ACE Info 4.08
Editorial: Welcome to the August edition of ACE Info, which we hope you will find informative and engaging. The holidays for 2008 are now over and you will see from the content of this edition of ACE Info that much of interest has come to the attention of the ACE during this holiday period. The ACE is now facing into a period of intense activity on several dossiers and, not least, in relation in preparing to lobby in the interests of a quality built environment during the period of the upcoming Parliamentary Elections in 2009 and also ahead of the subsequent appointment of a new Commission. It is a crucial milestone for the EU as the Lisbon Treaty remains in intensive care with little prospect of survival. Not only have the Irish people rejected the Treaty in the only referendum held on the subject, but both the Czech and Polish Presidents are refusing to ratify the Treaty and an autonomous region of Finland looks set to refuse the Treaty too. At the very least these difficulties mean that further enlargement of the EU is on hold and that a fresh approach to governance and decision-making will need to be devised during the next mandate of the EU Parliament. Therefore voting in the right politicians will be crucial in the shaping of the future EU and it is in our interest to ensure that as many of them as possible are sensitive to the needs of the construction sector and to the need to ensure a higher quality of life through coherent integrated policies that put the interests of the citizen first.
This edition is also available in French.
Calls for Papers
French Law on the use of PPP Partly Censured
The ACE has been concerned for some time that the expanding use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for the procurement of public buildings (schools, courthouses, prisons etc.) is leading to a decrease in the architectural and technical quality of the built environment and to an abdication by public authorities of their duty to make responsible use of public money. It seems clear that despite repeated criticism and bad experiences, politicians remain persuaded of the benefit of using PPP as its use often permits political promises made at election time to be realised during the mandate between elections.
In France, despite extensive and well-organised opposition – notably by the architectural profession and its partners - to the introduction of a law permitting the use of PPP for buildings, such a law was enacted in 2003. However, the Senator Jean-Pierre Sueur and 60 other Senators appealed against the law at the time to ensure that PPP could only be used in exceptional cases. Recently the French Government attempted to extend the law in order to open the use of PPP to virtually all sizes of project. Once again Jean-Pierre Sueur, 60 senators and 60 Deputies appealed to the Constitutional Court and the Court found that the proposed extension of the law was unconstitutional. The architectural profession in France is pleased with this outcome and believes that the French approach to the use of PPP (which significantly limits its use) could be a model for other countries.
Source: Le Moniteur-expert.com – La depeche
Climate Change – Commission Launches Public Consultation on EU Position
The European Commission has launched a public consultation in order to seek the point of view of all those interested in climate change and the position that the EU will defend during international negotiations for a global agreement in 2009 that will, it is hoped, be signed at the Copenhagen Conference on fighting global warming beyond 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol expires. Those who take part in the consultation will be asked to comment on, among other things, the EU objective of a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050, clean development mechanisms, improved efficiency in carbon markets and technological cooperation. This consultation comes at a timely moment as many of the Member Organisations of the ACE and the ACE itself has started to consider how the profession can work within the construction sector to reduce the sectors carbon footprint. To take part, go to:
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9717
In Memoriam: Giancarlo Ius
The ACE was profoundly saddened to learn of the tragic, sudden death of the Italian architect, Giancarlo Ius, who passed away in the early hours of the morning of 5th July last – the day on which the UIA General Assembly was to vote for its new President and for which Giancarlo Ius was one of two candidates. He was very well known to ACE and its delegates as he led the Italian delegation to the ACE for a number of years and was the serving Vice-President of the UIA for Region I. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
In recognition of the contribution that he has made to the architectural profession, the UIA has decided to dedicate the next World Architect Day to the theme of Child, be the architect of a better future, which is the title of a song written by Giancarlo Ius especially for the UIA Congress in Turin. The date for the event is Monday 6th October 2008.
