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Press release

27 APR 2022

Built environment sector bodies unite to improve diversity and inclusion

Key membership bodies in the built environment sector have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to drive forward the creation of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive sector - ensuring it is more representative of the society it serves. 

The MoU brings together six organisations from across the sector: the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Landscape Institute (LI), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) – collectively  representing around 350,000 members. 

The agreement focuses on:

  • Data collection - To create a consistent approach and standard model that will allow meaningful comparison between and across respective memberships’, and help to formulate a clear picture of the built environment sector more widely.
  • Improve understanding of transition from education into employment -  To develop a robust, evidence-based understanding of the disparity between the diversity of students that start on institute accredited courses and the talent that makes it into the workforce. To build on existing good practice from individual institutes to improve our collective understanding of retention rates and awarding gaps on accredited courses.
  • EDI competencies – To develop understanding and guidance for the sector, supporting organisations, individuals and institutes to improve and maintain professional standards.      

Over the next few months the institutes will work together to produce a detailed plan of work – setting out how each of the objectives will be tackled and start making progress to deliver a more inclusive sector. A collectively agreed action plan will be published later this year. 

Richard Collins, Interim CEO, RICS, added: 

“Improving diversity, equity and inclusion is a top priority for the RICS and we recognise that true progress can only be made through effective collaboration. This MOU demonstrates our collective commitment to driving positive changes for the built environment.”

Caroline Gumble, CIOB CEO, said:

“CIOB has, for some years now, recognised the need to urgently improve the diversity of the built environment workforce. Today’s announcement that we are uniting with our sister professional bodies to support initiatives which break down barriers and reduce the impact of bias is a powerful reminder that, in collaborating and working together, we have the potential to drive positive culture change for our sector, for our communities and society.”

Dr. Anusha Shah, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Vice President, Membership said:

“The ICE is delighted to be a signatory to this memorandum of understanding, which will facilitate greater collaboration across the built environment. Together, we will work towards achieving a more diverse workforce and one that better represents the society we serve. Driven by the ICE Fairness Inclusion and Respect Action Plan, we have worked hard to make sure that underrepresented sections of our communities see civil engineering as a career opportunity and one which provides a broad, diverse and inclusive environment for all, regardless of background. We welcome this opportunity to build on what has gone before, by committing to collaborate with other bodies in the built environment sector.”

Sue Morgan, LI Chief Executive, said:

“I’m proud that the Landscape Institute is part of this cross-sector partnership. As designers, we seek to transform the world for the better. But to do this, we must understand and represent the interests and experiences of all the communities we serve.

“We know that there are longstanding issues with diversity in the built environment workforce. By identifying the gaps between education and practice, our organisations seek to establish the root causes for this. And by pooling our collective resources and intelligence, as well as standardising our approach to gathering information, we will be able to put this data to best use – addressing systemic barriers and ultimately bringing about real, positive change.

“I look forward to working more closely with our partners in the coming months and years, and to seeing a long-overdue evolution of the built environment sector into one that is accessible, inclusive, and welcoming to all.”

RIBA CEO Alan Vallance said: 

“I am really pleased that we are committing to working collaboratively with colleagues across the sector to ensure we deliver on our EDI commitments. By combining our efforts to address the systemic barriers that perpetuate discrimination and underrepresentation, we can drive forward change at a faster and more effective rate.” 

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI said: 

“The RTPI places Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity at the heart of the institute, for our members, the profession, the community and the built environment sector.

“However, we know that we cannot change the sector by working alone. That’s why it is not only a great pleasure to sign this ground-breaking MoU with our friends, but an honour.

“Only by working together can we create a sector as diverse as the communities we work for, and deliver a fair and inclusive culture that works for our members and diverse society.”

- ENDS -

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Currently the profile of the UK’s placemaking workforce is predominantly white, male, heterosexual and able-bodied. According to the CIOB’s 2021 Special Report on Diversity and Inclusion in Construction women make up around 12% of the country’s built environment workforce, with only 1 – 2% of the site-based workforce being female. Only 5-7% of people in UK construction are Black, Asian or from other underrepresented racialised groups, dropping to 1% or fewer among senior industry roles. And, less than 3% are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
  2. About the institutes:

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) 

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) stands for the science, ethics and practice of built environments across the world. CIOB aims to improve the quality of life for the users and creators of our built environment. CIOB works to drive up professional standards, push forward innovation, influence policymakers and strengthen talent across the CIOB global community. www.ciob.org

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) 

Founded in 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is a UK-based international organisation with more than 96,000 members, ranging from students to professionally qualified civil engineers. As an educational and qualifying body, with charitable status under UK law, we support our members throughout their careers, and help society to have trust and confidence in infrastructure professionals. Under our Royal Charter, ICE has become recognised worldwide for its excellence as a centre of learning, a public voice for the profession and a leading source of expertise in infrastructure and engineering policy. https://www.ice.org.uk/ 

Contact the ICE Press Office on: 020 7665 2104 or press.office@ice.org.uk 

The Landscape Institute 

The Landscape Institute (LI) is the chartered body for the landscape profession. It is an educational charity working to promote the art and science of landscape practice. The LI’s aim, through the work of its members, is to protect, conserve, and enhance the natural and built environment for the public benefit. The LI provides a professional home for all landscape practitioners including landscape scientists, landscape planners, landscape architects, landscape managers, and urban designers. https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/ 

Contact the LI press office on pressoffice@landscapeinstitute.org

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

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. https://www.architecture.com/ 

RIBA Media contact: Isabel Campbell Isabel.Campbell@riba.org 020 7496 8349 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

We are RICS. Everything we do is designed to effect positive change in the built and natural environments. Through our respected global standards, leading professional progression and our trusted data and insight, we promote and enforce the highest professional standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

Our work with others provides a foundation for confident markets, pioneers better places to live and work and is a force for positive social impact. https://www.rics.org/uk/ 

Contact the RICS press office on press@rics.org 

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) 

The RTPI is the largest professional body for town planners in the UK and Europe and represents members in over 80 countries worldwide. The Institute has been shaping planning policy and raising professional standards for over 100 years and is the only body in the UK to confer Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification. www.rtpi.org.uk

Contact the RTPI press office on 020 7929 8330 or news@rtpi.org.uk