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  2. One day to go! > https://bit.ly/3lBz61O There's still time to get your response in and let us know about your role in the sector. We've partnered with British Association of Landscape Industries, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot, Natural England, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales, Locri Recruitment and Department for Communities on this important piece of research. #GreenSkills #LandscapeSkillsAndWorkforce #GreenInfrastructure
  3. Last week
  4. Profit in landscape architecture In accountancy ‘profit’ refers to the financial benefit that is achieved when the work done and the expenses incurred by a business are exceeded by revenue generated by the activities of the business. In short profit is Total revenue -Total expenditure The owners of a business are responsible for deciding what to do with profit, and may reinvest it in the business, pay off outstanding debt, reward employees with bonuses and pay-rises, make payments to shareholders, and so on. There are different types of profit that can be measured as: gross profit, operating profit, net profit. Profit may also be referred to as a profit margin which is the percentage of the gross revenue that represents profit. The UK construction industry is notoriously susceptible to changes in economic outlook and regularly goes through booms and busts as it is used to hold back or push forward the wider economy.. The 2015 UK Industry Performance Report (produced by Glenagan, a UK construction industry analyst consultancy) suggested that the profitability of the construction industry was around 3%, up from around 2% the previous year, but well below the peak of 9.9% in 2009. In 2019-20 Glenagan report profitability as 2.9%. Design consultancies generally achieve better profitability than this. Caroline Cole in her 2014 RIBA Journal article reported that architectural consultancies then achieved 20% profitability: “Across the country, practices average a healthy profit margin of just over 20%. However, this figure conceals some worrying variations in fortunes, especially at the larger end of the spectrum: almost 60% of the largest practices do not meet our benchmark for profitability, which is set at 15%; more than a third fail to muster even 10% profit.” There is a lot more information available related to profit and landscape architecture practices in the USA. TRUIC advises that for landscape company practices “Profit should be priced in at at least 10% of cost (minimum), for both the design and the construction businesses. Some companies operate at a 15% margin, but this is rare, especially for a smaller company.” TRUIC is short for The Really Useful Information Company self-described as “a team of entrepreneurs who are passionate about education”. A piece by the Landscape Leadership website, run by the US sales and marketing agency, reports that “The average profitability for a landscape company is net 5 percent. But … that a well-run landscaping company should be between 10 and 12 percent. “Incidentally ASLA reports on the total value of landscape architecture services in the USA as $2.7 billion Wonder what is the equivalent value in the UK. Sources Glenagan UK Construction Industry Report 2019-20 https://www.glenigan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Glenigan_2019-20_UK_Industry_Performance_Report.pdf ref. pp.7-8 Caroline Cole, ‘Success begins at home’ RIBA Journal article, 1.4.2014, https://www.ribaj.com/intelligence/success-begins-at-home TRUIC https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/landscape-architect Landscape Leadership https://www.landscapeleadership.com/blog/how-to-identify-most-profitable-landscape-services Jared Green, “Landscape Architecture Services in the US valued at $2.7 Billion” The Dirt 7 March 2018 https://dirt.asla.org/2018/03/07/landscape-architecture-services-in-the-u-s-added-2-7-billion-in-value/
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  6. Inflation and Fees Having worked through the 1970s (when inflation rose to 27% per annum in 1976) I offer these thoughts and would welcome comments please. It is a time of inflation (forecast by many including the Bank of England to rise to 10% p.a. by the end of the year) and anyone putting fee bids should be aware of what is happening. go to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the national picture, for CPIH, CPI, and RPI, The figures are published monthly so in mid April the March 2022 figures were published as follows: CPIH Consumer Price Index including owner occupier’s housing costs: 6.2% per annum CPI Consumer Price Index: 7.0% per annum RPI Retail Price Index: 9.0% per annum Each of these indices is a basket of prices of consumer goods. Clearly of these indices currently the RPI is the most favourable, but because RPI does not meet international statistical standards, since 2013 the Office for National Statistics no longer classifies it as a "national statistic", and instead emphasizes the Consumer Price Index. However, the LI Landscape Consultant’s Conditions of Appointment (2018) refers to the Average Earnings Index for both time fees (clause 4.4) and lump sum fees (clause 4.7) and states they shall be revised at 12 month intervals. It does not give source for the Average Earnings Index, however, one assumes this may refer to the Office of National Statistics figures for Average Weekly Earnings. This is published with a two month delay so