My constant concern about architecture is the methodology to solicit engagements, especially within the public Sector. It is interesting that my thought is being written amidst the public demand by Indian Railways asking architects to work Pro-bono, and stalwarts like Hafeez Contractor offering to do so as well. While, why I believe that is wrong at multiple levels is probably a difficult discussion, but it does address the context.
The L1 bug
Award of the Public-Sector works suffers from the disease of the lowest tender. This not only guarantees mediocrity of service but causes immense loss of time and state’s money. I personally believe, that this is an easy fix – The regulator (CoA) can educate various public departments / PSUs that work should be awarded at a fixed fee. The fixed fee can be determined as blanket (applicable regionally) or may vary from project to project. This methodology shall only base the decision of award on technical capability. Design Competitions can complement this methodology.
Engineering, Procurement, Construction
Another forewarning to Architectural Practices is the rise in comprehensive services; i.e, Architectural services shall struggle to remain a pure consultancy and lean towards a subset of a larger collaboration. Design and Build contracts OR EPC contracts shall be the norm. Public sector may seek a single window for Design, Construction Management and Execution. Ironically, this transition indexes at the historical understanding of architects/architecture where the designer was the engineer and the master builder/craftsmen or vice-versa.
The above thoughts were published in MGS ARCHITECTURE | April 2018; along with the following article https://www.designplusarchitects.in/software-within-a-pipeline/