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ACE Info 7.04

 

English language version
The monthly electronic note from the Architects’ Council of Europe
Tuesday 20th July 2004

 

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the seventh issue in 2004 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.

 

CORE ISSUES

COMMISSION IMPOSES FINE ON BELGIAN ORDER OF ARCHITECTS

On the 24th June last, the European Commission published a Press Release announcing its decision to impose a fine of ¤100,000 on the Belgian Order of Architects for the publication of recommended minimum fees for architects.  The Commission expressed the opinion that the publication was in breach of EU Competition rules, stating that “Recommended prices can mislead consumers as to what is a reasonable price for the service they are receiving and as to whether this recommended price is negotiable.”

For its part the Belgian Order of Architects has pointed out that the scales published were purely indicative and that it had made clear that they were negotiable between architect and client.

In a press release the ACE has stressed, in particular, the inadequacy of the Commission’s policy to rely on consumers organisations when it comes to assessing the actual value of architectural services, on the grounds that in the vast majority of cases, those usually understood to be the “consumers” are the end-users of the architectural production, not the actual clients, the real “consumers” in that case.

THEMATIC STRATEGY ON THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT

The Commission has recently announced that, it is important that the effects of the Thematic Strategy, currently being developed, are properly analysed and assessed.  In order to do this the Commission is undertaking an extended impact assessment in parallel with the development of the Strategy itself.  This relates, in particular, to the difference of appreciation that arises, for instance in the Committee of the Regions, a concern voiced by various interested parties, notably cities, on the opportunity to impose mandatory urban and transport management plans for cities above 100,000 inhabitants.  The ACE will monitor developments in relation to this impact assessment, ensuring, as far as possible, that it is based on well-founded parameters.  An aspect of specific interest for the profession relates to the integration of architectural policy issues in cities.  The ACE will also disseminate any relevant results of the assessment as it becomes aware of them.

CONSTITUTIONAL TREATY FOR EUROPE ADOPTED

On the 18th June last, EU leaders adopted the Constitutional Treaty for Europe.  The new constitution aims to improve the transparency and efficiency of the European Union and to provide it with the necessary flexibility to develop in ambitious new directions.  It describes the values of the EU, its objectives and competencies.  It merges the existing treaties into a single text and it increases the influence of the European Parliament.  One of the key stumbling blocks to agreement – the Presidency – has been resolved by agreement that the rotating system currently in place will remain.  The Member States now have two years to ratify the document.  If ratified, the new Constitution for Europe will come into force by the 1st November 2009.  For further information consult: http://europa.eu.int/futurum/index_en.htm

 

OTHER MATTERS

AALBORG+10

The Aalborg conference, held between 8th and 11th June, represented a crucial step along the path that the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign has undertaken 10 years ago.

In 1994, 80 local authorities gathered in Aalborg for a groundbreaking conference on local sustainability and signed the Aalborg Charter, a political document by which cities and towns committed to the promotion of urban sustainability in their localities.  The process started in Aalborg in 1994 further developed throughout the years, with local authorities adopting the Lisbon Action Plan, in 1996, and the Hanover Call, in 2000.  In June 2004, at the Fourth European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, local authorities finalised a text born from a sustainability vision, an implementation strategy, and a broadly participatory mechanism entitled “Inspiring Futures - Aalborg+10”.  The document brings together the vision and the plan, the political framework and the implementation commitments, and marks a significant passage from Local Agenda 21 to Local Action 21.  It can be downloaded from: http://www.eurocities.org/masterIndex.html  For the time being it was decided that the Association of large cities EUROCITIES will act as the secretariat for the follow up to this activity.

