Organizing standards
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Competition guidelines
Competition guidelines

Competition guidelines


Defining the goal

The organization of a competition can only start after a precise definition of the investment objective is drafted. The client will prepare a document with the preliminary Brief data that will describe the investment objective. The information must present a clear idea of ​​what the client wants to achieve through the competition and shall represent the basis for the elaboration of the competition documentation. Both the cost estimation for the investment and the design services, as well as the Brief shall be drawn up in collaboration with the Organizer of the competition. The organizing team consists of professionals with expertise in the field.

A realistic budget for organizing the competition and for investing

The success of a design competition depends fundamentally on the judicious estimation of the maximum cost for investment and the design services. It is important that the budget or financial scheme established according to the client’s aspirations is realistic and correlated with international professional practice related to similar investments. Competitors will base their proposals on this budget, in the sense that it becomes a criterion in choosing certain technical solutions or certain formal and functional concepts.

The total estimated budget for the procurement of design services through a design competition comprises three main chapters: the budget for the organization of the competition, the prize fund and the cost of the design services.

A well drafted Brief

A competition’s success is largely influenced by the quality of the competition Brief. The Brief must be well written, free of ambiguity, containing all the necessary information, clearly stating the requirements in a way that allows interpretation freedom to the competitors. Also, the studies accompanying the competition brief must provide the necessary professional information for the participants to draw up proposals which should not encounter obstacles in later design stages. This step is essential for both the competition’s good evolution and for the implementation of the winning project.


1. Preliminary

The client (the Contracting Authority / the Promoter) wants to find out:

  • how much does it cost?
  • how long will it take?
  • how it’s done?

The Organizer will establish:

  • the type of competition that is most adequate for the objective;
  • a realistic competition calendar which will ensure the good organization and conduct of the competition;
  • the budget to ensure the good preparation of the competition in the available time.

At the end of this stage, The Organizer and the client (Contracting Authority / Promoter) sign a contract for organizing the competition.

2. The contract and for organizing the competition

The contract establishes, based on the negotiation / agreements between the client (the Contracting Authority / Promoter) and the Organizer, the following aspects:

  • the responsibilities assigned to each party for the good organization of the competition;
  • the deadlines for their realizations;
  • the expense types that shall be paid by the client through the organizer.

3. The preparation of the competition documentation

The client (Contracting Authority / Promoter):

  • Draws up the preliminary studies (geotechnical investigation, topographic survey, landscape studies, architecture surveys etc,) and delivers them to the organizing team;
  • Makes available the model for the design services contract which will be signed with the competition winner;

The Organizer:

  • Advises the client (the Contracting Authority / Promoter) regarding the necessary documents for drafting the Brief;
  • Drafts the Competition Brief;
  • Drafts the Competition Rules;
  • Prepares, with the support of the client (the Contracting Authority / Promoter), the competition forms made available to the participants;
  • Proposes the list of Jury members that shall be approved by the client (the Contracting Authority / Promoter), of which the client can name maximum two representatives – a full member and a deputy member;
  • Prepares the official competition website, section of the OAR website, which represents the competition’s official communication channel in the professional field. The competition website presents the general competition information in Romanian and English (according to the situation), allows the competitors’ registration and the submission of their questions, and facilitates the publication of the answers, of the relevant notices and of the final competition results.

4. Before launching the competition

The Organizer:

  • Prepares the competition documentation and its translation (if it is the case), in the event of an international competition, for being uploaded on the official website of the competition and in the Electronic Public Procurement Platform – SEAP (in the case of a public investment);
  • Drafts the justification of the award criteria, necessary for the approval of the competition documentation by the National Agency for Public Procurement – ANAP in SEAP (in the case of a public investment);

The client (Contracting Authority / Promoter):

  • Uploads the competition procedure in SEAP and waits for the approval of ANAP, in the case of a public investment, after the finalization of the Brief and the Rules.

5. The competition launch

The Organizer’s responsibilities are the following ones:

A. Uploading and publishing the announcement, the competition information, and the complete documentation: the Brief, Rules and Annexes, on the official website of the competition, in Romanian, and, if it is the case, in English.

B. Preparation of the competition secretariat with the following responsibilities:

  • Recording all the participants registering for the competition via the official website of the competition in a data base;
  • Manages the communication regarding the competition (notices, announcements of the secretariat etc.) and offers technical assistance;
  • Manages the “Questions and Answers” Rounds (Q&A).

