Equinox Passive House (Bulgaria), Ignatov Architects, Photo: Rossen Donev©
ACE CORE ISSUE
8th round of EU-US negotiations on the TTIP Free Trade Agreement
The 8th round of negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) took place in Brussels on 2-6 February 2015. TTIP aims to remove customs duties and non-customs obstacles to trade in good and services between the European Union and the United States. The mutual recognition of certain equivalent rules is also intended. Once the agreement is concluded, it will have to be approved by the European Parliament before entering into force. In the margins of the TTIP negotiations, the Architects' Council of Europe is negotiating a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the US National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), under the auspices of the European Commission and the United States Trade Representative (USTR). On 13 February, a delegation of the ACE met its NCARB counterparts and EU Commission and USTR representatives to discuss the basic principles enshrined in the 2005 draft ACE-NCARB agreement and the key differences between the European and US systems (academic training, licensing examination, accreditation, requirements for traineeship, etc.). The discussions between ACE, NCARB, USTR and the EU Commission will continue in the coming months. Learn more on the TTIP on the EU Commission website.
ACE Sector Study 2014
The fourth edition of the Sector Study of the Architects’ Council of Europe shows that the architectural profession is a growing, flexible, resilient and international profession. While the economic background continues to be difficult, it reveals some encouraging trends and perspectives, as well as a renewed optimism in the profession. The ACE Sector Study is a biennial survey that collects and analyses statistical, sociological and economic data on European Architects, the architectural market and architectural practices. Based on responses from 18.000 Architects in 26 European countries, the 2014 edition of the Study has been enriched with new research areas, making it the most comprehensive study on the architectural profession in Europe and an essential reference tool for all those interested in the architectural profession and the built environment. The 2014 ACE Sector Study can be downloaded in English and French on the ACE website.
ACE Economic Trends Survey Results
The 13th edition of the economic trends survey carried out by the Architects’ Council of Europe confirms the positive signs and trends already observed in the previous surveys: the architectural market is gradually recovering and the general mood of the profession is improving – although the situation still differs greatly from one country to another. Read the survey result on the ACE website.
UIA Regions Meetings, 9-13 February, Paris
ACE Secretary General Ian Pritchard attended the UIA Professional Practice Commission meeting in Paris on 10 and 11 February. Topics discussed included the Quality of Architecture, Mobility, BIM, Traineeship and Gender Equity. On 13 February, ACE President Luciano Lazzari attended the UIA Council Meeting with Regional Associations.
Memorandum of Understanding with the Conselho de Arquitectura e Urbanismo do Brasil (CAU/BR)
The Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Conselho de Arquitectura e Urbanismo do Brasil (CAU/BR) in December 2014. Read the MoU in English and French.
ACE Position on Junkers's Investment Plan
The Architects’ Council of Europe welcomes the Commission’s € 315 billion Investment Plan as well as the recommendations made by the EU Task Force and the list of 2,000 projects that could potentially be implemented over the next three years. This Investment Plan echoes many of the ACE priorities and is a positive signal for investors in the construction sector. Read here the investment plan.
Article by ACE President on Design & Build Review Magazine
In the January edition of DBR Magazine, ACE President Luciano Lazzari discusses four interconnected issues he believes will be essential for the industry in meeting the challenges ahead. Read his article on "Building a Long Term Vision".
New Intern at ACE
in February, Enrique Martin Santolaya joined the ACE Secretariat team for a five-month internship. Enrique has a BA in Architecture and Urban Planning and a MSc in European Studies. He will give support to ACE's International programme and Architects' Against Climate Change work
Re-establishment and first meeting of the URBAN Intergroup
The URBAN Intergroup in the European Parliament was officially re-established for the period 2014-2019, along with 27 other intergroups. Jan Olbrycht (EPP/PL) was reelected President of the Intergroup. The Architects' Council of Europe, which is a partner organisation of the Intergroup, supported its re-establishment through a joint letter of the European Housing Forum. At the first meeting of the Intergroup on 7 January 2015 the EU Commission presented the state of play of the EU Urban Agenda. Preliminary results of the public consultation on the urban dimensions of EU policies seem to echo the ACE response to the consultation: there is a need for more bottom-up participatory structures, more inter-sectoral and multilevel dialogue, respect for subsidiarity, enhanced knowledge sharing, etc. Learn more on the URBAN Intergroup website.