INTELLIGENT ENERGY IN EUROPE

The European Commission has recently published an information leaflet on the support programmes that exists to encourage the uptake of intelligent energy systems in Europe.  This has been prompted by the realisation that, by 2030, the EU will have to import more than two-thirds of the total energy it consumes.  There are four main fields of action – Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Transport Energy and Co-operation with Developing Countries.  For full information go to: www.managenergy.net

GUIDE TO THE ENERGY PERFORMANCE DIRECTIVE

The Commission has produced a simple guide to the directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings that aims to explain to a wide audience the impact and benefits of the directive.  It can be downloaded at: http://www.managenergy.net/products/R210.htm

FORMALDEHYDE IS CARCINOGENIC TO HUMANS

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recently issued a press release that highlights the fact that formaldehyde can cause a rare form of cancer in humans and that it could be linked to other more common forms of the disease.  It is used in the production of resins that are used as adhesives and binders for wood products, pulp, paper, glasswool and rockwool.  It is also extensively used in the production of plastics and coatings, in textile finishing and in the manufacture of industrial chemicals.  The full press release can be seen at: http://www.iarc.fr/pageroot/PRELEASES/pr153a.html

WILHELM KUCHLER ELECTED PRESIDENT OF FIEC

On the occasion of its annual Congress which was held in Prague on 15th - 20th June 2004, the General Assembly of FIEC (European Construction Industry Federation) elected again the German contractor Wilhelm Küchler as President for the period 2004-2006.

The General Assembly in Prague also accepted the federations of two further countries into membership of FIEC : The Estonian Contractors' Federation, EEEL and The Slovenian Construction and Building Materials Association, CBMA

Consequently, the FIEC representativity has increased - 34 national federations in 27 countries (24 EU and EFTA, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey) are now members.  FIEC represents construction firms of all sizes (from the 1-man SME up to the large international company), carrying out all kinds of building and civil engineering activities.  For additional information on FIEC see: www.fiec.org

EEA ANNUAL SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS KEY ENVIRONMENTAL TRENDS IN EUROPE

The European Environment Agency (EEA) 2004 points to the growing economic burden of climate related disasters and calls for industry to incorporate environmental costs into prices.  Figures for this burden have doubled during the 1990’s and now amount to “10 billion euros (sic) per year and rising”  The EEA recommends making greater use of market-based instruments to incorporate the environmental costs of pollution into prices.  The full report can be downloaded at: http://reports.eea.eu.int/signals-2004/en

EFCA APPOINTS ITS PRESIDENT-ELECT

In accordance with the statutes of the European Federation of Consulting Associations (EFCA), the 2004 General Assembly has appointed its President-elect one year prior to the end of the current 2003-2005 Presidency.  He is Yann Leblais (France) – an expert in the area of tunnelling and geo-technical design.  The EFCA website is: www.efcanet.org

EU STRATEGY FOR ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

The Commission has unveiled its 2004-2010 action plan (known as SCALE) to reduce illnesses linked to environmental pollution.  European Greens have reacted angrily to the plan calling it a “plan of non-action” that is seriously flawed in that it leaves the lions share to research instead of legislative initiatives.  One matter highlighted in the action plan is the fact that around 60,000 premature deaths a year can be attributed long-term exposure to air pollution.  The full document can be downloaded from:http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/health/index_en.htm

INVITATION TO JOIN A CULTURE 2000 PROJECT PROPOSAL

The ACE has been informed that Regione Lombardia (Italy) is intending to prepare a project proposal relating to the low level of awareness of the importance of rationalist architecture of the 20th Century.  The proposal will be prepared after the expected call to be published around now and they are seeking partners that are interested in the promotion of 20th Century architectural heritage.  If you are interested in joining this proposal please contact Roberta Bianchi at [email protected]

NEW PRESIDENT AT CEMBUREAU

At its General Assembly held in Dublin on the 15th June last, CEMBUREAU has elected Sandro Buzzi as its President for a two-year term.  At the same event, the cement producers of Estonia and Slovenia were admitted as full Members.  CEMBUREAU is the representative organisation of the cement industry in Europe.  Its website can be accessed at: http://www.cembureau.be

 

EVENTS

INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS – GENT

On the 22nd and the 23rd of October 2004, the Belgian and French Colleges of Architect-Experts will hold an International Congress in Gent on the theme of “The Pathology of the Facade”.  Further details at: www.architectexpert.com

