RIBA news events 2024, Architecture Gallery London, UK buildings future trends, British architects practice updates

RIBA News Events 2024

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

23 May 2024

‘The time to act is now’: RIBA responds to general election announcement

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today, Thursday 23 May 2024, responded to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement that a General Election will be held on 4 July 2024.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“This is a pivotal moment for our country as we move into a General Election.

As our manifesto makes clear, we urgently need decisive action to deliver a built environment that meets people’s needs, both now and in the future.
Policies that usher in the next generation of social housing and establish a National Retrofit Strategy must be at the heart of this election campaign and delivered by the next Government. The clock is ticking – the time to act is now.

All political parties must set out bold and comprehensive plans to deliver a sustainable built environment, using architects’ expertise, that strengthen communities and enrich people’s lives.”

23 May 2024

Architects expect growing workloads as confidence returns: RIBA Future Trends April 2024

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings of its latest Future Trends Survey, a monthly report of business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.

The April 2024 findings show confidence returning to the profession. Over the next three months, architects expect workloads to increase – ending a ten-month spell of pessimism – and also anticipate stable staffing levels.

Architects expect increasing workloads after longest spell of pessimism

In April, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rose by 2 points to +2, indicating that architects expect workloads to increase overall. This is the first time the Workload Index has been positive since June 2023, marking a return to optimism since last month’s Workload Index figure of 0 ended the longest run of pessimism since the survey began in 2009.

Over the next three months, 19% of practices expect workloads to increase, 17% expect them to decrease, and 63% expect them to stay the same.
The outlook of small practices (1-10 staff) remains negative but better, rising by 1 point to -1, while the outlook of medium (11+ staff) and large (50+ staff) practices remains optimistic, improving by 5 points, reaching a combined Workload Index figure of +19.

Three out of four monitored work sectors also have an improved outlook. The outlook for the Private Housing sector (-3) improved by 5 points, while the Commercial (0) and Community (-12) sectors both rose by 3 points. The outlook for the Public sector (-9) held steady.

Regionally, the picture remains mixed. The workload outlook of practices in the South of England stands out at +24, a 36-point improvement and the first positive figure for the region since March 2023. The outlook in the North of England remains positive at +11. However, London’s confidence dipped by 3 points to -2, Wales and the West fell by 3 points to -5, and the Midlands & East Anglia dropped 12 points to -15.

Architects anticipate steady permanent staffing levels and more temporary staff.

In April, the RIBA Future Trends Permanent Staffing Index fell by 2 points to 0, indicating that the same number of practices intend to increase staff numbers as reduce them.

• Over the next three months, 11% of practices expect to employ more permanent staff, 10% expect to employ fewer, and 79% anticipate making no changes.

• Small practices expect falling staffing levels, returning a Permanent Staffing Index figure of -1, a 3-point fall compared to March.

• Medium and large practices remain upbeat about staffing levels, returning a combined Permanent Staffing Index figure of +9, a 3-point increase from last month.

• The regional staffing outlook remains mixed. The North of England and the Midlands & East Anglia expect falling permanent staffing levels, with London holding steady and Wales & the West and the South of England expecting to increase numbers of permanent staff.

• The Temporary Staffing Index rose by 4 points to +1, positive for the first time since July 2022. This suggests increasing numbers of temporary staff over the next three months.

• Levels of personal underemployment increased from 20% in March to 25% in April.

Practices report that cash-flow problems, planning delays, raised interest rates, and increased project costs continue to hold back project progress, new enquiries, and new commissions.

Planning delays are reportedly tying developer capital to land allocated to stalled projects, preventing the acquisition of further sites, and so squeezing the pipeline of design work.

Practices also report under-resourced local authorities and unreliable pipelines of public sector work dampening the architects’ market.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis Adrian Malleson said:
“After ten months of pessimism, the latest Future Trends data paints a positive picture of growing workloads. April’s findings are the most encouraging for some time, and part of a longer-term trend of an improving outlook, despite month-on-month fluctuations.

Caution is still needed, as workloads are lower than a year ago, with a mixed regional picture and high personal underemployment. However, the vital housing and commercial sectors show early signs of a tentative recovery.

Some practices also note a strengthening market overall, an uptick in the public housing sector, and the significance of overseas work.

We will continue to work with other built environment bodies to monitor these trends.”

21 May 2024

RIBA President-Elect, RSAW President-Elect and Council candidates announced

Funmbi Olumoroti Adeagbo:
Funmbi Olumoroti Adeagbo

Duncan Baker-Brown:
Duncan Baker-Brown

Chris Williamson:
Chris Williamson

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (21 May 2024) announced three candidates standing for election as RIBA President-Elect, alongside nominations for RSAW President-Elect and seats on the RIBA Council.

The RIBA President, RSAW President and RIBA Council Members are elected representatives from RIBA’s membership.

RIBA Council, chaired by the President, acts as the representative body, and is responsible for collecting insight from the membership and the profession to inform the Board’s decisions relating to the strategic direction of the organisation. RIBA Council is responsible for appointing the Trustees to the Board of the RIBA Charity.

