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Public Procurement Directive: Parliament Sends Mixed Signs On Sustainable Construction


28 Sep 2012



The members of the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee have tabled their amendments on the draft revised Public Procurement Directive. The revision process offers a unique opportunity to introduce the principles of sustainable construction in public contracts. Of particular interest are the future provisions regarding contract award criteria (articles 66 and 67) and Labels (Article 41).

Oliver Loebel, Secretary General of PU Europe stated, “We are very pleased to see that MEPs from different political groups call for the abolition of contract awards to the lowest cost offer. In particular in the case of buildings, running accosts account for the lion’s share of life cycle costs and need to be taken into account.”

On a more negative note, there seems only limited support to include a reference to the forthcoming European standardised method to determine life cycle costs.

With regards to the environmental pillar of sustainability, the proposed modifications to Article 41 remain largely insufficient. They will further encourage the development of national, regional and local labels, each of them using different indicators and assessment methods. This will lead to new market barriers and in particular SMEs will be unable to bear the certification costs. In the case of public works, a European standardised assessment method is already in place. Industry is investing millions of Euros in the provision of Environmental Product Declarations, using harmonised formats and enabling life cycle analyses of buildings. An increasing number of Member States publish these Declarations through dedicated data bases. This system offers a cost-efficient and effective way towards the greening of public works contracts.

“We call on the Parliament to support a harmonised European approach towards sustainable construction. This will increase market transparency, facilitate SME participation and significantly reduce costs for suppliers and, hence, public authorities”, Loebel concluded.

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