New built environment equity, diversity and inclusion action plan

Six of the built environment’s leading professional membership organisations have jointly released a new action plan to improve equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the industry.

Pete Stemp - Senior Copywriter

Peter Stemp01.09.2022

The six organisations, which together represent 350,000 professionals, are: 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 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The action plan is the first result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the organisations in April this year. The targeted actions will help ensure that no one is excluded from the industry. It will also benefit the industry through addressing the skills shortage and ensuring more diverse ideas and perspectives are heard.

The plan has three key objectives with clearly defined actions and timeframes. Below is a summary of the three objectives and some selected targets:

1) Standardising member data collection

This will allow accurate and consistent gathering of data, allowing comparisons and analysis across the sector. This will allow further targeted actions to be formulated. A consistent set of questions for the UK will be agreed by September 2022. By December, the format for data gathering internationally and by other industry organisations will be agreed.

Understanding the transition from education into employment

To gain evidence based knowledge of why the diversity among students is not fully translated into diversity among those in the industry – and importantly how this can be improved. A series of consultations will help inform the institutes about the barriers that students face during their studies and when entering their chosen profession. By April 2024, the institutes will produce a joint recommendation on inclusive academic practices to address the issues they have identified.

3) Raising the sector’s standards of EDI knowledge, behaviours and practice

To improve understanding and develop guidance for the sector to allow high professional standards to be developed and maintained. The first step will be assessing the EDI CPD training currently available by November this year. This will be followed by the development of a consistent core EDI curricula for the members of the six organisations by February 2024. One year later the institutes will aim to achieve consistency with other industry organisations on EDI best practice.

Ensuring inclusion and diversity in the built environment sector is essential to ensure no individuals or groups face challenges in joining the industry. There is clearly still some way to go but the action plan, supported by these leading organisations, provides an excellent framework for driving further improvements.

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