RIBA President-Elect 2024 candidates:
RIBA President-Elect 2024 candidates

The candidates standing for RIBA President-Elect are:

• Funmbi Olumoroti Adeagbo
Name and Address of Practice: Morris and Company

215 Mare street, London, E8 3QE
Position/title: Project Architect
Qualifications: ARB, RIBA, Spatial planning and Urban (Masters in Art), MSc
Architecture, Diploma in Architecture, Professional Diploma

• Duncan Baker-Brown
Name and Address of Practice: BakerBrown Studio Limited

Cooksbridge Station House, Cooksbridge, East Sussex, BN8 4SW
Position/title: Founder, Director
Qualifications: BSc. Arch, DipArch (Brighton), ARB, RIBA

• Chris Williamson
Name and Address of Practice: Weston Williamson + Partners

12 Valentine Place, London SE1 8QU
Position/title: Chair
Qualifications: BA Hons, Dip Arch, MSc Project. Man. MA Urban Design

The candidates standing for RSAW President-Elect are:

• David Darkin
• Alan Francis

Candidates’ election statements can be found here.

Voting for all seats opens online at 09:00 Monday 17 June and closes at 16:00 on Friday 28 June. Results will be announced at on Tuesday 2 July.

From Thursday 30 May, hustings and debates will be held to allow members to hear from the people running to become RIBA President 2025-2027.

Successful RIBA Council candidates will commence their three-year term on 1 September 2025.

The RIBA President-Elect’s term begins on 1 September 2024, with their two-year term as RIBA President commencing on 1 September 2025.

30 April 2024

Government response to MP inquiry ‘lacks a clear plan’ to tackle overheating

Today, Tuesday 30 April 2024, the Government has responded to the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC)’s report on ‘Heat resilience and sustainable cooling’, which raised concerns over the UK’s lack of preparedness after the world’s hottest year on record.

In its response, the Government addresses recommendations made in the EAC report, including calls based on written and oral evidence given by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“Our buildings are not ready for extreme heat. The Government’s response to expert recommendations demonstrates they lack a clear plan to tackle the threat of rising temperatures.

If we are to set the country on a sensible path to deliver more resilient buildings and communities, we must urgently bring forward a National Retrofit Strategy to futureproof millions of homes.

Disappointingly, even simple and cost-effective solutions put forward by MPs, like reversing the decline of urban green space, have been ignored.
But it’s not too late to heed these warnings. Whoever forms the next government must step up, work with the sector and embed resilience in our building stock.”

25 April 2024

Economics of the built environment 2024-2034 – RIBA’s latest horizon scans indicate most pressing factors for change

Thursday 25 April 2024 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published its latest set of horizon scans, which highlight the global economic systems and forces that will shape the built environment over the next decade.

Commissioned by RIBA and written by leading academics, The Economics of the Built Environment scans provide foresight on the topics expected to drive the greatest change by 2034. The four scans are:

• Interconnectedness and specialisation: the economic geography of the built environment
• Emerging economies: how architects can contribute to sustainable urban futures in fast-changing contexts
• Inequality: planning and design for a more equitable world
• Financialisation: buildings and architecture at the centre of global financial systems

These scans reframe the built environment as an expression of the economic forces that shape it.

They investigate the factors set to impact the sector financially: from rapid urbanisation, to increased use of digital twinning augmenting the financialisation of the built environment.

Overall, the scans invite a deeper consideration of the economic system and the architect’s part in in. They ask what effect the way money is spent has not only on the quality of the built environment, but also on our ability to develop a more equitable society and tackle the climate crisis. They call for an intersectoral response by architects and planners, working closely with economists, financiers, clients, and others, to come up with solutions that unlock global potential.

The Economics of the Built Environment horizon scans are part of the RIBA Horizons 2034 series interrogating the global megatrends predicted to shape society, the built environment, and the architectural profession over the next ten years. Scans relating to population change and technological innovation will follow over the coming months.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“RIBA keeps a close eye on the UK and global economy, forecasting business and employment trends month-to-month in our Future Trends reports and deep-diving into the wider economic context in architectural market economics reports. With expert insight on how the economic environment will change over the next decade, the Economics of the Built Environment scans position architects as having a great opportunity to positively shape the urban transformation ahead of us.

They highlight the need for an intersectoral response by architects and planners, working closely with economists, financiers and clients. Collaboration will be key to find solutions that unlock global potential.

These are timely, fascinating research essays – a critical resource that every architect should read to help steer their thinking as they plan for the future of their business and career.”

Editor of RIBA Horizons 2034: The Economics of the Built Environment, independent urban economist Astrid R.N. Haas, said:
“Across the world, the urban environment is failing many of its inhabitants. To rectify this, innovation is urgently needed to match the dynamism and pace of change in cities over the coming decades.”

Read RIBA Horizons 2034: The Economics of the Built Environment.

18 April 2024

Architects anticipate growing workforces and steady workloads: RIBA Future Trends March 2024

Thursday 18th of April 2024 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings of its latest Future Trends Survey, a monthly report of business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.

The March 2024 findings show signs of an improving outlook among the profession. Over the next three months, architects expect workloads to hold steady, and staffing levels to increase.

Architects expect stable workloads, ending record run of pessimism

In March, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rose by 3 points to 0, indicating an overall expectation that workloads will hold steady. This is the first time the Workload Index has dipped into positive territory since July 2023, ending the longest run of pessimism about future workloads since the survey began in 2009.

Over the next three months, 24% of practices expected workloads to increase, 24% expected them to decrease, and 52% expected them to stay the same.