in early May 2022 the latest figure was that for February 2022 with an inflation figure of 5.2% for the whole economy. Better than nothing but not as high as the CPI or RPI figures. Close to construction is the information in the RICS Building and Construction Information Service (BCIS) at a hefty subscription rate, larger practices may subscribe or one might be able to obtain figures from a QS. The other thing one can do is not to sign for long term fees agreements, i.e. just sign up for each stage of work using the LI 2018 Scope of Services, however, this has its downside in that your commissions will each be for a shorter term, and so such as option offers less long term security. Arguably it is better to sign up for longer term in term of financial security, but to inflation index any fixed fees. Sources: Office of National Statistics ref. https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices Office of National Statistics Average Weekly Earnings: ref. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours RICS Building and Construction Information Service: https://www.rics.org/uk/products/data-products/bcis-construction/bcis-online/ Inflation forecasts: Bank of England https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/will-inflation-in-the-uk-keep-rising (5 May 2022) Office for Budget Responsibility https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/the-economy-forecast/inflation/ (March 2022 figures)
  7. Dear Ellie, To explain, Talking Landscape was the old LI social networking site, succeeded from August 2021 by LI Connect. Jonny's advice above hopefully answers your immediate query. But should one seek further advice on how to set up a new study group: check the Pathway to Chartership website, go to Pathway Resources and you will find a. guide on how to set up a study group: https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/member-content/chartership-resources/ Happy to advise further. Robert (CMLI a P2C mentor, supervisor and examiner)
  8. Reading the Terms for My Landscape: I find the rather ominous indeed off-putting statement that Use of the Platform carries legal responsibilities, Messages which include offensive, untrue or illegal content, or even expressions of opinion about others, can lead to claims against you and possible criminal offences. Use of this Platform is subject to the terms of use set out below (the “Terms”) and you should read these carefully. You should only post messages that you would be comfortable including in a written letter to every Participant in this Platform and every other person who may see a copy. You are treated as accepting the Terms by accessing or using the Platform for any purpose. What possible crimes might be committed by contributing LI Connect? May I quote a law website: Criminal libel was repealed in the UK in 2010, when the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into effect and abolished the offences of sedition and seditious libel, defamatory libel and obscene libel. But the law still classes spoken or written statements about others that are not true as defamation.Slander is an untrue spoken statement, while libel is publishing a falsehood about someone else in a letter, report or online. What many people fail to realise is they can libel someone in an email or website.In the UK, defamation is a civil action, and if proven, a judge can award significant damages to the plaintiff. Defamation is not a crime. Yours, Robert
  9. Nature-based solutions are desperately needed to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies but we need to get the right skills in the right places. Earlier this month we launched the Landscape Skills and Workforce Survey to help us do this. Fill in the survey here > https://bit.ly/38M1dZ1 We've partnered with British Association of Landscape Industries, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, Locri Recruitment, Natural England, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales, NatureScot, and the Northern Ireland Department for Communities to bring together this major piece of research which will provide new insights into the economic structures and makeup of the landscape industry. The more data we can collect the better, and we need your help. Whatever your role in the sector it matters - complete the survey today! #GreenSkills #GreenInfrastructureJobs #LandscapeSector https://bit.ly/38M1dZ1
  10. Last year saw our first cohort of apprentices start on their course as they work to becoming Technician Members of the Landscape Institute and in January we introduced the next route of membership for this grade - the experienced route to Technician (E2T). Our first cohort for the pilot scheme saw 28 amazing candidates from a range of different backgrounds. We're keen to keep the momentum of this going forward and have now opened up expressions of interest for the 2nd cohort on the pilot scheme. The Technician grade looks to bring equity to the profession. We want to future-proof landscape with the technical and specialist skills that are so integral to the work that we do. This means making sure these individuals have the right support and training tailored for their career. If you're interested in this for yourself, or know of any technical specialists in need of a professional home who might be interested in joining this cohort, read more, submit your expression of interest, or join us at our next information session. MORE DETAILS
  11. Kim Howell

    Biochar?

