Architectural design competitions are in many jurisdictions a means of enhancing the design calibre of built works, public or private, and also provide a means for young, smaller or emerging firms to pursue works that would otherwise be the domain of established firms. In many European jurisdictions for instance, the awarding of built work contracts to smaller younger firms in competition formats is a time honoured means of generating interest and design discussion about important public works of the day. In the current climate, in which public commissions are being increasingly offered in nontraditional delivery methods such as P3, design-build or other alternate forms of delivery, the pressure on small firms to compete is high and often unbalanced. To encourage levels of government, municipalities, school districts and other groups to consider design competitions as a means of project procurement would benefit smaller firms and arguably increase design dialogue and design awareness, of benefit to all practitioners.
British Columbia would benefit from a focused initiative to promote, support, and advocate for the creation of open architectural competitions for a variety of public and private sector works. Using existing standard documents outlining competition process and requirements, the effort would be on promoting awareness of this project procurement option.