Building for Scotland’s Communities

A Joint Statement from organisations whose members plan, design, build and manage Scotland’s cities, towns, buildings, and infrastructure.

A Joint Statement from:

  • Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland
  • Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland
  • Built Environment Forum Scotland
  • Landscape Institute Scotland
  • Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland

We are the organisations whose members plan, design, build and manage Scotland’s cities, towns, buildings, and infrastructure. We represent a combined membership of around 22,500 people across Scotland and recognise the need for our professions to work together to build Scotland’s future.

Our built environment is critical to how we live our lives. Our members will play an important part in how we achieve a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will support the governments route map for a different Scotland, that must:

  • tackle climate change and achieve Scotland’s net zero carbon reduction targets,
  • reduce health inequalities across Scotland,
  • support a wellbeing economy,
  • ensure a quality and affordable home for everyone who needs one.

This will require new ways of working to achieve the ‘new normal’. Ways that embed resilience into how our buildings, landscapes and places in cities, towns, villages, and neighbourhoods’ function and develop over time. We believe that this requires shifts:

  • from short-term, project focussed investment to a planned long term holistic vision,
  • from having overlapped and disjointed strategies to collective and complementarity policy making,
  • from an opportunistic, reactive approach to development, to a planned, proactive approach,
  • from economic priorities, to holistic priorities to tackle environmental, social and economic issues,
  • from a competitive investment approach, to sustainable managed investment,
  • from a ‘deal-making’ approach, to one based on providing a place vision first.

We support this vision and urge that Ministers activate:

Professionalism. Our highly skilled professionals meet the exacting standards to become and remain members. Their expertise in planning, designing, building, maintaining, and managing buildings and places, needs to be recognised in policy development, delivery, and procurement

There is a fundamental priority to ‘shift the gaze’ from measuring success from metrics around speed and quantity, to the quality of places, buildings, and infrastructure.

Prioritisation. Our members rely upon a clear policy context supported by funding to deliver. We believe that this must promote and prioritise climate action, tackling inequalities, improving our Nation’s health and wellbeing creating an inclusive economy and delivering quality housing and infrastructure, both natural and built, to support communities.

Scotland needs joined up and coordinated government funding programmes and strategies specifically linking the aims of the National Planning Framework, Infrastructure Investment Plan, Housing Investment Strategy, Land Use Strategy, Energy Strategy, Climate Change Plan, National Transport Strategy and Public Health Strategy, alongside overall policy aims in health and social wellbeing and creating a low carbon and circular economy. 

People. Our members strive to play their role in supporting the delivery of national policy priorities and Scotland’s National Outcomes, including tackling climate change, achieving net zero emissions by 2045 and meeting new housing targets. This requires investing in these services, supporting their continued development, and ensuring we have a pipeline of professionals coming through to ensure we meet these ambitions.

There must be support for future professionals, to reverse the disinvestment in public services and to develop a range of alternative routes to qualification. 

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is the champion of planning and the planning profession. We work to promote the art and science of planning for the public benefit. We have around 2100 members in Scotland and a worldwide membership of over 25,000. RTPI Scotland’s members represent both the public and private sector interests and will in large part be responsible for the successful delivery of the planning system.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) was founded in 1916. With over 5,200 members, the Incorporation is the professional body for all of Scotland’s chartered architects. The RIAS is a champion of Architecture and the Built Environment in Scotland.  It supports the interests of its growing membership, united through its six regional chapters, to promote the importance of well-designed buildings and places. The RIAS is a charity run by, and for, its members.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the principal body representing professionals employed in the land, property and construction sectors. In Scotland, the Institution represents over 6500 members comprising chartered surveyors (MRICS or FRICS) and Associate surveyors (AssocRICS), as well as trainees and graduates. Our members are employed in private practice, central and local government, public agencies, academic institutions, business organisations and non-governmental organisations. As part of its Royal Charter, RICS has a commitment to provide advice to the government[s] of the day and, in doing so, has an obligation to bear in mind the public interest as well as the interests of its members.

Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) is an umbrella body for organisations working in the built environment in Scotland. Drawing on extensive expertise in a membership-led forum, BEFS informs, debates and advocates on the strategic issues, opportunities and challenges facing Scotland’s historic and contemporary built environment.

The Landscape Institute (LI) is the royal chartered body for the landscape profession. We represent over 500 landscape architects, planners, designers, managers and scientists in Scotland. As a professional organisation and educational charity, we protect and enhance the built and natural environment for the public benefit., Its devolved nation Branch, the Landscape Institute Scotland, is at the forefront of recognising the importance of well-designed and managed landscapes and places, and the benefits they bring to society.

ICE Scotland supports and represents over 8,000 members living and working in Scotland. Our members design, build and maintain Scotland’s transport, water supply and treatment, flood management, waste and energy infrastructure. As a professional body we organise knowledge events and promote civil engineering by working in partnership with industry, government and education.