Integrating artworks as part of public realm, building and regeneration programmes can be a long-term process and move at different speeds affected by the overall development process. Beginning commissioning early gives more opportunity for an artist, and is often more cost-effective, supporting a successful project. Budgets need to be safeguarded as commissioning is often realised towards the end of building works when there are more constraints on funds. Permanent commissions in London are sometimes the subject of planning requirements and included in section 106 agreements.
Permanent projects can often be contingent on other parameters including building processes, planning permission and contracts:
Most building projects use the Royal Institute of British Architects Plan of Work stages. This may be a process that an artist is un-used to working within. As they determine when information needs to be issued by and to whom, including for planning, it is key to think about the important points for an artist’s engagement and to communicate this.
Permanent commissions are often the subject of reserve planning matters for larger projects through conditions or obligations. This often means that the intention to commission, and the site, are agreed when consent is given, but the artist and proposal not selected. Once a commission has been developed it will need to be agreed as part of reserve matters, and may need to go back to the local authority’s planning officer or committee.
The client’s choice of building contract can also affect the timescale and process of commissioning. For instance, the various manifestations of public private partnerships for public buildings and infrastructure such as schools, health centres and transport, means that there are many different stakeholders and levels of agreement. For individual buildings one popular type of contract is design and build and it is important that a client ensures that the public art commitment is written into the Employer Requirements given to the contractor.
See links for more background on building processes and contracts.