RIBA to promote new best practice standard for architecture competitions

Clients to get more choice, architects more opportunity and waste to be minimised.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Council yesterday (Thursday 19 June) approved the findings of the RIBA Task Group Review of architectural competitions.  The group comprised clients, client advisers, architects and RIBA executives, and was set up by the RIBA in 2013 to review the use of competitions in the UK. Clients and architects involved in future competitions will be advised to adhere to the RIBA’s best practice rules under new guidance to be drawn up and published later in the year.  The guidance will set out a wide range of competitive processes, with additional client support.

Key recommendations of the review include the promotion of best practice guidance and the celebration and promotion of the benefits of competitions for all types of buildings, which should lead to an increase in the quantity of well-run, well-managed competitions.

Other task group recommendations approved by RIBA Council include improved processes to reduce waste such as design charrettes, standardised pre-qualification templates and additional services including client mentoring for less experienced clients.

RIBA Competitions standards, likely to form the basis for best practice standard published later this year, include principles of openness, fairness and transparency, as well as protection of copyright, honoraria payments to reflect the amount of design work required, efficient processes including use of digital entry, judging composition, involvement of independent client Adviser, and feedback to competitors.  This standard will be consolidated with a service to approve and promote qualifying third-party competitions.

Martin Knight, Chair of the RIBA Competitions Task Group said:

“Good competitions offer valuable choices to clients and opportunities to architects.  They encourage research and innovation, promote public debate and emphasise the value of good design but they often have an image problem, especially amongst younger or smaller practices who have been stung by poorly-run competitions, where the rules haven’t been transparent or fair and where the cost of wasted resources can be high. The introduction of an industry-wide RIBA championed ‘best practice standard’ with improved processes, additional guidance and support for clients at the outset of a project, will tackle the causes of this negative perception amongst the profession.

“We need to increase the quantity of good competitions and demonstrate to clients that they are good for all projects – to achieve the ‘beautiful ordinary’, not just iconic buildings.  RIBA Competitions has a critical role to play in promoting best practice competitive selection processes.”

The Task Group’s recommendations will go out to consultation and testing, with publication expected in the autumn.


Notes to editors:

  1. Martin Knight, Chair of the RIBA Competitions Task Group and Linda Stevens, RIBA Head of Client Services are available for joint interviews to discuss the RIBA Task Group Review into architectural competitions. To arrange an interview time please contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761 howard.crosskey@riba.org
  2. To view case studies of previous RIBA Competitions from all sectors including Civic & Commercial, Culture & Leisure, Education & Health, Housing and Structures & Public Realm please visit: http://www.architecture.com/RIBA/Competitions/CaseStudies/CaseStudiesHome.aspx  
  3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates www.twitter.com/RIBA   


Posted on Friday 20th June 2014