The outlook of small practices (1-10 staff) remained negative but improved, rising by 3 points to -2, while the outlook of medium (11+ staff) and large (50+ staff) practices remained optimistic, and improved by 2 points, reaching a combined Workload Index figure of +14.

While the overall workload outlook improved, three out of four monitored work sectors had a less optimistic outlook than last month, with only the Commercial (-3) sector holding steady. Having rallied in recent months, the outlook for the Private Housing sector fell by 3 points to -8. The outlook for the Public (-9) and Community (-15) sectors fell by 3 and 6 points respectively.

The regional picture was mixed. The outlook of practices in the North of England remained positive and rose by 1 point to +14 and, after a dip in confidence last month, London’s outlook rallied by 13 points to +1. While still negative, the outlook for Wales & the West also rose by 14 points to -2. In contrast, the outlook for practices in the Midlands & East Anglia fell by 1 point to -3, and that for practices in the South of England fell by 12 points to -12.
Increase in staffing levels expected for first time in six months.

In March, the RIBA Future Trends Permanent Staffing Index rose by 2 points to +2, indicating that more practices intended to increase staff numbers than reduce them. This is the first time the Staffing Index has risen above 0 since September last year.

• Over the next three months, 10% of practices expected to employ more permanent staff, 8% expected to employ fewer, and 83% anticipated making no changes.

• Small practices became positive about staffing levels, returning a Permanent Staffing Index figure of +2, a 5-point improvement from last month.

• Medium and large practices expected staffing levels to increase, albeit less confidently than last month, returning a combined Permanent Staffing Index figure of +6, a 15-point reduction.

• Most regions expected permanent staffing levels to increase, with only London and the Midlands & East Anglia expecting them to hold steady.

• The Temporary Staffing Index remained negative but improved by 3 points to -3. This suggests falling numbers of temporary staff over the next three months.

• Levels of personal underemployment decreased from 23% in February to 21% in March.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis Adrian Malleson said:
“The latest Future Trends data puts an end to the longest run of pessimism about workloads since the survey began. It’s welcome news, but it indicates a stabilisation of outlook rather than a resurgence of confidence.

Despite early signs of economic improvements as inflationary pressures ease, and economic growth returns, architects continue to report a mixed view of the market.

Some practices tell us that raised interest rates and increased costs are deterring clients of all sizes from commissioning projects. Others cite the planning process severely impeding project progress, regulatory changes creating uncertainty, and competition from within and outside the profession squeezing incomes. Practices also say projects are increasingly being phased to match more cautious, phased financing, which can make cash flow less predictable, and delay project payments.

Yet practices also report increased enquiries and commissions, the potential for gaining overseas work, increasing opportunities to improve the carbon performance of existing buildings, and the ability to maintain fee levels. There’s reason to be hopeful.

We will continue to report our findings to the Government and work with other built environment bodies to monitor these trends.”

4 April 2024

RIBA responds to updated second staircase guidance

Thursday 4th of April 2024 – the UK Government has updated its guidance on second staircases in new tall residential buildings in England.

Lee Rowley, Minister for Housing, said that the change in policy to set an 18-metre height threshold for second staircases in all new residential buildings ‘reflects views of experts including the National Fire Chiefs Council and Royal Institute of British Architects’.

RIBA Chair of Board Jack Pringle said:
“Almost seven years on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government’s official guidance for second staircases in new residential buildings over 18 metres is welcome.

This marks a crucial step towards a safer built environment for all. It falls short of requiring a second fire-fighting shaft, which our consultation response called for, or evacuation lifts, both of which are vital for emergency evacuation and fire-fighting operations.

We continue to work with the Government and the wider construction industry to demand changes to deliver safer homes. Safety must be our number one priority.”

28 March 2024

RIBA Future Trends February 2024

Tentative improvements in architects’ outlook despite chronic planning delays: RIBA Future Trends February 2024

Thursday 28th of March 2024 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings of its latest Future Trends Survey, a monthly report of business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.

Findings show that architects expect workloads to fall over the next three months, but they expect staffing levels to hold steady, rather than fall, for the first time in six months.

A one-off question in February’s survey found that a majority of those working on higher-risk buildings reported project delays caused by the planning application statutory consultation process.

Tentative signs of recovery in architects’ workloads

In February, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rose by 5 points to -3, indicating a slightly improved outlook.

Over the next three months, 23% of design practices expected workloads to increase, 26% expected them to reduce, and 51% expected them to stay the same.

The outlook of small practices (1-10 staff) remained negative but improved, rising by 5 points to -5, while the outlook of medium (11+ staff) and large (50+ staff) practices remained optimistic, and improved by 9 points to a combined figure of +12.

While all monitored work sectors retained a negative outlook, three out of four improved. The outlook for the Private Housing sector rallied by 7 points to -5, the Commercial (-3) and Public (-6) sectors improved by 2 and 3 points respectively, and the Community sector, which has had a negative outlook for two years, fell by 1 point to -9.

All regions except London had an improved or steady outlook on workloads. The outlook for the North of England remained positive and rose by 11 points to +13. The South of England rallied by 21 points to 0, and the Midlands & East Anglia recovered by 18 points to -2. London’s outlook deteriorated by 13 points to -12, while Wales & the West held steady at -16.

