RIBA Events 2020, Architecture Gallery London, UK Buildings, British Architects News

RIBA News & Events 2020

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

RIBA UK News

18 Nov 2020

RIBA responds to PM’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution

Wednesday 18th November 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution for 250,000 jobs.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“It’s positive to see the PM recognise the need to tackle the UK’s housing emissions crisis.

That said, we need a long-term plan – a National Retrofit Strategy – that includes fresh thinking such as a new stamp duty policy to encourage homeowners to invest in sustainability.

When it comes to energy efficiency, our homes are fundamentally below the mark, and this will only be made more obvious by the changes in working habits brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Read the latest report – ‘Greener Homes’ – that calls for a National Retrofit Strategy and new sliding scale for stamp duty.

17 Nov 2020

RIBA and ARB issue call to architects to prepare for end of EU Exit transition

Tuesday 17 November 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) are calling on architects to prepare for the end of the UK-EU transition period.

On 1 January 2021 a raft of critical rules – covering key areas such as the recognition of professional qualifications, immigration and importing construction materials – will change.

The EU is the second largest market for the export of UK architectural services worldwide;1 in 5 architects practising in the UK originally qualified in the EU; and 60% of the construction materials used on UK projects are imported from Europe. New rules will therefore have a huge impact on the entire sector.

While negotiations for an official trade agreement are ongoing, many details about the future UK-EU relationship have been confirmed. The RIBA and ARB therefore urge architects to understand the impact of the transition and take action to prepare themselves.

Take a look at ARB’s dedicated EU Exit webpage and the RIBA’s Brexit hub, which includes a checklist of essential actions.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“The profession is currently facing unprecedented challenges – responding to the global pandemic and economic slump – and on top of this, we’re also hurtling towards the 31 December.

While preparing for Brexit might not seem like a priority, especially without clarity on trade deal arrangements, it’s essential that businesses and individuals familiarise themselves with the changes that will affect the way UK architecture operates.

From registering professional qualifications, to getting to grips with new custom declaration rules – individuals and businesses must take action to ensure they can practice successfully under new conditions.”

Alan Kershaw, ARB’s Acting Chair, said:

“We are following matters closely and have a schedule of work in place to facilitate any change in regulation that may result following the end of the transition period. We will provide guidance to architects to support them through any subsequent change. In the meantime, we urge those looking to register in the EU before 31 December to contact us as soon as possible so for tailored advice on the steps you will need to take.”

12 Nov 2020

Staffing levels continue positive trend – RIBA Future Trends October 2020

Thursday 12 November 2020 – In October, prior to the announcement of a second lockdown in England, the RIBA Future Workload Index held steady, again returning a balance figure of +9. Practices are expecting workloads to increase in the coming three months. 30%of practices expect an increase in workload, 21% expect a decrease whilst 49% expect them to remain the same.

Confidence has been slowly growing among practices of all sizes, with medium and large practices returning positive balances and a notable increase in positivity compared with September. Reports of personal underemployment are decreasing, and workload levels continue to be on the up. The outlook for future staffing levels is also improving. Workloads now stand at 90% of what they were a year ago.

This improving picture is a result of a strengthening private housing market and optimism about future work for practices outside the capital.

London remains the least positive region, with concerns about future profitability: 12 % of London practices expect falling profits to threaten practice viability, compared to the national average of 6%.

However, workload confidence is markedly increasing in the South and London: the South of England has posted a balance figure of +16, up from -2 in September. London only just remains in the negative about future work, this month posting a balance figure of -1 – the eighth successive negative figure from the capital, but the highest balance figure since March 2020.

Wales and the West remains the most positive area, with a balance figure of +25, although this is down from September’s high of +40. The North of England remains positive and consistent, posting a workload balance figure of +19. The Midlands & East Anglia have slipped back into negative territory, dropping 17 points to post a balance figure of -7 this month.

Among the four different work sectors, private housing continued to be the only area anticipating growth – returning a balance figure of +12, softening slightly from last month’s figure of +17. The commercial sector continues its slow recovery, rising 3 points to -12 and the community sector rose 5 points to -11, up from -16. The public sector rose by one point to -4.

