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Research and Policy
The RIAI engages with government, the professions, industry, clients and the public to promote quality in architecture; to deliver quality and sustainability in the built environment; to enrich our distinctive culture and heritage; to contribute to the competitiveness of our economy; and to improve quality of life for the people of Ireland, today and for generations to come.
The RIAI is committed in carrying out research on a wide range of topical issues relating to the built environment that affect Irish society. We do this through our member committees and by engaging with experts. This work, in turn, delivers new insights and policy for the benefit of everyone in society. Providing public benefit from our members’ expertise and knowledge is a key RIAI Strategic Objective.
National Development Plan
Designing a Lasting Localised Recovery: Plan Better, Design Better, Build Better
The RIAI’s Policy Submission to Review to Renew - the Public Consultation of the Review of the National Development Plan.
In this policy document, the RIAI asks that public investment must meet three challenges in the coming decades:
- it must meet UN and EU Green Deal carbon reduction targets;
- planning and development frameworks must account for demographic and related changes with regard to household size, housing mix, education, healthcare and others;
- it must be sustained at higher levels to correct for past underinvestment.
The policy is set out under immediate priorities, medium targets and long-term targets.
RIAI Town and Village Toolkit
Towns and villages across Ireland have been integral to Irish economic and cultural life for centuries. They can also be great places to live and work for modern lifestyles. To support those involved in Irish towns and villages, the RIAI – with support from the Government Policy on Architecture – has launched a free online resource.
The RIAI Town and Village Toolkit provides practical advice, references and successful case studies of places that have with architectural and urban design expertise positively overcome challenges. Case studies include Clonakilty, Cloughjordan, Westport, Tuppercurry and Waterford’s Viking Triangle.
RIAI Research – Achieving Quality through Smart Procurement
The RIAI believes that the current procurement policy does not embed design innovation and impact quality of outcomes which can lead to higher whole-life costs. The procurement process focuses frequently on minimising the cost of design and construction, rather than achieving value for money. It is a responsibility of Government to put measures in place to ensure that quality of design and procurement for value are at the heart of public procurement policy. The RIAI published report on public procurement includes a number of recommendations to improve the process. (April 2019)
RIAI Policy – Designing Homes for an Ageing Population
The RIAI has published a new research report with recommendations on designing homes for Ireland’s ageing population, which the Institute says will ease pressure on the housing sector in general. This research is intended to support Government in its efforts on facilitating older people staying in their home or community as long as possible. Our research has found that new ways of designing purpose-built apartments and houses are essential to keep older people in the community. (October 2018)
RIAI Research Report on Housing Delivery
Government policy has used planning and taxation policy to encourage the faster delivery of new multi-unit residential developments. Notwithstanding these efforts, the process of bringing a new housing scheme to occupation remains very slow. The RIAI Research Report on Housing Delivery hopes to stimulate a wider debate in Irish housing policy in respect of the role of the planning system in the delivery of housing. The report makes recommendations for policy-makers about reforms of policy, planning processes and procedures. (September 2017)
RIAI Policy - Sustainability for the Current Global Environmental Crisis
This policy is set in the context of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. Architecture interacts with each of the 17 goals, through realised buildings, settlements and cities all over the world. The RIAI has made commitments to place the UN Sustainable Development goals at the core of architectural practice and sets out clear and measurable objectives for both the RIAI and practicing Architects to become industry leaders in developing a sustainable future for all. (September 2019)
The RIAI Guidelines for the Conservation of Buildings
These Guidelines represent the latest revision of the Guidelines, first published as RIAI Practice Note 1995/01, and revised in 2001 and 2010. Prepared by the RIAI Historic Buildings Committee to support the implementation of the RIAI's Conservation Policy, and directed primarily at RIAl members, and not intended to provide comprehensive information on building conservation practice. The principles outlined in these Guidelines may be applied to the conservation of all significant historic fabric, including that of the 20th and 21st centuries.
RIAI Conservation Guidelines: Building Regulations Issues
This Appendix to the Guidelines offers an approach to Building Regulations and Sustainability for historic structures. Conservation projects vary in complexity and often require specialist expertise, and is based on the working experience of Conservation Architects which offers an initial approach to the areas covered by each Regulation and the TGD (Technical Guidance Documents) that offer means of compliance with each. It is intended to supplement the current edition of the RIAI Guidelines for the Conservation of Buildings. The view of regulatory authorities may differ in some cases from the practical solutions offered here. The practitioner must rely on their own informed judgement in each case.
RIAI Conservation Policy
The RIAI regards the sustainable conservation of architectural heritage integral to the skill set of the architect. The purpose of the Conservation Policy of the RIAI is to set the highest standard for the conservation of our built inheritance and to make conservation an integral part of the practice of architecture.
Building / Construction
The Consumer Guide Cost Guidelines published by the RIAI advise on the construction costs for domestic and commercial works. The information contained within the Consumer Guide Cost Guidelines is set out to provide clients and consumers with a guidance on building costs using the average figures noted but, again, it must be borne in mind the high level of cost inflation within the industry due to market conditions. (Updated August 2019)
RIAI Policy – Architects Delivering Quality and Innovation in Ireland’s Infrastructure
For the Government’s review of the Capital Plan “Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016 - 2021”, the RIAI has made recommendations, with a specific focus on having a National Infrastructure Delivering Agency. An agency would play an important role in the review of procurement processes with the goal of ensuring that those processes deliver our ambitions while ensuring that appropriate levels of investment are committed to key infrastructure projects.
RIAI Statement of Policy on Accessibility, Inclusion and Universal Design
The RIAI has launched a new policy on Accessibility, Inclusion and Universal Design responding to the significant changes in the context in which the RIAI and its members operate, since the adoption of the RIAI Policy on Accessibility in 2006. The Universal Design Task Force (UDTF) has reviewed the 2006 Policy document and concluded that its scope needs to be broadened to meet the changed circumstances and the challenges for the next 10 years. (February 2018)