Morrell’s Edge Commission to set out view on future of professionalism

Former chief construction advisor Paul Morrell to deliver new report into how institutions must be reshaped for the future following evidence from across the built environment.

Former government chief construction advisor Paul Morrell will next week set out wide-ranging new views on how the built environment institutions must prepare the profession for a rapidly changing future.

Morrell, as chair of the independent Edge Commission on the Future of Professionalism, has formed his conclusions following evidence submitted from industry bodies including CIC, CIBSE, CIOB, ICE, IStructE, Landscape Institute, Royal Academy of Engineers, RIBA, RICS and RTPI. 

The work is intended to look forward to identify the ways in which the professions will have to change to meet the needs of the industry and clients as the built environment profession meets the varied challenges of 21st century infrastructure delivery and management.

“There is the perceived weakening of some as Learned Societies as monitors of professional ethics and a reluctance to collaborate on these bigger issues,” Robin Nicholson

The detail of the actions will be revealed by Morrell next week at an event on Monday 18 May at Arup’s office in London but is likely to include more work on a common Code of Conduct and the more effective dissemination of research plus a call for greater collective action on Climate Change or Building Performance.

According to Robin Nicholson, convenor of the Edge and a senior partner at architect Cullinan Studio, the challenges identified by the Edge Commisison include increasing globalisation, the growth of multi-disciplinary international firms, the ageing of their members, climate change and building performance – or the so-called Performance Gap.

“The Commission called for evidence to be given in four sessions in which ten Built Environment Professional organisations were invited to explain how they were preparing for the future,” he said.

“Then there is the perceived weakening of some as Learned Societies as monitors of professional ethics and a reluctance to collaborate on these bigger issues,” he added. “In response to the challenges put and the responses received, the Commission has identified key areas for joint action.”

The Edge is a voluntary think-tank that promotes multi-disciplinary collaboration in the built environment through invited debates on issues that the professions find difficult with Climate Change and Building Performance being two of our key areas of concern.  

Set up under the auspices of the Arup Foundation in 1996, it has now held 69 debates including two on what became known as the 'New Professionalism'. Out of these and a special issue of the refereed journal Building Research and Information it established the Edge Commission with Paul Morrell as chairman. 

For details of the report and to attend the launch event contract Edge on

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