In terms of staffing:

• Returning to positive territory for the first time since February, the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index rose four points to reach a balance figure of +1 in October.
• The anticipated demand for temporary staff is also on the up. The temporary staffing index also went into positive territory, with a balance figure of +4 (up from 0 in September and -2 in August)
• 81% of practices overall expect permanent staffing levels to remain consistent (an increase of 5% from September)
• 9% expect to see a decrease in the number of permanent staff over the next three months (down from 15% in September).
• 10% expect permanent staffing levels to increase (up from 8% in September)
• Medium sized practices are those most likely to need more permanent staff.
• In London, the balance figure for permanent staff is -8 (up from -19 in September), with 15% of practices expecting to be employing fewer staff in the next three months (although that’s less than the 22% of practices in September).
• In Wales and all other UK regions, permanent staffing levels are expected to increase.
• Personal underemployment is also falling; at 20% (down from 25% in September) it is at the levels we were seeing immediately before the pandemic hit.
• The number of staff on furlough has also decreased; 6% this month compared to 9% in September, and 22% in May.
• Staffing levels are 97% of what they were 12 months’ ago (up from 94% last month). Overall, 3% have been made redundant since the start of the pandemic, though 19% are working fewer hours.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:

“These results are showing a slow but steady positive increase in terms of workload and staffing. There is, however, much regional variation and London practices have more concern about future profitability and workload than elsewhere in the country.

The next few months will be critical for UK architects. How the government negotiates Brexit, how the pandemic is managed, and how government spending promises are realised will all directly affect architects’ workload. The extension of the furlough scheme into 2021 has stayed the potential budget crisis of increased salary cost without any commensurate increase in revenue.

The commentary received in October suggests a rise in enquires and commissions, particularly for smaller residential projects. Others describe particular difficulties with work in the hospitality sector, in particular, stalling.

There remain significant concerns about the course of the pandemic and the lack of clarity on Brexit. We continue to be on hand, providing support and resources to our members as they navigate these challenging times.”

5 Nov 2020

RIBA + The Modern House announce ‘Making Plans’ talks

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is pleased to announce ‘Making Plans’ – a new season of talks in partnership with The Modern House. The series explores how domestic architectural plans give form to hidden economic, gender, class and cultural power relations.

Co-programmed with architect Charles Holland, each week an architect is asked to select a plan and explain its importance to them and to architectural culture. In November and December, the talks will feature Charles Holland in conversation with Ahmed Belkhodja, FALA Atelier; Professor Lesley Lokko; and Sumayya Vally, Counterspace.

Plans are the basic currency of architecture. They define buildings technically but can also be beautiful as abstract compositions. They describe physical relationships and reveal insights into culture, economics, gender, class, and power. This short series of talks will explore the plan and its relationship to these issues.

See our architecture events page for listings.

4 Nov 2020

RIBA responds to proposed changes to the Architects Act

The RIBA has responded to the launch of the government consultation on proposed amendments to the regulation of architects through the Architects Act 1997.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“This milestone consultation outlines significant changes that seek to enhance the competence of UK architects and create a unified process for the recognition of architects’ qualifications internationally. It’s therefore vital that our whole profession responds, from architects within mainstream practice, to those within client bodies, contactors, future architects and their educators.

There’s no doubt that the requirements of our profession need to reflect the challenges facing our industry and society, from climate change to building safety, as the RIBA’s own new education and professional development framework – The Way Ahead – makes clear.

But there are other dimensions to the building safety and climate emergency challenges that face the profession; not least the need for less ambiguous and more ambitious buildings regulations and reform of our deeply flawed construction industry procurement processes, in which the golden thread of architects’ “deep generalist” expertise and knowledge of the project is often broken, with clients cherry picking advice, and with true value for money, user experience and environmental performance compromised.

As a result of this consultation we need practical measures and a properly funded education system that will support current and future chartered architects to have the expertise to support government and clients deliver their commitments and aspirations, while acknowledging the real challenges and opportunities faced by the construction industry.

I look forward to engaging with our members, the ARB and MHCLG over the coming weeks.”

2 Nov 2020
RIBA responds to new national lockdown restrictions

The RIBA has responded to the government’s new national lockdown restrictions from 5 November – 2 December 2020.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:
“As England prepares for another country-wide lockdown, the RIBA will continue to engage with the government to ensure it supports and protects the interests of architects and the wider construction industry.

This includes working closely with fellow built environment professionals and members of the BEIS Professional and Business Services Council to make sure the furlough scheme provides sufficient relief for practices suffering from workload losses.

While we welcome the extension of that scheme for a further month, we remain concerned about the lack of uprated support for self-employed workers and are calling for greater flexibility on existing tax bill repayments.

To help shape our conversations with policy makers, please take 10 minutes to RIBA’s latest short survey so we can understand exactly the impact on you and your business.”

