In the annals of construction history this date will be written, in letters of bricks and mortar (in gold coins as is normally said). The only sector which glances sideways at industrialization and the improvement of its products is now faced with its own complete up-dating.
We are talking about the building sector. A sector which uses the same component for production as it has done for 11,000 years: the ceramic brick. It has often been said that the building sector paid for its products (made with clay) at the price of gold and this has been one of the reasons for the crisis which started in 2006 and which the subprime mortgages of the USA extended on a global dimension.
The Bible already told us of the seven year plagues, and now seven years after the beginning of the crisis, Europe has introduced a plan for radically changing the process by which contracts and tender for public works will be done (and this will also, most probably affect the way in which private construction will also contract in the future).
On the 15th of January of this year, the European Parliament updated the game rules for drawing up a public contract by introducing social, environmental and innovation considerations (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-20_en.htm).
In economic terms, the building sector is equivalent to 16 times the automobile industry and 300 times the aeronautical market; therefore to exert any influence on it can have major repercussions. In fact the European Parliament voted on two guidelines – public contracting and the approval of concessions – which were agreed upon during the month of June 2013 at the Council of Ministers.
The objective of the reforms is quite clear: to open up public tenders to smaller companies and to encourage public administrations to provide better services to their customers, who pay taxes and dues, or who are citizens of their countries, regions or cities.
The new measures were approved in order to promote what is known as “value for money”, by means of transparency of the processes and of their accounting when the government has to provide assets and services.
Now it is not a simple fact of accepting the lowest price, an attempt is being made to be efficient and to act in an intelligent manner. And for this what will be necessary are common standards where the criteria of quality and sustainability (social aspects, environmental considerations) can be taken into account at the MEAT acronym for “Most Economically Advantageous Tender”. The new rules are based on simplification, flexibility and legal certainty in order to be able to eradicate the normal practices of the sector in matters of corruption and nepotism.
Work has been done in order to divide the gigantic contracts for large works so that any company may have access to making a smaller lot and therefore assist in changing the map for the industry in Europe making it far more agile and flexible. This is a challenge for improving the economy and for assisting small and medium sized businesses – which will create more work places – in Europe.
Work has been going on since 2011 on these guidelines, which should align the building sector with the objective of Europe 2020, (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2010:2020:FIN:EN:PDF) – a Europe with a smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive growth – and which was one of the 12 points which comprised the new single market, known as the Single Market Act (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-469_en.htm).
A fundamental guideline for the sector, a fundamental guideline for Europe, a guideline (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/publicprocurement/index_en.htm) based on the use of the BIM (Building Information Modelling) and the VDC (Virtual Design and Construction).
Therefore the European BIM Summit makes total sense. Businesses, professionals, technicians, universities, and governments now have only 15 months to adapt to these guidelines, and time just flies…
Welcome to EBS’15 in Barcelona on the 12th and 13th of February next.