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ACE Info 5.06


English language version
The monthly electronic note from the Architects’ Council of Europe
Issue 5-06


Welcome to the fifth issue in 2006 of ACE Info, the regular update from the Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) that will give you, at a glance, information on current issues, highlighting emerging areas of activity and informing you of matters of interest in the field of architectural policy.

This issue is also available in French.

Core Issues

Concern Over the Transposition of the Qualifications Directive

The ACE is concerned about the transposition of the Qualifications Directive, which was adopted in 2005 and enters into force on the 20th October 2007. This Directive replaces and consolidates the provisions of 15 previous directives and when it comes into force the Architects’ Directive will be abolished. The directive sets out the procedures that must be followed by Member States in the recognition of professional qualifications within the Internal Market of the EU. The concern of the ACE arises from the fact that the new directive does not recognise the specific nature of architectural education as it has treated the qualifications for architects in the same manner as the other sectoral professions (mainly medical professions) that also had specific directives on recognition before the adoption of the qualifications directive.

The ACE has learnt that, although the new directive claims to preserve the acquis communautaire, the procedures that will be used to assess notified architectural qualifications on which a Member State has raised serious doubts will be radically changed. At the present time, when a Member State raises doubts the publication of the notified qualification is delayed until an opinion is delivered by the Advisory Committee of the Architects Directive. In the new procedures publication of notified qualifications will be automatic, even if serious doubts have been raised by a Member State and so it is conceivable that persons with qualifications that do not meet the criteria of the directive could, in principle, be able to benefit from automatic recognition in the EU, thus bringing down the quality of architecture in the EU. This situation is not at all favourable to the maintenance of a high level of competences required of architects by citizens and consumers and will generate an inexorable lowering of the quality of architecture within the EU. The Commission has stated its intention to seek expert opinion on any such qualifications, but if a negative opinion is issued and accepted, then the consequence is that an officially listed qualification would have to be withdrawn and that would put those who may have benefited from the listing to be in a “no-mans land” thereafter.

Should the new procedures not give the same clarity and certainty about whether listed qualifications meet the criteria of the directive, then confidence in all listed qualifications will be undermined. The ACE, in partnership with the Schools of Architecture, has initiated contacts with the European Commission on these concerns, has informed its Member Organisations in detail and has established an Expert Work Group, under the Chairmanship of Toal O’Muire (IE) to prepare guidance on the issues raised.

New Sustainable Development Strategy Adopted

On the 16th June last, the European Council adopted a revised EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the Gothenburg Agenda. The revised strategy focuses on sustainable production and consumption, listing seven challenges with their corresponding targets and actions, but remains ambiguous in its relationship to the Lisbon Agenda and its drive for growth and jobs. The ACE, in its Policy Book on Architecture and Quality of Life (2004), stated its support for the Lisbon Agenda on the condition that the objectives of the Gothenburg Agenda are implemented at the same time. It will be examining the revised SDS in order to assess whether this new development is likely to deliver the necessary integration between the two Agenda.

To read the full text of the revised SDS go to:

Transposition of the Public Procurement Directives

As reported in the last issue of ACE Info, the rate of transposition of the Directives on Public Procurement remains disappointing. It is worth recalling that the final date for transposition was the 31st January 2006 and that as of the 21st June last, the EU Commission had received notifications from only 15 countries on their implementation measures, of which four appear to constitute partial implementation only. The 11 countries that have fully implemented are Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and the UK. The four that appear to have partially implemented are: Belgium, France, Lithuania and Portugal. The remaining 10 countries may or may not have adopted implementing legislation but, in any event, no notification has been received by the Commission from them to date.

In a related development, the Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Charlie McCreevy (IE), recently addressed the annual conference of British professionals working in public procurement. At that event he denounced the “myth” that European SMEs are not benefiting from Public Procurement when he said that:

“One myth that I would like to dispel today is the notion that, in some way, SMEs get “dealt out” of public procurement opportunities. Nothing could be further from the truth. The latest statistics available showed that 78% of the firms which were awarded a contract the value of which was above the thresholds, were indeed SMEs.”

In making this announcement he was resisting calls for special treatment for SMEs under EU Legislation on procedures for Public Procurement. To read the full content of the speech go to:

Parliament Approves Structural Funds 2007-2013 Package

On the 4th July last, the European Parliament gave is go-ahead to the package of Structural Funds for the period 2007-2013, adopting five reports that define the objectives to which the Structural and Cohesion Funds must contribute, the financial resources available and the criteria for their attribution in an enlarged Europe. Welcoming the vote, Commissioner Hübner stressed that there were several elements of the package that are of importance to the Commission. Among these, she specifically mentioned the fact that the focus will now be on urban areas, which are being seen more and more as the centres for the implementation of European policy and the drivers of growth, prosperity and well being. The emphasis on urban areas recognises that much needs to be done in the regeneration and revitalisation of cities in a manner that reduces the overall environmental impact of cities through sustainable development strategies.

