Resi developers included as built environment sector presents urgent demands at COP26 summit

A coalition of more than 200 architects, consultants and built environment bodies is today demanding “bold regulations and purposeful policies” from world leaders at the COP26 summit.

They say the construction and property industry stands ready but that the lack of commitment from global governments is choking progress.

The practices and organisations have united around a detailed report published by the RIBA and Architects Declare which sets out essential actions to support the decarbonisation of existing and future buildings.

Future of the Profession

The signatories want policymakers to embed the measures into their nationally determined contributions towards the global climate effort (NDCs).

The report, which will be presented at an event in the Buildings Pavilion at COP today, is backed by residential developers and contractors including Argent, Bioregional, Lendlease, Wates and Willmott Dixon.

In addition the Good Homes Alliance and a raft of housing architects, such as HTA, Levitt Bernstein, Pollard Thomas Edwards and Stirling Prize-winner Mikhail Riches have all signed up to the call. 

RIBA president Simon Allford said: “As a pan-industry alliance of clients, contractors, consultants and manufacturers we are today making a collective call to governments worldwide.”

Without ambitious legislation to support the decarbonisation of the sector – which is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions – the world will not meet the Paris Agreement reductions, he warned.

“For the benefit of humanity, we need bold regulations and purposeful policies that will secure our future.” He said the report, Built for the Environment, required world leaders’ “immediate attention”.

Among the coalition’s demands are:

:: Reform building codes to regulate the energy performance of both new and existing buildings.

:: Ensure building codes set minimum standards for embodied carbon, reuse of materials and natural materials and implement carbon budgets for planning authorities.

:: Hold and freely provide information on derelict and vacant building stock, to encourage adaptive reuse of existing structures.

:: Ensure building codes and planning systems require in-use monitoring and post-occupancy evaluation.

:: Update building codes and planning systems to include holistic health and wellbeing metrics, and nature-based solutions.

:: Reform public infrastructure and procurement policies to require industry leading standards and integrated social value requirements.

:: Develop financial mechanisms to drive public investment into emerging and low carbon technologies, and support green finance initiatives that focus on reducing energy use of existing buildings.

The report was written by Maria Smith, a director of Buro Happold and RIBA councillor, and Andrew Waugh, a director of Waugh Thistleton Architects, who sits on the Architects Declare steering group.

Maria Smith, Buro Happold’s new Sustainability Director

Source: Ioana Lupascu

Maria Smith

Waugh said: “Architects Declare – a global organisation of over 6,000 practices – joined forces with the RIBA to establish a direct voice from industry to governments ahead of COP26. The Built for the Environment report is a clear message from the industry that we are ready for the urgent transformation that is needed.

“We must change the way we design, build, maintain, operate and regulate our industry. The lack of commitment from global governments is holding this transformation back. There is no choice now but for governments to act, and not by incremental improvements but wholesale change – and now!”

Smith added: “This report represents a collective capability statement from the industry, but also a call for international climate justice: from monitoring and regulating embodied carbon, to reporting and targeting emissions reductions on a consumption-basis, this report aims to give confidence to all inside and outside the built environment that a better world is possible.”

 >> Also read: Architects urge governments to decarbonise global building codes

The report’s endorsers

Builders, contractors, suppliers, asset managers, property developers and investors:

Argent LLP

BAM Construct UK Ltd


BuildX Studio

CBRE Investment Management

Claire Gaudion Ltd


d p agency Ltd

Derwent London

Dodds and Shute

Dukelease Properties Limited

Galliford Try Holdings Plc



ITW Construction Products Offsite

Laing O’Rourke

Lendlease Europe

Optio Living

Pace Investments

Rakennusasiaintoimisto Aarre Oy

Robertson Group

Sir Robert McAlpine

SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd


Wilmott Dixon


NGOs, professional institutes, membership bodies, research, and academia:

1 Million Women

Architects Declare Aotearoa NZ

Architects Declare DK

Architects Declare Hungary

Architects Declare Ireland

Architects Declare Switzerland

Architecture 2030

Australian Architects Declare

Better Buildings Partnership

BHL Building Health Lab


C40 Cities

Canadian / Turtle Island Architects Declare

Central Saint Martins: Spatial Practices Programme

Centre for Natural Material Innovation,

University of Cambridge

Chartered Association of Building Engineers

Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Good Homes Alliance CIC

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

Institution of Environmental Sciences

International Union of Architects

International WELL Building Institute

KLC School of Design

Latvian Architects Declare


MCS Charitable Foundation

New Zealand Institute of Architects

Parsons Healthy Materials Lab

Passive House Institute New Zealand

Passivhaus Trust

Quality of Life Foundation

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

School of Architecture, Royal College of Art

School of the Natural and Built Environment, Queens University Belfast

Supply Chain Sustainability School

The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products

The Chartered Institution of Water and

Environmental Management

The Edge

The Institution of Structural Engineers

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)

Timber Development UK

Trees and Design Action Group

US Architects Declare

Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll)

Wood Knowledge Wales


Designers, consultants, and advisors:

5th Studio

Absolute Project Management London Limited

AEW Architects

Alexandra Steed URBAN


Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

aNNeKS architects aps

ARC Design Studio

Architect Benjamin Machin

Architectural Emporium


Archon Inmod

Ark Brut



Ash Sakula


Atelier Lira Luis Limited x Leapfrog Project


Avanto Architects Ltd


Beehive Architecture

Bennetts Associates

Bio-architecture Formosana

Buckley Gray Yeoman

Buro Happold


C.F. Møller Architects


Charissa Snijders Architect

Chris Dyson Architects

Christensen & Co Architects

Church Lukas


Collective Architecture

Collective Works

COPA Design


CW Studio

Djernes & Bell Architects


East Archtiecture, Landscape Urban Design


Elementa Consulting

ELGAARD Architecture


Elkins Architects

Energy Factor, S.A.


Erect Architecture

ERIK arkitekter

Ethos Design and Architecture Ltd ( Ethos+)

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Fletcher Priest Architects

GAIA ecotecture

Gbolade Design Studio


Gort Scott

Gottstein Architrcts

Government Architect NSW

Graeme North, Earth and Natural Building Consultant

Grant Associates

Grasp Design Ltd

Gray Organschi Architecture

Grigoriou Interiors


Groene Morgen





Haworth Tompkins

Henning Larsen Architects

Hetreed Ross Architects

HLM Architects

Hoare Lea

HTA Design LLP

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES)

John Gilbert Architects

John Sergeant Arquitecto

Jollie Ltd

Julian Church & Associates

KC+A Architects

KR.eativ: Architects Ltd

Lateral Agency

Laura Iloniemi Architectural Press and PR

LDA Design

Levitt Bernstein

Liam Russell Architects

Madeleine Kessler Architecture

Mann Williams

Materialise Interiors

Matter bybrix


MCM Architecture Ltd

Metiu Design

Mikhail Riches

Modece Architects

Moxon Architects Ltd

Muchmore Design

muf architecture/art

NEMO architects

Nordic - Office of Architecture Denmark


One World Design Architects

Parviainen Architects Ltd



Pollard Thomas Edwards

Pro Sustainability Ltd

Project Orange Architects


Ritchie Studio Ltd

rixon architecture

RKD Architects

Roderick James Architects LLP

Ruth Butler Architects

Saul D Humphrey LLP

Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Shand Shelton


Square Gain Ltd

Stance Studio

Stanton Wiliams

Studio 12

Studio Bark

Studio Kantele

Studio Pasifika

Studio Weave

Team Green Architects

UK Project Services Ltd

Urbanlab Nordic


van Heyningen and Haward Architects

Vandkunsten Architects


VIA architecture

Waugh Thistleton Architects

Webb Yates Engineers

White Arkitekter


xsite architecture LLP

XVW architectuur

Yellow Brick Road Design

zero carbon house