EU Commission and IMCO 2015 Work Programme
In December 2014, the EU Commission published its Work Programme for the year 2015, setting out 23 initiatives the Commission is committed to delivering in 2015. Among this list, the Commission will deliver a "strategy for a renewed and integrated approach for the Single Market, to deliver further integration and improve mutual recognition and standardisation in key industrial and services sectors where the economic potential is greatest, eg. business services, construction, retail, regulated professions, (...)". The Commission also announced a Strategy Framework on Energy Union, which should address, among other things, energy efficiency issues. The Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament (IMCO) published its work plan as well, in which notably it is plans a report on the transposition of the Professional Qualifications Directive.
EU certification scheme for the energy performance of non-residential buildings
In December 2014, the EU Commission received a market study on a voluntary common EU certification scheme for non-residential buildings, in accordance with the 2010 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). Giving an overview of existing voluntary schemes, this report aims to analyse the demand for a European wide voluntary scheme. It concludes that reliability, cost and international acceptance are key factors for scheme selection by the stakeholders of the construction sector. The main added value of this voluntary EU scheme would be to allow a consistent comparison between non-residential buildings across the EU. It could also contribute to raising the ambition for building certification in some Member States. The study also shows that the voluntary EU scheme should build on CEN standards, start with a pilot phase (e.g. with offices and hotels), and be applied both for public & private buildings, as well as new & existing buildings.
Eurostat: Production in construction up by 3% in 2014
In December 2014 compared with November 2014, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector fell by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU. In December 2014 compared with December 2013, production in construction fell by 3.5% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28. However, average production in construction for the year 2014, compared with 2013, increased by 2.0% in the euro area and by 3.0% in the EU28. Read the complete Eurostat press release.
In 2014 ACE continued working on the three FP7 projects LEEMA, iNSPiRe and A2PBEER. Additionally ACE started a new ERSAMUS+ project in corporation with EAAE (European Association of Architectural Education). All projects relate to the building sector and address issues related to sustainability, energy efficiency, renovation, innovative materials and technologies. Through these projects ACE seeks to promote the architects’ role in building sustainably and energy retrofitting.
LEEMA (January 2012- December 2015)
The project is developing five novel, inorganic insulation materials and building-insulation masonry components that will be suitable for applications both in new and retrofitted buildings. The developed materials have significantly lower embodied energy (by 70-90%), a lower unit cost (by 25-30%) and good technical and environmental performance. LEEMA was presented at BAU 2015, one of the World's leading trade fair for architecture and construction materials, 19-24 January 2015, in Munich (Germany). ACE thanks the Bavarian Architecture Chamber for supporting us in presenting the project results at their stand. Moreover, the project will be presented at the SEE conference in Sofia, Bulgaria on 11 March. You can access all publications here.
iNSPiRe (October 2012- September 2016)
The iNSPiRe project has the objective to tackle the problem of high-energy consumption by producing systemic renovation packages that can be applied to residential and office buildings. The renovation packages aim at reducing the primary energy consumption of the renovated building to lower than 50kWh/m2/year, are suitable to a variety of climates, while ensuring optimum comfort for the building users. ACE co-organised a workshop on non-technical barriers for the market introduction of the renovation packages in Brussels on the 19-20 February 2015. ACE is planning demonstration sites visits for interested architects in the regions of Madrid, Spain, Verona, Italy and Ludwigsburg, Germany during 2015. Please contact the project officer, if you like to attend.
A2PBEER (October 2013- September 2017)
The A2PBEER project has the objective of developing a systemic energy efficient buildings’ retrofitting methodology for public buildings and will take advantage of synergies derived from interventions at district level. ACE has in corporation with LIT designed a roll-up poster. The ACE project officer has together with LIT published an article on A2PBEER in the ESHA (European School Heads Association) magazine.
Erasmus+: The ‘wicked’ project (September 2014- August 2017)
The Erasmus+ project ‘Confronting Wicked Problems: Adapting Architectural Education to the New Situation in Europe’ in cooperation with EAAE includes three Think Tanks on the areas of Profession, Heritage and Sustainability. The first round of meetings took place in Bucharest, Prague and Oslo in November/ December 2014. The next round of meetings and Learning/Teaching/Training Activities will take place in Delft, Genoa and Barcelona in April/ May.
PROF-TRAC (March 2015- February 2019)
ACE is part of a consortium, which successfully submitted a proposal for a project concerning construction skills. This new project, PROF-TRAC, is starting at the beginning of March and aims at developing and maintaining an Open Education Platform for Continuing Professional Development. This platform addresses technical experts, architects and managers. The developed European qualification scheme will be part of a life- long-life learning process for continuing development and up-skilling of professionals.