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New rules for architectural competitions: Next time, quality will be decisive, not just the price

The Prague City Council has adopted principles governing the procedures both for public procurement concerning public spaces and for organising design competitions in the field of architecture, urban planning, and landscaping. Unlike before, designs will be mainly evaluated based on their quality rather than their price, while design documentation and previous successes achieved by the team of authors will also be taken into account.

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It is a manual, a sort of recipe book for organising competitions for high-quality designs to revive streets or squares or for designing bridges and other public works. Price will no longer be the only and predominant criterion. The whole process has now been followed through for individual investors who will wish to build a certain construction, such as a bridge, or to execute a project encompassing a whole avenue, such as Vinohradská or Bělohorská Street. They have been provided with a manual on how to proceed, so that quality rather than the price is the decisive criterion, as well as the experience of the team who can offer the city not only a design of an idea and good-looking pictures, but mainly the design documentation which can really serve as a base for construction. We are heading in a new direction,” said Petra Kolínská, the Deputy Mayor of Prague.

The weighting for each criterion depends, both for competitions and procurement procedures, on the total investment costs for the project execution. Criterion weight distribution for a procurement contract under 500 million CZK of investment costs (excluding VAT) is as follows: 60% overall design quality, 30% estimated execution price, 10% tender price for project administration. Criterion weight for a procurement with investment costs above or equal 500 million CZK (excluding VAT) are 50% overall design quality, 40% estimated design execution price, 10% tender price for project administration.

“The procuring entity is thus provided with more options to influence the future appearance or the functional features and utilities of the plan more profoundly. These principles are important for the capital, as a number of competitions were organised in the past, but all of them rather half-baked, as it was not very clear how to proceed further,” added Kolínská.

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