29 Oct 2020
2021 RIBA Honorary Fellowships
2021 RIBA Honorary Fellowships

20 October 2020
RIBA COVID-19 Student Survey

58% of students struggling with mental health and almost half concerned about job prospects – RIBA COVID-19 Student Survey.

Tuesday 20th of October 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today published findings of its COVID-19 student survey, focusing on how architecture students have been affected by the pandemic.

Headline findings from the survey, which was completed by 398 architecture students, revealed:

• Students are under significant stress:
58% of respondents told us that their mental health had deteriorated because of the COVID-19 crisis and 39% said that their physical health had deteriorated. 45% were feeling isolated and 39% were not keeping in touch with their peer group.

• Job roles have been directly impacted by the pandemic:
10% of students had a job offer at a practice but it was withdrawn, 9% have lost a part-time role and 5% no longer wish to become an architect.

• Students are concerned about their future career:
48% worry about being able to get a job as an architect when they complete their studies.

• Online teaching and learning is not a replacement for in-person learning:
83% stated that online teaching and learning is suitable for only some parts of the curriculum and 81% would be put off applying to a course that’s entirely online. However, 58% feel it is good preparation for the digital future.

• Home working doesn’t suit everyone:
25% say that where they live is not adequate for them to work in and 25% say their equipment is not adequate for the work they need to do.

• Money is a concern:
41% don’t feel they have the money they need to get by and the same amount are worried about their family’s finances.
RIBA Director of Education, David Gloster, said:
“The education and training of aspiring architects is crucial to the future of architecture in the UK and around the world. However, the findings of our latest COVID-19 survey paint a concerning picture for architecture students – and those who teach them – demonstrating how much the pandemic has impacted those hoping to enter the profession.

It is particularly worrying to see the impact COVID-19 has had on the mental and physical health of students, and we encourage those struggling to seek help as needed. At this challenging time, students need our support more than ever.

While it has been encouraging to see recent government plans to make architecture apprenticeships more accessible, we will continue to call for a re-evaluation of the education process, to make architecture more inclusive post-pandemic.”

RIBA student members with any concerns are encouraged to email info@riba.org.

The RIBA COVID-19 Student Survey was conducted from July to August 2020 and is part of a series of RIBA surveys into how our members have been affected by COVID-19.

15 October 2020
RIBA calls on architects to pledge support for equity and inclusion

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today launched the RIBA Inclusion Charter and calls on architects and practices to sign-up and pledge their support for equity and inclusion.

The RIBA Inclusion Charter sets out five actions to drive cultural change in our workplaces and industry.

By signing the RIBA Inclusion Charter, individuals and practices:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE the urgent need for inclusion in the architecture profession and wider construction industry.
  • COMMIT to setting inclusion targets and an EDI action plan for their practice.
  • COMMIT to developing their workplace culture, talent pipeline and ways of working to support inclusion.
  • COMMIT to publicly reporting on progress of their EDI plan – transparency and accountability are vital to drive cultural change.
  • COMMIT to embedding inclusive design in all projects, and contributing to the development of inclusive environments.

The RIBA Inclusion Charter enables signatories to build on the requirements of the RIBA Codes of Conduct and Practice. For example, RIBA Chartered Practices must already have an EDI policy (the policy guide is currently being updated).

Charter signatories will be supported by the RIBA’s expanded EDI team and have access to best practice guidance on topics including recruiting diverse talent, inclusion data monitoring and establishing employee resource groups.

The RIBA has also today published Inclusion Footprints, a series of basic steps everyone can take – regardless of where they are in their career journey – to help drive change.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“We must pull together as employees, employers and business leaders to share best practice and put an end to any discrimination. The RIBA Inclusion Charter gives architects and practices an opportunity to further their commitment to an inclusive profession, and share their experiences and expertise with others. I commend the founding signatories of the RIBA Inclusion Charter for making themselves accountable for change, and urge every architect and practice – regardless of scale, work or location – to step-up and sign-up to join our new community of equity champions.”

Founding signatory, Kirsten Lees, Grimshaw, said:

“At Grimshaw, as architects and designers we recognise that the strength of our work is due to the quality of our people. We know how important it is that we recruit and retain the widest possible mix of voices and experiences that reflect the diversity of our society and the communities that use and experience our designs. Our 2016 diversity plan has been successful in implementing meaningful change within the practice and as a founding signatory on the RIBA Inclusion Charter we pledge to continue to build on this and support the wider industry to address existing challenges and inequalities.”

9 Oct 2020

RIBA reduces 2021 subscription fee

Friday 9 October 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today announced membership subscription rates for 2021. Following a price freeze for 2020 subscriptions, all UK, Joint Members with our partners in the Home Nations, RIAS and RSUA, and international architects will be able to benefit from chartered membership in 2021, at a reduced rate.

