Sustainability and skills at heart of RICS’ new manifesto for the built environment

The built environment needs to reflect the change in workforce behaviour and its approach to sustainabilityThe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is launching its manifesto for the built environment in the lead-up to the next UK General Election, titled Empowering a Sustainable Future. The UK’s built and natural environments face large-scale challenges ranging from climate change to a cost-of-living crisis. According to the manifesto, endemic skills shortages undermine development in the industry while the workplace has become more fluid post-pandemic, with the built environment needing to reflect the change in workforce behaviour and its approach to sustainability.

According to the United Nations, the built environment generates around 40 percent of global carbon output, and RICS says it is leading the industry on the response to climate change by introducing new standards, guidance and toolkits that will speed up the decarbonisation and improve the sustainability of the industry. RICS claims to have a duty to advocate policies that provide solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time.

The RICS manifesto [automatic download] sets out a ten-point roadmap, which includes points focussed on creating safe, sustainable, and affordable homes for all, building safety, and future skills for a sustainable built environment, among many other important factors.

Key asks within the manifesto include:

  • Increase supply of rented homes to meet demand and slow rent rises
  • Deliver a joined-up quality and sustainability strategy
  • Review skills shortages to tackle targets
  • Hit housing targets with a housing delivery strategy
  • Action the recommendations from the recent RICS Decarbonising UK Real Estate that call for reform to how building performance and EPCs are presented.
  • Develop the National Fire Strategy as called on by industry to raise competency, standards and mitigation. This must include the UN-endorsed International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Common Principles.

A senior RICS delegation will present the manifesto and its messages at the upcoming Conservative Party and Labour Party conferences on 1 – 4 October and 8 – 11 October, respectively. RICS CEO, Justin Young, said: “As a leading representative of the built and natural environment sectors in the UK and globally, RICS advocates policies with solutions to some of the most critical challenges of our time. The public needs safe, sustainable, energy-efficient, and affordable homes; businesses need high-quality commercial spaces that align with the decentralised digital economy, while the industry needs a more robust pipeline of diverse talent that fulfils the skills demands of the sector so that it can deliver its goals. The RICS manifesto provides food for thought for the parties as they develop their policy platforms for the next General Election, and we look forward to engaging with their policy teams at the upcoming party conferences.”