Sustainable development is now the stated policy of local, national and international governments, and of much industry and commerce. There is a growing commitment on the part of professional bodies to reverse unsustainable trends in development.
The construction, fit-out, operation and ultimate demolition of buildings is a huge factor in human impact on the environment both directly (through material and energy consumption and the consequent pollution and waste) and indirectly (through the pressures on often inefficient infrastructure). The built environment also has a crucial impact on the physical and economic health and well-being of individuals, communities and organisations. A good building is a delight and will enhance a community or organisation, enhance our ability to learn or increase our productivity. A poor building will do the opposite. Where buildings and built environments contribute to ill-health and alienation, undermine community and create excessive financial liability, they are undesirable and unsustainable.
The RIAS successfully completed a pilot in sustainable building design accreditation in 2004 with co-funding from 'Sust: The Lighthouse on Sustainability'. This scheme was conceived and initiated by Gaia Research in 2000 as part of the DTI sponsored Sustainable Construction CPD project. In 2008, in response to increasing government sustainability energy initiatives, and public awareness, the RIAS conducted a substantial review of the Sustainable Building Design Accreditation scheme in order to address the significant developments in this area of practice and offer recognition to members who had gained specific skill, knowledge and experience in sustainability.
Eligibility for Accreditation
Applicants are encouraged to submit the edited highlights of what they think are their contributions to sustainability in the fields of:
- Innovative design and specification,
- project management and contract administration,
- research, education, and dissemination.
The scheme now recognises two levels of skill based in designed and built work. Applicants are required to provide evidence of their career, qualifications and specialist areas of knowledge or activity; and a range of project work/case studies. These are assessed by independent peer review.
The two levels of accreditation are;
Accredited Architect in Sustainable Architecture:
Architects who can demonstrate through a track record, that they have delivered Sustainable Architecture and have communicated and promoted their understanding of it.
Advanced Accredited Architect in Sustainable Architecture:
Architects, with a minimum of 5 years experience, post qualification, who meet the above criteria and have gone on to demonstrate through a substantial track record both innovation and expertise in this field as well as a commitment to directing and mentoring others to understand and deliver Sustainable Architecture.
RIAS members looking to obtain accreditation in sustainable architecture should visit the member's page on Accreditation in Sustainable Architecture.