Staffing levels expected to hold steady rather than fall for first time in six months, with larger practices particularly confident

In February, the RIBA Future Trends Permanent Staffing Index rose by 2 points to 0, indicating that the same number of practices expected to employ more staff as expected to employ fewer. This is the first time the RIBA Staffing Index has left negative territory since September last year.

• Over the next three months, 8% of practices expected to employ more permanent staff, 8% expected to employ fewer, and 83% expected no change.

• Small practices continued to expect staffing levels to decline, returning a Permanent Staffing Index figure of -3, a 1-point improvement from last month.

• Medium and large practices had even stronger conviction that their staffing levels would increase, returning a combined Permanent Staffing Index figure of +21, a 13-point increase from last month.

• The regional outlook on permanent staffing remained varied. Despite expecting falling workloads, London’s staffing outlook has turned positive, with a Staffing Index figure of +2.

• The Temporary Staffing Index held steady once again at -6, suggesting falling numbers of temporary staff over the next three months.

• Levels of personal underemployment decreased from 29% in January to 23% in February.

Majority of higher-risk building architects report delays from planning application consultation process.

February’s RIBA Future Trends survey included a one-off question about the potential project delaying effects of the statutory consultation process with the Building Safety Regulator during planning applications for higher-risk buildings.

16% of respondents said they had worked on higher-risk buildings in the last three months.

Of those, 62% reported delay (54%) or abandonment (8%) of these projects caused by the statutory consultation process.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis Adrian Malleson said:
“While practices still expect falling workloads overall, it appears we can be moderately optimistic.

Crucially, the outlook for work in the housing sector is significantly less gloomy.

Many practices continue to describe a challenging environment in the context of a weak economy, raised interest rates, and ongoing, highly damaging planning delays. Some even suggest that the uncertainty around the general election is deterring investment, particularly from local authorities. However, others report an overall improving market.”

22 March 2024

RIBA reveals plans for ‘once in a generation’ House of Architecture investment

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today revealed further details of its flagship House of Architecture programme.

The £85 million proposal will transform RIBA’s member offer and widen access to architecture, focusing on three key areas:

– Bringing together RIBA’s architectural collections – among the largest and most significant in the world – so they can be better cared for, and accessed and appreciated more widely than ever before

– Extensive upgrades to RIBA’s digital technology – creating a vastly improved online experience.

– Sensitive, essential refurbishment and restoration of RIBA’s 66 Portland Place headquarters to make it more accessible, useful, sustainable and welcoming.

RIBA House of Architecture News

21 March 2024

RIBA Horizons 2034 Programme News

Architecture must change beyond recognition to meet the climate challenge, says new RIBA Horizons 2034 programme

Thursday 21st of March 2024 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched a new horizon-scanning programme with a set of scans that identify the most pertinent environmental issues facing the built environment over the next ten years.

Developed by leading academics, The Environmental Challenge themed horizon scans provide foresight into the most significant actions architects can take to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, adapt buildings to withstand weather extremes, promote biodiversity and scale up engagement and activism. Key themes across the scans include:

  • The importance of understanding the diversity of different global regions, including in culture, population, existing building stock, climate and materials, to ensure solutions that contribute to a sustainable future for all
  • The need for significant financial support for poorer global regions to ensure sustainable and low carbon urban development for rapidly urbanising and growing populations
  • Within Europe and older building stocks, the importance of retrofit, and the need to prioritise that over demolition and newbuild
  • The increasing importance of designing with inherently low carbon and biobased materials, and of assessing the whole life carbon implications of all design decisions
  • The critical role of nature-based solutions in working with and for nature, and of a nature-first approach to design that promotes biodiversity
  • The need for inclusion of the whole community in the design process, to ensure socially appropriate development and to avoid green gentrification
  • The understanding of the role that building design can play in influencing climate adaptive behaviours
  • The need to embrace new attitudes and mindsets, and to work as activists and collaborators to find solutions that work for people and planet

The Environmental Challenge themed horizon scans are the first in a series on the four global megatrends that will shape society, the built environment, and the architectural profession over the next ten years. Scans relating to economics, population change, and technological innovation will follow over the coming months.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:

“As an architect, I know how busy we all are day to day. It can be difficult to get into the headspace to look to the future. But we need to pay attention to what’s coming. The environment, the economy, the global population and technology are all changing.

While none of the individual issues or actions in these horizon scans come as a surprise, together they indicate the true scale and speed of climate change – and just how much we need to do within the next ten years to mitigate and adapt to its devastating effects.

We must challenge the status quo and keep engaging and debating. We must think global, act local – recognising the impact of individual actions. We must all become agents of change.

I urge the profession to see The Environmental Challenge themed scans as a foundation for action.”

Editor of RIBA Horizons 2034: The Environmental Challenge, Professor Alice Moncaster, who is Professor of Sustainable Construction at the University of West of England and Visiting Academic Fellow at the University of Cambridge, said:

“The next ten years will be key in our fight against climate change and its worst impacts. We need to radically reduce the impact of our built environment, while ensuring that it is resilient to changing climates and fit for future generations.

The experts who have written these horizon scans are not talking about simple add-ons to business as usual, but about fundamental paradigm shifts.

This needs to change every aspect of what we do as architects and building professionals.”

Read an introduction to the RIBA Horizons 2034 programme.

