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Built Environment Journal

25 MAR 2020

Built Environment Journal: April/May 2020

It may feel difficult at present to look too far ahead – but we are keeping the future in view, as this issue explains.

Although momentum may be building to change the culture of our industry, many still don’t see the need for doing so. In an opinion piece that kicks off this issue, Gillian Charlesworth calls for us take a lead in responding to challenges such as safety, sustainability and social value.

RICS itself is preparing for the future with its Value the Planet campaign, which aims to support the profession in preserving the world for generations to come. We’re likewise conscious of the specific challenges the profession faces, as detailed in our latest report on the future of surveying, which also outlines how RICS is responding.

One such measure is the leaders forums we have been holding on key topics, and Craig Ross writes from a recent event where experts were brought together to discuss the hurdles in adopting property technology. On a related note there’s a look at what needs to happen in regulatory terms if drones are to achieve their potential.

Turning to the topic of sustainability, we detail a number of projects that are proving the value of more future-oriented thinking: there is coverage of the rise of wooden construction materials, and the case is made for building-integrated photovoltaics. It’s not all plain sailing, though: this issue also reflects on how disaster risk could undermine efforts to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and another piece advocates changes in market structures to provide more incentive for greener building.

Sustaining the past is also on the agenda in our conservation material, which includes a case study of repairs to a 19th-century boathouse. There’s insight, too, on how to source replacement bricks for restoration work, and the materials information sheet gives the lowdown on early cements.

On the perennial topic of fire safety, this issue introduces a checklist designed to help tenants in at-risk residences to seek action, and elsewhere argues that installing sprinkler systems in schools should now be mandatory. There’s also coverage of common problems encountered with modern methods of construction, and a reminder of the need to appoint a principal designer on projects.

Supporting you in your professional practice, articles on contracts detail the importance of being alert for clauses that may widen your liabilities and explain how to check the validity of payment regimes, while there’s also an in-depth look at how to achieve the Housing maintenance, repairs and improvements competency. And there’s encouragement from those entering the surveying profession from different backgrounds on the fulfilling range of work it offers.

As ever, the issue includes a range of material covering all our different disciplines. But do please do get in touch with me with your comments and ideas for future issues, and check the latest on RICS’ response to COVID-19.

Email Barney