Low Fee Estimate on Ardhowen Project

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has launched the procurement process for a design team for the Redevelopment of Ardhowen Theatre on the outskirts of Enniskillen.

The Ardhowen project is estimated to be £7.7m and the design team fee has been estimated at £450,000. The estimated fee as a percentage of the overall project value is 5.8%.

RSUA has raised its concerns with the client that there may have been an error in the estimation of the fee as it is so low for a project of this type. Whilst the fee estimate is not critical at prequalification stage, it becomes important at tender stage. A low fee estimate by a client does send a signal to the market. It suggests that a client wishes to appoint a design team as cheaply as possible and that quality is not a high priority.

RSUA believes that Fermanagh and Omagh District Council wishes to send the opposite signal to the market – a message that quality is king. Therefore, RSUA has requested that the published fee estimate is reviewed.

As the professional body for architects in Northern Ireland we strive to enhance Northern Ireland’s built environment for the benefit of all through the promotion of architecture. We monitor public procurements because it is often at these early stages that the success of a project is heavily determined. Where we spot problems, we seek to alert the client and encourage action to be taken.

If you are aware of any opportunities for improvements in a public procurement process, please contact RSUA.