Adrian Joyce
ACE Info is normally issued around the second Wednesday of each month. 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 issue then e-mail it (in English or French please)
to [email protected]
Deadline for submissions is the first Friday of each month.
The editorial board wishes to acknowledge the sources of information for this issue of ACE Info which include Cecodhas, the RICS European Alert, EFLA Newsletter, ECTP Bulletin, Bernard Williams Associates, le journal de l’architecte, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.
- Comments and contributions welcome