In 2021, the annual fee for the most common form of membership – a UK based Chartered Member who has been qualified for over five years – will decrease by over 8% to £399.

In addition to reduced rates for chartered members, the RIBA continues to offer significant benefits to members and concessions and support for those facing financial hardship, on lower incomes, or retired architects. Free membership will also continue to be offered to Part 1 and Part 2 students at RIBA validated schools of architecture, anywhere in the world, and those on their year out between Part 1 and Part 2.

The RIBA’s subscription fee reduction is part of a package of support to help members navigate through and beyond the current turbulent period, and includes the recently published RIBA Recovery Roadmap.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“Increasing support for architects and offering value for money is an essential combination for these challenging times. As well as being the voice, network and champion of architects in the UK and across the globe, the RIBA helps members and their practices survive and thrive. From supporting the education of future architects and providing critical CPD content, to hosting inspiring events and celebrating excellence, guiding clients and matching them with Chartered Practices, to working with and challenging government to influence legislation and standards, the RIBA works hard to be essential for all architects.”

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“Not only is RIBA membership a global mark of quality and assurance that sets an individual above their non-RIBA counterparts, it also provides access to resources and support that ensure architects stay at the top of their game. With ongoing volatility, architects need their Institute more than ever, and I am pleased that in 2021 we will be even greater value.”

Find out more about the changes here.

8 Oct 2020

Pandemic Drives Demand For UK Home Transformations

Batelease Farm by New British Design, RIBA South West Award winner 2019:
Batelease Farm by New British Design
image courtesy of architects

8th October 2020 – New research commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reveals the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on how people want to live and work at home.

UK homeowners are increasingly demanding environmentally efficient properties that better support their new ways of living, as well as their mental health, happiness and family cohesion.

The RIBA’s research exclusively reveals that the majority of homeowners (70% of survey respondents) believe the design of their home has affected their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Spending more time in their home has made people more stressed (11%), anxious (10%) and depressed (10%); they’ve found it harder to relax (9%) and it’s negatively impacted their productivity (6%).

The RIBA’s research sought to understand the mental and physical benefits of living in a better-designed home. The findings highlight that 23% believe a better-designed home will increase their happiness; they’d be able to relax more (31%) and sleep better (17%).

Insights also revealed that with working from home now the ‘new normal’ for many, 15% want to improve the design of their home to help them be more productive. And with families spending more time together at home, more than one in 10 (11%) believe making changes to the design of their home would help them to live more harmoniously with others in the house.

Environmental Psychologist and Lecturer at University of Surrey, Eleanor Ratcliffe comments:
“For many of us our home is our favourite place and an important part of our identity. Over recent months our homes have had to become the workplace, school, and gym, and yet still be a place to relax and recover from all the everyday stresses and strains – impacting entire households. The RIBA’s research demonstrates that many people realise that their home in its current form does not cater for all these different uses and users. A home design that reflects who you are – your values, needs, and interests – can make people feel good about themselves. A home that meets one’s needs because it is appropriately designed can also make people feel more in control, and that is especially relevant when life feels uncertain.”

Eight out of 10 respondents (79%) identified one or more of the changes that they’d now like to make to the design of their home after lockdown, these include:

• Nearly a quarter of homeowners (23%) would reconfigure their existing spaces. A fifth want to create more space by extending their home.
• Nearly one in 10 (9%) would change their open-plan design in favour of creating separate rooms. In contrast, 14% would like to make their home more open plan.
• 40% want more environmental-design features, including improving the amount of natural daylight, improving the energy-efficiency of their home and improved sound-proofing between spaces.
• 8% would like more flexible living eg rooms that can easily be divided.
• 17% would create an office space to support working from home.
• 7% want to be able to accommodate an extended family including parents, grandparents and grown-up children.
• 12% need more personal space.
The survey also sought to understand the homeowners existing perceptions of architects and what they would prioritise when choosing an architect to work with.
• Membership of a professional organisation is singled out by the greatest number of homeowners (61%) as an important factor in selecting an architect.
• Almost 50% think evidence that architects can add value to homes is important, much more so than the cost of their service, which was voted more critical by only 15%.
• One of the best ways for an architect to provide evidence is with good references: 48% of people thought this was the most important factor. With 43% stating that evidence of an architects’ ability to listen and meet their individual needs was crucial in their selection of an architect.
• Many want their architect to demonstrate their commitment to the environment – 27% want evidence that an architect will make their home more environmentally sustainable and 31% want to see the architect’s commitment to combatting climate change

RIBA President Alan Jones said:
“It’s clear that amongst its many other impacts, COVID-19 will affect how and where we choose to live and work for years to come. For many of us, our homes are our sanctuaries, and now our workplaces too. This new RIBA research clearly shows that, having spent much more time at home, many people realise they must adapt and improve their living spaces. The findings provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of good spatial, functional and sustainable design and its direct impact on our physical and mental wellbeing – all part of the value brought to a home and its owner by engaging a RIBA Chartered Architect.”