The College of Commissioners adopted the common strategic guidelines on cohesion on the 6th July and it is now expected that they will be adopted by the Parliament in September and by the Council in early October. Further information can be found at:

ACE Matters

The ACE Publishes its Revised Working Structure

Following its latest Executive Board Meeting, the ACE has published on its website an organisational chart that reflects and describes its new working structure. Readers of ACE Info will recall that the ACE brought new Statutes into force in January 2006 and that this change was accompanied by the adoption of a Political Agenda that set out the political goals of the ACE and by a Multi-Annual Work Programme that set out how these goals are to be achieved. The Organisational Chart that received the final approval of the Executive Board at its meeting of the 30th June and 1st July last, sets out in a graphical format the full working structure of the ACE, notably indicating those work areas that interface directly with the EU Institutions. It also shows the names of all those persons charged with leading or contributing as experts to the various work themes that the ACE is now targeting. Finally it shows a number of work themes that have been identified as future priorities and on which work has not yet started. The chart can be downloaded from the website at the following address:

Upcoming ACE Events and Meetings

Expert Work Group on the Qualifications Directive – 20th July – Brussels
Work Group Education – 24th July – Brussels
Work Group Housing – 7th September – Brussels
General Coordination Meeting – 8th September – Brussels
Work Group Environment and Sustainable Architecture – 9th September – Brussels
CEOs - 28th September, Brussels (To be confirmed)
Finance Committee – 29th September – Brussels
Executive Board – 29th and 30th September – Brussels

Other Matters

Questionnaire on Competences of Graduate Architects

The European Network of the Heads of Schools of Architecture (ENHSA) is a project initiated by the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) that aims to help schools of architecture to better and effectively integrate in the new European Higher Education Area. It is taking part in a very ambitious project known as the “Tuning” project where the competences of graduates from all disciplines are being gathered. The objective of the Tuning Project is to inform educational institutes of the competences that their graduates leave their institutions with so as to inform the educational process. In other words, work is underway to reshape educational approaches in order to ensure that they focus on learning outcomes and not just on the process of education.

For graduate architects these learning outcomes and competences are the most relevant elements in design, construction and management and have been drawn from the 11 skills and aptitudes listed in Article 3 of the Architects Directive. In order to gain a picture of these outcomes, the ENHSA has prepared a detailed questionnaire that seeks the opinion of practising architects on the competences of graduates. In order for the results of this work to be reliable there is a need to have a high number of responses from a wide geographical area in Europe and so you are urged to go online and contribute to this important work by completing the questionnaire. It is available in English and French, take about 15 minutes to complete and can be accessed at:

EU-US Summit Addresses Trade in Architectural Services

At the recent EU-US Summit (Vienna, 21st June) the topic of trade in architectural services was reflected in the final declaration of the Summit with a specific reference to the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that was signed by the European and American architectural professional organisations in November 2005. Furthermore, during a high level meeting between representatives of the European services sector (ESF) and the European Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson on the 27th June, in which the importance of achieving substantial liberalisation in trade in services for a successful Doha Round was emphasised, the ACE was able to report that the MRA had been ratified in the interim by the State Architectural Registration Boards of the United States of America with a positive vote of 50 to 1.

Following this meeting, Peter Mandelson issued a Press Release indicating that he will be pushing for an ambitious agreement in the negotiations on trade in services in the context of the informal stock-taking on services negotiations with 20 Ministers which he subsequently held in Geneva on the 1st July and where renewed interest was shown despite the blockage in the Doha Round negotiations. To read the progress on the Declaration on the Economic Initiative where architectural services are mentioned (at the end), go to:

Towards Class “A” – Number of Shining Examples Increasing

The ACE is a partner in this project that is seeking to raise awareness about the energy efficiency of public buildings across the EU through the labelling of municipal buildings for their performance. It is a follow-up to the “Display” campaign and one element of the project is the identification of shining examples of such buildings in all corners of Europe so as to demonstrate that high numbers of energy efficient buildings are already widely spread in Europe. In its latest report of June 2006, the project states that 22 shining examples from 14 countries have now been identified and that there is optimism that this umber will significantly increase before the end of the project in 2007. For further information go to the project website at:

EU Council Supports the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment

On the 27th June, the EU environment ministers confirmed their support for the thematic strategy on the urban environment presented by the European Commission in January 2006. The Council highlights the close link that exists between the thematic strategy on the urban environment and the sustainable development strategy (see above) as well as with the thematic strategies relating to air quality, waste management and prevention. The Council is convinced that it is essential for the cities and urban areas to make a contribution towards combating air pollution and climate change. The Council calls on Member States and their towns and cities to practice integrated environmental management with a special focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency and sustainable use of resources in cities, covering environmentally friendly and sustainable transport and land use planning, sustainable urban design as well as sustainable construction and operation of buildings, green public procurement and the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns and life-styles among citizens.

