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National Consultant / Housing Specialist for Reviewing and Defining the Norms and Standards for Social Houses in Albania

Tirana (Albania)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Tirana (Albania)
  • Grade: National Consultant - Locally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Settlements (Shelter, Housing, Land, Property)
  • Closing Date: 2019-03-24

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Background

The Leave No One Behind (LNB) Programme builds upon the vast experience of UN and UNDP in addressing social inclusion and the needs of vulnerable groups. It is supporting the implementation of the newly shaped vision of the social sector in Albania, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the country’s aspirations towards EU integration. LNB avails of technical expertise and know-how of UN agencies aiming at allowing for greater impact and outreach by focusing on the municipal level and its linkage to the national level. The objective of this four-year programme (2017 – 2021) is to empower vulnerable persons and groups to have equal access to public services and opportunities, to have a voice in public decision-making affecting their lives, and to hold the duty bearers accountable. The programme’s interventions are designed to:

·         strengthen the vulnerable population to request and receive adequate social services from local authorities that support their social inclusion,

·         help municipalities to effectively manage the provision of social services and promote social inclusion, 

·         support national institutions to implement their policy framework for providing social services and adequately fund social services. 

The third outcome of the programme reflects its concern with anchoring the interventions at system level, i.e. to contribute to the further development and implementation of policies and laws relevant for social inclusion.

The programme’s implementation is the responsibility of the four UN agencies UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and UNFPA, whereas funding support is provided by Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

The Law “On Social Housing”

Law no. 22 “On Social Housing” was approved by the Parliament of Albania on 3 May 2018. It was drafted with UNDP assistance and expertise, as part of UNDP’s contribution to furthering the social inclusion agenda in the country, and with CoE support availed to the Ministry of Urban Development. The law aims at creating opportunities for adequate and affordable housing for a safe, dignified and peaceful life, relying on the solvency of individuals and families in need of housing and in need of state aid. It intends to provide a tailored approach to the needs of people with disabilities, the elderly, children and other groups, by reducing the efforts of these groups to meet their specific housing needs. The law attempts to meet the obligations of harmonisation of national and international legislation regarding the right to adequate housing which in international law is enshrined in several legal instruments.

The social housing programs foreseen in the law include: 1) the Social Housing Rental Program, SHR (BSQ); 2) program to Enhance the Conditions of Existing dwellings or construction of new ones; 3) the Affordable Dwelling Unit program, ADU (BKU); 4) the Area Development program for Housing purposes; 5) the Temporary Shelter (accommodation) program; 6) the Specialized Housing program. Besides existing programs like BSQ and BKU, this law brought about several innovations including the creation of a public fund for social housing, the introduction of the meaning, role and status of the social owner, provision of a points-based criteria system of assessing the eligibility of the applicants, the Temporary Shelter program, the Specialized Housing program, and other specific obligations that the law imposes on the local governments and on the private sector contributions relevant to social housing.

In particular, the law introduces for the first time the temporary shelter concept which intends to address the emergency situations for housing people in need. Temporary shelters are objects or equipment that are easily assembled and dismantled and serve for temporary shelter for a term not longer than two years. Temporary shelters may be used for the accommodation of refugees, of displaced persons due to natural or man-made disasters, of displaced persons due to public or private investment and not receiving compensation, and of returned migrants and homeless people.

Relevant to this concept, the law for the first time foresees the creation of a specialized housing program, which comprises housing for people with special needs including the elderly, persons with disabilities, victims and potential victims of trafficking, victims of family violence, children without parental care or in state protection and who are prepared to move to independent life, juveniles from 14 to 18 or young people 18 to 21 years after the release or completion of penal justice programs and child mothers.

Currently, UNDP, through its LNB programme, is continuing to support the Government of Albania to formulate the bylaws for the implementation of the law on Social Housing. The development of the bylaws and other secondary legislation is important to ensure the clear and effective implementation of procedures and of legally supported cases established by the law itself.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of the assignment

A working group has been created at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE), coordinated by a dedicated Unit on Social Housing, and is tasked with the preparation of all the necessary bylaws and other relevant secondary legislation to support the implementation of the Law on Social Housing. The working group is composed largely of legal and finance experts of MoFE and its dependent National Housing Authority (NHA) and of other interested parties comprising, at present, UNDP/LNB, CoE and OSFA. The support that UNDP/LNB is providing to the working group from its inception consists of high quality national technical/legal expertise in the formulation of all the necessary bylaws[1].  