C. Preparation of the site visit:

  • The competitors attending the site visit have the opportunity to take photos (personal competition documentation) and ask questions directly to the Professional Advisors;
  • All questions and answers offered on the site visit become an integral part of the first “Questions and Answers” document, along with those submitted via the official website of the competition.

D. Manages the “Questions and Answers” rounds:

  • The “Questions and Answers” document is published on the official website of the competition and sent by email to all participants who submitted questions or who registered for the competition via the website;
  • The “Questions and Answers” document is an official competition document and becomes an integral part of the competition documentation. The Organizer sends the the “Questions and Answers” document to the Contracting Authorithy for its publication on SEAP (in the case of a public investment).

E. Ensures the public communication regarding the competition throughout all previously described staged.

6. The projects’ submission

All activities required at this stage become the responsibility / obligation of the Organizer.

A. The Reception Secretariat:

  • registers the received projects (assigns a registration number to each project);
  • removes the distinctive marks from the packages;
  • can reject automatically a package, according to the conditions of the Governmental Decision 395/2016, if it does not comply with the deadline mentioned by the procedure calendar, if it does not present the participation guarantee (in case the participants are solicited the payment of a participation guarantee) or if the sealed envelope is submitted inconsistently (separately or outside the package/tube). In this case, the Reception Secretariat drafts a Report for the disqualification of the project and notices the participant in maximum 24h;
  • drafts a reception / handing in Report of the packages and transfers them to the Technical Committee.

B. The Technical Committee:

  • removes the registration numbers and assigns the competition numbers;
  • checks the observation of the formal requirements presented by the Brief and Rules;
  • separates the sealed envelopes from the competition materials (competition boards, Financial Proposal and, if it is the case, other documents required by the Brief and the Rules);
  • drafts a Report regarding the observation of the requirements presented by the Brief and Rules and submits it to the Jury (the only body which can decide upon the disqualification of a participant following the works of the Technical Committee).

7. The Jury proceedings

The Organizer manages the following aspects:

A. The Jury approves the Technical Committee Report and decides the number of projects entering the Jury proceedings.

B. The Organizer facilitates the Jury sessions:

  • Appoints a Jury Secretary (an architect) for the entire duration of the Jury sessions, who assists the Jury in drafting the Report (the Jury Report details the conduct of the Jury sessions and comprises the comments / conclusions of the Jury regarding the winning proposals, the recommendations offered to the winning proposals, ranking and scores);
  • Ensures the presence of the technical consultants and of the Brief author – The Professional Advisor of the Competition, for the assistance of the Jury.

C. Following the Jury sessions the envelopes containing the participants’ identity are unsealed only after all members of the Jury have signed the Jury Report and its annexes.

8. Following the Jury session

The Contracting Authority / Promoter is responsible for:

A. Organizing the Press Conference, in the presence of the Jury, for the official announcement of the winners and the participating projects’ exhibition.
B. Uploading the competition results in SEAP, in the case of a public investment.
C. Inviting the winner to the negotiation procedure and signing of the design services contract.
D. Payment of the prizes.

The Organizer performs the following tasks:

A. Opens the envelopes containing the participants’ identity.
B. Draws up a correspondence chart for the registration number, the competition number and the identity symbol for each project.
C. Publishes this table on the website of the competition.
D. Draws up a data base with the participants’ identity information.
E. Prepares the digital version of the competition boards to be included in the entries’ gallery along with the data of the authors (in case they agreed for their identity to be revealed).
F. Draws up the Press Release package containing the Press Release, the digital version of the wining projects’ boards and excerpts from the Jury Report.
G. Prepares the competition dossier and submits it to the Contracting Authority / Promoter.

Throughout all competition stages

The OAR competition team ensures assistance and consultancy throughout the conduct of the competition.


European example

In Europe, the design competition procedure has a long history proving its efficiency in selecting the best projects throughout time. Thus, for example, between 2000 and 2011, in the United Kingdom, 57% of the winning projects implemented following a competition organized by RIBA won an architecture award.

Legislative framework

From a legislative point of view, competition procedures in Romania are organized under the following local and European regulations and laws in force:

  • The UIA Competition Guide for Design Competitions in Architecture and Related Fields (+ link download)
  • Law No.98/2016 regarding the public procurement procedures, the procedures for awarding public contracts and for organizing design competitions, the specific instruments and techniques used for awarding public contracts
  • Governmental Decision No. 395/2016 from June 2nd 2016 for the approval of the Methodological Norms for the application of the provisions regarding the award of the public procurement contract / framework agreement from Law no. 98/2016 on public procurement
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