CONFERENCE ON EUROPEAN LANDSCAPES

On the 17th and 18th November 2004, the EFLA (European Federation for Landscape Architecture) is holding a Conference in Brussels on the theme of “Making today’s landscapes a resource for the future”.  Further information by e-mail from:[email protected]

FINAL “PRESUD” CONFERENCE – THE HAGUE

On the 16th and 17th September 2004, the final PRESUD (Peer Review for European Sustainable Urban Development) Conference will be held in The Hague.  As the PRESUD project is coming to a close this conference will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that have accrued during the life of the project in which a unique and innovative tool was developed that allows cities to assess their progress towards sustainable development.  Full details at: www.jagerevents.com/PRESUD

EAAE CONFERENCE: THE EUROPEAN CITY          

On the 27th to the 30th October 2004, the EAAE (European Association for Architectural Education) will be holding a Conference in Delft, The Netherlands on the topic of “The European City”.  Invited keynote speakers include Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Bernardo Secchi, Jo Coenen, Francoise Choay and Anne Vernez Moudon.  Full details including the programme and registration form can be found at: www.eaae.be

CITIES IN TRANSFORMATION

As part of the Kulturjahr der Zehn, a major conference is to be held on the 13th and 14th October 2004 in Berlin.  The full title of the conference is “Cities in Transformation – The European Union’s New Members and Their Urban Planning Agendas”.  Further information can be requested through:http://www.kulturjahrderzehn.de/de/programm/index.php

SEMINAR ON THE NEW PUBLIC PROCUREMENT DIRECTIVES

It is planned to hold a Seminar on the 21st October 2004, which will be jointly organised by the ACE, EFCA and ECCE, on the topic of the recently adopted Public Procurement Directives.  It will be held in Brussels and will demonstrate to the national organisations, new elements in the directives, the provisions that are left to the discretion of the Member States and the potential pitfalls of the directives.  The seminar aims to enhance the harmonisation of the national transposition of the directives to ensure appropriate account is taken of the nature of the construction sector in the transposition phase.  More details as the programme for the event develops.

CROATIA GETS THE GO-AHEAD FOR EU ACCESSION TALKS

Although it has not been given its accession date yet, Croatia has been given the go-ahead for accession talks by the Council at its meeting on the 18th June last.  This opens the door to Membership (as Observer Member) of the ACE for our Croatian colleagues, should they wish to apply.

 

PUBLICATIONS

FIEC LEAFLET: CONSTRUCTION IN EUROPE - KEY FIGURES

The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has published its leaflet on the level of activity in the construction industry during 2003.  It shows that the industry represented 9.8% of Gross Domestic Product of the EU-15, 51.2% of Gross Fixed Capital Formation, 28.2% of industrial employment and 7.2% of all employment.  Further information on: www.fiec.org

 

USEFUL LINKS

EUROPEAN COMMISSION HOMEPAGE http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/index_en.htm

SEARCH PAGE FOR COMMISSION DOCUMENTS http://www.europa.eu.int/prelex/rech_simple.cfm?CL=en

WEBSITE OF THE DUTCH PRESIDENCY http://www.eu2004.nl/
Then choose your preferred language)

SUSTAINABLE BUILDING WEBSITE www.sustainablebuilding.info

B4E CONFERENCE INFORMATION http://www.b4e.org

COAC INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS DATABASE: http://www.coac.net/internacional/default_w.html

CNAPPC DATABASE – ARCHIEUROPE: http://www.archieuro.archiworld.it

ACE WEBSITE http://www.ace-cae.org

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     

EDITOR’S NOTE

The editorial board for the compilation of ACE Info is:

The ACE President: Leopoldo Freyrie

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]ace-cae.org  Deadline for submissions is the first Friday of each month.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The editorial board wishes to acknowledge the sources of information for this issue of ACE Info which include Jean-Marie Fauconnier, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.

[email protected] – Comments and contributions welcome

 

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