Principles & Ethical Charter

Why are we doing this?

There is a culture within the architectural profession of long hours and poor pay with resultant impacts on physical and mental health. The London Practice Forum (LPF) recognises that the architectural profession is not representative of society as a whole.

The LPF acknowledges that it has strength as a collective group to provide a voice to smaller practices, to advocate and lobby for positive change in the industry and wider society.

The LPF will call out poor practice where necessary and will highlight and promote good practice where it sees it.

LPF principles

Member practices will:

  • Maintain high ethical and sustainable standards;
  • Promote the benefits of good design and publish examples of best practice;
  • Provide a collective voice to smaller practices;
  • Share resources and knowledge;
  • Advocate for positive change within the wider profession.

Conditions for membership

Member practices will:

  • Comply with the LPF principles;
  • Be a smaller practice (defined as having fewer than 50 staff);
  • Be located within London.

1. Who we work for

We will seek to actively support clients who are aligned with our principles.

To this end, member practices will actively support clients who want to help create a more equitable and sustainable society.

Member practices will:

1.1 Prior to accepting commissions, consider:

  • Social value;
  • Environmental impact;
  • Provenance of finance;
  • Destination of profits;
  • Human rights record.

1.2 Promote the work of the LPF through websites, social media, blogs, lectures and events.

2. Valuing people

We believe that our staff are our greatest asset and should be treated with respect, supported in their work and appropriately remunerated.

Member practices will:

2.1. Commit to standard working hours of no more than 40 hours per week and monitor compliance;

2.2. Not ask staff to opt out of the EU Working Time Directive;

2.3. Have a written overtime and time off in lieu policy which compensates staff appropriately for exceptional working beyond standard working hours;

2.4. Pay all staff at least the London Living Wage / Living Wage and require that all sub-contractors do the same;

2.5. Not use unpaid interns;

2.6. Declare support for the Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum;

2.7. Have a written mental health policy;

2.8. Have a written social responsibility policy;

2.9. Have a written flexible working policy;

2.10. Have a written/structured benefits package;

2.11. Have a structured mentoring, training and performance review policy to support staff progression.

The London Practice Forum will:

2.12. Actively engage in dialogue and seek to work together with representative agents or unions to improve working practices.

3. Addressing inequality

We will actively promote diversity and inclusion by encouraging people from different backgrounds to enter the profession, providing them with appropriate support and helping to encourage reform within the wider construction industry. We will take a zero-tolerance approach to bigotry and intolerant behaviour.

Member practices will:

3.1. Have a written equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy;

3.2. Sign up to the Mayor’s Equality and Diversity Pledge;

3.3. Sign up to Future of London’s Speaker Diversity Pledge;

3.4. Promote the architectural profession to disadvantaged groups through work experience, talks in schools and apprenticeship schemes.

The London Practice Forum will:

3.5. Provide a framework for equality and diversity training;

3.6. Annually record and report gender pay gap data from all member practices;

3.7. Annually record and report equality and diversity from all member practices;

3.8. Advertise job opportunities specifically targeted at disadvantaged groups.

4. Addressing the climate crisis

We are profoundly aware that climate change and biodiversity loss are existential crises and that the construction industry is a substantial contributor to these issues. We must act immediately to reduce rising global temperatures and habitat loss.

Member practices will:

4.1. Have a written environmental management policy;

4.2. Contribute to the LPF working group on environmental sustainability;

4.3. Learn from and share best environmental practice through the London Practice Forum;

4.4. Advocate for environmental value, at project bidding stage and inception, to be carried through all stages of a project;

4.5. Explore the potential to retrofit existing buildings ahead of demolition and rebuilding;

4.6. Support specialist training of team members in environmental design;

4.7. Commit to reduce air travel by seeking alternative modes of transport where possible and offsetting the carbon impact where it is impossible.

The London Practice Forum will:

4.8. Raise awareness of the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and advocate for faster change in the industry to address them;

4.9. Lobby for regulatory change;

4.10 Critically engage with third party and expert groups to contribute to thought leadership on addressing the climate crisis.

5. Promoting good design

We believe that good design has the power to improve people’s lives, bring people together, create uplifting, enjoyable, sustainable and enduring places. We aspire to, and promote, professional excellence, a commitment to research, innovation and open collaboration.

Member practices will:

5.1 Learn from and share best design practice within the London Practice Forum;

5.2 Share research and best practice through wider public forums, research papers, building visits, design review panels and teaching, record, measure and support these activities annually;

5.3 Only competitively tender for work where the assessment of quality is valued more highly than that of fee;

5.4 Promote post-occupancy evaluation.

The London Practice Forum will:

5.6 Promote the benefits of design quality in tender processes;

5.7 Call out examples of bad practice and write to tendering authorities when bids are defective.

Date of next review: January 2021

Updated 12 June to correct URL to Mayor’s Diversity Pledge

Updated 2 January 2020 to include links to relevant documents and minor corrections to punctuation.