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RIBA News & Events 2020

Royal Institute of British Architects Exhibition + Talks + Events in London, England, UK

1 July 2020

RIBA UK News

RIBA President-Elect and Council Candidates

The RIBA has announced the five candidates standing for election as RIBA President-Elect, alongside nominations for seats on RIBA Council.

Following comprehensive modernisation of the RIBA’s governance structures, and in recognition of their vital contribution to the future of the RIBA and the architecture profession, RIBA student members are eligible to vote in elections for the RIBA President for the first time.

The RIBA President and RIBA Council members are elected representatives from the RIBA’s membership. RIBA Council, chaired by the President, acts as the representative body for the membership. It meets four times each year and is responsible for collecting insight from the membership and the profession, to guide the strategic direction of the organisation. RIBA Council oversees the RIBA’s new Board of Trustees, the majority of whom are Council members, including the RIBA President.

The candidates standing for RIBA President-Elect are:

• Simon Allford
• Jude Barber
• Nick Moss
• Valeria Passetti
• Sumita Singha

The candidates standing for National and Regional Council seats can be found here.

Digital voting for all seats opens on 14 July at 9am and closes on 4 August at 5pm. Results will be announced on 11 August.

Two digital hustings will take place on:

• 7 July (6-7pm) – open to all RIBA members and chaired by RIBA President Alan Jones.
• 9 July (12.30-1.30pm) – open to RIBA Student and Associate members and chaired by former RIBA Council VP Student/Associate Albena Atanassova.

Successful RIBA Council candidates will commence their three-year term on 1 September 2020. The RIBA President Elect’s term begins on 1 September 2020, with their two-year term as RIBA President commencing on 1 September 2021.

30 June 2020
RIBA responds to Prime Minister’s ‘Project Speed’ announcement

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:
“I welcome the recognition for ‘urgent action’ from the Prime Minister and hope the announcements today are the first of many needed to address the shortcomings of the UK’s physical and social infrastructure.

However, I am extremely concerned by the proposal to enable even more commercial buildings to change to residential use without the need for a planning application. The Government’s own advisory panel referred to the homes created by this policy as “slums”. It is hard to reconcile the commitment to quality with expanding a policy that has delivered low-quality, unsustainable and over-crowded homes across England.

I urge the Prime Minister not to waste this opportunity and to re-build a more sustainable and resilient economy, ensuring that quality and safety remain at the heart of investment.”

18 June 2020
RIBA publishes COVID-19 recovery guidance

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today published guidance to help practices steer their route to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and build future resilience.

The RIBA Recovery Roadmap is divided into three phases: Response, Recovery and Resilience. Each phase considers a series of actions that practices can take to respond to challenges across different areas of their business throughout this crisis and beyond. These range from stabilising finances and supporting staff wellbeing in the immediate term to planning to reopen the office and winning new work in the coming weeks.

The topics covered in each phase respond directly to concerns raised by RIBA members from all practice sizes across the UK.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:
“Despite the economic uncertainty, practices must take proactive steps now to help alleviate challenges ahead.

Drawing on insights from experts and practitioners, this guidance has been created exclusively for members to guide key business decisions and adapt their strategies to be in the best position for the months ahead.

As we enter this recovery phase, it remains our priority to provide our members and practices with the support they need.”

11 June 2020
Future workloads remain uncertain – RIBA Future Trends May 2020

Thursday 11th of June 2020 – After dropping to an historic low of -82 in April, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rose to -49 this month. And while 62% of architects expect their workload to decrease in the next three months, 13% now anticipate an increase, up from just 2% in April.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also increased marginally by seven points, with 70% of practices saying they expect the level of permanent staff to remain the same over the next three months, 26% saying they expect levels to decrease and 3% saying they expect to increase.