    Does anyone have any information, research or experience of specifying Biochar? I've been asked to consider its use within a soft landscape proposal as a means of carbon sequestration/offsetting. Many thanks.
  12. Hi Robert Thank you for your post. We will absolutely set up some more specific groups when they are needed but at the moment we need to focus on ensuring the groups we have are being used. We will be holding some more specific marketing campaigns to ensure the membership are encouraged to use the platform, this will be a continuous campaign across all availbale medias. Please do encourage any of your contacts, colleagues and fellow professionals to get involved with LI Connect as that will increase support, information sharing and engagement. I will continue to monitor the platform and will create more specific groups as the membership and conversations build. Many thanks, as always. Abi
  13. Thanks Michael - yes I saw this too and was impressed by it. I am a trustee at Slow The Flow and have sent on to our education trustees to see if we can do something similar! STF is soon to launch a curriculum-aligned set of materials to do with NFM for our local schools in Calderdale - if that's a success we will look into rolling out for wider use, I'll post here if that happens. In the meantime, a lot of the info on our website is accessible, engaging, and freely downloadable (with credit please). Flooding / NFM and SuDS specific, rather than climate change generally though: https://slowtheflow.net/introduction-to-natural-flood-management/, https://slowtheflow.net/you-can-slow-the-flow/
  14. Hi Ellie, I'm part of a very large P2C study group run by Sophie Entwistle (recently chartered). She hosts monthly talks online from different professionals covering all aspects of the syllabus. Lots of people there too to possibly speak to on a one to one basis. Please free to contact her if you would like adding to the list. Sophie.Entwisle@pegasusgroup.co.uk Hope this helps. Jonny
  15. I came across this interesting project last week where students in Preston are using 'Minecraft' to learn about climate change, the environment and wellbeing, and flooding. https://www.nme.com/news/gaming-news/minecraft-climate-change-project-is-teaching-young-people-about-flooding-3197749 Are you aware of other, easy-to-use tools that can help us better engage the community in the climate debate?
  16. Hi everyone, I'm looking to start or find a P2C study group. If I'm being honest, I have no idea where to start with this! I spent ages on the Talking Landscape page with no idea how I was going to find a group as you can't access that without being a member. Something online would probably be the easiest. But an in-person group near to Devizes/Swindon would be good too. Thanks Ellie
  17. Hi, I'm looking for a study group as well! I've only just completed my first Q1. Online or in person (I'm based in Devizes) Thanks Ellie
  18. Colleagues, LI Connect has 320 members, (out of a total membership of over 5000) so is not working. It has less functionality than Talking Landscapes and does not serve the main users of Talking Landscapes who were the Associate Members. There is no specific P2C Forum for Associate Members. So why not set up a Forum for the Pathway to Chartership and email Associate members encouraging them to exchange information there? Robert
  19. This would suit an LI member: https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/appointment/national-park-authority-board-member/ Deadline 26th April
  20. I have been discussing with a senior member of the LI what might constitute "low-hanging fruit" that could improve our use of GLVIA 3 without requiring its complete replacement. One of the things that seems immediate is what is the difference between a stand alone LVIA that accompanies a planning application from those that are a part of a formal EIA? This is a matter considered on pages 4 - 9 of the Ed3 and the distinction that emerges is one of terminology and purpose. I think most practitioners are aware of the differences behind the use of such terms as "impact", "effect" and how we are not to use the term "significance" out with an EIA and so use the term "importance", but I doubt we have thought through the implications of having a methodology for use in an EIA that we then use in a non EIA report. In an EIA, according to Ed3, the defining requirement is set out in the European Union Directive 2011/92/EU The assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Obviously, since Brexit the overarching legislation has had to be turned into UK law and so the relevant legislation is the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017. But the intent is largely the same and that is (to quote Ed3), 2, "...the emphasis is on the identification of likely significant environmental effects." The implication of this is that there are insignificant environmental effects and this is made clear in para 1.17 of Ed3: "The Directive is clear that the emphasis is on the identification of likely