L’autorité de la concurrence fined the Ordre des architectes a total of €1.5 million for implementing anticompetitive practices.
The Ordre des architectes set up, distributed and enforced a fee schedule applicable to architects responding to calls for tender for public works contracts in a sector where fees are unregulated. The Ordre also imposed retaliatory measures against architects offering fees considered “too low”.
Originally, the Order intended to fight against “prices too low”, described as “disloyal practices” and “anti-collegial”.
The distribution of this schedule was accompanied by a “fee policy”, retaliatory measures against architects who did not comply with these instructions and contacts with public contracting authorities to dissuade them from contracting with architects offering fees considered “too low”. The Ordre also circulated, through its national council, a standard form to the regional councils to use to refer an architect or architectural firm to the regional disciplinary boards in the event they failed to comply with the unlawful schedule.
The Autorité also imposed a fine of one euro on several architectural firm and architects as well as an association of architects who participated in the agreement through denunciations to the Ordre of their colleagues who did not comply with the “fee schedule”.