ACE Info 11.04

 

English language version
The monthly electronic note from the Architects Council of Europe
Wednesday 15th December 2004

 

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the eleventh and final 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.

 

ACE MATTERS

THE ACE GENERAL ASSEMBLY NOVEMBER 2005

The second General Assembly of the ACE of the year 2004 took place in Brussels on the 19th and 20th November last. Over 100 delegates were present and a number of significant matters were debated and adopted during the sessions of the event.

Principal among these was the adoption of new Statutes for the ACE that will introduce several changes to the governance structures of the ACE and of its work. Firstly the Executive Board will be increased in size from 9 to 11 Members; secondly the President will be directly elected by the General Assembly for a mandate of 2-years; thirdly the manner in which the working bodies of the ACE are managed and co-ordinated will be changed so as to match the ongoing internal debate on the further development of the ACE multi-annual strategy. The new Statutes will come into force on the 1st January 2006.

Several policy documents were also formally adopted, including guidelines on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the ACE recommendations on the transposition of the Public Procurement Directives into National Law. The Assembly also formally approved the establishment of a Joint Working Party will the European Association of Architectural Education (EAAE), which is now expected to hold its first meeting in January 2005.

In relation to emerging priorities, the Assembly decided to create two new Working Groups, on monitoring research developments, and on health and safety.

The Assembly also unanimously accepted the application of Croatia, after it was confirmed by the EU as an official Candidate Country, to become an Observer Member of the ACE.

Finally the Assembly noted the changes that will occur in the membership of the Executive Board in 2005:

Marie-Helene Lucas (LUX) will take up the post of President

Rob Budding (NL) will take up the post of vice President for 2005

Katarina Nilsson was elected Treasurer as the mandate of the existing Treasurer has expired.

SLOVENIAN CHAMBER FULLY ESTABLISHED

The Slovenian Chamber of Architects is now fully established as an independent chamber and its first President is Viktor Pust, also Head of Delegation to the ACE.

BELGIAN ORDER LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

The CNOA(B) has launched a new website located at the same address as the old one. It has been designed by a young Belgian architect (following a competition) and it is accessible to more people with a high level and quality of information available to all. The re-vamped site will mean that, in a short time, the printed newsletter of the Chamber Architext will disappear in favour of a new electronic newsletter, Archimail. The site can be accessed at:
www.ordredesarchitectes.be

 

CORE ISSUES

PUBLIC HEARING ON THE SIM DIRECTIVE

A public Hearing on the proposed directive on Services in the Internal Market (SIM) took place on the 11th November last. It was jointly organised by two Parliamentary Committees Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and Employment (EMPL). It was well attended and a series of invited experts addressed both horizontal and vertical issues that the proposed directive raises. For the Liberal Professions, Arno Metzler of the German Association of Liberal professions- BfB, raised concerns about the application of the Country of Origin principle and the poor impact assessment that has been carried out prior to the launch of the proposal by the Commission. The rapporteur for the IMCO Committee, Evelyne Gebhardt, noted that none of the invited experts had questioned the need for a directive and that the criticisms were centred around the detail of the proposed directive, notably the Country of Origin principle and not on the principle of introducing a framework directive for services. A full report on the aspects of the Hearing that are of importance to the architectural profession can be requested from the ACE Secretariat by e-mail to:
[email protected]

SPECIAL HEARING OF THE EPP-ED GROUP

On the same subject of the proposed directive on Services in the Internal Market, the EPP-ED Group, the largest group in Parliament, organised a specific hearing on the 9th December at the initiative of Mr Malcolm Harbour MEP, shadow rapporteur on the said directive. Mr Metzler, while generally welcoming the proposed directive re-iterated his scepticism in respect of the Country of Origin (COR) principle and he emphasised that the nature of the professional services makes them largely intangible, hence they can not be standardised. Mr Bedossa, President of CEPLIS, expressed the view that liberal professions should not be opposed to the COR principle provided this would be done in coherence with the directive on professional qualifications, which implies a certain degree of harmonisation. He called for more margins of manoeuvre to be given to the professions under the alternative regulation approach (self/co-regulation) of the Inter-institutional Agreement concluded at the end of 2003.

