Architects: The Competition Council denounces "anti-competitive practices"

The General Rapporteur of the Competition Council indicates that anti-competitive practices have been identified in the market for the provision of architectural services and were the subject, on May 18, 2022, of a notification of grievances in accordance with the provisions of article 29 of law 104-12 on freedom of prices and competition.

Indeed, the investigation of a complaint filed with the investigation services of the Competition Council revealed that the National Order of Architects, made up of the National Council of the Order of Architects and the Regional Councils of Order of Architects, have adopted decisions aimed at:

– fixing and distributing a scale of minimum prices for the architect’s fees and methods for calculating fees in the event of delay or non-performance of the obligations of both parties (the architect and the client), as well as that the implementation of measures aimed at monitoring and controlling the application of the said scale by architects working on the national market,

– the artificial distribution of the private commission market between architects by means of a monthly quota system fixing the number of projects assigned to each architect.

In its press release, the Council indicates that “after in-depth examination of these decisions, their compliance with the provisions of Law 104-12 relating to freedom of prices and competition and the impact of their implementation on competition in the market for the provision of architectural services, the investigation services of the Competition Council, consider that these decisions are contrary to the provisions of article 6 of law 104-12″.

The said law stipulates that: Concerted actions, conventions, understandings or express or tacit combinations are prohibited, when their purpose or may have the effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in a market in any form and for any reason whatsoever, in particular when they tend to:

– limit access to the market or the free exercise of competition by other companies;
hinder the formation of prices through the free play of the market by artificially promoting their rise or fall;
– limit or control production, outlets, investments or technical progress;
allocate markets, sources of supply or government contracts.

The Council considers that “on this basis and in application of the provisions of article 29 of the aforementioned law 104-12, the investigation services of the Competition Council sent a notification of grievances to the party in question. This investigative document opens the adversarial procedure and guarantees the exercise of the rights of defense by the party in question. It should also be noted that the notification of grievances cannot prejudge the final decision of the Council. Indeed, only the members of the college of the Competition Council can, after an investigation carried out in a contradictory manner in compliance with the rights of defense of the parties concerned and after the holding of a meeting of the Council, rule on the merits of the grievances in question “.

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