In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, this new book provides thought provoking commentary on the nature of the relationship between society, the prevailing economic system and professionalism in the built environment. It addresses the changing responsibilities of professionals and in particular their obligation to act in the wider public interest. It is both an introduction to and an examination of professionalism and professional bodies in the sector, including a view of the future of professionalism and the organisations serving it.
Simon Foxell outlines the history of professionalism in the sector, comparing and contrasting the development of the three major historic professions working in the construction industry: civil engineering, architecture and surveying. He examines how their systems have developed over time, up to the current period dominated by large professional services firms, and looks at some options for the future, whilst asking difficult questions about ethics, training, education, public trust and expectation from within and outside the industry.
The book concludes with a six-point plan to help, if not ensure, that the professions remain an effective and essential part of both society and the economy; a part that allows the system to operate smoothly and easily, but also fairly and to the benefit of all.
Essential reading for built environment professionals and students doing the professional studies elements of their training or in the process of applying for chartership or registration. The issues and lessons are applicable across all building professions.
Simon Foxell is Principal of The Architects Practice. He has designed buildings across the UK including houses, schools and offices and in 1996 was awarded the prestigious Benedictus Prize by the Union of International Architects. In recent years he has worked with schools and local authorities, designing new facilities and advising on development programmes. He was lead design adviser to Birmingham City Council's Transforming Education programme from 2007 to 2010. He is a core member and co-ordinator of the Edge, the built environment think tank, and is on the Green Construction Board's Routemap group. He is a former member of the RIBA Council and Board and was Chair of both Policy and Strategy and RIBA London region as well as Vice chair of Practice and Building Futures. He is a member of several Design Review panels including the Home Office's, The London Borough of Islington and Shape East. He is an RIBA Client Adviser, member of the Academy of Urbanism and a former Board member of the European Forum for Architectural Policies.
1. Introduction 2. The beginnings of professionalism Before professionalism (pre-1818) The establishment of professional bodies The early years of professionalism 3. The foundations of professional organisations Association Knowledge Standards & ethics The public interest 4. Mature professionalism The post-war consensus The end of deference Formalisation of education The impact of Thatcherism / neoliberalism Globalism The range of institutions 5. The wider picture Ethics and responsibilities Society and questions of trust Value and values Comparisons with professions in other sectors International comparisons - Europe and beyond 6. The professional & professionalism Integrity and impartiality Trustworthy Competence and currency Responsibility A duty of care to client/s A duty of care to society and the environment Reputation and standing 7. The role(s) of professional institutions Membership and imprimatur Professional services Keeper of the flame and/or conscience of the profession Learned society: Knowledge resources & development Codes of conduct / ethics Compliance / discipline Education and training (including ongoing CPD) Mutual support Special interest groups Collective forum and voice Cultural activity Social club / hub Promotion & PR Sectoral advancement 8. The workings of professional Institutes Governance & status Codes of ethics Big tents vs specialist interest groups Oversight of education & entry Quasi-governmental and legal roles Intellectual property Conflicts of interest The survival instinct 9. Recent developments in professionalism Social change & expectations Technological developments Industry change and the relationship with the construction industry Government policies & initiatives Professional education and training Professional individuals / Professional service companies Celebrity & the media Pros and cons of professional membership Work across borders / internationalism A decline in status / influence / relevance? The environmental challenge (climate change, pollution, biodiversity, resource use etc.) 10. Significant current trends in the built environment sector Multi-disciplinarity & diversity Building Information Modelling (BIM) Big data, aggregator websites, social networking etc. Evidence based design Performance based contracting Zero/low carbon Climate adaptation / Resilience Corporate social responsibility Retrofit / emphasis on existing building stock 11. The future Future scenarios Edge Commission of Inquiry Agents for change Professional institutions Non-professional bodies & groups Corporate professionalism Professionals and professionalism Professional education Entry routes into the professions New roles for professionalism Alternatives to professionalism New Professionalism