ACE Info 9.04
Welcome to the ninth 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.
THE ACE WEBSITE
Over the summer there have been a few improvements made to the ACE website. The main change has been to ease the navigation of the site so that documents can be found easier and with less “clicks”. Also some new sections have been added, including a Press Review section in which articles that mention or refer to the ACE are posted. This section gives a good idea of the extent to which the ACE activities are reported across the EU.
Finally you are reminded that the ACE website contains extensive archives of past documents and that a wealth of information can be found there. You are invited to visit the site at www.ace-cae.org and discover its riches for yourself!
THE BAIK APPOINTS NEW INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICER
Our Austrian Member Organisation, the BAIK, has appointed a new International Affairs Officer to look after European and International matters. He is Mag. Raimund Schüller and he succeeds Dr. Philippe Khiel in the post. The ACE looks forward to a good co-operation with him in the years ahead.
SEMINAR ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
Following the adoption of the new Public Procurement Directives and the preparation of the ACE guidelines to the transposition of the directives into national law, the ACE has joined forces with our engineering colleagues in the EFCA and the ECCE to organise a seminar on this important topic. The seminar will address a wide range of issues that are pertinent to the procurement of consultancy services and is to be held in Brussels on the 21st October 2004. The registration form and the programme for the one-day event can be downloaded by choosing the “Events” link on the ACE website at the following address: http://www.ace-cae.org/Public/fsPublicNetwork_EN.html
COMMISSION GREEN PAPER ON PPP
The ACE has prepared a detailed response to the Commission’s Green Paper on the subject of Public Private Partnerships. The paper highlights the problems that the PPP model poses for the profession with particular emphasis on the need to ensure that the role of the architect in any PPP is properly considered at the outset of any PPP for building projects. It also states, among other things, the view that the PPP means of procurement does not lessen the responsibility of the public partner to met its public duties in providing for a quality built environment for all and it exposes the importance of the question of design and build to the role of the architect. The full paper can be accessed via the ACE website at http://www.ace-cae.org/Public/fsPublicNetwork_EN.html see in Position report : Public Procurement.
PROPOSED DIRECTIVE ON SERVICES IN THE INTERNAL MARKET
The Dutch presidency of the EU has affirmed that making progress on the proposed directive on Services in the Internal Market (SIM Directive) will be one of its top priorities for the second half of 2004. The Presidency intends to ask the Member States whether they agree that the principle of mutual recognition is an essential element of the internal market. It seems that the Dutch Presidency believes that the answer to this question is “yes”.
The ACE will be tracking developments in this matter closely over the coming months. In the meantime the ACE has prepared a draft position on the SIM Directive and it will be debated in a series of upcoming meetings prior to its anticipated adoption at the General Assembly in November.
With work in the Parliament now underway again after the elections (see below), it is expected that there will be a Public Hearing on the SIM Directive. The date is not yet set, but it is expected to be jointly organised by the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee and the Employment Committee. At the time of writing it is thought that a likely time for the Hearing will be the end of November 2004. ACE Info will publish the date when it is known.
EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM – ETP “BUILDING FOR A FUTURE EUROPE
The proposal to establish an ETP on the built environment has been gaining momentum over the summer months. The proposal has now been fleshed out and has received recognition from the Commission by virtue of its inclusion in a staff working paper, that has been published on its website, on the question of Technology Platforms (http://www.cordis.lu/technology-platforms/summaries.htm). The structure has been settled and there are now a number of working groups that have been established to concentrate on several key focus areas. Those underway are on the topics of “Underground Construction”, “Cities and Buildings”, “Sustainability and Health and Safety” and “Networks”. The platform is due to be formally launched at the upcoming B4E Conference in Maastricht on the 14th October 2004. The ACE continues to enjoy a leading role in the proposal with a seat on the Support Group and is taking the lead on the topic of Urban Issues in the Focus Area on “Cities and Buildings”. Adrian Joyce of the Secretariat will be making a presentation on this Focus Area at the B4E Conference. For more information on the Conference see: www.b4e.org
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IS BACK AT WORK
Following the elections in June, the European Parliament is now back at work having spent the intervening months setting up its Committees and deciding on rapporteurs for its major dossiers. Of relevance to the work of the ACE are the following Committees:
The Chair is Enrique BARON CRESPO (PES, ES)
Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
The Chair is Karl-Heinz FLORENZ (EPP-ED, DE)
This Committee will be dealing with the highly controversial REACH regulation on the registration and evaluation of chemicals.