HEALTH AND SAFETY THE ACE A SIGNATORY OF THE BILBAO DECLARATION

At the European Construction Safety Summit (Bilbao, 22nd November), the ACE, along with other leading European Organisations from the construction sector, signed the Bilbao Declaration on Health and Safety in Construction. The Declaration commits the signatories to the pursuit of key actions that should be taken in order to boost safety standards in construction. Crucially the declaration calls for independent research to be carried out into the real root causes of accidents on construction sites. Such research will allow new, balanced strategies to be developed that will move Europe towards a safer industry.

The declaration can be downloaded from the website of the ACE under the Whats New section.

THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF THE ARCHITECTS DIRECTIVE TO BE CONVENED

A plenary meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Architects Directive (85/384/EEC) is to be held in the early part of 2005. This follows the objections of the Dutch Government to an application by Austria to have a new qualification listed in the Directive. The Diplomas Working Group of the Committee met on the 9th November 2004 and it is understood that it has recommended that the application by Austria be rejected. A plenary meeting of the Committee at which a quorum is present is required to consider the recommendation of the working group. It is also understood that several of the new Member States have not yet nominated their representatives to the Committee and the ACE has been working to ensure that nominations are made in time to ensure that a quorum will be present at the upcoming meeting of the Committee.

FORMAL INTER-GROUP ON URBAN ISSUES CLOSE TO ADOPTION

In a significant development of the efforts to set up a formal Inter-Group in the European Parliament on Urban Issues, the Secretaries General of the political groups adopted their list of Inter Groups for this legislature of Parliament. Among those on the adopted list of Inter-groups supported by 3 political groups is Urban Issues (including Housing). Once the completed dossiers will have been examined by the quaestors of the Parliament the Inter-groups will be entered on the official Parliament Register, after which the work of each group can start in earnest. The confirmation of the establishment of an Inter-group on Urban Issues which the ACE has been promoting for several years is most welcome as it will provide a stable platform within the Parliament at which these issues will be debated.

BARROSO SAYS CULTURAL DIMENSION CRUCIAL TO EUROPEAN PROJECT

In a recent speech in Berlin on cultural policy in Europe, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso underlined the importance of culture in the construction of a European identity and continued integration. He said that his Commission, who took up office on the 22nd November, is determined to protect and promote cultural diversity and that the time has come to translate good intentions into good decisions. At the same Conference a dozen culture ministers signed a declaration that calls for the adoption of a Charter of the Europe of Culture that would solemnly affirm the essential dimension of Culture in the European project.

 

OTHER MATTERS

FEANI PROJECT LAUNCHED

The FEANI (the European Federation of National Engineering Associations) has launched a project with EU funding, known as EUR-ACE, on the accreditation of European engineering programmes and graduates. It has opened a special section on its website that describes the project, the partners and the groups that are responsible for the project. For further information go to the EUR-ACE section of the following website:
www.feani.org

ACE JOINS THE FORUM FOR CONSTRUCTION IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (FOCOPE)

The ACE has joined the FOCOPE for a one-year period in order to assess whether there is value in being part of a subscription based lobby group that represents the construction industry in the European Parliament. Membership ensures that up-to-date information on matters of relevance to the industry, that are being debated in the Parliament, is regularly circulated and readily available through the FOCOPE website. Membership also ensures that frequent opportunities to meet with the rapporteurs on crucial topics are offered to Members. The latest such opportunity was on November 23rd last.

PROPOSED DIRECTIVE ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY

As part of its energy package published in December 2003 the European Commission tabled a proposal for a directive on energy efficiency and energy services. The draft seeks to set new rules that would ensure that all Member States save at least one per cent more energy per year, leading to a six per cent annual saving in 2012. However, at a recent first debate on the proposal, held on the 29th November, energy Ministers of the Member States have expressed their opposition to the setting of mandatory targets. The Ministers supported the objectives of the directive but stressed that a more flexible, less bureaucratic approach is needed. The adoption of the directive would have a further impact on the design and maintenance of buildings as the construction sector is seen by the directive as one sector where significant improvements can be achieved relatively easily. The proposal is expected to reach its First Reading in Parliament in April 2005.

