Request to Minister to suspend procurement


The Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) along with its fellow construction professional bodies in Northern Ireland has raised its serious concerns with the Minister for Education in relation to the procurement of design services for 28 new schools announced by the Minister on 21 March 2022.

The Construction Professionals’ Council of Northern Ireland (CPCNI) is asking the Education Minister to suspend the current process to allow engagement with the professions. The ultimate goal is to deliver the schools our children deserve in 2030.

CPCNI has identified the following key problems:

• There has been no pre-market engagement as per good practice
• Design quality is being side-lined
• This procurement promotes a race to the bottom on pricing
• All 28 schools could be won by a single Economic Operator
• Design teams are being asked to provide a fixed fee for an undetermined amount of work
• Schools opening in 2030 are not aiming to be Net Zero Carbon
• Costly insurance requirements are not providing value for money to the taxpayer

CPCNI has also sought support for its call to suspend the procurement from the following:
• the Minister for Communities, who is responsible for the Architecture and Built Environment Policy
• the Procurement Board which is responsible for establishing good practice in public procurement
• All MLAs from constituencies in which at least one of the 28 schools is to be based

Click on the links below to view the letter to the Minister and the associated paper detailing the concerns.

RSUA will keep members up to date on progress on this matter.

The Construction Professionals Council of Northern Ireland provides a collective voice for the following construction professional bodies:
• ACE (NI) Association for Consulting Engineering
• APM Association for Project Management
• APS Association for Project Safety
• CABE Chartered Association of Building Engineers
• CIAT Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
• CIOB Chartered Institute of Building
• CIBSE Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers
• CIHT Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation
• Conc. Soc. The Concrete Society
• CSANI Construction Surveyors Association of NI
• ICE Institution of Civil Engineers
• ICES Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors
• IEI Institute of Engineers of Ireland
• IMechE Institute of Mechanical Engineers
• I Struct E Institution of Structural Engineers
• IOSH Institution of Occupational Safety & Health
• LI Landscape Institute
• RICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
• RSUA Royal Society of Ulster Architects