Co-ordination will Unlock the Vision for Building Communities

A joint statement on building for Scotland’s communities.

The next Scottish Government must co-ordinate legislation, strategies and funding if its vision of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future is to be achieved.

A coalition of Scotland’s leading experts on the built environment has said there must be a shift from overlapping and disjointed strategies to complementarity and synergised policy making and from an opportunistic, reactive approach to development, to a planned, proactive approach.

The 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 and Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland issued a joint statement ahead of tonight’s (March 9th) Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment.

The statement is based around three areas – Professionalism, Prioritisation and People.

Euan Leitch, Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland said “BEFS work across the policy landscape – and collaboration of this kind is what will enable a stronger, regenerative, greener, and just transition for Scotland. Working on a maintenance agenda BEFS want to see policy and the professions working in unison to improve our places to meet climate, community, cultural, and economic need.”

ICE Scotland Director, Hannah Smith, said: “To achieve the Scottish Government’s vision of infrastructure supporting Scotland’s resilience and enabling inclusive, net zero and sustainable growth, we must first establish if our infrastructure is fit for purpose. “There must now be a strategic ‘resiliency audit’ to identify priorities and the most meaningful interventions to ensure our infrastructure is as durable as possible, particularly to withstand the effects of extreme weather.”

Rachel Tennant, Chair of Landscape Institute Scotland, said “LIS believe that multifunctional places needs to be at the heart of our built environment to ensure we can sustainably deliver on a range of societal benefits for the future. Diverse, well designed and managed places can deliver climate change adaption, increase the resilience of our communities and businesses, improve our health and wellbeing, as well as protect and enhance nature.  Collaborative and empowering approaches are essential to the delivery of this.”

RIAS President Christina Gaiger said “The RIAS believe in a Scotland where we protect the environment through legislation and regulate for a zero-carbon future.  By adopting quality focused, and collaborative approaches that avoid impacts, we can create a built environment that lowers or eradicates energy demand.  The Climate Crisis and the experience of the pandemic illustrate that change is needed but also that it can happen.”

RICS Scotland National Board Chair, Richard Burnett said “As we look towards a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Scotland’s built environment professionals will play a pivotal role in tackling some of the most prominent domestic issues in Scotland, including the lack of adequate housing, renewing our high streets, creating a 21st-century infrastructure network and addressing the challenges of climate change.  A coordinated and collaborative approach will provide the leadership and expertise that will help guide decision makers in ensuring a swift recovery and economic prosperity.”

Barbara Cummins, Convenor of RTPI Scotland, said “Covid-19 has allowed us to appreciate the importance of the places we live in. A more coordinated approach across government will allow us to create the ‘twenty minute neighbourhoods’ that people need so that they live in well-designed, attractive, healthy and sustainable communities where they have local access to the services, shops and facilities they need on a daily basis.”


Should you require further information please contact Craig McLaren, Director of Scotland, Ireland and English Regions at RTPI.

E: 07850 926881

Notes to Editors

The full statement can be read here.

RTPI Scotland

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.

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)

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.

RICS Scotland

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)

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.

Landscape Institute Scotland

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

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.