The findings from this month’s survey also show:
• Current workloads remain at significantly reduced levels – down 33% compared to May 2019.
• 73% of respondents expect profits to fall over the next 12 months – within that, 8% consider that their practice is unlikely to remain viable.
• 22% of architectural staff have been furloughed – an increase of 8% from April.
• 1% of architectural staff have been made redundant; 1% have been released from a ‘zero hours’, temporary or fixed-term contract.
• 38% of projects had been put on hold since the start of March.
• 23% of projects which remain active are at stages 5 or 6 of the RIBA Plan of Work.

RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, Adrian Dobson, said:
“The current pandemic and economic uncertainty are clearly continuing to impact both architects’ current workloads and their confidence about the future, with the majority expecting their workloads to decrease in coming months.

But while many participants continued to point to the serious recession ahead, some also began to reference glimmers of hope in the form of new enquiries and new commissions.

In these uncertain times, we are on hand, and will continue to support members and practices by helping them map routes to recovery and build resilience for future challenges.”

Members with concerns or queries are encouraged to email info@riba.org.

26 May 2020
Mental health concern grows – RIBA COVID-19 survey findings

Tuesday 26th May 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings from its second COVID-19 survey of architects, revealing the impact of the pandemic on the profession.

Findings indicate the main concerns for people, practices and projects:

People

  • Mental health decline– 40% said their mental health had been affected (a significant increase from 23% in April); 20% felt isolated.
  • Working location– 74% said they were working entirely from home, a further 10% said they were working mostly from home.
  • Working from home difficulties– almost a quarter (24%) are caring for others and 13% said they have inadequate equipment.
  • Reduced income – 56% have reduced personal and/or household income.
  • Working patterns have changed – 15% said they had been furloughed and 27% said they were working reduced hours. 37% reported finding ‘new and better ways of working’.

Practices 

  • Economic impact – 58% reported fewer new business enquiries, 53% reported a decreased workload and 57% said they were experiencing a cashflow reduction.

Projects

  • Site closures– 60% said at least one of their project sites had closed.
  • Widespread project delays – 90% reported project delays, citing parties including clients, contractors, planning officers and building control officers.
  • Clients responsible for most project cancellations– 48% of decisions to cancel projects were made by the client.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“Our latest survey findings show the continuing impact of the pandemic on the business of architecture and the wellbeing of architects.

We are particularly concerned to see a significant decline in mental health, with most having to deal with reduced incomes and many also juggling caring responsibilities with home-working.  As lockdown restrictions ease, construction sites re-open and we establish new ways of working, we must prioritise our health and wellbeing – and those of our employees and colleagues – and seek support should we need to. Practice leaders can help by promoting a healthy work-life balance.

We are here to help members navigate through and beyond this crisis. We are producing regular guidance in response to the profession’s key concerns and lobbying the Government to support the sector both financially and as a key client.”

Members with any concerns are encouraged to email info@riba.org for information and support.

An executive summary of the survey findings can be found here.

21 May 2020
RIBA calls for ‘decade of action’ with new report 

Thursday 21st of May 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today published a new report revealing architects’ views on the climate emergency and showcasing exemplar applications of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

‘A Decade of Action: RIBA Members and the Sustainable Development Goals’ reveals the profession’s strong commitment to sustainable development and climate action, but also highlights that more progress needs to be made by architects, clients and the UK Government to raise the bar.

In a detailed member survey:

  • 66% of participants said their organisation is committed to addressing the climate emergency.
  • Project Cost Constraints (79%) and Client Requirements (70%) were cited as the biggest barriers to building sustainably.
  • 82% said their organisation believes the UK Government must legislate for higher standards.
  • 70% said their organisation would welcome the Building Regulations mandating ‘zero carbon’ by 2030.

The second part of the RIBA report showcases best practice examples of how the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be embedded in projects, practices and schools of architecture.

It highlights schools which reference and discuss the SDGs, projects which apply and further the SDGs, and practices which base their entire business strategies on them – from business operations, to supply chains, to practice structure and projects themselves.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“The findings of our survey – and best practice examples that follow – show that RIBA members are committed to transforming the built environment, but also that there’s progress yet to be made.