Changes in the ACE Member Organisations
Since the last edition of ACE Info, the Secretariat has received a notification about changes in the Presidium of one of its Member Organisations as follows:
Changes in the Presidium of IARP
The National Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland (IARP) has announced that during the elections on the 14th June 2008 Slawomir Zak was appointed to continue the role of President of IARP and Pawel Kobylanski was appointed Vice-President responsible for foreign affairs. The new composition of Presidium can be found at the website of IARP:
The ACE at External Events
The ACE is frequently represented by its President, Members of its Executive Board, Chairmen of Work Groups and/or the Secretariat at external events and conferences. 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:
Quality in Public Buildings – Namur, Belgium
The Secretary General, Alain Sagne made a presentation at this regional event that examined the various means by which public authorities can strive to ensure quality outcomes when they are procuring buildings within their jurisdiction. His presentation, and those of the other speakers can be accessed at:
UIA Congress – Turin
The President, Juhani Katainen, the Secretary General, Alain Sagne and the Senior Adviser, Adrian Joyce attended the triennial Congress of the International Union of Architects (UIA) as the official representation of the ACE. The three-day event provided multiple opportunities to propagate the policies of the ACE and to learn more about the work of the UIA with a view to engaging in closer collaboration with it on topics of specific interest.
Specifically it allowed a number of bi-lateral meetings to take place with delegations from outside the EU with whom the ACE wishes to either establish closer ties or to negotiate a profession-to-profession agreement. The first of these meetings was held with the President of the Union of Architects of Russia (UAR) with whom the ACE signed a Memorandum of Understanding on increased cooperation and exchange of experiences.
The second meeting took place with representatives of the profession from Mexico and offered an opportunity to review the state of play in the official contacts that are currently underway to negotiate a legally binding Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the EU and the Republic of Mexico in the context of the existing Free Trade Agreement between the two. These negotiations are being based on the existing profession-to-profession MRA that was singed in 2001 between the ACE and the FCARM . The meeting also permitted exchanges on other topics of interest.
The third bi-lateral meeting was held with a delegation of the architects of the Republic of Korea. This was a first contact between the ACE and the Korean Institute of Registered Architects (KIRA) and was convened with the object of agreeing in principle to the opening of formal negotiations of a profession-to-profession MRA between the ACE and the KIRA. The meeting was highly successful a letter of intent between the two organisations (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed at the end of the meeting and it planned that a delegation of the ACE will travel to Korea in late October to formally initiate negotiations.
The final meeting in the series of bi-lateral meetings took place with a delegation representing the architects of Canada with whom negotiations on a profession-to-profession MRA have been stalled for some time. The meeting was fruitful in that it permitted the ACE to gain an insight into the internal difficulties that the profession has faced in Canada and it allowed the side to talk about other issues such as Public Private Partnerships (PPP) which are of concern in both jurisdictions. It was agreed that closer exchanges on such topics n the future would be beneficial for both parties.
The Oxford Conference on Architectural Education
The Senior Adviser of the ACE, Adrian Joyce, represented both the ACE and the Joint Working Party of the ACE and the EAAE at this important Conference on the future of architectural education. He gave a presentation on the need for the profession and the schools of architecture to work more closely together in the interests of the discipline of architecture in a recognition that both the profession and the schools have a crucial role to play in ensuring that architects can assure that they keep their professional competences up to date over their full career. The Conference was attended by over 300 professors and teachers form over 50 countries worldwide and it concluded that the means by which education and training is provided needs to kept under constant review in order to ensure its relevance in a changing world in which sustainability and concerns over climate change have come centre stage.
ACE Events and Meetings in September, October and November 2008:
Work Group on Health and Safety – Brussels – 18th September
Work Group Professional Qualifications Directive – Brussels – 18th September
General Coordination Meeting – Brussels – 19th September
Work Group Urban Issues – Brussels – 20th September
Work Group Education – Budapest – 26th September
CEO’s and Correspondents Meeting – Brussels – 2nd October
Finance Committee Meeting – Brussels – 3rd October
Executive Board Meeting – Bordeaux – 11th October
Work Group Education – Paris – 14th November
Executive Board Meeting – Brussels – 20th November
Second General Assembly in 2008 – Brussels – 21st and 22nd November
Greens Call for EU Treaty on Renewables
The Green Group of the European Parliament has called for renewable energies to be given a similar status to that given to coal and nuclear in the past under the Euratom and Coal and Steel Community Treaties, saying that this is necessary to create a “paradigm shift” in favour of green energies. The call followed the presentation to the European Parliament on the 24th June 2008 of a study that showed how such an approach could significantly assist the EU in achieving its commitment to reach a 20% of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2020. The study states that the EU has the theoretical, technical and economic potential to meet all of its electricity needs from renewable sources, thus implying that it is a lack of political will that is preventing the EU from achieving a significantly greater energy security. To read the study, go to:
Commission Launches its Package on Sustainable Consumption and Production
On the 16th July 2008, the European Commission launched an Action Plan on Sustainable Industrial Policy and on Sustainable Consumption that it hopes will improve the environmental performance of products and stimulate the demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies. The Action Plan will complement, integrate and fill existing policy instruments at EU and national level that foster resource efficiency and eco-friendly products and raise consumer awareness.