Among others, the working group and legal experts’ preliminary assessment of the law has revealed the need to specify a set of norms and standards for the social houses that will be part of the implementation of various programs foreseen by the law. Specifically, Article 45 (point 3) of the law stipulates:

Norms and standards of affordable dwelling units, purchasing procedures from the market, evaluation and selling procedures, and criteria regarding the selling price determination process for the property of households that benefit from affordable dwelling units based on the level of income, shall be approved by decision of Council of Ministers.

Article 55 of the same law stipulates the conditions to be met by temporary accommodations, including location in safe places and provision of adequate protection from atmospheric conditions. Point 3 of this article stipulates:

The other conditions to be met by temporary shelter shall be determined by instruction of the Minister responsible for housing

Similarly, on the specialized houses, Article 58 (point 2) of the same law stipulates:

Conditions and norms of designing specialised housing shall be drafted by the relevant ministry for housing in collaboration with other relevant ministries and shall be approved through decision of the Council of Ministers.

Groups of beneficiaries, especially people with disabilities and Roma and Egyptians, have expressed concern regarding the standards applied through previous social housing programs[2].  In 2015, the Government of Albania approved the National Standards for Housing Design[3] prepared by the (then) Ministry of Urban Development. It is important that besides consideration for these national norms and standards, a selection of houses that will be assigned as meeting the social housing needs should also comply with:

-          the special accessibility requirements for the “specialized houses”, which should be available for use not only by persons with disabilities, but also by other brackets of people including victims of domestic violence, children not under parental custody, etc.

-          the adequacy requirements for “temporary accommodation”

In the framework of LNB, UNDP will be engaging a Housing Specialist (hereafter “the Consultant”) to assist the working group established by the Minister of Finance and Economy (MoFE) to carry out a comprehensive review of existing housing and construction legislation, practices and standards and information and data on the socio-economic situation of those brackets of vulnerable Albanian population that typically become or are set to become priority targets of social housing policies. The review will then inform the definition of the new norms and minimum standards for the implementation of the law. The review will look at all of the above (legislation, practices and standards, and socio-economic situation) with regard to the implementation of each of the six social housing programs[4].

Some of the existing legislation which will be part of the review include the bylaw “On the terms, norms and standards to be met by social rental apartments, which are purchased on the market[5]”, the bylaw "On housing rates for households benefiting from social housing programs[6]” and the aforementioned bylaw[7] “On the Approval of Norms for Housing Design” with the latter norms now part of the ALS-P-TB-1501 standard. The ‘norms and standards for social housing’ document will be part of the corresponding bylaw.

The social and economic review of the situation of those vulnerable populations prone to becoming priority targets of social housing policies will seek to extrapolate important information and data on their current status and the mid-term forecast, largely in terms of absolute and relative numbers, indices family size and composition, et cetera. The vulnerable brackets of population for the purpose of this review include, but are not limited to, Roma and Egyptians and persons with disabilities.

The comprehensively review of all four aspects (legislation, practices, standards, socio-economic situation) will inform a set of proposed norms and standards which should comply with the principles of the housing policy set in articles 3 to 10 of the Law no. 22 “On Social Housing”, mainly affordability, adequacy and cultural adequacy. In the course of this assignment, it is important to identify the prevailing norms and the range (minimum, average and maximum) of standards, and consequently to propose adjustments relevant to the provisions of Law no. 22, that apply to each of the following[8]:

o   Minimum space per person

o   Design and standards for Common Areas (incl. corridors, kitchen, living rooms, laundry, toilets and showers)

o   Norms and standards for Space design (interior: circulation space, means of escape and space requirements for people with disabilities)

o   Safety Regulations

o   State of maintenance (incl. cleanliness, structural soundness, physical safety, fire hazards, natural light, ventilation and egress from all habitable areas, etc.)

o   Location (incl. proximity/distance to surrounding community services and other dwelling areas)

Accessibility to the physical environment, including buildings, is required by Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)[9].  Physical accessibility measures are of relevance for all persons with disabilities, not only those with physical impairments. They include:

·         installing ramps,

·         installing lifts,

·         constructing/adapting wheelchair-accessible bathrooms

·         providing information (incl. signposts) in Braille.