Architects, clients and policy makers understand the need for change, but even more collaboration is required to turn this ambition into action.

While the RIBA continues to lobby the UK Government to adapt the Building Regulations to meet the scale of our environmental challenge, architects are uniquely placed to lead the green recovery of the built environment post-pandemic. This means applying the Sustainable Development Goals consistently, and encouraging clients to do the same.

It’s time to kick-start a decade of action, sign-up to the 2030 Climate Challenge, and make sure we’re building a future that will last.”

The RIBA’s Sustainable Outcomes Guide aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and outlines eight clear, measurable goals for projects of all scales, underpinned by specific design principles to achieve them.

14 May 2020
Workload expectations hit historic low – RIBA Future Trends April 2020

The latest RIBA Future Trends survey results show the worsening impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the architecture and construction industries.

During April 2020, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index dropped to an historic low, with a balance figure of -82 (from -11 in March). Architects’ workloads are 33% less than they were twelve months ago.

84% per cent of architects expect their workload to fall in the next three months with balance figures ranging from -80 for small practices to -100 for large practices.

All work sectors and all regions also showed a significant drop in confidence. The private housing sector fell furthest from -7 to -72; the commercial sector fell from -5 to -60 and the community sector fell from -8 to -50.

The Staffing Index also saw the largest monthly drop on record from 0 to -30 with 31% of practices (saying they expected to employ fewer full-time staff in the next three months. 68% said they expect staffing levels to stay the same.

Survey results also indicate:

  • 39% of projects have been put on hold since the 1st March.
  • Of the projects that remain active, 21% are at stages 5 or 6 of the RIBA Plan of Work – so vulnerable to site restrictions.
  • 14% of practice architectural staff have been furloughed.
  • 29% of small practice staff (1 – 10 staff) are working fewer hours.

RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, Adrian Dobson, said:

“This is a crisis is like no other. While a reduction in architects’ confidence has previously been an early indicator of a contraction in the construction sector – because design work comes first – this time, work on site was immediately disrupted.

Workload recovery will depend on the speed and nature of our move out of lockdown, and on how much architectural and construction capacity has been preserved.

As the sector adapts to new ways of working, the RIBA will lobby for continued protection of jobs and businesses and push the Government to invest in the housing and public sector projects the country desperately needs. This also means harnessing the expertise of architects who have the skills to re-mobilise communities and enable safe returns to workplaces and school.

We will continue to advocate on behalf of the profession and ensure members have the guidance and information they need to navigate the coming weeks and months.”

Members with any concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to email info@riba.org.

11 May 2020
RIBA responds to Government’s coronavirus recovery strategy

The RIBA has responded to the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:
“The recovery from COVID-19 will clearly not happen overnight. It will take time for architects to adapt to new ways of working and during this time the Government must continue to protect jobs and businesses.

Until the Government publishes specific guidance on how to safely re-open and operate workplaces, businesses cannot make tangible plans or provide their employees with the reassurance they need.

The Government must also help the sector build resilience against future challenges and invest in public sector projects the country desperately needs. It’s time to harness the expertise of architects who have the skills and expertise to re-mobilise communities and enable safe returns to work and school.”

23 Apr 2020
RIBA opens £30K funding scheme for architecture students

Thursday 23rd of April 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has opened funding applications for five RIBA Wren Insurance Association Scholarships.

The annual scholarships are open to current students enrolled in the first year of their RIBA Part 2 course. A total of £30,000 will be available, with each recipient receiving £6,000 and the opportunity to be mentored by an architect member of the Wren Insurance Association throughout their second year.

The scheme, which was set up in 2013, has supported 35 recipients to date. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 26 May 2020.

RIBA Director of Education David Gloster said:
“We are very grateful to the Wren Insurance Association for their continued generosity over the years and especially at this extremely challenging time. Many students are struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, and scholarships such as this are vital tools to support, reward and retain talent in our profession.”