Immediately following its launch, CEMBUREAU the European Cement Association, issued a statement calling on the Commission to ensure that attention be paid to developing an integrated strategy for sustainable construction to complement the expected progress that the Action Plan will deliver and to take into account the whole life cycle of the end-use product i.e. the building or construction works. In fact, CEMBUREAU argues that, in the construction sector, it is the completed whole building that should be considered as a “product” as opposed to the current approach whereby it is individual construction products that are addressed.
For more information go to: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/pdf/com_2008_397.pdf
Source: Europa Media Newsletter and CEMBUREAU
Economic Partnership with Between the EU and Cariforum comes Closer
An Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and countries in Cariforum (Antigua and Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Christopher and St Nevis, Santa Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam and Trinidad and Tobago) came a step closer when, on the 15th July last the Council of the EU adopted a decision on the signing and provisional application of the free trade agreement. Further processes are required that will see the signing of the EPA by the EU and its Member States and by the Cariforum countries. The European Parliament must also give its assent. This will be the first full EPA that covers access to the market for goods and services, investment, public tender and e-commerce. In fact the EPA measures on free, quota-free access to the EU market for virtually all products originating in Cariforum countries came into force on the 1st January last under Council Regulation 1528/2007. For more information, go to:
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9704
Commission Seeks Damages Against Lifts Cartel
The European Commission announced on the 24th June 2008 that it intends to seek compensation from the companies which, between 1995 and 2004, supplied it with lifts when they were involved in a cartel that was later uncovered and sanctioned by the Commission. The Commission hopes that its example will encourage others to take similar action. The Commission estimates that, over the period of the existence of the Cartel, it paid €19 million for material, installation and maintenance costs to Schindler, Otis, KONE and ThyssenKrupp and it will be for specialists to estimate the amount of overpayment suffered by the Commission. It is clear that it will be a minimum of 20% and possibly as high as 50%.
The four companies mentioned above were fined a total of €992 million in February of last year for operating the cartel in some EU countries. The companies have appealed against the decision without denying that they took part in the cartel.
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9689
Commission Launches its Small Business Act (SBA)
On the 25th June 2008, the European Commission unveiled the SBA, an action plan to stimulate the growth if small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and encourage them to create more jobs. It sets out ten political principles to guide action for SMEs at national and European levels. One of the flagship provisions of the SBA will be the introduction of a Regulation to create a statute for European private companies (SPE) that will mean that entrepreneurs will no longer need to go through a legal labyrinth when they want to do business in the Single Market. At the present time there is a plethora of legal set-ups across the EU that is, accordingly to Commissioner McCreevy, of more benefit to lawyers than anyone else. The Regulation will allow SPEs to be created with one euro as the minimum capital requirement. It is hoped that the Regulation will be adopted before the European elections in 2009 so that the Regulation can come into effect in 2010. For more information go to:
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9690
Reduced VAT Rate may be Applied to the Whole Housing Sector
As part of a review of the European rules on reduced rates of VAT on labour intensive services, the European Commission has indicated, in the text of a draft directive on the subject (COM 2008(428)) that it would be supportive of the idea that the temporary arrangements that currently apply up until 31st December 2010 be extended indefinitely after that date, thus allowing Member States who currently apply a reduced VAT rate to continue to do so. The current rules permit reduced VAT rates for, among other things, renovation and repair of private dwellings and, given its success, the Commission is now considering extending the definition of renovation, repair, maintenance and cleaning services to include the whole housing sector. Other services currently being considered for inclusion are, among others, gardening, landscaping and maintenance of gardens. To read the text of the proposed directive, go to:
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9691
Public Procurement: Voluntary Code of Best Practices Adopted by European Commission
The European Commission has adopted a voluntary code of best practices showing public authorities how they should make better use of EU public procurement directives to make it easier for SMEs to win public contracts. The action was taken in response to the seven main problems faced by SMEs when submitting bids and results from a consultation of interested parties, which pointed out that the most important element needed was a change of culture from public purchasers and not a change in the content of the EU directives. The code of best practices can be accessed at:
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9693
Construction Output Decreases in June 2008
According to figures released by Eurostat, seasonally adjusted figures for production in the construction sector in June 2008 showed a drop on 0.6% in the Eurozone and a drop of 1.5% on the EU-27 countries as a whole. Compared with June 2007, output from the sector has dropped by 2.4% in the Eurozone and by 1.8% in the EU-27 countries. Despite this general downward trend, there are countries that saw increases in output in June 2008, notably Portugal, Romania and Poland. The countries that showed the largest decreases in activity were Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Spain. To see the full range of statistics, go to:
Delays in Transposing Services Directive
It has become clear that there are many delays in the Member States in relation to the transposition of the Services Directive into national laws. This was the news delivered to a hearing with the French national assembly’s Delegation to the EU held at the end of June 2008. It was acknowledged that the Directive requires extensive work by the Member States but it was also noted that the rate of transposition was very patchy, particularly in relation to the key questions of the establishment of Points of Single Contact and the screening of national legislation. A document that is particularly interesting to read on this subject is the third Eurochambres report on the transposition process, which is available to download at:
Source: Bulletin Quotidien Europe No. 9715
Europa Nostra European Heritage Awards 2008
The ceremony at which the Europa Nostra European Heritage Awards were made took place in Durham Cathedral in the UK in June 2008. The award winning projects, studies, individuals and groups came from 15 different European countries. To see the full list of awards granted this year, visit the Europa Nostra website at:
Source: Europa Nostra
The Most Liveable Cities in the World
The liveability of cities is becoming an important issue for urban professionals and policy-makers around the world with each city examining how it can differentiate itself from all others to become the most attractive place to live. There are many rankings that exist that can tell us which city is the most expensive to live in, the most sustainable or the most innovative, but not which cities are the most liveable. Monocle magazine recently undertook research to discover which cities are the most liveable and used both scientific and subjective criteria in their research including international connections, safety, health care, hours of sunshine, nightlife and the amount of green space. The final ranking of 25 cities puts Copenhagen in first place as the most liveable city in the world. To see the full rankings, go to:
The Year of Planet Earth
With the increasing profile being given to the impact that the human race is having on the systems of planet earth and on our own chances of survival in a changed climate, you will be pleased to learn that the UN declared 2008 to be the Year of Planet Earth. Throughout the year there are many official and unofficial events taking place across the globe and the contributions that each sector and each person can make to the mitigation of the impact of our activities on the systems of the earth is being widely explored. The whole year is being coordinated through the following website, which is a rich source of information: www.yearofplanetearth.org
Source: The UN
Brussels: Five Teams Selected for Phase Two of Rue de Loi Competition
The European Quarter in Brussels is currently the subject of a major two-stage international design competition that it is hoped will lead to the transformation of the European Quarter into an area worthy of being the seat of the European Institutions with more diversity and activity than at the present time. Following Stage one, in which 35 teams applied for selection for Stage two, 5 teams have been selected to prepare proposals. Three of these teams are: Christian de Portzamparc (FR), Xavier de Geyter (BE) and JDS Julien de Smedt Architects (DK and BE).
Source: Metro magazine, Brussels
Energy Efficiency is Not Being Taken Seriously Enough in the EU
The first results from the Energy Efficiency Watch (EEW) screening of the Natioanl Energy Efficiency Action Plans of the Member States shows that they are very heterogeneous in terms of their design, content and levels of information provided. In most cases, the relationship between technical energy saving potentials, energy saving targets and energy efficiency improvement measures is weak and not transparent. On the positive side, the EEW reports that, taken together, the collections of measures broadens thinking about energy efficiency and that international mutual learning should result and be possible.
In a parallel action, the leading European associations in the energy efficiency sector has called on EU Heads of State and Government to strengthen the energy efficiency agenda in Brussels and to adopt a mandatory energy efficiency target for Europe in order to limit the impact of high energy prices. These associations point out that energy efficiency measures are the solution to high energy prices.