significant environmental effects. This should embrace all types of effect and includes, for example, those that are positive/beneficial and negative/adverse, direct and indirect, and long and short term, as well as cumulative effects. Identifying significant effects stresses the need for an approach that is in proportion to the scale of the project that is being assessed and the nature of its likely effects. Judgement needs to be exercised at all stages in terms of the scale of investigation that is appropriate and proportionate. This does not mean that effects should be ignored or their importance minimised but that the assessment should be tailored to the particular circumstances in each case. This applies to 'appraisals' of landscape and visual impact outside the formal requirements of EIA as well as those chat are part of a formal assessment." Hence the use of EIA screening, in which the significant areas of effect are agreed with the lpa; and in this process what "significant" means will be based upon professional judgement, lpa or public concerns and, ultimately, case law in planning in which the term "significance" has been tested. But what is to underpin the definition of that which is important in an informal non EIA LVIA? Obviously, part of it will be professional judgement and lpa or public concerns. However, there is no underpinning as to what any of our synonyms in place of significant (such as "important") actually means. I think this is where NPPF (and its equivalent documents in the devolved nations) comes into play. Such planning policy guidance should be able to give each practitioner a framework in which to make judgements. Clearly, it will not do all the heavy lifting, but it could give us all a dimension to work in and so avoid the proclivity to merely personal feeling. Some landscape architects feel that their personal views are the same as professional views, but they should not be. Landscape and visual impact issues are as important in a planning matter as society thinks: no more; no less. The professional view requires an understanding of the site but also an understanding of the societal context in which we are expected to work. There is no reference to NPPF in Ed3 because they were both being written at the same time and the writers of the latter were unaware of the content in the former. But I note with some satisfaction that paragraph 1.5 on Ed3 specifically refers to "planning policy guidance" as being part of the framework within which EIAs are written; and I take this to be a validation of my point. The easy hanging fruit would be to make explicit that NPPF applies to both EIA and non EIA LVIAs; and then to develop some Technical Notes on how that document affects what we do.
  21. Rebecca, Since tomorrow is 1st April, I write now to avoid April Foolishness. Your contribution to my exchange with a LI administrator (who was btw, civility and helpfulness itself) was on 21 March 2022. My reply was on 23 March. It is now 31 March and you have not replied to my last post and so I shall assume that I will not have a reply from you to the outstanding queries raised in that exchange. So, before anything else - and I am going to propose several points - can I ask from what book of good management did you come across the idea that the way to engage with adult men and women is to just ignore them? The site is LVIA; the string is about the elections; my requests have been about the fundamental facts that pertain to any election: who stood, who voted, how did they decide and who won. After a tedious exchange I know three of these facts. But even now, despite my request that someone approaches those who put their names forward, I do not know the names of the candidates or even whether you have asked if those who stood for the GLVIA panel in late 2021 are content to be known? If you have asked and they do not want to be named then please tell me and I will shut up. At present I do not know if you have even asked this. Meanwhile this election - and it does look like this is what is was - is short of natural justice. People should know who stood, who voted, how they formed their decision and who was elected. To obtain these simple facts has been like pulling teeth. I am a member of this Institute and I deprecate this costiveness with simple information about how that institute works. This is not a good way to encourage people who want to be engaged on a professional level with cardinal issues that go to the heart of a significant area of the work that we do. The profession I entered in the late 70s was the one that spoke of urban design, nature conservation gain, landscape and environmental assessment, landscape infrastructure, landscape and environmental planning and even project management; and it was the influence of pioneering landscape architects who forced the very distinction between a development masterplan and a landscape masterplan. We have lost a lot of this ground to other professions and have resiled from the larger issues and allowed other professions to cut away