Applicants can find more information about last year’s award winners and how to apply for this year’s awards here.

17 Apr 2020
Workload confidence plummets – RIBA Future Trends March 2020

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on architects is starkly illustrated by the March 2020 RIBA Future Trends survey results.
As the approaching disruption to the profession became clearer, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index dropped an unprecedented 33 points to –11, the steepest fall in confidence on record.

Large architecture practices returned a balance figure of –20 (down from +60), medium practices were at –8 (down from +67) and small practices fell 28 points, to -10.

This sharp drop in confidence was recorded in most of the UK. London fell to -19 (from +23); the Midlands & East Anglia fell to -21 (from +29); the South of England went to -7 (from +6); and Wales and the West recorded the largest fall to -9 (from +43). The North of England was the only region that remained in positive territory, at +14.

All sectors fell into negative territory with the private housing sector being the most affected, dropping 21 points to -7. The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also fell to 0 (from +8).

RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, Adrian Dobson, said:
“Whilst concerns about the potential impacts of the coronavirus crisis had been building for many weeks, March was an obvious turning point. Many practices reported a sudden loss of revenue as the UK went into lockdown, construction sites began to close and new enquiries dropped off. New work was becoming sparse, advice to business from Government was sporadic and uncertainty grew. The profession is clearly bracing itself for the coming weeks and months.

As well as preparing for a potentially rough ride in the short term, architects need to plan for the future and be ready to respond when business picks up. The RIBA has developed our COVID-19 hub with a suite of information and guidance to best support all our members: on financial help, protecting staff, mental health and how practices can prepare themselves for the future.

We are in daily contact with the Government, advocating on behalf of architects to provide businesses with the security they need. We will continue to work hard on behalf of our members and encourage anyone with concerns or suggestions to contact us.”

Members with any concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to email info@riba.org

6 Apr 2020
RIBA COVID-19 survey findings

45% report drop in personal income and almost a quarter struggling with mental health – RIBA COVID-19 survey findings.

The RIBA has today (Monday 6 April) published the findings from its COVID-19 survey of the profession.

Headline findings from the survey, which was completed by 1001 architects (83% RIBA members), revealed:

  • The business of architecture is under stress:

59% of respondents reported a decreased workload and 58% reported a decrease in new business enquires. This has led to a reduction in cash flow, with 57% of respondents already experiencing less money coming through.

  • A radical shift in normal working patterns:

81% of respondents are working entirely at home and around 70% of students reported that their campus had closed.

  • Significant project disruption:

79% reported project delays, 61% reported site closures, and over a third (37%) reported projects being cancelled. Only 5% of respondents reported no disruption.

  • Architects are under personal stress:

A third of respondents reported a drop in household income and 45% reported a drop in personal income. Almost a third also reported they had self-isolated with nearly a quarter (23%) reporting deterioration in mental health and 21% commenting they ‘felt isolated’.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“The findings of this survey show how that COVID-19 is having a severe impact on architects, professionally and personally. For many architects, their work is more than a way to earn a living, and to see decades of hard work threatened by circumstances none of us can have foreseen is a disaster.

The RIBA remains committed to responding to the needs of its members, and will carry on providing the information, guidance and support they need so that architects can weather this storm.

We will continue to lobby the Government to protect the income of all affected architects, expand support schemes to cover directors’ dividends and shift economic policies to provide businesses with the security they need.

During this extremely unsettling time, I call on employers to prioritise the welfare and wellbeing of their staff. This means enabling them to work from home flexibly where possible, and taking advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. The RIBA is currently asking the Government to give grants or expand capital allowances so that companies can purchase or rent computer equipment to make it easier for employees to work productively and collaboratively at home.

Above all else, we must all prioritise our own physical and mental health, and seek support if needed.

The RIBA will continue to guide and support the profession as we navigate through the coming weeks and months.”