Duties and responsibilities

Under the supervision of the UNDP / LNB Programme Coordinator and with guidance and technical support of the Head of Housing Unit at MoFE, the Consultant will carry out the following main tasks:

1)       Review and analyse existing housing legislation, practices, and design standards and discuss their implication in meeting the requirements for application of the six social housing programmes foreseen by Law no. 22, with a special focus on “temporary accommodation” and “specialised houses”

2)      Review the social and economic situation of vulnerable brackets of population that are prone to becoming priority targets of social housing policies, by extrapolating and analysing important information and data on their current status and the mid-term forecast, in terms of absolute and relative numbers, indices family size and composition, et cetera. The vulnerable brackets of population for the purpose of this review include, but are not limited to, Roma and Egyptians and persons with disabilities

3)       Define and propose guidelines for the standards for (a) sizes for each dwelling unit, relevant to the expected number of occupants/families per each unit and (a) other requirements. This may include, to a limited extent, drafting parts of technical designs only if necessary

4)      Draft reports and other relevant documents in English language for the each of the above tasks, and submit them to the Head of Housing Unit at MoFE and to the LNB focal person for this assignment, seeking comments and approval from both

5)       Upon review of drafts documents and after incorporating suggestions and input as relevant, submit the final documents consisting of (a) the consolidated report on the review of existing legislation, practices, design standards, and the socio-economic situation, (b) a proposal of guidelines for standards and norms relevant to the requirements of Law no. 22, including any technical designs, if/when necessary.

Expected Outputs and Deliverables:

1.       A Draft Narrative Report, in English language, on the Review of Existing Design and Construction Norms and Standards in Albania, which should:

-           Describe, analyse and discuss their implication in meeting the requirements for application of the six housing programmes foreseen by Law no. 22, with a special focus on “temporary accommodation” and “specialised houses”, and

-          Summarise, in the form of recommendations, the key sections that require adaptations and further detailed input in order to meet the requirements for the application of Law no. 22

2.       A Draft Guideline, in English language, which after elaborating on the recommendations from the draft Review of Existing Design and Construction Norms and Standards in Albania, should consist of (a) sizes for each dwelling unit, relevant to the expected number of occupants and/or families per each unit and (a) other requirements.  This may include some technical design only as/if necessary.

3.       A Final Document, incorporating suggestions and input as relevant, including:

-          the Final Report on the Review carried out

-          the Final Proposed Guidelines defining the standards and norms

4.       The Consultant’s report comprising important observations, conclusions and recommendations for future work.

Duration of the Work

The duration of this assignment is for a maximum of 15 person-days over the period of December 2018 – January 2019. The target start date is 10 December 2018.

[1] Currently counting 33 bylaws, of which 16 completely new Decisions of the Council of Ministers.

[2] As documented by UNDP in its Housing Policies and Practice for Roma in Albania (2013) and Needs Assessment of Social Housing in Albania (2014) study reports

[3] DCM No. 626, dated, 15.7.2015, On the Approval of Norms for Housing Design

[4] 1) the Social Housing Rental Program, SHR (BSQ); 2) program to Enhance the Conditions of Existing dwellings or construction of new ones; 3) the Affordable Dwelling Unit program, ADU (BKU); 4) the Area Development program for Housing purposes; 5) the Temporary Shelter (accommodation) program; 6) the Specialized Housing program

[5] DCM No. 258, dated 28.04.2005

[6] DCM No. 814, dated 03.12.2004

[7] DCM No. 626, dated 15.7.2015

[8] The list is purely indicative and not necessarily comprehensive.

[9] CRPD Article 9 (2) (a) highlights that one important way of making the physical environment accessible is to “develop, promulgate, and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public.”

