A coalition of more than 200 architects, consultants and built environment bodies is today demanding “bold regulations and purposeful policies” from world leaders at the COP26 summit.
They say the construction and property industry stands ready but that the lack of commitment from global governments is choking progress.
The practices and organisations have united around a detailed report published by the RIBA and Architects Declare which sets out essential actions to support the decarbonisation of existing and future buildings.
The signatories want policymakers to embed the measures into their nationally determined contributions towards the global climate effort (NDCs).
The report, which will be presented at an event in the Buildings Pavilion at COP today, is backed by architects such as Grimshaw, Mikhail Riches and Stanton Williams, contractors such as Sir Robert McAlpine and Galliford Try and property firms including CBRE Investment Management and Lendlease Europe.
RIBA president Simon Allford said: “As a pan-industry alliance of clients, contractors, consultants and manufacturers we are today making a collective call to governments worldwide.”
Without ambitious legislation to support the decarbonisation of the sector – which is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions – the world will not meet the Paris Agreement reductions, he warned.
“For the benefit of humanity, we need bold regulations and purposeful policies that will secure our future.” He said the report, Built for the Environment, required world leaders’ “immediate attention”.
Among the coalition’s demands are:
:: Reform building codes to regulate the energy performance of both new and existing buildings.
:: Ensure building codes set minimum standards for embodied carbon, reuse of materials and natural materials and implement carbon budgets for planning authorities.
:: Hold and freely provide information on derelict and vacant building stock, to encourage adaptive reuse of existing structures.
:: Ensure building codes and planning systems require in-use monitoring and post-occupancy evaluation.
:: Update building codes and planning systems to include holistic health and wellbeing metrics, and nature-based solutions.
:: Reform public infrastructure and procurement policies to require industry leading standards and integrated social value requirements.
:: Develop financial mechanisms to drive public investment into emerging and low carbon technologies, and support green finance initiatives that focus on reducing energy use of existing buildings.
The report was written by Maria Smith, a director of Buro Happold and RIBA councillor, and Andrew Waugh, a director of Waugh Thistleton Architects who sits on the Architects Declare steering group.
Waugh said: “Architects Declare – a global organisation of over 6,000 practices – joined forces with the RIBA to establish a direct voice from industry to governments ahead of COP26. The Built for the Environment report is a clear message from the industry that we are ready for the urgent transformation that is needed.
“We must change the way we design, build, maintain, operate and regulate our industry. The lack of commitment from global governments is holding this transformation back. There is no choice now but for governments to act, and not by incremental improvements but wholesale change – and now!”
Smith added: “This report represents a collective capability statement from the industry, but also a call for international climate justice: from monitoring and regulating embodied carbon, to reporting and targeting emissions reductions on a consumption-basis, this report aims to give confidence to all inside and outside the built environment that a better world is possible.”
The report’s endorsers
Architects, designers, consultants and advisors:
Absolute Project Management London Limited
Alexandra Steed URBAN
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
aNNeKS architects aps
ARC Design Studio
Architect Benjamin Machin
Atelier Lira Luis Limited x Leapfrog Project
Avanto Architects Ltd
Buckley Gray Yeoman
C.F. Møller Architects
Charissa Snijders Architect
Chris Dyson Architects
Christensen & Co Architects
Djernes & Bell Architects
East Archtiecture, Landscape Urban Design
Energy Factor, S.A.
Ethos Design and Architecture Ltd ( Ethos+)
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Fletcher Priest Architects
Gbolade Design Studio
Government Architect NSW
Graeme North, Earth and Natural Building Consultant
Grasp Design Ltd
Gray Organschi Architecture
Henning Larsen Architects
Hetreed Ross Architects
HTA Design LLP
Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES)
John Gilbert Architects
John Sergeant Arquitecto
Julian Church & Associates
KR.eativ: Architects Ltd
Laura Iloniemi Architectural Press and PR
Liam Russell Architects
Madeleine Kessler Architecture
MCM Architecture Ltd
Moxon Architects Ltd
Nordic – Office of Architecture Denmark
One World Design Architects
Parviainen Architects Ltd
Pollard Thomas Edwards
Pro Sustainability Ltd
Project Orange Architects
Ritchie Studio Ltd
Roderick James Architects LLP
Ruth Butler Architects
Saul D Humphrey LLP
Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Square Gain Ltd
Team Green Architects
UK Project Services Ltd
van Heyningen and Haward Architects
Waugh Thistleton Architects
Webb Yates Engineers
xsite architecture LLP
Yellow Brick Road Design
zero carbon house
Builders, contractors, suppliers, asset managers, property developers and investors:
BAM Construct UK Ltd
CBRE Investment Management
Claire Gaudion Ltd
d p agency Ltd
Dodds and Shute
Dukelease Properties Limited
Galliford Try Holdings Plc
ITW Construction Products Offsite
Rakennusasiaintoimisto Aarre Oy
Sir Robert McAlpine
SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd
NGOs, professional institutes, membership bodies, research, and academia:
1 Million Women
Architects Declare Aotearoa NZ
Architects Declare DK
Architects Declare Hungary
Architects Declare Ireland
Architects Declare Switzerland
Australian Architects Declare
Better Buildings Partnership
BHL Building Health Lab
Canadian / Turtle Island Architects Declare
Central Saint Martins: Spatial Practices Programme
Centre for Natural Material Innovation,
University of Cambridge
Chartered Association of Building Engineers
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Good Homes Alliance CIC
Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment
Institution of Environmental Sciences
International Union of Architects
International WELL Building Institute
KLC School of Design
Latvian Architects Declare
MCS Charitable Foundation
New Zealand Institute of Architects
Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
Passive House Institute New Zealand
Quality of Life Foundation
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
School of Architecture, Royal College of Art
School of the Natural and Built Environment, Queens University Belfast
Supply Chain Sustainability School
The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products
The Chartered Institution of Water and
The Institution of Structural Engineers
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)
Timber Development UK
Trees and Design Action Group
US Architects Declare
Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll)
Wood Knowledge Wales