THE VIENNA DECLARATION OF EUROCITIES

At its conference on the 11th November 2004, EUROCITIES adopted a political declaration that lays down its proposals to better meet the needs of the 100 million Europeans who live in cities and urban areas. The declaration was given to the ministers responsible for urban policies at their informal meeting in Rotterdam. (See separate report in this issue). It makes calls on each of the EU Institutions to undertake specific actions and it can be viewed at:
www.eurocities.org

TERRITORIAL COHESION AND URBAN POLICY IN EUROPE

An informal meeting of Ministers from the enlarged Europe was held in Rotterdam on the 29th and 30th November last at which the new concept of territorial cohesion was discussed alongside the topic of urban policy. The objective of the discussion was to debate the question of how best to achieve political coherence in European territorial planning and how can Europes territorial diversity be exploited to support lasting economic growth. The meeting also discussed urban policies and towns as assets for Europe and it confirmed the place of urban policies in the European agenda. The ACE is striving to ensure, notably through its involvement in the European Forum for Architectural Policies, that this renewed focus on territorial and urban matters will include specific references to the architecture and architectural policies as essential tools in the achievement of quality in these two subjects. Specific efforts and initiatives are currently being developed in that direction during the upcoming Luxembourg Presidency of the EU which will be reported on, in due course, in ACE Info. Further information can be found at:
http://www.eu2004.nl/default.asp?CMS_ITEM=4B5121FBE0B64F419FEB85B1B706F396X1X46744X2

PARLIAMENT SETS UP BODY ON THE LISBON AGENDA

On the 16th November 2004, the Presidents of the European Parliaments political groups decided to set up an ad-hoc body to co-ordinate the work of the Parliament on the Lisbon process. Its remit is to co-ordinate the work of the Parliaments Committees and to prepare and present a strong and coherent position on the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy due to be adopted by the Spring Council in March 2005. The mandate of the group, which will have 33 members, is to run to the end of 2005.

SPAIN LAUNCHES A BIG PUSH FOR SOLAR HOUSES

Revised regulations, due to come into force in Spain in 2005, will require constructors to install thermal or photovoltaic solar panels on all new and renovated buildings. If the regulations have the desired effect then Spain will become Europes second largest solar generator after Germany.

THE ECONOMIST LEADS WITH AN ARTICLE ON GREEN ARCHITECTURE

The technology quarterly of The Economist magazine, published on the 4th December last, leads with an article on green architecture. The article is general, but demonstrates the prominence that a sustainable approach to design is gaining in the mainstream press and in the minds of the public. The article concludes by saying that green architecture is not a fad and that it is here to stay.

INTERNAL POLLUTION CREATED BY ROOM SCENTS AND DEODORANTS

A European scientific study carried out on the initiative of national consumer organisations (Test Achats, Euroconsumers, EFC-Que Choisir) and the Europan Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has shown that 76 room scents and deodorants contain chemical substances that are harmful to public health and the environment. Although the consumer associations wish to avoid any alarmist reactions, they advise vulnerable people (pregnant women, children and asthmatics) not to use deodorants or room scents. They point out that the effects are all the more harmful when consideration is given to the fact that living conditions (indoor environments) often contain a high level of chemical products in furniture, paint, varnishes and cleaning products. For the BEUC this study underlines the importance of the REACH proposal on the evaluation and registration of chemical products.

 

PUBLICATIONS

THE GUIDE TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2004-2009

This is the seventh edition of this guide; it contains up-to-date information for contacts with the European Parliament, describing the balance of power among the political groups, the key figures to watch for and full biographical details of all the MEPs in the enlarged Parliament. Published by the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, it can be ordered through the following website:
www.amchameu.be/Pubs/order.htm

URBAN AUDIT 2004

The Urban Audit collects information on the living conditions in 258 large and medium-sized cities within the European Union and candidate countries (EU-27). One of the main goals of the Urban Audit is to allow mayors and other local elected officials to compare their city and their neighbourhoods directly with other cities in Europe. To obtain a copy contact the Regional Policy Documentation Centre of the Directorate-General for Regional Policy and Eurostat by e-mail at [email protected]

To see the statistics on-line, go to:
www.urbanaudit.org/

TWO REPORTS ON URBAN POLICIES

Two reports on Urban Policies in the EU-15 and in the EU-10 commissioned by the Dutch Presidency of the EU, Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Affairs served as background information for the recent Ministerial Meeting on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Policy, held in Rotterdam on 29-30 November. Regrettably, the (necessary) linkage between architectural policies and urban policies is not addressed; in fact it is worthwhile noting that architecture as a topic is not mentioned at all. These reports, as well as all the relevant national reports can be downloaded at:
http://www.dutchuec.nl/kcgs/show/id=136088

LEAN CONSTRUCTION JOURNAL LAUNCHED

The first edition of the Lean Construction Journal (LCJ) has been launched and it can be viewed at:
www.leanconstructionjournal.org

Practitioners and academics have been invited to submit manuscripts for the second edition, due to be published in April 2005. Outlines can be submitted by following instructions given on the website of the magazine (see above).