Industry, Research and Energy
The Chair is Giles CHICHESTER (EPP-PD, UK)
Internal Market and Consumer Protection
The Chair is Philip WHITEHEAD (PES, UK)
Two of the dossiers of most importance to current ACE policy are being dealt with by this committee. They are the Qualifications Directive, whose adoption will see the abolition of the Architects Directive and the SIM Directive. The rapporteur for the Qualifications Directive remains Mr. Stefano ZAPPALA, who is a substitute on this Committee. He is now a Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. The shadow repporteur for the Qualifications Directive is Evelyne Gebhardt and she is the main rapporteur for the SIM Directive.
The Chair is Gerardo GALEOTE (EPP-ED, ES)
One of the Vice-Chairs is Jan Marian OLBRYCHT (EPP-ED,PL) with whom the ACE has good contacts and who was previously a Vice-Chair of the Committee of the Regions.
The Chair is Giuseppe Gargani (EPP-ED, IT)
One of the Vice-Chairs is Rainer WIELAND (EPP-ED, DE) with whom the ACE has good contacts.
The Chair is Jo LEINEN (PES, DE)with whom the ACE has good contacts.
GREEN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
The Commission published, on the 27th August 2004, a handbook entitled “Buying Green! A handbook on environmental public procurement”. The intention of the Commission is to convince public administrations to take account of the environment in the procurement of the goods, services and works that they need to buy. The new public procurement directives that were adopted earlier this year permit the use of environmental criteria in the selection criteria for procurement, but only about 19% of EU-15 public administrations take account of green procurement at the moment. The guide is very useful and resonates with the policies of the ACE on the issue. It can be downloaded at:http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/publicprocurement/docs/keydocs/gpphandbook_en.pdf
As reported above, the rapporteur for the Qualifications Directive in the Parliament remains Mr. Zappala. The latest indications that the ACE have received on the progress of the directive is that he will proceed to a Second Reading. This would mean that the possibility that the Parliament would request another First reading now seems remote.
The ACE has been in correspondence with the DG Internal Market of the Commission on certain key aspects of the proposed directive. In particular, the question of the extent to which the “general system” rules will apply to persons who hold qualifications not listed has been pursued. The reply that has been received indicates that persons not fully qualified as architects in their home State cannot benefit from the “general system” rules. This is reassuring for the ACE.
THE COMMISSION HAS STARTED TO MOVE BACK TO THE BERLAYMONT
The return of the Commission to its historical Berlaymont building in now under way. It will be primarily occupied by the Commissioners and their staff. Readers will recall that the building was vacated in 1991 in order to remove the asbestos in the building and that the renovation has been fraught with difficulties, delays and higher costs. However the completed building is now marketed as being a shining example of energy efficiency and the Commission have said that they will use it as a first worked example of good practice in the certification process required under the directive on the energy performance of buildings. The Commission is to purchase the building over the next 27 years from the Belgian State. This is in line with the Commissions policy to acquire the buildings it occupies in order to improve the quality of its presence in Brussels. It is worth noting that Brussels was not officially recognised as the European capital until 1992, at the Edinburgh European Council, and only became the permanent seat of the institutions under the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997.
THE EUROPEAN UNION “WON” THE OLYMPICS
On the 30th August, the Commission announced that it had compiled a table that counts all of the medals won at the Olympics by the EU Member States. It indicates that the EU “won” the Olympics as its Member States won a total of 238 medals. Of these 83 were gold medals. Second placed was the USA with a total of 103 medals of which 35 were gold. Next was China and then Russia.
