The Seven pillars

Ursula Hartenberger

Global Head of Sustainability (RICS)

As part of our Futures project we want to ensure that Built Environment Professionalism remains relevant and respected in the future. Against this background we have identified seven strategic closely interlinked and interdependent pillars that we want to address.

Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Pillar One: Thinking ahead

The pace at which our professional activities and the built environment we are operating in is changing is breath-taking and going forward this is only going to be accelerating.

  • What emerging trends do we need to be aware of? 
  • How are we going to decide what matters most – and where? 
  • Is the traditional concept of built environment professionals 'fit for the future'?

Pillar Two: Leads and inspires

In an increasingly globalised world, traditional built environment leadership perceptions and models may not be 'fit for purpose' to meet the challenges of a changing world.

  • Who are going to be the sector's champions and agents of change? 
  • How do we ensure that professionals remain relevant? 
  • How are we going to inspire, engage and enrol best and the brightest within the next generation?

Pillar Three: Sustainability

Through land development, resource use and waste generation, both during the construction and occupational phase buildings have the largest single share in global resource use and pollution emissions. 'Business as usual' models are no longer accepted by sector participants such as investors, occupiers and policy makers. 

  • How to make the business case for fully embedding sustainable business practices in the sector more successfully? 
  • Will social sustainability override the current focus on environmental performance? 
  • Will full accounting of externalised costs and services with regard to eco-systems become part of standard financial reporting processes?

Pillar Four: Multidisciplinarity and Lifelong Learning

The complexity of global business will require new ways of working. Traditional roles within the built environment the built environment stakeholder community will start to crumble as new roles with new skill sets emerge.

  • How to create truly multi-disciplinary teams? 
  • Will generalists or specialists run the game? 
  • Where are the gaps in current built environment higher education and life long learning?

Pillar Five: Networks and collaboration

No man is an island and faced with the increasingly multi-faceted nature of our private and professional lives makes collaboration absolutely pivotal. Social media have revolutionised the way we interact with other and have facilitated completely new approaches to sharing information and experiences.

  • What is needed to make true collaboration based on trust and transparency work? 
  • Who are going to be our future partners and audiences? 
  • How are we going to successfully engage with them?

Pillar Six: Technology

Sometimes called the 'Third Industrial Revolution', the digital revolution has forever changed the face of global production, work and communication. Technology has also transformed the built environment sector in a way that was unthinkable even 20 years ago.

  • How is the sector going to keep up with technological advance and discern its consequences? 
  • Who are going to be the winners and losers from new technology? 
  • How to embrace technology in an ‘open source’ world in which clients and the general public now has access to the same knowledge?

Pillar Seven: Ethics, Values and Standards

Standards provide a framework for compliance and quality assurance, especially with personal value concepts being subject to evolving shifts in culture, politics, economics, technology and communications. Organisations will need to adjust their institutional values to keep up with these shifts to avoid potential reputational risks and threats to their brand and business activities.

  • How are ethical and value perceptions going to change over time? 
  • How to demonstrate professional responsibility and public interest? 
  • Will professional standards still be needed and in which shape?

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