In accordance with EU directives, professional associations and unions from EU member states must drop any regulation that could restrict free competition. One of the underlying principles for this legal framework is that “establishing mandatory fees does not guarantee that market criteria are taken into account or that there is a relation between the fixed prices and the provision of high quality services”.
Consequently, the Romanian Order of Architects withdrew the scale of recommended minimum rates (in use between 2001 – 2010). This led to a proliferation of dumping prices, which then resulted into an unfortunate decrease of the quality of design projects. OAR reckons that the current deregulated market is flawed, in the sense that neither the beneficiary, nor the provider of design services have access to transparent information that could help them judge whether the value of the concluded contract is fair. Especially within this legal framework subject to deregulation, because of inexistant minimum fees, a correct estimate of the resources required for a design and building project is necessary, both for the architects and for the clients.
In order to help meet this need, following the example of architects’ professional associations from other EU member countries (Austria, France or Belgium), OAR, in partnership with IMAS Marketing and Surveys Bucharest, started implementing a design cost information system.
It is mandatory for OAR to implement the design cost information system (abbreviated DCIS in English, and SIC in Romanian), as stipulated by the Law no. 172/2010, amending and supplementing the Law no. 184/2001. In accordance with the law, the design cost information system must be authorized by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration, by the Ministry of European Funds, and by the Ministry of Culture, and afterwards made openly accessible.
The main elements that make up the structure of the Design Cost Information System are:
- The architect’s tasks;
- The estimate of the design time –pre-calculation shared platform (PCSP);
- The rate calculator;
- The standard contracts.
The Architect’s Tasks, an outcome of the OAR Profession working group, was approved in 2012 as the first module of DCIS. As of 2014, the Profession working group worked on the pre-calculation shared platform (PCSP). The data collection and the platform development were carried out with IMAS. In 2018, the pre-calculation shared platform was launched, with data collected from some 75% of the design projects for new buildings.
In accordance with the EU directives, professional associations and unions from the EU member states must drop any regulation that could restrict free competition. The design cost information system was developed following exchanges with ACE groups (Architects’ Council of Europe): Mission and Fees, Scope of Services.
The module the Architect’s Tasks and the estimates of design time were developed starting from documents such as HOAI 2013 (Germany), HIA (Austria), RIBA 2013 plan of work (UK), European Standard on Engineering consultancy services EN 16310, 2013 (European Commission).