The CIOB and Laing O’Rourke have given their backing to a group hoping to launch a cross-professional undergraduate degree spanning architecture to construction – a Bachelor of the Built Environment.
CIOB chief executive Chris Blythe has attended meetings of the initiative’s steering group, which includes Laing O'Rourke head of human capital Mark Richardson.
The group has already had discussions with the Faculty of the Built Environment at the Bartlett, part of University College London, with a view to launching an undergraduate course in September 2014.
The proposed four-year course, including a sandwich year in industry, would have a syllabus covering economics and property development; architecture and landscape; environmental science; structural and civil engineering; and construction and property management.
Mark Thompson, managing partner of Ryder
The idea originated after north east architecture firm Ryder held a debate on the future of built environment education last summer. It was sparked by concern that the five years of university education necessary to become a practising architect nevertheless leaves graduates ill-equipped to work in today's construction industry.
Mark Thompson, managing partner of Ryder, said: “In our view schools of architecture are ‘processing’ too many graduates, many of whom are ill-equipped to enter the profession. The industry needs a higher standard of creative innovators and entrepreneurs, in design and business. The existing two-part, five-year academic process is increasingly difficult to sustain financially, and is not delivering value. Construction is a notoriously fragmented industry, there is no recognition that architecture is about more than architecture.
“Our industry needs free-thinking, broad-minded professionals who can contribute collaboratively and creatively from a range of professional backgrounds.”
Following the debate, Ryder convened a cross-industry steering group from the industry and academia to look at how degree level studies could better fit the industry's needs. The group also includes Arup’s global building chair Tristram Carfrae, Sara Reading, head of graduate recruitment at KPMG, and Alex Wright, head of architecture at the University of Bath.
Since the beginning of 2013, the group has been actively canvassing support from a number of professional institutes in the industry, including the CIOB, the RICS, the RIBA and the Institution of Structural Engineers.
Chris Blythe's statement in support of the idea says: “The industry needs the best people joining us. So we need to find a cohesive pan-sector approach to make a professional career in the Built Environment seen as second to none, especially in respect to other sectors.”
Laing O’Rourke’s Mark Richardson said: “We welcome the recommendations to fundamentally reform the quality, standard of training and education in order to bridge the innovation capability gap within our industry. Laing O’Rourke has long been an active sponsor of challenge and change within the engineering and construction industry to advance the effective delivery of the built environment.”
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