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Supply Chain School Leads Launch of Landmark Report

Whether designing homes, hospitals, workplaces, schools, shops or railway stations, social value matters. From mitigating impacts of austerity through affordability, to combatting ageism via accessibility, it is critical to creating inclusive, caring communities, for health, wealth and wellbeing.

Now, five years on from the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, its significance for projects in the built environment extends far beyond the procurement of public-sector services; it has changed client expectations of how construction, infrastructure, refurbishment, fit-out and facilities management projects should be delivered.

So, with the launch at London Build of a landmark publication for designers and architects Social Value and Design of the Built Environment, the Supply Chain Sustainability School has brought together expertise from across the design community, plus construction and civil engineering as a whole, to inform and inspire both current practitioners and the next generation of professionals.

The document explores why social value in design matters, what trends are driving the agenda, where the key challenges lie and, ultimately, what designers themselves, both individually and collectively, can do as part of a strategy for conducting their business responsibly. For a 21st-century architectural practice, delivering social value is not just about projects, but process, too.

Designers and architects can generate social value by integrating people’s views into decision-making, supporting cultural integration and social cohesion, creating built-environment assets that promote health and wellbeing, plus enhancing lifespan and value, so boosting economic prosperity.

Turning policy into practice, the 53-page report showcases an extensive gallery of case-studies across six prime built environment sectors: Infrastructure, Education, Housing, Health, Offices and Retail. The range of exemplars speaks to the diversity of applications of social value in design.

The publication is intended as a springboard and a call to action. Therefore, how it maps out ways to create social value aligned to the RIBA Plan of Work should be taken as a prompt for all in the design community to do more.

David Miller, Director and Principal Architect, David Miller Architects said: “Contractors have long been asked by public-sector clients to commit to delivering social value on their projects and it’s wholly appropriate that this is extended to other professions. Not only can we make a positive difference to the communities in which we work, but we can also help to address the skills shortage by inspiring others to take up rewarding careers in the built environment.”

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