SUBSCRIPTION BASED MATERIALS DATABASE LAUNCHED
The ACE have been informed that a new service that provides durability data on components used in the construction industry has been launched. Information on over 900 components is included on the site. There is a useful free 10-day trial before a subscription of £99.00 per year is due. The address is: www.componentlife.com
DRAFT DECISIONS ON FIRE-RELATED ISSUES
The Commission, through the Standing Committee on Construction (Construction Products Directive), is currently preparing a number of documents on materials and products. Among these are decisions on fire-related issues. One of these is entitled “Commission Decision establishing the classes if reaction-to-fire performance for certain construction products” and it sets out a list of material which are deemed to satisfy all of the requirements for the performance characteristic reaction to fire without need for testing. Materials listed in the draft include glulam, laminate floor coverings, resilient floor coverings and textile floor coverings. The Matter is to be discussed at the next meeting of the Standing Committee on the 26th October 2004.
THE INSPIRE INITIATIVE
A hugely ambitious initiative on the establishment of an infrastructure for spatial information in the Community, known as INSPIRE, has been launched by the Commission. It has published, on the 23rd July 2004, a proposal for a directive on the matter. This could be a matter that would be of considerable use to architects and planners as it intends to trigger the creation of an infrastructure that delivers to users an integrated spatial information service. These services should allow the users to identify and access spatial or geographical information from a wide range of sources, from the local to the global level, in an inter-operable way for a variety of uses. The target users of INSPIRE include policy-makers, planners and managers at European, national and local level and the citizens and their organisations. Possible services are the visualisation of information layers, overlay of information from different sources, spatial and temporal analysis etc. The proposed directive can be downloaded from: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/pdf/2004/com2004_0516en01.pdf
REACH – CONTROVERSY CONTINUES
There have been some very negative reactions by the Parliaments Industry Committee to the presentation of a report on the impact of the proposed REACH (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemical products) regulation on the chemical industry. The report was commissioned by the DG Research and it has concluded that the regulation would lead to a 2.9% loss of GDP and a 24.7% loss in production for European industry. These estimates are about 1,000 greater that some earlier reports suggest and the Parliament has heavily criticised the way in which the report was researched and compiled. In particular the report completes ignores the potential benefits of the regulation on health and well-being. An example of the criticism launched on the report is the intervention of Rebecca Harms (DE – Green) who said “I am glad to see that the Industry Committee was united from left to right in dismissing the latest study. We do not need extrapolations based on industry fears. This report has nothing to do with objective information – it is a scare-mongering attempt to mislead the public”
Meanwhile the Dutch Presidency has estimated that the proposal will continue to be controversial and that it will not get to its First Reading in Parliament until at least the end of 2005.
FEANI ACCREDITATION PROJECT ACCEPTED BY THE COMMISSION
The engineering representative body, FEANI (European Federation of National Engineering Associations) has announced that its Accreditation Project for engineering programmes and graduates has been officially accepted by the Commission. The project aims to set up a European system for the accreditation of engineering education that will see the introduction of a “European Label”, the improvement of the quality of engineering education, the facilitation of cross-border recognition of qualifications and the facilitation of mutual recognition agreements.
STAFF CHANGES AT DG ENVIRONMENT
Suzanne Wegefelt has replaced Simon Goss in charge of environmental issues at the DG Environment where she is also leading on construction issues for the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment. Ms. Wegefelt was previously with the Danish Permanent Representation in Brussels and has worked for many years on environmental issues and she is a trained architect and planner.
NEW CHAIR FOR THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE (EESC)
At the upcoming October session of the EESC, it is expected that Mrs. Anne-Marie Sigmund, Austria, will succeed Roger Briesch as President. In the meantime the Committee has been considering a range of issues at it session of the 15th and 16th September. Among the matters discussed is the 7th Framework Research Programme. In particular the Committee is considering the topic of the needs that arise from demographic change and the related technical needs for the quality of life of the elderly. This relates to the work of the ETP Building a Future Europe reported on above.