1 Oct 2020

RIBA welcomes government move to ensure Permitted Development housing meets space standards

The RIBA has responded to the government’s move to ensure all new homes delivered through Permitted Development meet Nationally Described Space Standards.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:
“I’m delighted and relieved that housing delivered through Permitted Development will now have to meet the National Described Space Standard, following significant campaigning by the RIBA and others.

The Government has done the right thing by closing this dangerous loophole and ensuring new Permitted Development housing across England will have adequate space and light – standards that should be a given.

I look forward to engaging with the government over the coming weeks as they consult on wider planning reforms. We must use this opportunity to ensure all new housing is safe, sustainable and fit for future generations.”
29 Sep 2020

RIBA responds to expansion of post-18 education and training

Tuesday 29 September 2020 – The RIBA has responded to the Prime Minister’s major expansion of post-18 education and training to level up and prepare workers for post-COVID economy.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“Architecture apprenticeships are central to creating a socially inclusive profession, so I welcome plans to make them more accessible and provide additional funding to SMEs. Aspiring architects and smaller practices need more support than ever during this economically uncertain time, and entry level apprenticeships need to be funded at more appropriate level to make them attractive and workable.

We also need the government to focus on making architecture accessible beyond the current pandemic, and commence the promised comprehensive review of routes to registration. Until we see a serious re-evaluation of the seven-year training process – one of the most significant barriers to becoming an architect – our profession will not realise the diverse skills and talent we need, nor reflect the society we serve.”

25 Sep 2020

RIBA responds to Winter Economy Plan

The RIBA has responded to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement today on the Winter Economy Plan to protect jobs and support businesses.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“The impact of the pandemic brings the need for a carefully considered and well-designed built environment into even sharper focus. A resilient architects’ profession is crucial to deliver solutions on our zero carbon commitments, housing quality and affordability, and public safety and wellbeing.

As uncertainty continues, we are pleased that the UK Chancellor has recognised that businesses and the self-employed will need ongoing support, to succeed in the long-term. It is encouraging to see the new Job Support Scheme is available to all employees including those on part time hours – something we have been calling for. The flexibility and extension of Government loans is also welcomed, with architects having benefitted from these schemes over the last six months.

It is critical that there are continued discussions around the detail of these schemes, to ensure the right measures are in place to best help businesses during this challenging period.”

24 Sep 2020

Architects’ confidence in the balance – RIBA Future Trends August 2020

Thursday 24 September 2020 – In August 2020 the RIBA Future Workload Index remained positive at +7, with 31% of practices expecting a workload increase, 24% expecting a decrease, and 44% expecting workloads to remain the same over the next three months.

Regionally, the North of England returned to pre-Covid levels of confidence with a score of +25; Wales and the West remained at +30, and the South of England at +10. London and the Midlands & East Anglia meanwhile provided some cause for concern, both returning figures of -9.

Small practices (1 – 10 staff) remained the most optimistic group, posting a workload figure of +8, while large and medium-sized practices (11 – 50 and 51+ staff) were less confident, returning an average zero balance figure, compared to +13 in July 2020.

Among the four different work sectors, private housing continued to be the only area anticipating growth – returning a balance figure of +17 – while the commercial sector fell five points to -20, the community sector sat at -11, and the public sector fell slightly to -5.

In terms of staffing:

  • Almost one in five practices (19%) expect to see a decrease in the number of permanent staff over the next three months.
  • 74% expect permanent staffing levels to remain consistent.
  • 8% expect permanent staffing levels to increase.
  • Permanent positions are most vulnerable in London, with almost a quarter of practices expecting to have fewer permanent staff in the next three months, and only 5% expecting to have more.
  • 32% report personal underemployment.
  • 65% expect profits to fall over the next twelve months, and 7% expect that fall to threaten practice viability.
  • 14% of London practices questioned their long-term viability.
  • The average percentage of furloughed staff fell from 20% to 10%.
  • 20% of staff are working fewer hours than they were pre-Covid, with those in London most likely to be working fewer hours.
  • Across England, an average of 2% of have been made redundant; in London, that figure rises to 3%.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:

“These August results mark a moment in time and sentiment before this week’s announcements, which are likely to make the operating environment for architects more volatile.

