Institute launches Inclusion Charter for registered members this week

RIBA 101620

RIBA has called on architects and practices to commit to setting diversity targets and publicly reporting on their progress to drive inclusivity within the profession.

Urging architects to sign up to its newly launched Inclusion Charter, the body has set out five actions it says are needed to address “the urgent need for inclusion in the architecture profession and wider construction industry”.

It follows recommendations from RIBA’s former president Jack Pringle in August for all RIBA council members to do unconscious bias training to counter what he called “subtle prejudices” within the architectural profession.

The five actions in the charter include a commitment to having an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan, developing workplace culture and talent pipelines to support inclusion, embedding inclusive design in all projects and contributing to the development of inclusive environments. 

It says a commitment for members to report publicly on their progress would be needed as “transparency and accountability are vital to drive cultural change”.

Practices which have already signed up include AHMM director Simon Allford, Grimshaw managing partner Kirsten Lees and HOK London studio managing principal Daniel Hajjar.

RIBA already requires its chartered members to have an EDI policy, and said signatories to the charter would be supported by the body’s EDI team with best practice guidance on how to recruit diverse staff, monitor inclusion data and establish employee resource groups.

RIBA president Alan Jones said: “We must pull together as employees, employers and business leaders to share best practice and put an end to any discrimination.

“The RIBA Inclusion Charter gives architects and practices an opportunity to further their commitment to an inclusive profession, and share their experiences and expertise with others.”

Lees said: “At Grimshaw, as architects and designers we recognise that the strength of our work is due to the quality of our people.”

She added: “We know how important it is that we recruit and retain the widest possible mix of voices and experiences that reflect the diversity of our society and the communities that use and experience our designs.”

In July, figures in Arb’s annual report revealed that just 1% of the 43,000 registered architects for which the body held diversity data described themselves as black.

The report, which gathered statistics from architects registered with Arb in 2019, admitted that the industry still faced “serious diversity issues”.


The RIBA Inclusion Charter’s five actions for architects and practices

  • ACKNOWLEDGE the urgent need for inclusion in the architecture profession and wider construction industry. 
  • COMMIT to setting inclusion targets and an EDI action plan for their practice. 
  • COMMIT to developing their workplace culture, talent pipeline and ways of working to support inclusion. 
  • COMMIT to publicly reporting on progress of their EDI plan – transparency and accountability are vital to drive cultural change.  
  • COMMIT to embedding inclusive design in all projects, and contributing to the development of inclusive environments.