4 March 2024

Built Environment Institutes’ Joint Pledge

Major built environment institutes renew joint pledge to tackle global instability as cities boom

Monday 4 February 2024 – With almost 70% of the world’s population predicted to live in cities by 2050, major built environment professional institutes, including architects, planners, structural engineers and landscape practitioners, have renewed their joint pledge to collaborate to tackle urgent global challenges.

Members of the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG), a group first launched in 2016 comprising the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and the Landscape Institute (LI), have committed to work together for at least another 5 years.

In a Memorandum of Understanding, the group, having established an international reputation as leading authorities in the built environment, agreed to continue to make their joint expertise accessible to the governments, humanitarian agencies and development partners at the sharp end of delivering sustainable urbanisation.

Many of the countries that are urbanising most rapidly lack the critical built environment capacity and expertise to ensure that this huge growth is sustainable. In Uganda in 2018, a survey recorded that there were just five architects and 50 engineers per every one million people living in the country (compared to more than 600 of each for every one million in the UK) while urbanising at a rate of 6% per year – more than six times the rate of the UK.

The UKBEAG members aim to address this imbalance through advocacy and capacity development, enabling the sharing of global expertise to support those grappling with rapid urbanisation, the climate emergency, displacement after crises and post conflict recovery.

The group has already been working to mitigate global instability caused by these compounding factors. As Strategic Development Partner for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Global Future Cities Programme, the UKBEAG worked in close partnership with UN-Habitat to support 30 transport, urban planning and resilience projects in 19 cities in low- to middle-income countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. Through a programme of strategic capacity development, their work increased the impact and long-term sustainability of these projects and created mutually beneficial relationships.

RIBA Chief Executive Dr Valerie Vaughan-Dick MBE said:
“The built environment is a huge carbon emitter, so if we are to protect the long-term future of our planet, urbanisation must be sustainable. Architects and other built environment professionals must work together to play an essential role in achieving this. As we face a global environmental crisis, RIBA must do what it can to support sustainable urbanisation by sharing knowledge, technical expertise and influence wherever it is needed, just as we too learn from others across the world.

This renewed pledge demonstrates great ambition, and I look forward to working with our partner institutes to lead by example, combining our strengths to make a real difference.”

RTPI Chief Executive Victoria Hills said:
“Collaboration and partnerships are essential if we’re going to build meaningful sustainable and inclusive solutions that work for everyone. Together, planners and other built environment professionals wield significant influence in tackling climate change, biodiversity decline, social and economic inequalities, and at the same time, creating sustainable and beautiful places around the world.

By bringing with us our members’ expertise, we hope that this strengthened alliance with our UKBEAG partners will have a significant impact on the transition to a zero-carbon society, engaging communities and enabling environmentally friendly choices.”

IStructE Head of Climate Action Will Arnold said:
“With most of the world still requiring more housing, buildings and infrastructure, the opportunities to head towards a regenerative built environment is huge. But to do so requires huge collaboration, systems thinking, and the ambition to create urban centres that are wholly positive for all living things. The renewed UKBEAG partnership will enable critical links to be formed between UK engineers, architects, planners with built environment professionals across the world, for mutual benefit of all parties.”

Landscape Institute CEO Robert Hughes said:
“Collaboration is fundamental to our global response to emergencies in climate, biodiversity, and health. Sustainable urban development is at the nexus of these combined challenges, requiring a diverse range of skills and expertise to deliver, in changing social and environmental contexts. Landscape professionals provide integrated, nature-based solutions to planning and development, and we are delighted to continue working with colleagues in UKBEAG, and around the world, to help realise a greener, healthier global built environment.”

29 February 2024

‘No turning back’: 41% of architects now using AI : New research by the RIBA

Thursday 29th of February 2024 – New research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reveals that 41% of UK architects are already using artificial intelligence (AI) on at least the occasional project, and of those, 43% think it has made the design process more efficient.

Published today, Thursday 29 February 2024, the RIBA AI report includes the findings of a survey asking architects how they are using and plan to use AI.

In the next 2 years, 54% of architects expect their practice to use AI, and 57% think it will improve efficiency in the design process. However, this ambition this doesn’t yet seem to be matched by investment, as 69% say their practice has not invested in AI research and development, and only 41% expect their practice to invest.

With 70% of the world’s population set to live in cities by 2050, AI has huge potential when it comes to sustainable urbanisation. 57% of architects expect to use AI to carry out environmental sustainability analysis in the next 2 years. And 49% think better digital tools, including AI, are necessary to meet the increasingly complexity of buildings – which includes climate adaptations and smart building technology.

However, there are challenges ahead. 58% of architects think AI increases the risk of their work being imitated. Some worry about it taking their jobs, but opinion is mixed – 36% of architects view AI as a threat to the profession, 34% don’t see it that way and 30% are neutral.

Architects who responded to the survey said:
“AI will become an inevitable part of our increasing need to become more efficient, whilst also simultaneously helping us to deal with ever greater complexities of design and construction.”

“We use AI to provide code for the automation of various aspects of project and document management, but still to a very limited degree.”

“We use virtual environments and digital twins to achieve a radical reduction in the carbon, energy, water, and waste footprints of costly physical construction.”

“AI can offer the opportunity for architects to work with more efficiency and remove some of the more tedious work. If harnessed it can result in better work culture, fees and salaries.”

“Harness it, learn it, shape it and use it. It’s coming and be on the wave rather than behind it. It’s just another tool to use to generate better architecture. It doesn’t take away the vision of the designer but assists it.”