our skirts (that is a reference to a well know Punch cartoon in the 1900s - look it up), to the extent that we are being ignored in national debate on issues to do with the environment (natural and urban). One of the reasons why we have lost ground is that we are intellectually incurious. The effect of that has been to make us retreat to our fastnesses and that has made us small and look enamoured of an approach to our subject that is rule driven, judgemental, riddled with jargon and preposterous in its blanket conclusions to a degree that defies comprehension - all of which applies to how a larger part of the wider world sees GLVIA 3. I chose this profession, the 70s, as a student of history and so came from a discipline of words and thoughtful speculation. I will not ask that you name the last man or woman whose writing about landscape architecture punched its way into the contemporary design debate, but I'd bet a ton against a pony that you couldn't. That is because there has been no such person since the late 70s - early 80s. GLVIA 3 reveals all of this absence of deep thinking. It is held in contempt by too many thoughtful people involved in planning who see it as just another pointless hurdle to overcome. No one believes in the authority of our judgements on landscape and visual impact, though they do use our words to justify independently arrived at decisions. They think our absolute judgements on contingent matters to be something that they are obliged to pay heed to by planning law, but they then look to see who the client is, and discount our conclusions according to the planning weight. We are, intellectually, like Paris theologians, puritans, Cartesians or Marxists: sooner or later someone is going to reveal the truth against our nostrums. That is happening now with the planning switch to an emphasis on biodiversity and what that means. Ecology is important, of course, but it not more important than landscape: the two are sides of the same coin. But we are becoming side lined in national debate and that will continue for as long as refuse to step up to the plate with demonstrations that our discipline is cogent, comprehensible, authoritative and not simply something that can pimped out to one side or the other in a development argument. Tom
  22. Here's a reminder to track my Twitter feed for some key Jan-March releases from BSI. www.twitter.com/LI_Simono
  23. Dear Rebecca, Many thanks for your post. It was on 23d December last year that I asked the LI who stood, who voted and who won in the apparent elections for the GLVIA panel. I used the term vote because that was the term used in the email I received from the HEAD OF EDUCATION, STANDARDS AND ENGAGEMENT to announce the results of my application to join the panel following the invitation to members who were interested in the issue. When the information I asked about was not forthcoming, I added a further request about how the voting was decided, given that I did not know anyone on the panel, nor they me, nor was there anything like a hustings. It is now 23rd March 2022. It has taken three months to receive the basic information of who was elected, who voted and by what criteria this was this done; and even now, I do not know who stood. I have been told that this is information that cannot be given out without the consent of those who applied; but despite numerous requests, I still do not know whether you have contacted the GLVIA panel applicants to ask if they are content to be named. This seems like a slow way to respond to some reasonable questions put by a member of the Institute who cares about the matter at hand. It took four months to write the Constitution of the United States: that was done in the 18th century by hand written letters, meetings and coach post, and it involved 55 individuals who had to report to thirteen separate governances. But, and I am sure you must agree, the response to my requests has ben dismissive and this even when I asked informally and by private email correspondence. Why there should be this apparent reluctance to give information that is merited by simple notions of equity completely eludes me. After the last election to the GLVIA panel, the Institute quickly organised an on-line seminar of all the applicants (successful or otherwise) with the panel members to discuss issues of concern about LVIA, and obviously, in doing that, everyone was identified. Regarding your contribution to this exchange, thank you for setting out in your point 2 the criteria you used. Can I suggest that, in future, you set out what you want from applicants to this panel in some detail and, at least, include the bases you set out yesterday. If you are going to elect and not select members, you must make your judgements transparent. Otherwise you may give rise to accusations of operating selection by "confirmation bias". This undoubtedly is something I am sure you do not wish to do, but it is raised by your inclusion of the "ability to make a useful contribution to discussions" as one of the criterion - what on