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Experienced practitioner? The RIBA needs you

Experienced practitioner? The RIBA needs you

30 August 2018

The RIBA is looking for new members for several of the Expert Advisory Groups to fill vacant places from 2019. These groups sit at the heart of RIBA policy making and its responses to official government consultations and inform activities from membership events to training and new technical guidance.

Applications are being invited until Thursday 13 September 2018 for the following groups:

Conservation Group (2 vacancies)

Housing Group (2 vacancies)

Large Practice Group (2 vacancies)

Planning Group (2 vacancies)

Regulations and Standards Group (4 vacancies)

Small Practice Group (3 vacancies)

Sustainable Futures Group (4 vacancies)

Advisers serve a minimum term of two years, and group membership can be renewed up to two times.

The groups meet three times a year at the RIBA headquarters in London (travel expenses for regional members are being reimbursed). Members can contribute to strategic thinking in the more political areas of housing and planning policy, help explore future challenges facing the profession, or look at the small scale practical issues that will be useful to a micro practice or sole trader – there is a wide variety of practice agendas.

‘One strand runs through everything we do as a group, and that is government policy and how the RIBA can effectively influence it,’ says Julia Park, chair of the Housing Group.

The group can be highly informative for its own members too, Park points out. Most meetings of the Housing Group include a presentation from an influential guest speaker from central or local government, one of the leading developer housing associations or a commercial housing developer, who bring their own perspectives to group discussions.

The Planning Group similarly focusses on planning issues at national level, particularly lobbying government ministers and responding to consultations. ‘The strategic issues are top of the agenda,’ says chair Phillip Waddy. ‘Although one of the areas I would like the group to explore is the setting up of regional discussion groups that can look at specific planning issues in their own areas and improve relationships between the architectural and planning communities.’

With the review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) now complete, Waddy says the next big thing on the horizon will be the Letwin Review on the build out rate for housing, expected to coincide with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The Sustainable Futures Group has had a notable impact at the RIBA in recent times, revising the sustainability criteria for RIBA Awards and developing a green overlay for the Plan of Work that will be published later this year. In February, the RIBA published ‘Whole life carbon assessments for architects’ authored by outgoing chair Simon Sturgis. The green chair will be taken over by Gary Clark, Head of Sustainability at Wilkinson Eyre.

On the conservation front, chair Fiona Raley says a lot of effort goes into dealing with consultations by government and Historic England, including input into the NPPF revision, while closer to home the group has been looking at the contribution of conservation in the undergraduate architecture curriculum and conservation accreditation based on RIBA conservation courses.

‘The group encourages a wide spectrum of members, and we like to build links between design-led practices and conservation practices’, says Raley.

The membership is in the majority made up of RIBA accredited Conservation Architects, but is also open to non-architects in relevant professions such as planning or academia.

The Regulations and Standards Group is a similarly diverse group of RIBA members looking to tackle technical challenges of architectural design and practice.

‘The group debates and advises the RIBA regarding all aspects of regulatory compliance and its current and future impact on us as students, architects and practitioners,’ explains incoming chair Dieter Bentley-Gockmann.

‘The group’s contribution is currently particularly important in supporting the RIBA to positively engage with government and industry in light of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and the evidence given to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.’

The Small Practice Group (SPG) focusses on the business and practice needs of small practitioners across the RIBA regions and gives small practitioners a voice at national level. Meanwhile the Large Practice Group provides a unique forum where some of UK’s leading practices can discuss practice management on a larger scale.

Members interested in joining one of the recruiting RIBA Expert Advisory Groups are invited to fill in an online application form following the links below. Please also email your CV to

We welcome applications from all sections of the architectural community and aim for the groups to reflect a wide range of experience, background, regional representation and practice size. Where possible we aim for an even gender split.

Membership is mainly made up of RIBA members, but may be open to relevant experts in other professions.

If you are concerned about your ability to attend group meetings in person due to any mobility issues, please get in touch to discuss options for remote participation.

Thanks to Julia Park, Head of Housing Research, Levitt Bernstein; Phillip Waddy, Partner, West Waddy ADP; Fiona Raley, Associate Director, Studio Sam Causer; Dieter Bentley-Gockmann, Director, EPR Architects.

Text by Neal Morris. This is a Professional Feature edited by the RIBA Practice team. Send us your feedback and ideas.

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