“AI cannot produce that blue sky moment the architect can.”

“Current GenAI models have been trained on unlicensed copyrighted data. People who use them might be liable for copyright infringement.”

“I generally don’t think AI can replace our professional integrity nor creativity, but I believe AI can help us to advance our design much ‘quicker’ rather than ‘better’. I believe we are still the driver and what comes out of AI can only be as good as what has been put in it.”

“There are no real regulations in place and the ethical risks are very significant, from intellectual property, design creativity, employment and potential risks on the built environment too (if things go wrong).”

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“AI is the most disruptive tool of our time, and we cannot overstate its role in shaping the future of architecture – from the character of our cities to the quality of our built environment.

Our findings show architects are curious and open-minded about AI, and some of us are true pioneers.

By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and a culture of responsible innovation, we can harness the power of AI to create a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable built environment. There’s no turning back.

RIBA’s new Expert Advisory Group on AI is building on the findings of this report to look at the broader ethical, professional, and competitive implications of the widespread integration of AI.”

Download the RIBA AI report.

22 February 2024

Planning delays blight architects’ fortunes : RIBA Future Trends January 2024

Thursday 22nd of February 2024 – The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings from its latest Future Trends Survey, a monthly report of business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.

January’s findings show that over the next three months architects continue to expect workloads and staffing levels to fall overall, reporting ongoing challenges including planning system delays.

Falling workloads expected, while optimism gap between small and large practices narrows

In January, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rose by 1 point to -8. This marked the seventh consecutive month of negative figures, the longest run since RIBA Future Trends began in 2009.

Over the next three months, 18% of practices expect workloads to increase, 26% expect them to decrease, and 52% expect them to stay the same.
The outlook of small practices (1-10 staff) improved slightly, rising by 5 points to -10, while the outlook of medium (11+ staff) and large (50+ staff) practices fell by 27 points to a combined figure of +3.

All monitored work sectors retained a negative outlook on future work, although none worsened. The outlook for the Private Housing sector improved by 4 points to -12, the Commercial (-5) and Public (-9) sectors held steady, and the Community sector rose by 1 point to -8.

Regionally, the picture remained mixed. London’s outlook dipped into positive territory (+1) after three months of pessimism; the North of England (+2) remained positive; Wales & the West (-16) and the Midlands & East Anglia (-20) remained negative; while the South of England’s outlook (-21) deteriorated by 7 points.

Staffing levels expected to fall amid rising personal underemployment

In January, the RIBA Future Trends Permanent Staffing Index held steady at -2, indicating that practices expect their permanent staff numbers to decrease.

• Over the next three months, 8% of practices expect to employ more permanent staff, 10% expect to employ fewer, and 83% expect no change.

• Small practices continued to expect staffing levels to decline, with a Permanent Staffing Index figure of -4, a 1-point improvement from last month.

• Medium and large practices still expected staffing levels to increase, with a combined Permanent Staffing Index figure of +8, although this is an 11-point fall from last month.

• The regional outlook on permanent staffing remained varied. Wales & the West, with a Staffing Index figure of +10, is the only region where practices expected an increase in permanent staffing levels.

• The Temporary Staffing Index held steady at -6, suggesting falling numbers of temporary staff over the next three months.

• Levels of personal underemployment increased from 26% in December to 29% in January.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis Adrian Malleson said:
“Amid raised interest rates and a weak UK economy, for the seventh consecutive month, architects expect workloads to fall – the longest period of pessimism since the survey began in 2009.

Persistently above-target inflation, and difficulties for clients obtaining finance, continue to weigh on workloads, while the poor performance of the housing sector continues to impact smaller practices.

These issues are exacerbated by ongoing planning delays. Many practices stress failures in the planning system, which are delaying project progress, diminishing practice revenue, and holding back the UK’s economic prosperity. Practices also report downward pressure on fees, with a number reporting domestic clients seeking free early-stage design and planning advice.

As the profession grapples with these challenges, RIBA is here to provide practical tools and resources to help practices succeed – from navigating professional indemnity insurance, to calculating fees, to writing contracts.

If the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation remains on a downward trend, we can hope to see the construction output price inflation to fall. While the outlook for 2024 remains uncertain, the hope of falling interest rates and an economy emerging from recession provide some grounds for optimism.

14 February 2024

RIBA South Awards 2024 Shortlist

RIBA South Awards 2024

13 February 2024

RIBA East Midlands Awards 2024 Shortlist

RIBA East Midlands Awards 2024 shortlist

8 February 2024

RIBA responds to Labour U-turn on green pledge

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the UK Labour Party’s announcement on Thursday 8 February 2024, that it will no longer spend £28bn a year on environmental projects if it wins the upcoming general election.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“With the climate emergency intensifying, 19 million UK homes are still in dire need of upgrading. Ambitious and sustained investment from whomever forms the next Government, and the private sector, will be critical to address the scale of this challenge.

And there’s a solution. We must futureproof homes with a well-funded National Retrofit Strategy – a long-term plan that will also create jobs, boost green skills and level up the country.

Act now, or future generations will pay the price. As ever, we stand ready to contribute to creating a more sustainable and resilient built environment – to making the future a better place.”

8 February 2024

RIBA publishes ‘no-nonsense’ Guide to Professional Indemnity Insurance

As part of its work to support practices in running their businesses, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today, Thursday 8th of February 2024, published its Guide to Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) 2024, exclusively available to RIBA members. Find a free summary of the guide attached.