THE WOOD REVIEW ON UK EXPERIENCE IN EU PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

The UK Government has published the Wood Review of the experiences of UK companies in the EU Public Procurement market; that is the success of UK companies in winning contracts outside the UK. It has found that, although the public procurement rules are formally respected, national companies are still more likely to be selected. The report can be downloaded at:
www.ogc.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?docid=1002412

 

EVENTS

UIA WORLD CONGRESS ISTANBUL

Time is short and the UIA World Congress of architects is just six months away. Subscriptions are still at a discount rate, but only for a short time. You are invited to look at the programme and events that are planned for this Bazaar of Architectures at:
www.uia2005istanbul.org

E-CORE BROKERAGE EVENT

Details of the latest FP6 call for project proposals has been published on the CORDIS website (www.cordis.lu/nmp/whatsnew.htm) and there are at least two opportunities for the construction sector. In order to give potential proposers the opportunity to develop synergy between individual proposals, E-CORE is organising a brokerage event in Brussels for the 17th January 2005. Full details can be found at:
www.e-core.org/17-01-2005 or by e-mail to [email protected]

REVALUING CONSTRUCTION 2005

This major conference on the topic of the Challenge of Change in Construction will take place in Rotterdam on the 22nd 23rd March 2005. It will provide an opportunity to learn how the construction world is changing as clients, governments and construction firms present their points of view on changes that are occurring in the sector at this time. Full details can be found on the conference website at:
www.rc2005.nl

7TH WORLD CONGRESS ON ENGINEERING EDUCATION

To be held in Budapest, Hungary, on the 4th to the 8th March 2006 the theme of the Congress will be The Mobility of Engineers. Among other things it will look at the Bologna Process, accreditation procedures and entrepreneurship in the profession. For further information see the following website:
www.unesco.org/wfeo/

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION

The Catalan Architecture Association and Quaderns dArquitectura i Urbanisme magazine are holding this conference in Barcelona in 2005. A call for papers has been issued and full information can be accessed at:
www.quaderns.coac.net/

BEX-THE BUILDING EXCHANGE

To be held on the 13th-15th June 2005 in Athens, this event includes a major conference and offers structured opportunities for networking and business exchanges. Topics for presentation and debate include the future of the construction sector, sustainable architecture, urban regeneration and health & safety excellence. The organisers, Emax International, are offering preferential rates to ACE delegates who attend the Conference. Full details at:
www.b-e-x.com

THE ARCHITECTURE OF HOSPITALS

To be held in Groningen, The Netherlands, from the 13th to the 15th April 2005, this conference will take a comprehensive look at the issues that surround the design of hospitals. Full details can be found at:
www.thearchitectureofhospitals.org/

 

COMPETITIONS

POST OF IRISH STATE ARCHITECT ADVERTISED

The Office of Public Works, a Government Department of the Irish Republic, has just advertised the post of Principal Architect and Director of Architectural Services. This follows the retirement of Michael ODoherty, who has been a strong and active supporter of the European Forum for Architectural Policies, from the post last month. This amounts, in reality, to the post of State Architect and it is open to qualified architects with at least ten years post graduate professional experience some of which must have been gained at a high management level. Full details and application information can be accessed at:
http://www.publicjobs.ie/cand/joblisting_eng.asp

MICHAEL VENTRIS MEMORIAL FUND

The 2005 Award for Architecture offered by the Trustees of the Michael Ventris Memorial Fund has been announced. It is open to architects or postgraduate students of not less than RIBA Intermediate status or comparable level of achievement. The award is in the sum of 2,000 STG and full details on how to apply for consideration can be had by writing to the Secretary of the Architectural Association, 34-36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, UK. Completed applications must be received by the Secretary before the 23rd February 2005.

 

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

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

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

EU IMPACT ASSESSMENT IN PRACTICE

Consult a list of impact assessments that the EU has carried out on various legislative packages at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/secretariat_general/impact/index_en.htm

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  Czech _cs Maltese _mt
Estonian _et  Latvian _lv   Lithuanian _lt Polish _pl
Hungarian _hu  Slovene _sl Slovak _sk  

EDITORS 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] 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 FEANI, the Euractiv website (www.euractiv.com) and Bulletin Quotidien Europe.

[email protected] Comments and contributions welcome