Architectural Institute of B.C. tells members to ignore TransLink's request for bids

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      Under pain of “charges of unprofessional conduct”, architects have been told to ignore a request for bids issued by TransLink.

      The “member advisory” was issued by the Architectural Institute of B.C., the professional regulatory body established under the Architects Act.

      TransLink is inviting submissions for the repair or replacement of the building envelope systems of its SeaBus terminals and administration building. The facilities are located in the City of North Vancouver and the City of Vancouver. The request for proposals closes on Friday (April 5).

      According to the AIBC advisory, “many firms” have called the institute’s attention to “concerns” related to the project. Having reviewed the call for bids, the body has determined that the RFP “does not meet the mandatory criteria for proposal calls”.

      The notice states that the request falls short on two counts: it has neither a specified budget nor a defined scope of work.

      “An architect cannot responsibly propose a fixed fee for work of uncertain scope and unstated budget,” the advisory reads.

      The AIBC didn’t make a spokesperson available for interview by Wednesday morning (April 3) before the Georgia Straight went to print.

      However, its advisory makes it abundantly clear that the “work in this RFP requires an architect per the Architects Act”.

      TransLink spokesperson Derek Zabel stressed that there’s nothing special about this call for bids.

      “It’s no different from other companies and government organizations and peer agencies,” Zabel told the Straight in a phone interview on Wednesday. “It’s the same process that they all follow as well.”

      Zabel also emphasized why bid requests don’t say how much money will be spent on a project: “We don’t release budget information, as this ensures the competitive marketplace, value for money, fairness, and transparency.”

      According to documents released by TransLink as part of its RFP, the SeaBus terminals were constructed in 1976. The papers note that the “terminals and fleet service currently convey 20,000 passengers per day” across Burrard Inlet between Vancouver and North Vancouver.

      In its advisory, the AIBC reminds members that the “mandatory criteria for proposal calls” are articulated in the body’s Bulletin 64, which prohibits “unsanctioned competition and/or speculative service”.

      Released in 2004, AIBC Bulletin 64 states in part: “The principle of ‘draw now, be paid if it flies’ is speculative in nature and generally constitutes unprofessional practice.”