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Core curriculum topic: Procurement and contracts

To help you gain the skills you need to practise architecture now and in the future as a RIBA Chartered Member, we have defined 10 mandatory core curriculum topics to address through CPD.

The topic Procurement and contracts covers understanding the legal and regulatory basis of the procurement system. The topic also covers having the knowledge and skills to negotiate consultant procurement and win work, and to ensure you have the right building or professional services contract or agreement in place for a project.

Procurement and contracts

This competency potentially covers

The legislative framework

  • WTO GPA (World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement)
  • EU Directive 2014/24
  • Public Contract Regulations 2015 and what it allows and requires
  • The Social Value Act
  • Small Businesses and Enterprise Bill
  • English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Regulations and authorities standing orders
  • Threshold values of OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union)
  • Obligations on tenders below thresholds under trade treaties and regulations
  • Restraint on abnormally low tenders
  • RIBA Plan of Work 2013:procurement task bar

What is possible and what to look our for

  • Preliminary Market Engagement (PME)
  • How procurement tender and its value is defined
  • Award criteria: cost effectiveness, life cycle costing, balanced score cards and MEAT (most economically advantageous tender)
  • Appropriate cost/quality ratio
  • Understanding requirements and evaluating detailed brief requirements
  • The programme, resources and cost of competing

Reading an OJEU notice

  • The contract value
  • The contracting authority
  • The object of the contract, including whether variants are acceptable and consortia are allowed
  • Legal, financial and technical information
  • Economic and financial ability and whether the service is reserved for a particular profession
  • Likely number of procurement stages
  • The cost quality weighting in the assessment
  • The procedural type route and contract terms and conditions revealed
  • Understand OJEU layouts, notice access, the CPV (common procurement vocabulary) and NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) codes

Tactics in tendering for work

Pre qualification

  • How to use centralised purchasing arrangements and pre qualification services
  • Learn what a good EOI (expression of interest) looks like
  • Learn how to complete a PQQ (pre qualification questionnaire)
  • Learn how to demonstrate track record and previous experience


  • What a good tender return looks like
  • How to submit cost effective bids
  • How to demonstrate social value demanded by a Social Value Levy
  • How to demonstrate cost-effectiveness through quality criteria (MEAT and balanced score cards)
  • How to demonstrate a design approach that meets client outcomes
  • How to get onto frameworks and getting called off


  • Selection off a framework by mini competition
  • The third competitive stage assessment
  • Assessment models for design, fee bid or other
  • Other techniques: full house or pack thinned; by lot, rotational, randomised, ranking from initial assessment, level playing fields

Procurement methods

  • Selecting the appropriate procurement method
  • Nature and scope of work proposed
  • How the risks are to be apportioned
  • How and where design responsibility is placed
  • How the work is coordinated
  • On what price basis the contract is to be awarded
  • The effect of different procurement routes on programme, cost, risk, quality
  • Design responsibility and third-party rights
  • Claims, litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods
  • Collaboration and briefing in construction and provisions for team working
  • Site processes, quality monitoring, progress recording, payment and completion

The right contract

  • Understanding the different contracts and forms of appointment
  • Advising the client on the right/best form of contract to be used, and keeping up to speed on updates and amends on the various forms of contract.
  • Duties and powers of a lead consultant and contract administrator
  • Agreeing and knowing how specific contracts are to be adjudicated and adjudication agreements
  • Collateral warranties

Contract law and case law

  • Contracts for professional services
    Contracts for building projects
  • Standard forms of contract
  • Non-standard forms of contract

Selecting the appropriate type of contract


  • Lump sum
  • Measurement
  • Cost reimbursement


  • Management contracts
  • Construction management contracts
  • Design, manage, construct and in some cases maintain

Design and build

  • RIBA Contracts for domestic and simple commercial projects
  • RIBA agreements for the appointment of architects and specialist consultants

Other types of contracts and agreements for specific issues

  • Public sector consultancy agreements
  • Framework agreements and guides
  • Homeowner contracts
  • Intermediate building contracts
  • Major projects
  • Minor works
  • Pre-construction services
  • Prime cost
  • Repair and maintenance

Find CPD on this topic

You must take two hours of CPD on this topic every year.

Find RIBA accredited CPD on Procurement and contracts through RIBA Academy.

Related courses include:

Find related CPD offered by our partners on the CPD Providers Network.

Podcasts, videos, articles, and other offers can also contribute towards your CPD requirements.

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