RSUA Procurement Committee update


The RSUA Procurement Committee meets quarterly to consider issues around procurement with the ultimate aim of widening the opportunity for architects to win public projects.

Belfast City Council is proposing a Regeneration Framework for Professional Advisory Services which is expected to include all local authorities in Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. RSUA met recently with Belfast City Council to discuss the opportunities to improve the framework and provided written comments on the above presentation here.

The committee also agreed to seek formal notification of policy on NEC Project Managers Accreditation and learned that the Construction and Procurement Delivery (CPD) at the Department of Finance has agreed the following with the construction professional bodies in respect of release of payments:

Detail of fee breakdown at tender stage: When procuring a construction consultant team for a building projects the client should only seek the total fee to be broken down by RIBA stages. Following appointment, the winning bidder and the client would then agree a detailed schedule for the release of regular payments to the construction consultant team during the project. The aim should be to ensure steady cash flow, ideally on a monthly basis.’

This approach ensures that the other bidding teams are not wasting their time drawing up detailed payment schedules which will never be used. A similar approach should be adopted for civil engineering projects.

The committee reviewed two documents:

  • The final agreed version of the Scope of Services Paper,
  • The joint proposal (prepared by RSUA on behalf of the construction professional bodies and Construction Employers Federation) on Design & Build which was approved at the meeting of the Construction Industry Forum on 4 June 2019.

As part of its work, RSUA regularly meets with clients and the next scheduled meeting for members will be with the Head of Procurement at the Education Authority. More detail here.

In the meantime, if members have any examples of slow procurement issues, please notify these to Ciarán Fox.