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COVID-19: Latest guidance for architects and students

RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, Adrian Dobson, looks at some of the top priorities for architects and students.

01 April 2020

A note from RIBA Executive Director Professional Services, Adrian Dobson…

The RIBA is on hand to support you and provide valuable guidance and resources during this challenging time.

Following our checklist for architects, in today’s update, we look at some of the top priorities for architects and students:

1. Stay at home

As a knowledge-based profession, staff are the most important asset for any architectural practice.

Architects in the UK should be working from home wherever possible. Follow official advice on social distancing to help flatten the curve of infection and save lives.

2. Practice leaders – protect your staff

Many practices will be looking at staffing and workload levels for the forthcoming weeks and months.

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme aims to help businesses retain staff during this period of disruption, while maintaining capacity for the economic recovery period.

Furloughing of staff - asking them to stop working but not making them redundant - means 80% of their salary costs will be met by the UK Government. This is a vital financial lifeline that will enable many practices to retain staff and keep their vital skills.

If you are concerned about staffing, please think furloughing first.

3. Construction site safety

Many non-essential construction sites have or will be closed. Architects should assist in the timely and managed closure of sites and ensure they are left in a safe and secure state, in accordance with the Advice on Temporary Suspension of Sites issued by the Construction Leadership Council.

Where construction work continues, architects should restrict site visits to those that are only strictly necessary. When visiting a site, comply with any additional social distancing and health and safety measures required by the contractor. All those on site should act in accordance with the new Site Operating Procedures (SOP) published by the Construction Leadership Council.

Please put public health and your personal safety first.

4. Students – keep motivated, connected and healthy

This is an unsettling time for students. Studio-based teaching and learning is a significant element of architectural education and the current need for remote study is far from ideal.

It’s really important though to maintain momentum in your studies and to continue to submit work as required. Keep in touch with your tutors and take every opportunity to interact with them online. Tutors will understand the pressures that you are under in the current circumstances and will want to support you and provide flexible study and submission arrangements wherever possible.

Try to also maintain contact with your university and college friends through calls and social media. If you have concerns, speak to someone – your friends, family, tutors or expert organisations such as Mind or Anxiety UK.

The RIBA is here to support all our members. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact info@riba.org or visit the RIBA's COVID-19 hub for regularly updated advice and guidance.

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