Earth does that mean given that we all write and speak English and live in the UK? That said, there is a whiff of something arbitrary in this process and joining the GLVIA panel seems more like joining an exclusive and rather small London club. I say this because, although you note in your first point that neither my (nor anyone's) information held from earlier applications was deliberately ignored in the assessment, you make clear in your subsequent clause that it was. Without meaning to be unkind, this kind of lack of clarity - doubtless unintended - can be found in GLVIA 3, and it is exactly the reason why I wish to join the panel. I shall continue in that aspiration because I work in this field, I am dismayed by the poor quality of the thinking behind too many LVIAs and I see the third edition of GLVIA as contributory. I can do no less. Regards, Tom
  24. Dear Tom As Chair of the GLVIA Panel I can answer a couple of your questions: 1. Information submitted with any previous applications was not ‘deliberately ignored’ – the Panel made the assessment based on the information submitted by candidates in response to the relevant advert, which asked for a CV and a personal statement. This information was supplied by all applicants. 2. The assessment, undertaken by Panel members, was based on the following: qualifications/ experience in (and range of) LVIA, knowledge of GLVIA3, ability to make a useful contribution to discussions, whether the applicant would contribute to a good geographic spread of representatives from across the UK, and whether they would bring a diversity of views to the group (taking into account the sectors/backgrounds/characteristics of existing panel members). The Panel aims to have a good balance of public and private sector reps. Each Panel member ranked candidates based on these criteria. Every single applicant could have brought valuable insights to the Panel, but there were only two places so the top scoring two candidates got those places. The Panel’s ToRs allow for corresponding members to be invited to contribute as and when the working group feel this to be appropriate, and we would like to be able to use the enthusiasm and expertise demonstrated by applicants to continue discussions and contribute to the work of the Panel.
  25. The LI is seeking members to join our CPD Panel and ensure our members' practice, knowledge, skills, and techniques are up to date. This voluntary position is a fantastic opportunity to boost your CV, give back to your Institute, and help shape the future of the profession. Read the full details and apply here
  26. Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are widely available and have a direct application to landscape, urban design, and planning. They provide innovative survey possibilities: operating in a ‘hover space’ between human scales of landscape observation and low-flying light aircraft, they can provide near-range visual information to complement other sensory data sets. UAVs are a powerful, cost-efficient tool for design, surveillance, and client and public consultation. This new technical information note helps landscape professionals understand the use of UAVs within landscape and systems, and the procurement of UAV services. Read more and download TIN 02/2022 here
  27. Hi Abi, Now I am confused. I thought you were going to ask the candidates whether they were content to be known? Are you now waiting for permission from someone before you ask these people if they can be named? Also, regarding the form above, are you telling me that the information I had previously sent to the panel, based upon a series of questions the panel sent out before the Covid epidemic, was deliberately ignored because I had not duplicated the form in my latest application? Does this also mean there was not a standard set of questions put to the candidates based upon this form? How on Earth did the members on the panel who voted then make a decision? I realise that you are a proxy in this and have to pass my queries on to others, so perhaps you could ask the head of the GLVIA panel to reply to my queries on this forum, directly? It is, after all, the place advocated by the Institute for such discussion. In the meantime, many thanks for your help in uncovering some of the information I requested. It must seem like a thankless job, but I appreciate your help. Regards, Tom
  28. Hi Tom I have not had any confirmation that I can sahre others information yet I'm afraid, though I will reply as soon as I have any news. As I mentioned previously, because this is a recruitment process rather than an election we haven't been able to share the details. I have also checked that the application you posted was the one that was assessed fore the position and it appears that the one above was from your previous application, not the latest one. The 2021 application from you included a CV and Personal Statement which is what the decision was based on, as with all the candidates who applied. Many thanks Abi
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