INTERNAL MARKET SCOREBOARD
This years “Scoreboard” on the Internal Market of the EU has been published by the DG Internal Market. It highlights the important role that European standards play in reducing the cost and administrative burdens in doing business in the European Union. It also provides information on how the Internal Market is functioning in practice and it makes interesting reading. It can be downloaded at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/score/index_en.htm
THE PATHOLOGY OF THE FACADE
An International Congress is to be held in Gent, Belgium on the 22nd and 23rd of October on the topic of the problems posed by various facades from antiquity to modernity. It will look at the experiences with renders, traditional materials, prefabricated elements and curtain walls. It is being organised by the College National des Experts Architects de Belgique and will be in French and Flemish. Full details at: www.architectexpert.com
GREEN IDEAS FOR EUROPE
The Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling, together with VKS im VKU Landsgruppe Hessen/Rheinland-Pfalz/Saarland/Hessen, is organising a conference on the 23-25th September 2004 in Kassel, Germany on the topic of waste management. The languages of the conference are English, French and German. Full details at: http://www.acrr.org/events/Kassel/Flyer%202_en.pdf
THE CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURE AND SPATIAL PLANNING IN THE EU
The European Forum for Architectural Policies, of which the ACE is an active participant, is organising a series of events, including a working conference on the above topic on the 24-26th October 2004 in Rotterdam. It is being organised in the context of the Dutch Presidency of the EU and promises to be a stimulating event that will seek to enhance the collaboration between governments, institutions and architectural organisations on the enhancement of architectural quality in Europe. The ACE President, several members of the Executive Board and the Secretary General will be attending these events. Full details at: http://www.architecture-forum.net/indexb.php?sect=1&lg=en
THE ART OF CITY MAKING
Birmingham City Council is organising a conference on the 29th and 30th October 2004 entitled “The Art of City Making: Urban Challenges in 21st Century Europe”. The cost of attending is £200 for non-UK residents and £300 for UK residents. It will be addressed by a wide range of speakers including Richard Rogers, the European Commission and speakers from several EU Countries. Full details at: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/acm.bcc
The DG for Regional Policy of the Commission is organising a City Summit on the 18th and 19th October in Nordwijk and Leiden, the Netherlands. The conference will bring together Mayors, Ministers responsible for Urban Affairs, the URBAN II managing authorities and others to discuss the urban dimension of the European structural Funds, in particular in the Cohesion Policy. The ACE will be represented at this Conference by Olgierd Dziekonski, member of the Executive Board and Alain Sagne, Secretary General.
Full details at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/regional_policy/city_summit/
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ARCHITECTURE, CITIES AND ENERGY
Organised by the Spanish National Centre for Renewable Energies is organising this conference on the 7th and 8th October 2004 in Pamplona, Spain. It seeks to provide a point of encounter and debate on the links between Cities, Architecture and Energy. Full details at: http://www.cibarq.com
EUROPEAN HOUSING ECOLOGY NETWORK (EHEN) ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The EHEN Annual Conference will be held in Lisbon on the 21st and 22nd October 2004. The conference is being sponsored by the municipality of Lisbon and promises to be a stimulating event on the questions surrounding sustainable development in the housing sector. Further information at: http://www.ehen-europe.net/
RESIDENCE PALACE – BRUSSELS
The Council of the European Union has announced an architectural design contest for the restructuring of the Residence Palace Building in Brussels. The competition is to be a restricted one with an initial period in which requests to participate can be submitted. The existing building to which the competition relates is approximately 70,000m2. The deadline for receipt of requests to participate is the 15th October 2004 and details of the requirements can be seen at: http://ted.publications.eu.int/official/Exec?DataFlow=result_details.dfl&Template=TED/result_details_curr.xsl&Page=4&StatLang=EN
EUROPEAN COMMISSION HOMEPAGE
SEARCH PAGE FOR COMMISSION DOCUMENTS
WEBSITE OF THE DUTCH PRESIDENCY
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING WEBSITE
B4E CONFERENCE INFORMATION
COAC INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS DATABASE:
CNAPPC DATABASE – ARCHIEUROPE:
DATABASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT REPORTS
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: 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] 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 the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.
[email protected] – Comments and contributions welcome