From offering financial protection, to legal compliance, to building client confidence, PII has an essential role in helping to protect against claims made by third parties as a result of negligent professional services.

This easy-to-follow guide – the first of its kind to cover such depth – equips architects to navigate the maze of insurance jargon, complexities and myths, giving them confidence when applying for or renewing their PII, and helping their businesses survive an unintended and unexpected event.

It explains terminology and outlines the value and principles of insurance, how it works in practice, how to buy good quality insurance, and the importance of being risk-aware – as awareness of what can happen can prevent it from happening. It also sets out what to do when a crisis does occur.

Written by experienced professionals, this guide is supported by the ongoing work of the RIBA Council Expert Advisory Group on PII, comprised of insurance industry experts and RIBA members.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“Our profession has been crying out for support with Professional Indemnity Insurance, and I am pleased to say that we have heeded that call. The importance of appropriate PII cover cannot be understated – sitting alongside a commitment to excellence, ethics, innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement, it is a critical component of building and maintaining a strong professional reputation.”

RIBA Chair of Board Jack Pringle said:
“As practices continue to grapple with economic uncertainty, this guide to navigating the complexities of Professional Indemnity Insurance could not be more timely. It is essential for architects to be well-versed in insurance in order to protect their practice and thereby their clients through appropriate cover. Familiarising yourself before the worst happens is the best way to be business resilient. This guide is the culmination of years of work by the industry’s top experts and provides practical support in clear, no-nonsense language. I look forward to seeing it used far and wide.”

Previously on e-architect:

1 February 2024

New RIBA guidance demystifies smart building technology

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today, Thursday 1 February 2024, published its Smart Building Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work.

Developed with ScanTech Digital, Glider Technology, Kier and Hoare Lea, this free resource will support anyone involved in the design of newbuild, retrofit or refurbishment projects to implement smart building technology.

The Smart Building Overlay introduces smart building terminology and outlines the benefits of embedding smart building technology from the outset. Its principles can be applied to projects of all scales and scopes.

At a domestic level, smart building technology can be used to remotely and automatically manage heating, lighting, security, appliances, electric vehicle charging and air quality.

Commercially, it can support business activity and space versatility, and optimise management and maintenance regimes. For example, in an office building, a system that automatically adjusts lighting and heating in response to weather conditions and occupancy levels can reduce energy consumption and operational costs as well as providing user comfort.

Smart building technology also supplies data on building performance, helping to evaluate and address operational energy usage, and mitigate safety risks.

RIBA President
Muyiwa Oki said:

“The Smart Building Overlay is a helpful roadmap to guide built environment professionals in using smart technology, which is an important tool to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. Our research shows that, too often, the decision to include smart technology in a project is often made too late. So, this guide prompts the client and project team to integrate smart technology
discussions at every stage of design and construction. It recommends involving specialists at the earliest possible stage to ensure successful project outcomes.”

RIBA News in January 2024

25 January 2024

Architects face uphill battle despite growing confidence of larger practices: RIBA Future Trends December 2023

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings from its latest Future Trends Survey, a monthly report of business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.

December’s findings show that, over the next three months, architects continue to expect workloads and staffing levels to fall overall, but larger practices seem markedly more optimistic.

Larger practices grow in confidence about future workloads

In December the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index fell by 3 points to -9. A negative balance indicates an overall expectation of falling workloads among architects.

Over the next three months, 20% of practices expect workloads to increase, 28% expect them to decrease, and 52% expect them to stay the same.

The outlook of small practices (1-10 staff) has worsened, falling by 3 points to -15, while medium (11+ staff) and large (50+ staff) practices reported a Workload Index figure of +30 – a 6-point increase from November.

In terms of sectors, all monitored work sectors maintain a negative outlook on future work, with three out of four more pessimistic than the previous month. The outlook for the Private Housing sector held steady at -16, the Commercial sector fell by 4 points to -5, the Public sector fell by 2 points to -9 and the Community sector fell by 7 points to -9.

Regionally, the picture remained mixed, with Wales and the West falling back into negative territory after last month’s recovery, down by 19 points to -17; London (-5), the South of England (-14) and the Midlands & East Anglia (-23) all worsening; and the North of England improving by 9 points to +5.

Staffing levels expected to fall overall, despite growing optimism of larger practices

In December, the RIBA Future Trends Permanent Staffing Index rose by 1 point to -2, indicating a slight improvement, but practices still expect their permanent staff numbers to decrease over the next three months.

  • Over the next three months, 9% of practices expect to take on more permanent staff, 11% expect to employ fewer, and 80% expect no change.
  • Small practices continue to expect staffing levels to decline, providing a Permanent Staffing Index figure of -5, the same as in November.
  • Medium and large practices once again expect an increase in permanent staff, returning a combined Permanent Staffing Index figure of +19, a considerable 14-point rise from November.
  • The regional outlook on permanent staffing is varied. The South of England, with a Staffing Index figure of +5, is the only region where practices expect an increase in permanent staffing levels.
  • The Temporary Staffing Index slipped marginally to -6, suggesting falling numbers of temporary staff over the next three months.
  • Levels of personal underemployment increased from 22% in November to 26% in December.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis Adrian Malleson said:

“While the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and construction output price inflation are both on a downward trend, this has yet to translate into an uptick in architects’ commissions. These results indicate practices expect to reduce workloads and limit recruitment as they head into 2024.

