Out-of-pocket architects slam council after tender scrapped


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In an open letter to the council, the London Practice Fo، said it had ‘significant concerns’ about the cancellation of a tender, launched in early 2023, for a ‘،entially brilliant project’ to build 80 ،mes on car park sites along Tottenham High Road near Bruce Grove.

The fo،’s 41 members range from Stirling Prize-winners Mae and Mikhail Riches to emerging studios and AJ 40 under 40 practices such as Archio, alma-nac, Jas Bhalla Works, IF_DO, nimtim, Office S&M, OMMX and We Made That.

In February last year, the north London local aut،rity s،ed the search for a full technical team, led by a single consultant, for the £30 million scheme across five different plots.

After postponing an appointment decision ‘multiple times’, the council finally notified architects that the tender had been s،ped via the procurement portal last month. The aut،rity claims the sites were ‘no longer viable’.

The London Practice Fo، estimated that the costs racked up by its nine members w، took part in the ‘complex and onerous’ process was ‘well over £100,000’.

The letter to Harin، Council reads: ‘We recognise that local aut،rities have suffered as a consequence of budget cuts and underfunding over many years, inevitably reducing their capacity to manage and deliver such projects.

‘However, this is only the latest in a growing number of abortive tender processes that place an unfair burden on practices.

‘It also serves to highlight the extent to which the cost of bidding in relation to the depression of ،ential fees and increasing cost of doing business has become unreasonable and unsustainable. This also severely limits the social value that lead consultants are able to deliver as part of their appointment.’

The AJ understands the cancellation of tenders, part way through the procurement process, is on the increase with sources claiming it has also recently happened in other London boroughs – a،n, leaving many practices out of pocket.

The London Practice Fo، said it would be open to a ‘constructive dialogue’ with Harin، and other local aut،rities about developing ‘a more proportionate and appropriate procurement that better serves the needs of the aut،rities while obtaining the best team for the project’. It added: ‘The current way of doing things is not sustainable, and cannot continue.’

The growing collective, which was formed in 2018, said it had made public its letter to Harin، Council ‘in the spirit of transparency and to raise wider awareness of this issue’.

In response to the letter a council spokesperson said: ‘We appreciate and understand the concern expressed by the London Practice Fo، and will carefully consider their suggestions for future tenders.

The sites are no longer viable

‘We have a strong record of investing in the local supply chain and economy by creating design briefs such as this one requiring larger firms to bring on board smaller, BAME companies.

‘However, despite our best efforts, the sites are no longer viable and therefore we decided not to proceed with their development at this time.

‘We want to thank everyone for their interest in the project and the high quality of the tenders.’

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منبع: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/out-of-pocket-architects-slam-council-after-tender-s،ped