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RIBA COVID-19 checklist for architects

23 March 2020

The RIBA urges all members to carefully consider the implications of the current period of disruption for themselves and their businesses, and to keep up to date with all official advice and guidance.

Key considerations include:

For Practice Leaders:

Protect your staff

  • Enable your staff to work from home during this period of disruption
  • Develop your policies and plans for supporting flexible working arrangements, particularly in light of school closures and childcare disruption
  • Put in place mental wellbeing support for remote working staff
  • Plan for significant levels of staff absence due to illness/self-isolation during the next three months
  • Ensure that your core staff support systems, including those for payroll and staff sickness reporting are robust and resilient

Protect your cash flow

Support you can access includes:

  • Statutory Sick Pay relief scheme for businesses with less than 250 employees to cover COVID-19 related work absences
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Put in place emergency financial management processes to secure your invoicing, payment collection and debt recovery and to regularly review your cashflow forecast.

Review your insurances and contracts

  • If your PI insurance policy is due for renewal within the next three months make early contact with your broker
  • Review all your insurance policies, including any business interruption insurance provisions
  • Review all professional services and construction contracts for force majeure provisions

Make contact with your local regulators

  • Contact your local planning authority and building control authority/approved inspectors to understand their plans for development control and building control processes during this period

For salaried architects and staff

Employment Rights

The UK government has been clear that employers should support their staff’s welfare, especially during an extended response.

We recommend that all employees understand their employment rights, not just at times like these. ACAS is a useful source of information.

A key priority is to seek clarification from your employer that you will receive full sickness benefits for any period of COVID-19 related illness or self-isolation absence.

Personal Finance

Review your personal finances as a matter of urgency. Keep up to date with the news and any announcements that may help your circumstances.

From mortgage holidays to increased protection for renters, new measures are being brought in to support individuals during these challenging times.

Home working

  • Everyone is urged to work from home during this disruption, if it is possible to do so
  • When working from home, ensure you have clear understanding about the expectations on you for delivery, and maintain regular contact with your line manager

Personal health and wellbeing

Follow public health guidance on managing the symptoms and spread of illness.

If you are feeling anxious or concerned about the virus, there is lots of advice available. We recommend the resources available via organisations such as Mind and the Architects Benevolent Society.

For students

Your university

Make sure that you’ve read all the guidance on this situation, provided by your university.

Contact your tutors to understand how they intend to keep in touch with you, and maintain continuity of teaching over the coming weeks and months.

Managing your time well

Approaching the end of the academic year can be a stressful time, even without this additional challenge. However, it is important to strive to produce your best work, and understand that assessment will still need to take place.

Make sure you’re absolutely clear when any assignments have to be submitted, and the format of each piece of work - make a detailed plan of what you have to do, and when.

Maintain your usual pattern of working, and follow best practice with respect to time management – create a timetable (including any interactions with your online tutor) and set yourself regular and reasonable goals with your work.

Additional learning resources are available through RIBA Future Architects. Here you can find links to videos and podcasts, book recommendations and more – tailored for students and early career architects.

Keeping in touch

If you are currently in a different country/time zone, consider how this may affect your tutorials and teaching interactions - make sure everyone Is aware of your current location and any impacts, for example on scheduling of meetings.

Keep in touch with your friends and family, and maintain the conversations you have with your university peer group. Look for creative ways to share knowledge, information and support.

Your health and wellbeing

If you are feeling anxious or have concerns, there is lots of advice available. We recommend speaking with your friends, families and tutors. There are many resources available in response to this extraordinary situation, via organisations such as Mind and the Architects Benevolent Society.

Keep positive

By learning to adapt to complex and unpredictable circumstances, we are developing important professional skills and insights which are invaluable in the future.

Last updated: 23 March 2020

This checklist will be updated in response to feedback – please send your comments to info@riba.org.

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