Members with any concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to email info(at)riba.org.

An executive summary of the survey’s findings can be found here:

RIBA COVID-19 survey of the profession

26 Mar 2020
RIBA responds to Government’s new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Thursday 26 March 2020 – The RIBA has responded to the Government’s new scheme to support the UK’s self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:
“This scheme should provide long-overdue relief to self-employed people across the UK, but many will be seriously concerned about how they will manage their finances until the fund becomes available.

There are also a number of unanswered questions around the eligibility of those with newer businesses and some types of self-employment. We will be pushing the Treasury for clarity.

Almost a quarter of our Chartered Practices (sole practitioners) should be eligible to apply, but most need funds to tide them over now, not in two months’ time.

The challenge facing the Treasury is unenviably complex, but it needs to introduce some sort of interim financial support as a matter of urgency.”

20 Mar 2020
UK Government to ‘stand behind workers’ – RIBA responds

Friday 20th of March 2020 – The RIBA has responded to the Government’s latest financial measures including paying wages for workers facing job losses and deferring the next quarter of VAT payments.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:
“We are encouraged by the financial measures announced this evening and hope they will provide much needed support for practices to retain staff and manage cash flow. The RIBA is engaging with the Government on a daily basis and this latest package of support reflects proposals we put to the Chancellor earlier this week. We will continue to ensure the concerns of our members are heard, understood and acted upon.”

RIBA responds to Government’s latest package of financial support for businesses

Tuesday 17th of March 2020 – The RIBA has responded to the Government’s latest financial measures to shore up the economy against the coronavirus impact.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:
“We welcome the Government’s ‘unprecedented package’ of financial support during these unpredictable times, especially the extension of businesses eligible for loans. But more will be needed to support SMEs – most architecture practices – who are already feeling the pain of this pandemic. The Government must ease the cash squeeze faced by many practices and their clients, and provide clarity on how it will keep the planning system operating and construction sites open so that projects can progress.

We are writing to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Housing to outline the specific support required for architects. The RIBA will do whatever is required to ensure Government provides the support our members need.”

12 Mar 2020
RIBA responds to Government’s proposed changes to the planning system

The RIBA has responded to ‘Planning for the Future’ – the Government’s policy paper which sets out post-Budget plans for housing and planning.

RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, Adrian Dobson, said:

The latest changes to the planning system contain a number of significant proposals. We are pleased with the pledges to review current house building processes, connect the development of housing and infrastructure more effectively and make land ownership more transparent.

However, there is a fundamental contradiction between the Government’s professed commitment to quality and its plans to further expand permitted development. Current rules allow developers to create housing which fails to meet even the most basic spatial, quality and environmental standards. Rather than driving a ‘green housing revolution’, the Government’s plans to allow the demolition and replacement of industrial and commercial property with housing under permitted development would make it easier to build the slums of the future.”

11 Mar 2020
RIBA reveals designers of 2020 summer installation

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (Wednesday 11 March 2020) announced Charles Holland Architects, together with multi-disciplinary artist Di Mainstone, as the designers of the summer installation at RIBA’s landmark HQ building in central London.

Responding to the theme of ‘Power’, the installation will be on show from 28 May to 12 September 2020.

Part architecture, part experience, this collaboration will combine an architectural installation with a multi-sensory performative element. Through theatrical devices, playful soundscapes and sculptural objects, it considers the power relations unspoken within the architectural plan. The arrangement of space – the architectural plan – informs how we move though buildings, what rooms we are allowed into and what we do in them. Transforming the layout of the gallery space, visitors are invited to explore how forms of power are expressed and performed in architecture.

The proposal was chosen, following an open call, by the a curatorial panel consisting of: Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions, RIBA; Margaret Cubbage, Curator Exhibitions, RIBA; Owen Hatherley, writer and critic; Luke Casper Pearson, Lecturer at Bartlett School of Architecture and part of selected practice You+Pea for the 2019 installation; and Catherine Yass, artist.