Anticipated workload growth has been driven by relative optimism about private housing, and primarily by architects outside London. Private domestic work, commissioned in response to the virus, seems to have become the lifeblood of many small practices, with many homeowners turning to architects to design spaces that support current ways of living.

Nevertheless, significant challenges remain for practices who rely on the commercial sector, with many clients cautious to commit to future projects. Reports of slowed planning applications, increased material cost, and restricted flow of finance as institutions wait for greater certainty before investing are also significant.

Over the past three months the confidence and sentiment of practices has swung like never before, and we can expect further fluctuation as we move into the final quarter of 2020.

RIBA members will continue to receive dedicated support and assurance that their concerns are being raised across government, at the highest level.”

25 Aug 2020
RIBA opens nominations for 2020 Annie Spink Award

Tuesday 25th of August 2020 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is welcoming nominations for the 2020 Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education.

The biennial award celebrates an individual or group that has made an outstanding contribution to architectural education over a significant period:

2020 Annie Spink Award

18 Aug 2020
RIBA responds to A-level results U-turn

Tuesday 18th of August 2020 – The RIBA has today responded to the latest Government announcement that students in England will now receive teacher assessed grades for GCSE and A level results.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“We welcome the news that the Government is taking action to address the legitimate concerns of pupils, parents and schools around the standardisation of A-level results.

Whilst the latest announcements will be positive for some hoping to enter the architects’ profession, the chaos of the last week has already unfairly impacted many students including those who have missed out on a place on their preferred course.

We are in contact with SCHOSA, which represents UK schools of architecture, to understand what actions will be taken on the ground. We will be urging UK schools of architecture to honour all contractual conditional offers based on teacher assessed grades, where appropriate. We encourage them to consider whether more places will be made available for 2020/21, where possible, now that the student number cap has been lifted.

We remain concerned for those with BTEC qualifications – clarity is urgently needed.”

13 August 2020
RIBA Future Trends July 2020
Thursday 13th of August 2020 – Workload predictions positive for the first time in four months.

After four months in negative territory, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rose to +3 in July, from –17 in June.
Nearly a third (31%) of practices anticipate a workload increase, 42% expect workload to remain the same and 28% expect a decrease.

In July the Staffing Index also rose by 5 points, with 75% of practices saying they expect the level of permanent staff to remain the same over the next three months and 8% (rising from 4%) anticipating the need to employ more permanent staff. Despite this, 17% still expect their staffing levels to decrease over the next three months.

All sectors returned slightly more positive balance figures. The private housing sector rose significantly to +17 (from -3 in June), the commercial sector rose to -15 (from -32), the community sector to -14 (from -19) and the public sector to -4 (from -12).

While there was increased optimism about workloads over the next three months, 62% of respondents still expect profits to fall over the next year and within that, 7% consider that their practice is unlikely to remain viable.

The findings from this month’s survey also show:
• 20% of architectural staff have been furloughed
• 1% of architectural staff have been made redundant
• 1% have been released from a ‘zero hours’, temporary or fixed-term contracts
• 18% of staff are working fewer hours (and they are most likely to work for smaller practices)
• 26% of projects are still on hold since March
• 22% of projects which remain active are at stages 5 or 6 of the RIBA Plan of Work

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:
“While July’s findings might show the first glimpse of positivity we’ve seen for a while – with practices seeing a specific increase in private residential enquiries as home working continues – architects still face a particularly challenging market.
For some, their current workloads mainly consist of pre-pandemic commissions and the source of future work is uncertain. As the UK enters its first recession in 11 years, we can expect further caution from clients to commit to new projects, and confidence in future workloads may be affected.

It remains our fundamental priority to support our members through this difficult time with resources and economic intelligence to help overcome immediate hurdles and build future resilience.”
Members with concerns or queries are encouraged to email info@riba.org.

11 August 2020
Simon Allford elected RIBA President (2021-23)

Simon Allford:
Simon Allford RIBA President 2020
photo © Tom Mesquitta

11th of August 2020 – Simon Allford has been elected the next President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Simon will take over the two-year presidential term from Alan Jones next year (1 September 2021); from 1 September 2020 he will officially become RIBA President Elect.

The role of RIBA President was established in 1835 and is the highest elected position in UK architecture. The President Chairs RIBA Council, which acts as the representative body for the membership.