Practices also continue to report the challenges of still high inflation, high interest rates, elevated project costs, and ongoing planning delays, alongside diminished pipelines of work and low levels of enquiries. Some note planning delays being exacerbated by the level of detail required in planning submissions, deterring the progression of potential projects.

We are also aware of heightened competition, including from ‘architectural designers’, which continues to intensify the downward pressure on fees, and an increasing number of reports of clients failing to pay invoices on time, threatening practice cash flow.

RIBA Business Benchmarking 2023 provides a more detailed analysis of business trends affecting the profession last year.”

Background:

  1. Completed by a mix of small, medium and large firms based on a geographically representative sample, the RIBA Future Trends Survey was launched in January 2009 to monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.
  2. 247 practices took part in the December 2023 survey.
  3. The survey is carried out by the RIBA in partnership with the Fees Bureau. Results of the survey, including a full graphical analysis, are published each month here.
  4. The definition for the workload balance figure is the difference between those expecting more work and those expecting less. A negative figure means more respondents expect less work than those expecting more work. This figure is used to represent the RIBA Future Trends workload index.
  5. The definition for the staffing balance figure is the difference between those expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and those expecting to employ fewer. A negative figure means more respondents expect to employ fewer permanent staff. This figure is used to represent the RIBA Future Trends staffing index.
  6. To participate in the RIBA Future Trends Survey, please contact the RIBA Practice Department on 02073073749 or email [email protected]. The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all returns are independently processed in strict confidence.
  7. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

RIBA 66 Portland Place in London, UK
RIBA News Events 2024 - 66 Portland Place in London, UK

RIBA News Events 2024 information from The Royal Institute of British Architects

Location: 66 Portland Place, London, England, United Kingdom

Previously on e-architect:

RIBA News in 2023

19 December 2023
Michael Gove announces planning reforms in speech at RIBA HQ

Today, Tuesday 19 December 2023, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced the second phase of its Long-Term Plan for Housing, launched in July 2023.

Michael Gove at RIBA HQ London:
RIBA News Events 2024 - Michael Gove London

Speaking at the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at 66 Portland Place, London, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said that the changes would speed up the planning system, and outlined the Government’s response to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy consultation.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, speaking at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) HQ in London.

RIBA Chair of Board Jack Pringle gave opening remarks before welcoming the Secretary of State onto the stage in the RIBA Gallery. Responding to the announcement, he said:

“Today’s focus on ensuring that we build more new homes, alongside the infrastructure needed to sustain our communities, is to be applauded. New measures to tackle delays in the planning process and ensure that local authorities have clear plans in place are long overdue.

The Secretary of State has recognised the important role of architects and planners, but this must be backed with further resource. Delivering high-quality, sustainable and genuinely affordable new homes will require more skilled expertise in overstretched local planning departments. As was acknowledged, to do this we must ensure fees paid for planning applications are invested back into the system.

We look forward to seeing further detail on today’s announcements and will continue to work with the Government to deliver homes and places in which people can thrive. Our planning system is an impediment to badly needed development at local, national and infrastructure levels. We need to move to a simpler, faster planning system with more predictable outcomes.”

13 December 2023
RIBA statement on COP28 outcomes

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:
“Today’s historic agreement to deliver a new era of climate action is monumental. It’s the first time that a COP outcome has acknowledged the need to move away from fossil fuels – and this is a truly welcome and positive shift.

Other COP28 agreements have put the built environment firmly on the map. Pledges to improve energy efficiency, increase timber use in buildings, and reduce carbon emissions from cooling all signal that we are moving in the right direction – and it’s clear that architects have a key role to play.

But we must go further. These pledges alone will not limit the warming of the planet to 1.5°C. We must ensure we regulate and reduce the whole life carbon impacts of the built environment and ensure that procurement and planning policies embed sustainability at their heart. We continue to work with the sector and the Government to make this a reality.”

Previously on e-architect:

RIBA UK News Archive

RIBA News & Events 2023

RIBA News & Events 2022

Royal Institute of British Architects News for 2022 – key selection below:

Serjeant Award for Excellence in Architectural Drawing News
RIBA News Events 2024 - Serjeant Award for Excellence in Architectural Drawing
image courtesy of Nathan Tipping-Stevenson
RIBA Serjeant Award for Excellence in Architectural Drawing

2022 RIBA Charles Jencks Award News
2022 RIBA Charles Jencks Award

RIBA Reinvention Award News
RIBA Reinvention Award

2022 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship Winner

Muyiwa Oki Elected RIBA President

UK Government Building Policy 2022 News
UK Government Building Policy 2022

RIBA and Scott Brownrigg prize fund to support sustainability research
Wind Turbine and mountain sustainable development
image courtesy of The Royal Institute of British Architects
RIBA Scott Brownrigg Award for Sustainable Development 2022

RIBA HQ refurbishment
RIBA HQ refurbishment, 66 Portland Place

RIBA News & Events 2021

RIBA diversity and inclusion radio station

RIBA News & Events 2021

RIBA News & Events 2020
RIBA News & Events 2020

RIBA News & Events 2019
RIBA News & Events 2019

RIBA HQ at 66 Portland Place

RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture

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 2024 page welcome