RIBA Head of Exhibitions & Interpretation, Marie Bak Mortensen, said:
“The curatorial panel was overwhelmed with the ambition and breadth of the submissions to this year’s Architecture Open and it was far from an easy task to narrow down 67 entries to one. Combining the skills of an architect with those of a multi-disciplinary artist will bring new tactile experiences to the RIBA Architecture Gallery, while highlighting the intangible power of one of the fundamentals of architecture: the plan. We look forward to revealing this experiential installation in summer 2020 and inviting visitors to explore how architectural drawings prescribe and define our spaces.”

The installation will be on display alongside a programme of talks and events during the London Festival of Architecture (LFA).

For more details: https://www.architecture.com/whats-on

RIBA responds to 2020 Budget

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:
“Given ongoing concerns about the impact of coronavirus, and the predominance of SMEs in our industry, it is positive to see specific support in the Budget outlined for smaller businesses and employers.

The significant spending on affordable, safe homes and infrastructure announced today is welcome, though arguably a decade overdue. To meet ambitious housing targets, we need to work on building high-quality, safe and sustainable homes.

We will continue to urge the Government to spend public money wisely, and ensure that every penny delivers real long-term value for communities as well as our economy. Social value must be at the heart of all procurement processes and spending plans.”

UK’s approach to trade negotiations with the US – RIBA responds

Monday 2 March 2020 – The RIBA has today responded to the UK Government’s policy paper setting out aims for trade negotiations with the United States.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“Today’s announcement that the UK will be seeking a Free Trade Agreement with the US that includes the recognition of professional qualifications is a promising development for architects.

The RIBA has been calling on the Government to secure a transatlantic trade deal that supports architecture – as one of the UK’s world-leading services – through fair access to the US market and increased opportunities for professionals to operate overseas. We will continue to make this case as talks commence.”

American Embassy Building London – former US Embassy in Mayfair:
American Embassy Building London
photo © Adrian Welch

27 Feb 2020
EU and UK Trade Negotiating Strategies Response

‘A step in the right direction’ – RIBA responds to EU and UK trade negotiating strategies

Thursday 27 February 2020 – The RIBA has responded to the UK Government’s ‘Future Relationship with the EU’ and the European Union’s ‘Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations’.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:
“It is positive to see the European Union and UK Government’s negotiating strategies align regarding the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) – both agreeing this must be part of our future trade deal.
This deal will affect goods, such as construction materials, and services, such as architecture. But most importantly, it will affect people across Europe, who rely on the architecture sector to design high-quality, safe and sustainable buildings.”

27 Feb 2020
RIBA publishes comprehensive new Plan of Work

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today published the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 – the definitive guide for the design and construction of buildings.

For the first time, the RIBA Plan of Work includes a Sustainability Project Strategy which provides actions and tasks aligned with the RIBA Sustainable Outcomes Guide for each project stage. These range from appointing a sustainability champion to carrying out Post Occupancy Evaluation.

The updated document responds to detailed feedback from the construction industry. New additions include a section comparing the Plan of Work to international equivalents and nine Project Strategies including Fire Safety and Inclusive Design.

RIBA President, Professor Alan M Jones, said:
“The RIBA Plan of Work continues to be an extremely relevant and highly effective tool for the construction industry.
This new version reflects the huge environmental and societal challenges we face – as a planet and an industry.
As chartered architects, we have a responsibility to ensure the delivery of high-quality, safe and sustainable environments; and the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 is our essential, definitive guide for doing so.”

The RIBA Plan of Work 2020 and RIBA Sustainable Outcomes Guide have been developed to support the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge, an initiative to encourage RIBA Chartered Practices to achieve net zero whole life carbon for all new and retrofitted buildings by 2030.