Competencies

Corporate and Core Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.
  • Communication - Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.
  • Planning & Organizing – Develops clear goals in line with agreed strategies, identifies priorities, foresees risks and makes allowances accordingly.
  • Organizational Awareness - Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment.
  • Teamwork - Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.
  • Accountability – Takes ownership of all responsibilities and delivers outputs in accordance with agreed time, cost and quality standards

Functional

  • Excellent understanding of key construction design legal documents and practices in the area of housing with a focus on social housing
  • Very good analytic report writing skills, in Albanian and English, including very good knowledge and use of both technical construction and socio-economic concepts
  • Ability to work independently, with some (albeit necessary) interaction with other professionals, results-orientation, and ability to perform under pressure and deliver as per the set deadlines
  • Very good verbal and written communication skills, in Albanian and English, obtained through direct interaction with Albanian government organisations (ministries, institutes and agencies) and international inter-governmental organisations (including UN)

Required Skills and Experience

Academic qualification:

  • Advanced academic degree in architecture or closely related field of studies

Relevant work experience:

  • Minimum eight years of direct experience in carrying out analytical studies in national housing practices from a combined architectural normative and socio-economic viewpoint
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Albanian national legislation in construction and housing with a focus on social housing, obtained through demonstrated experience in drafting legal normative documents
  • Good understanding of and insights on the past and present developments concerning the legal, social and economic status of Roma and Egyptians and people with disabilities in Albania demonstrated through own work experience, achievements and contribution
  • Relevant experience with UN Agencies or other international organizations would be appreciated

Evaluation Procedure

UNDP applies a fair and transparent selection process that would consider both the technical qualification of Individual Consultants as well as their financial proposals. The contract will be awarded to the candidate whose offer:

·        Is deemed technically responsive / compliant / acceptable (only technically responsive applications / candidates will be considered for the financial evaluation)

·        And has obtained the highest combined technical and financial scores.

 Technical Criteria - 70% of total evaluation – max points: 70

Criteria A: Minimum eight years of direct experience in carrying out analytical studies in national housing practices from a combined architectural normative and socio-economic viewpoint – max points: 20

Criteria B: Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Albanian national legislation in construction and housing with a focus on social housing, obtained through demonstrated experience in drafting legal normative documents – max points: 20

Criteria C: Relevance of Educational background – max points: 20

Criteria D: Good understanding of and insights on the past and present developments concerning the legal, social and economic status of Roma and Egyptians and people with disabilities in Albania demonstrated through own work experience, achievements and contribution – max points: 10

Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation – max points: 30

Candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% (49 points) of the maximum obtainable points for the technical criteria (70 points) shall be considered for the financial evaluation.

Contract Award

The candidate obtaining the highest combined scores in the combined score of Technical and Financial Evaluation will be considered technically qualified and will be offered to enter into contract with UNDP.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants are advised to carefully study all sections of this ToRs and ensure that they meet the general requirements as well as specific qualifications described. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please make sure you have provided all requested materials.

The application should contain:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position. Please paste the letter into the "Resume and Motivation" section of the electronic application.
  • Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability-please fill in the attached form... Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability.  
  • Latest personal CV, including past experience from similar projects or completed and signed UN Personal History Form (P11) for Service Contracts (SC) and Individual Contracts (IC) – Blank form Download here.
  • Financial Proposal in ALL - specifying a total lump sum in Albanian Lek ( The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around specific and measurable -qualitative and quantitative- deliverables . Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR.  In order to assist the requesting unit in the comparison of financial proposals, the financial proposal will include a breakdown of this lump sum amount-including travel, per diems, and number of anticipated working days).http://www.un.org.al/doc/Financial%20Offer%20template.doc
  • Copy of Diplomas and copy of Passport.

Kindly note that Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability and Financial Proposal are two separate documents and should both be part of your application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

How to Submit the Application:

To submit your application online, please follow the steps below:

  • Merge your CV or P11, Financial Proposal Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability and cover letter into a single file. The system does not allow for more than one attachment to be uploaded;
  • Click on the Job Title (job vacancy announcement);
  • Click “Apply Now” button, fill in necessary information on the first page, and then click “Submit Application;”
  • Upload your application/single file as indicated above with the merged documents (underlined above);
  • You will receive an automatic response to your email confirming receipt of your application by the system.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Due to a large number of applications we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
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