An Architect's Guide to Public Procurement
The book suggests it focusses on '…dispelling the myths and differentiating the genuine impact of EU law from other factors that may serve to diminish the quality of outcomes.' It does this from the perspective of suppliers of architectural services.
The timing of the book is a little unfortunate, given our decision to leave the European Union (EU), and this sense that it may be a little behind the times is not helped by a peculiar decision to superimpose hatching on key pages, which makes them difficult to read.
However, as the process of leaving the EU is likely to take several years, and even then, legislation that originated from EU directives may stay in place in the form of UK regulations, the book remains relevant and a valuable introduction for architects grappling with swathes of impenetrable procedures.
Garvey suggests that there is '…much suspicion in the UK and across Europe that the introduction of new European directives… and their transposition into national regulations, has prompted an abandonment of common sense, and has introduced a regime of conservatism and legal risk-aversion that leads to the delivery of the mediocre and the banal.'
It is not clear what the evidence is for this statement, or why it is necessary in the context of explaining EU law. The first few pages of the book adopt an unnecessary confrontational tone, not supported by the subsequent chapters, citing an obsessive use of 'cut and paste' procurement methodologies and a deficient understanding by procuring entities, then immediately introducing the concept of effective recourse for suppliers.
However, it quickly moves on from this slightly subjective assessment to consider the more objective legal context, and the move from informal guidance to regulation that has been created by the single market. It assesses when, and what EU law might apply, and describes with great clarity the procedures and terminology introduced by EU law and the powers of contracting authorities. It considers how suppliers might participate in public projects, the barriers to qualification, and award criteria.
It also sets out the architect's rights, and how to mount legal challenges to the process. This is a valuable description of the mechanisms available, but they are certainly not actions architects' will take lightly.
An Architect's Guide to Public Procurement is best when it sticks to the facts, rather than wandering into broader assessments of motives, quality and marketing. It could benefit from a more targeted title, making clear it focusses specifically on EU law, rather than wider or national issues related to public procurement. However, it provides a valuable introduction for architects entering a complex area.
It seems likely that a re-write will be needed very soon.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
What will the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean for you when they come into force in May?
Business Secretary chairs a new taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation.
Sir John Armitt is appointed the new chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?
Government announces its intention to strengthen planning rules to protect music venues and neighbours.
National Audit Office reports that there is little evidence that PFI offers better value than other forms of contracting.
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?
Scrutiny is placed on Carillion's controversial 2013 decision to extend subcontractor payment terms to 120 days.
RSHP unveil their involvement in a boundary crossing which will provide a new entry point into Hong Kong.
With PFI currently under the spotlight due to Carillion, this introductory article explains what they are.
Estimates suggest that up to 30,000 small firms could be at risk of non-payment as a result of Carillion's collapse.