21 Jan 2020
RIBA responds to CPRE report on new housing design

Tuesday 21 January 2020 – “As RIBA architects highlight daily and this report emphasises, the design quality of new housing developments is simply not good enough. This is a problem for people who need new homes now. The solutions available to government are clear: increased resourcing, better design skills within local authorities, and a clear planning framework that upholds standards.

It is also vital that permitted development rules, which allow developers to sidestep basic safety and sustainability standards are scrapped. Without these changes, the country will continue to store up further issues for the future.”

Alan M Jones, RIBA President

16 Jan 2020

RIBA News 2020 – architects workload trends

The impact of Brexit uncertainty on construction – RIBA reveals 2019 trends

Thursday 16 January 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today published its monthly summary of business intelligence, alongside a commentary on the stand-out trends reported by architects throughout 2019.

In 2019, Brexit uncertainty had a significant impact on the architecture profession and the wider construction industry.

Monthly workload predictions were extremely volatile. In the second half of the year, as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit grew closer, the Index fell; from a 2019 high of +9 in June, to a negative figure for three of the final four months of the year. In October when crashing out of the EU looked like a real possibility, the Index stood at -10, the lowest balance score since 2011.
Architects consistently described heightened client caution: with a reduction in project enquiries; projects being put on hold or failing to move past early design stages; and downward pressure on fees.

The differing levels of optimism between practices in the north and south of the UK was another consistent trend. Architecture practices in London and the South of England were far less positive about their future workloads, a sentiment shared by smaller practices, wherever they were located. Larger practices, and those in the North of England, felt consistently more positive about securing long-term work.

RIBA Future Trends – December 2019 report

In December 2019, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index sat at -2 – slipping back into negative territory for the final month of the year.

Small practices (1-10 staff) were most negative about future workloads – returning a balance figure of -6 – while medium (11-50 staff) and large-sized practices (51+ staff) remained positive, returning a combined balance figure of +38.

London fell into negative territory (dropping from zero to –18) along with the Midlands & East Anglia who fell from -6 to -13. The South of England held steady at zero whereas practices in Wales and the West and the North of England remained level and positive, returning balance figures of +14.

The private housing sector saw the biggest rise to +2 following three months in negative territory (the longest run since 2009) and the community sector rose slightly to -3. The commercial and public sectors both remained negative, falling back one point each to -5 and -4.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index remained steady, with a balance figure of +2 in December and the anticipated demand for temporary staff in the next three months increased to +2. 22 per cent of practices said they were personally under-employed in the last month, due to a lack of work.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:
“2019 Future Trends data consistently emphasised the impact of Brexit and political uncertainty on the construction industry. Reports of postponed projects, downward pressure on professional fees and skills shortages were prevalent, alongside a reluctance from clients to invest in building projects.

Larger practices and those in the North of England tended to be more optimistic, suggesting a shift in the focus of activity away from London and the South in 2019. It was also a year which saw an increase in larger firms looking beyond the UK for work.

After an extended period of volatility, and with a new government in place and more clarity on plans to leave the EU, there are glimmers of growing confidence in the profession, with some practices starting to report an increase in enquiries. Our Chartered Practices are resilient and adaptable to challenge. We look forward to presenting their predictions over the coming months.”

14 Jan 2020

RIBA News & Events in 2020

RIBA launches open call to design experimental installation for Architecture Gallery

Deadline for entries: 13 February 2020

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is inviting architects, architecture students and creatives to design a temporary installation at the RIBA’s HQ building in central London, to coincide with the London Festival of Architecture (LFA).

Responding to the Festival’s theme of ‘Power’, the installation will be on show from 28 May through to September 2020.

The ‘Power’ theme is open to interpretation, with no prescribed brief. For example, submissions could take the form of a built installation, a set of architectural sculptures, sound pieces or a film.

Architecture Open is an annual opportunity for creatives at all stages of their careers to develop an artistic and architectural installation. The proposal can be an existing project or idea, however evidence of experimentation, thought-provoking ideas relating to the theme and imaginative thinking around audiences are encouraged. Clear consideration of material and construction methods should also be expressed, especially in relation to best practice in sustainability. Architects and architecture students are welcome to develop collaborative ideas with artists or designers.