Simon is a founding director of AHMM (where he leads a design studio of 200 architects), a frequent writer, critic and advisor; a visiting professor at Harvard; a previous chairman of the Architecture Foundation; and currently a trustee of the London School of Architecture and the Chickenshed Theatres Trust.

Speaking today, Simon Allford, said:
“It is a privilege to have been elected and I look forward to working with members, Council, Board and staff to create a leaner, more open, productive, engaged and reinvigorated RIBA.

We need an institute of ideas with architecture front and centre, hosting debates, lectures and exhibitions reflecting changing cultural and practice contexts. We need an institute that celebrates and promotes members’ work at home and worldwide. We need an institute that is a practice friend, enabling members to share ideas about best ways of working, using today’s technology to help advance architecture for the benefit of society – our Charter obligation.

I am committed to the ‘House of Architecture @ RIBA’, an online and physical entity capable of forming alliances with clients, consultants and contractors to influence government over procurement and education, while also helping us to address global climate change and architecture’s pivotal role in a post-pandemic world.”

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:
“Congratulations to Simon. The next few years will be crucial for our planet and profession as we navigate through health, environmental and economic crises – so Simon has a significant role to play in ensuring all architects receive the strong support and inspiring leadership they need to survive and thrive. I look forward to counting on Simon’s support over the next year before I hand over to them in 2021.”

The RIBA has also today announced the results of the RIBA Council Elections 2020. All RIBA Council appointments announced today will commence on 1 September 2020.

Simon Allford architect:
Simon Allford RIBA President
photograph © Tom Mesquitta

Council Members were elected using the Single Transferable Vote. The candidates who reached the required quota and were therefore elected are:

National Seats

• Simone de Gale
• Jennifer Dixon

International Seats

• Ken Wai (Asia and Australasia)
• Catherine Davis (The Americas)

Regional Seats – London
• David Adjei
• Sarah Akigbogun
• Angela Dapper
• Femi Oresanya
• Jack Pringle
• Anna Webster

Regional Seats – South East
• Duncan Baker-Brown
• Danka Stefan

There was one candidate for the role of RSAW Presidency, therefore Gavin Traylor is elected unopposed. Gavin will take up his term as President Elect on 1 September 2020 and become President from September 2021 for a two-year term.
The following members will take uncontested seats as Council Members:

• Alice Asafu-Adjaye (The Middle East and Africa)
• Tim Clark (Europe excluding UK)
• Graham Devine (South West)
• Roger Shrimplin (East)
• Yuli Cadney-Toh (Wessex)
• Philip Twiss (West Midlands)

The overall Presidential election turnout was 13.2%; Simon Alford was elected at 4th stage with 58.9% of the votes. 17.2% of Chartered Members voted, 6.66% of newly enfranchised Student, Associate and Affiliate members voted.

Biography:

Simon Allford is a leading architect and co-founder of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Working from AHMM’s Clerkenwell base, Simon leads a studio with offices in London, Bristol and the US, working internationally on a wide range of award-winning projects. In each case, the quest is to find a way of unlocking the potential for the extraordinary in everyday buildings. Key recent examples include the University of Amsterdam; Google and DeepMind’s HQ offices in London, Berlin and Canada; and The White Collar Factory, Hawley Wharf and Post Building in London.

Currently Simon is leading a series of large-scale urban research and design projects in London, the UK, Europe, India and the US. Each explores potential new ways to live, work and play in a variety of combinations. The studio also engages clients in the exploration of ways to achieve low-carbon architecture and outcomes that avoid rigid assumptions about the way a building needs to look or operate.

Simon recently retired as Chair of the Architecture Foundation. He is a former trustee of the Architectural Association Foundation; Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of The Architectural Association; RIBA Vice-president for Education; member of the RIBA Awards Group and a chair of design deview at CABE. Simon is a frequent judge of major awards and competitions, a writer, critic and advisor. He studied at Sheffield University, then the Bartlett school at University College London. He has taught and examined at schools around the world and is a visiting professor at the Bartlett and at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Simon’s long-term commitment to an open and accessible profession has informed his engagement in numerous initiatives at AHMM, including his founding membership of the practice’s Employee Ownership Trust Board, and his current role as a trustee of the London School of Architecture and Chickenshed Theatres Trust.

4 August 2020
RIBA responds to new Green Homes Grant scheme

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 – The RIBA has today responded to further details announced by government on the Green Homes Grant scheme.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“It is great to see more details on the Green Homes Grant scheme to support households to become more energy efficient and reduce energy bills.