For more from the EEW, go to: www.energy-efficiency-watch.org/index.php?id=49
For more from the associations, got to:
European Green Capital Launched by the Commission
The European Commission has launched a new campaign to be known as European Green Capital – Green Cities – fit for life through which a European City will be designated the Green Capital each year. Starting in 2010, one European city will be selected to be the European Green capital for that year and it will be the city that has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development and that can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities. For more on the campaign, go to:
Source: European Commission
The Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE) publishes two journals for which it would be happy to receive contributions. The first is the Journal for Education in the Built Environment (JEBE), which is an international peer-reviewed journal for teachers, trainers, practitioners and scholars working ion the built environment discipline in higher education. The second is CEBE Transactions and is a peer-reviewed on-line journal that publishes case studies, project reports, essays, research findings, reviews and other work relating to teaching, learning, scholarship and research-teaching-consultancy link in built environment disciplines. For more information got to:
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:
Free Movements and Equal Living Opportunities for All, 15th to 16th January 2009, Valencia
A call for abstracts on the theme of this event is currently open with a deadline for submissions of the 15th October 2008. To find out more about the event and the topics on which abstracts can be submitted, go to:
An international conference that is scheduled to take place in Iceland from the 23-25th March 2009, the organisers have issued a limited call for papers on the topic: Climate Neutral through Procurement. The conference aims to provide a platform to promote exchange and dialogue amongst purchasers from all levels of government, suppliers, policy-makers and multipliers on strategies. More information:
fib International Congress and Exhibition 2010
This event is only held every four years and in 2010 it will be held in Washington DC from the 29th May to the 2nd June 2010 on the theme of Think Globally, Build Locally. The fib (International Concrete Federation) has announced a call for papers with a first submission deadline of 15th April 2009. To consult the rules that govern the submission of abstracts, go to:
Climate Change and Urban Design – Science, Policy, Education and Best Practice
To be held in Oslo, Norway from the 14th to the 16th September 2008, this Conference promises to teach attendees the latest advances on this urgent topic. Full details can be found at:
This event is a forum for all those involved in the future of work and the workplace and the inaugural event is taking place in Amsterdam on the 18th and 19th September 2008. Full details:
EUKN International Conference – Cities of Opportunity – the urban promise of upward mobility
To be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on the 22nd and 23rd September 2008, this conference seeks to underline the importance for cities of socio-economic development within Europe. Full details can be accessed at:
Sustainable Cities and Communities – Creating Greener Living for a Sustainable Future
To be held in Geneva, Switzerland on the 30th September and 1st October 2008, this conference will focus on the practical challenges and opportunities that cities and communities will face in order to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and congestion. Full details can be accessed at:
ENBRI Conference – Moving the Construction Sector Forward Through Research, Innovation and Standardisation
To be held in Leuven, Belgium on the 2nd October 2008, this conference marks the 20th anniversary of the setting up of ENBRI, the European Network of Building Research Institutes. Participants will have the opportunity to debate ongoing changes at EU level, the Seventh Framework Programme for research and to showcase their ongoing research work. Full details at:
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:
Sustainable Construction Labelling – User needs
To be held in Brussels on the 21st October 2008, this conference will review and discuss current developments concerning environmental information in the construction sector and will seek to identify environmental labelling needs of potential users. Full details by e-mail: [email protected]
ICEBO’08 -International Conference for Enhanced Building Operations
To be held in Berlin, Germany from the 20th to the 22nd October 2008, this conference will give an overview of evaluation and certification systems for the enhancements of building energy efficiency. Full details can be found at:
This major international conference will be held in Dublin, Ireland from the 22nd to the 24th October 2008. Presided over by Professor J Owen Lewis (Chair of the ACE Work Group on the Environment and Sustainable Architecture), it marks the 25th holding of this annual conference on the theme of passive and low energy architecture. The main theme this year is Towards Zero Energy Building and full details can be found at:
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:
None to announce in this edition
Selection of Useful and interesting links:
European Commission homepage
Search page for Commission documents
The Barroso Commission:
The European Parliament Homepage:
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.
International Union of Architects
FCARM: Federacion de Colegios de Arquitectos de la Republica Mexican
EAAE: European Association for Architectural Education