RIBA Head of Exhibitions & Interpretation, Marie Bak Mortensen, said:
“In its five-year history, the RIBA Architecture Gallery has commissioned architects and designers to present their ideas in critically acclaimed exhibitions, including Assemble, Pablo Bronstein, APPARATA, Giles Round, Sam Jacob Studio and Pezo von Ellrichshausen. The 2020 theme of Power is a pertinent and broad one which will no doubt encourage a range of responses, and I look forward to seeing the breadth and quality of the proposals submitted this year.”

The project budget is £25,000 plus a £4,000 design fee (excluding VAT).

The project is open to all RIBA Members, Chartered Practices and architecture students (for whom membership is free).

3 Jan 2020
Delivering Sustainable Housing and Communities Event

Date: Wednesday 29th January 2020

Location: Central London, England, UK

Join the Westminster insight’s Delivering Sustainable Housing and Communities Forum, which will feature key figures from government, energy and local authorities.

The forum will discuss innovative new methods in the planning, designing and building of sustainable housing stock that meets the environmental needs of future generations.

Hear from RIBA 2019 Stirling Prize Winners, Mikhail Riches Architects, who will be sharing insight into their pioneering project for Norwich City Council which delivered almost 100 highly energy-efficient homes.

Confirmed speakers:

• (Chair) Barry Goodchild, Professor of Housing and Urban Planning, Sheffield Hallam University
• Lord Best, Social Housing Leader, House of Lords
• James Harris MA MSC, Policy and Networks Manager, Royal Town Planning Institute
• Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive, Sustainable Energy Association
• Mikhail Riches Architects *RIBA 2019 Stirling Prize Winner*
• Emma Fletcher, Chair, Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust
• Anthony Probert, Programme Manager, Bioregional
• Stewart Clements, Director, Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC)
• Dr Steffie Broer, Director, Bright Green Futures
• Rene Sommer Lindsay, Urban Designer and Strategic Advisor, R|S|L|ENT
• Simon Tilley, Director, Hockerton Housing Projects

We will also explore how innovative new materials, systems and technologies will contribute to meeting 2050 net-zero targets.

What you will learn:

• Explore regulations, planning and future funding for sustainable housing development
• Discuss the role of planning and design for a resilient homes future
• Deliver on carbon reduction targets for housing in line with 2050 net-zero targets
• Review practical case studies which are contributing to the achievement of a more sustainable housing environment

View the full agenda
https://environment-insight.com/event/3445/VHGV1O-1241058

Secure your place
https://environment-insight.com/booking/3445/VHGV1O-1241058

Forum details:

Wednesday 29th January 2020
08:30 – 13:25
Central London

Codes:

VHGV1O-1241058 for 1 delegate place (10% off)
VHGVZO-1241058 for 2+ delegate places (20% off)

Codes will expire at 9pm, 9th January 2019.

RIBA News 2019

RIBA 2019 business trends report

RIBA News & Events 2019

RIBA Summer Installation 2019

RIBA London Events information from RIBA

Location: 66 Portland Place, London, UK

RIBA Events Archive

RIBA Events 2018

RIBA Annie Spink Award 2018

National Museum of African American History and Culture building:
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture building by David Adjaye architect
photo © Darren Bradley

RIBA Exhibition on Perspective

Building Britain’s Ideal – RIBA Discussion

RIBA News in London

RIBA News & Events 2017

RIBA London Events – Archive

RIBA HQ at 66 Portland Place

RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture

Chartered Institute of Building

RIBA Awards

RIBA Stirling Prize

RIBA Honorary Fellowships

London Architecture Events

AA School Events

Bartlett School of Architecture Event

Comments / photos for the RIBA News & Events for 2020 page welcome

Website: London