WHAT WE DO
How can the quality of urban development projects be improved? BMA has at its disposal a number of tools to support clients throughout the entire process, from the project definition right up until the delivery.
Competitions, research by design, design reviews and project meetings are the main tools used to assist and encourage clients, providing the best possible support for improving the quality of their projects.
The design competition is BMA’s most important tool. Competitions put assignments for architecture, urban planning or public space on the market openly and push up the quality of the projects.
Both public and private clients can call on BMA’s support for the best possible competition procedure.
10 BMA POINTS FOR A GOOD COMPETITION
We have defined our minimum expectations for a good competition by means of 10 points. In exceptional cases, there may be some limited flexibility with these recommendations, but those who wish to organize a competition in alignment with our ambition must always uphold the essence of the 10 points.
The 10 points are presented in a logical order that corresponds to the preparation for the competition.
Each point is explained, setting out the objectives and underlying reasons. Recommendations are then made. Where necessary, additional recommendations are proposed in the form of more detailed explanations or figures.
1. A two-stage procedure
2. All the information available from the start
3. Time for everyone
4. Fixed fees
5. Open access conditions
6. An efficient selection method
7. An external expert on the jury
8. Award criteria that focus on the essentials
9. Remuneration for bids
10. A transparent procedure
DO YOU WANT TO ORGANISE A COMPETITION?
RESEARCH BY DESIGN
The drawing is at the heart of research by design. This tool, which exists at BMA since 2016, intervenes as early as possible in the design process and contributes in its own way to the quality of projects. Whether the aim is to define the right questions, to clarify the urban planning framework of a competition, or to improve and optimize projects through imagining alternative proposals, research by design employs the medium of architecture to feed into the discussion through the use of drawings, sketches and images.
This method makes it possible to focus on the actual spatial impact of a project (volume, models, program, etc.), taking the context into account, with the aim of achieving the highest possible level of quality in collaboration with all the stakeholders involved.
A city is not built in Excel
Research by design often raises all kinds of fantasies and questions.
That is why we have published a booklet. The purpose is to highlight the work done in recent years and show the added value of research by design. The booklet focuses not only on explaining the method, but also on presenting the projects themselves, through 10 themes. A roundtable on the issue of research by design within the Brussels authorities concludes the publication.
We see in the method of research by design at BMA a demonstration of the return of the force of design in urban policy, focusing on quality rather than mere quantity. “Team Research by design. A city is not built in Excel” is also an opportunity for us to look wider and look ahead.
The earlier discussions about the quality of a project begin, the greater their impact will be. It is for this reason that the CoBAT (Code Bruxellois de l’Aménagement du Territoire – Brussels Town and Country Planning Code) aims to encourage project owners to engage in discussion about architectural quality at an early stage.
Therefore, since September 2019, the BWRO stipulates in Article 11/1 that for all permit applications for projects with a total floor area of more than 5000 m², advice must be requested from the BMA to be added as part of the permit application file.
In addition to this official advice, applicants always have the option of entering into a dialogue about the quality of a project on their own initiative by organizing a project meeting. The purpose of the project meeting is to stimulate the quality of projects, to bundle as much communication as possible transparently and effectively, to organize a professional dialogue between the architects/clients and the government, and to receive advice from the various bodies most closely involved in the project. coordinate the quality assessment. In this way we save time thanks to anticipatory consultation and coordinated operation.
How can BMA advice be requested in the context of a permit application?
For projects with a total floor area of more than 5,000 m² (in the sense of the GBP), the application for planning permission must include an opinion from the BMA.
To this end, the applicant must send an application electronically with the information necessary to obtain an appropriate understanding of the project. We ask that you enclose the following documents with the request for advice:
- the permit application form*
- an explanatory note on the project
- the whole of the plans
- relevant photos
The application and all these documents must be sent to email@example.com.
* Since the introduction of online permit applications, via the “MyPermit” platform, the form in Annex 1 can only be downloaded after the permit application has been submitted. Therefore, the most important data from this form (contact details of the applicant and the architect, project address, object and description of the application, total existing and planned floor areas per destination, …) may be added separately to the file of the request for advice.