Adoption of Seventh Framework Programme for Research Moves Forward

The adoption of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) moved forward in recent weeks with the adoption of an amended programme by the Parliament in First Reading on the 15th June as this was followed, on the 1st July by the adoption of a revised draft FP7 by the Commission in which it took into consideration a high number of the Parliaments amendments, particularly in relation to the formulation of thematic priorities. These developments will allow the Finnish Presidency to immediately get down to negotiations on the FP7 with a view to having the Second Reading in Parliament in the autumn, thus opening the way for the first calls to be issued before the end of 2006.

The Parliament supported much of the Commissions ambitions in relation to the FP7, particularly the setting up of the European Research Council as an independent structure after a transition period where it will be an executive agency. The Parliament also emphasised that, for it, the major research priorities of the FP7 should be in the fields of health and energy.

It is interesting to note that the adopted text of the Parliament includes a number of amendments that are, in principle, good for the architectural profession as they address a range of the socio-economic, urban and heritage issues that are of concern to the ACE. In fact, the inclusion of these amendments indicates that the lobbying work, by the ACE and others, on the need to ensure that the FP7 does not focus exclusively on technological issues, is bearing fruit. The ACE has argued, for example, that understanding the processes, systems and impacts of various policy approaches to urban development is crucial if society is to be in a position to deliver quality of life to EU citizens in an increasingly urbanised Europe.

For further information go to:

Le:Notre – The European Urban Landscape Partnership Launched

At the recent European Landscape Conference, a new partnership between municipalities and educationalists was launched under the aegis of Le:Notre. The Urban Landscape Partnership aims to use the twin arms of the EU Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment and the Council of Europe’s European Landscape Convention to develop a long term network and information exchange promoting the urban landscape as a development from the Le:Notre experience. For further information go to:

Quarterly Fall in Production in the Construction Sector

Production in the construction sector in the first quarter of 2006, compared to production in the first quarter of 2005, was down by 1.3% in the euro area and fell by 0.8% in the EU-25. However, compared to the first quarter of 2005, output was up by 0.4% in both the euro area and the EU-25 down from growth of 0,6% and 1,15 respectively in the last quarter of 2005. Overall, building output was generally up in all areas, while civil engineering output was down in all areas.

Council Achieves Common Position on REACH

At its meeting of the 27th June in Luxembourg, the European Council formally adopted its Common Position on the REACH regulation on the registration, assessment and limited authorisation of chemical products in the EU. This decision, on what is considered to be the most complex text ever considered by the EU, opens the way for the Second Reading in Parliament this autumn. On the most controversial point in this legislation – the authorisation procedure for the most hazardous substances – the Council decided to authorise the extended use of these substances as long as they are subject to “adequate controls” and that replacing these worrying substances is encouraged through the use of less harmful solutions. The principle of substitution will therefore not be binding. This decision has led environmental NGOs, consumer and health groups to deplore the decision of the Council as it will not protect citizens and the environment against toxic chemical products.

In a related development, the USA has formed an alliance of 13 trading partners of the EU to lobby against the REACH regulation. The diplomatic missions of these countries –South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Korea, USA, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and Thailand – issued a joint press statement in which they express their “concerns with REACH’s workability, its potential effects on international trade and the opacity of the regulatory process and implementation preparations”. The alliance argues that, if implemented as currently written, REACH would have significant disruptive effects on international trade ad would lead to high costs for SMEs, thus suffocating the competitive environment. It has called on the Parliament to address these “problematic aspects of the proposal” during the Second Reading. To read the US Ambassadors statement on the issue, go to:

Parliament Wants Ambitious Action Plan on Energy Efficiency

On the 1st June last, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the Green Paper on energy efficiency in which it reaffirms its requirements for the Action Plan on Energy Efficiency – on which the Commission is currently working – to be ambitious and concrete. Stressing the fact that “the Union can viably afford to save at least 20% of its current energy consumption” the Parliament calls for a higher objective for energy saving than that mentioned in the Green Paper (20% between now and 2020). It lays emphasis on research and development and the need to carry out a combined action at all decision making levels: Community, national, regional, local and international. The Parliament also recommends a raft of other measures that include the creation of a fund for energy efficiency to promote energy efficient products, a European information and awareness campaign on practical measures to improve energy efficiency and the creation of a European initiative to coordinate the updating of energy standards for new buildings. To read the full report go to:

Intelligent Energy Europe – Call for Proposals

The 2006 call for proposals – the last under the current IEE programme – has been published. European organisations can apply for financial support for their projects until 31st October 2006. Approximately €50 million will be made available to co-finance up to 50% of the project costs. Organisations from EU Member States, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein can apply. Full details can be accessed at:

Finland Proposes to Change the Direction of EU Innovation Policy

The Finnish Presidency has invited the EU-25 ministers to discuss a change in the direction and content of the EU innovation policy and it wants to guide the way towards demand-led innovation policies. This has arisen out of the recommendations of the Aho report (see ACE Info 2/06), one of which is the creation of an innovation friendly market in which businesses can launch new products and services. The Finnish Presidency has stated that it is set to strive to bring Europe’s economy and entrepreneurship back on track and one of the methods to do this will be the adoption of a new approach to innovation policy. It has therefore produced a discussion paper for consideration at the Competitiveness Council meeting of the 11th and 12th July 2006 at which it hopes that the direction and substance of a new innovation policy will be set out. Following the work at that meeting, the Finnish Presidency will publish a summary of the results and in September the Commission will publish a Communication on Innovation.


None to note in this edition


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:

The Construction Aspects of Built Heritage Protection Research Needs

Due to take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from the 14th to the 17th October 2006, this conference and brokerage event will start with a plenary session of the ECTP Focus Area on Cultural Heritage and will include information on the research opportunities being provided by the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development with a particular emphasis on the topic of the preservation of architectural heritage. The website of the conference is:

Fire and Risk Management

To be held in Brussels, Belgium on the 4th October 2006, this conference is being organised by the European Elevator Association and will examine the latest developments on the international stage in relation to fire safety in high buildings. Full details can be requested by writing to:
[email protected]

Symposium: Entering the Evacuated Field

To be held in Essen, Germany on the 29th September 2006, this symposium will focus on unusual strategies for challenging situations related to the re-use of urban wasteland, empty buildings, disused products and forgotten brands. It is being organised by the Zollverein School of management and design. Full details can be found at:

Calls for Papers

The ACE frequently receives notifications of “Calls for Papers” for conferences and seminars worldwide. You may have written a thesis or doctorate paper that you would like to present or you may have an idea that you wish develop and to share with a wider audience – here is your chance:

Glass Processing days

Full background details on this international conference and workshop (to be held in Tampere, Finland in June 2007) can be found at the web address below. A call for the submission of papers for the conference has been made with a deadline of the 10th October 2006:


Headquarters for Wexford County Council - Ireland

This is an open two stage design contest for architectural, engineering, quantity surveying and associated services being administered by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) on behalf of the promoters, Wexford County Council. The building will house the administrative functions of the County Council and provide space for civic purposes. The target budget for the works is €34,000,000 and the site area is 2.4 hectares. Full details on deadlines and registration can be found at:

Architectural Award Berlin 2006

The call for entries for this award is now open and the promoters are seeking to identify exemplary and pace-setting architectural and urban design projects that have been completed in Berlin after June 2003. All types of buildings and works are eligible. Full details at:

Useful links

European Commission homepage

Search page for Commission documents

The Barroso Commission:

Website of the Finnish Presidency

European Forum for Architectural Policies

Sustainable building website

Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) international relations database:

Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti, Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori (CNAPPC) database - ArchiEuro:

Website of the European Construction 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:

Summary of current competitions:

Archi-Student website – a wealth of information on schools and students of architecture in Europe:

ACE Website

Useful tip:

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  

Editor’s note

The editorial board for the compilation of ACE Info is:

The ACE President:                                   Jean-François Susini
The ACE Vice President                           Luciano Lazzari
The Secretary General of the ACE:         Alain Sagne
Senior Advisor to the ACE:                       Adrian Joyce

ACE Info is issued on a regular basis, with about ten editions per year. You are free to circulate the document as widely as you wish, to translate its contents for use in your publications and to refer to the information it contains once you credit the ACE as the origin.

If you wish to receive ACE Info regularly and you are not on the mailing list, you can register online at: http://www.ace-cae.org/Public/fsPublicNetwork_EN.html

If you have information that you wish to have included in the next edition then e-mail it (in English or French please) to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is the first Friday of each month.


The editorial board wishes to acknowledge the sources of information for this edition of ACE Info which include European Urban Knowledge Network, the European Commission, the European Network of the Heads of Schools of Arhcitecture (ENHSA), the European Federation of Landscape Architects (EFLA), the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.

[email protected] - Comments and contributions welcome


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