We have long called for use of a TrustMark to ensure homeowners are using accredited tradespeople and simple energy advice service for homeowners so I’m pleased to see these proposals taken forward. But it’s very disappointing that there is no requirement to compare energy pre and post retrofit to help ensure value for money and energy savings.

It is clear the government needs to urgently set out a ‘National Retrofit strategy’, with adequate funding to retrofit the homes which require upgrading and help meet our net zero targets.”

16 July 2020
RIBA Future Trends June 2020

Thursday 16th of July 2020 – Mixed views about future workload indicate a profession in flux.

Architects’ views on future workloads have improved significantly since the lockdown low in April, but the profession remains pessimistic.

The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index moved towards positive territory, climbing to –17 in June, from -49 in May, and the unprecedented low of -82 in April. The latest survey results show 40% of architects expect work to decrease over the next three months and nearly a quarter (23%) expect an increase (up from 13% in May).

The Staffing Index improved by 9 points in June; 77% of practices expect the level of permanent staff to remain the same over the next three months, 18% expect a decrease (from 26% in May) and 4% anticipate more permanent staff.

There was an increase in prospects across all sectors; the private housing sector returned a figure of -3 (from -40 in May), the commercial sector was at -32 (from -41), the community sector was at -19 (from -33) and the public sector returned a figure of -12 (from -27). Despite pockets of shared optimism, current workloads remain at significantly reduced level – down 28% compared to June 2019. 70% of respondents expect profits to fall over the next 12 months and within that, 7% consider that their practice is unlikely to remain viable.

The findings from this month’s survey also show:

• 19% of architectural staff have been furloughed – a reduction on last month’s figure of 22%
• 1% of architectural staff have been made redundant; 1% have been released from a ‘zero hours’, temporary or fixed-term contract.
• 32% of projects had been put on hold since the start of March.
• 22% of projects which remain active are at stages 5 or 6 of the RIBA Plan of Work.
• Among small practices (1 – 10 staff) there were a higher percentage of practices working fewer hours (20%).

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:
“Economic uncertainty remains, with many architects expressing concerns about future workloads and significant challenges ahead. The global pandemic, coupled with the risks of a no-deal Brexit, continues to impact our sector.

However, in June we saw an increase in some architects’ confidence and the early signs of returning workloads. More sites are beginning to reopen and practices, particularly those in the residential sector, reported a sharp rise in new enquires. Design work is being carried out, despite the challenges that come with home working.

The RIBA will continue to advocate on behalf of the profession and provide support to members and practices, to help guide them through this challenging time and build resilience for the future.”

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

14 July 2020
Network Rail Re-imagining Stations Competition

Network Rail and RIBA Competitions launch an international competition to shape the future of Britain’s railway stations:

Network Rail Re-imagining Stations Competition

9 July 2020
Post-pandemic buildings and cities – RIBA reveals longlist for Rethink:2025 international design competition:
RIBA Rethink 2025 Design Competition longlist

8 July 2020
RIBA reacts to Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“The RIBA has long advocated for a ‘green’ post-COVID recovery, so I welcome the Chancellor’s efforts to put sustainability front and centre of today’s announcements.

The £2bn Green Homes Grant will help some households become more energy efficient and reduce energy bills, but this must be the start, not the end, of an ambitious strategy to create a sustainable built environment. We urgently need a thorough ‘National Retrofit Strategy’ to fund the upgrading of homes.

To create safe and sustainable housing, the use of Permitted Development Rights must be scrapped, and all building owners and users must begin to measure and understand how well or badly their buildings actually perform through Post Occupancy Evaluation.

Given current levels of economic uncertainty, architecture practices will need more than the new Job Retention Bonus scheme to help them survive over the coming months. We know from past recessions that demand does not return across the whole economy at the same time – support packages for business must continue to reflect this.”

Read the RIBA’s response to yesterday’s UK government funding announcement of £3bn to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient here.

7 July 2020
RIBA responds to Government funding announcement

Wednesday 7th of July 2020 – RIBA responds to Government funding announcement of £3bn to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“It’s good to see the government bring forward a significant proportion of the £9.2bn pledged for energy efficiency and acknowledge the benefits this will bring to the economy and people’s health.

But this is just the beginning. We will continue to emphasise to policymakers the leading role chartered architects have in designing, coordinating and delivering a sustainable built environment.

We will also lobby for energy efficiency funding for the private rented sector, which includes much of the UK’s most energy inefficient housing stock. We look forward to seeing the details in the Chancellor’s update tomorrow.”

1 July 2020
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.”

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.”

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 definiteive 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, definiteive 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