At Purcell, corporate social responsibility is about managing the economic, social and environmental impacts of our activities in a way that enhances their positive effects and minimises their negative. In order to do this, we need to successfully balance the interests of our various stakeholders through the quality of the judgements that we make. An open and effective relationship with our stakeholders, based on mutual trust, is fundamental to our day-to-day business success, and to protecting and enhancing its value into the future so that we can deliver our overall Practice aims:
Purcell is one of the world’s leading design practices, proudly creating sustainable places for tomorrow. For over 70 years, we have championed sustainability in our role as heritage leaders, be it environmental, social or economic sustainability – or all of these. Inefficiency and waste is an anathema to all we do. Today we maintain this commitment in all projects, and in the way we run our own business, achieving our 2020 Carbon reduction programme in line with the Kyoto Agreement four years ahead of schedule. Download our Operational Carbon Footprint Report here.
We have achieved BREEAM Outstanding and Excellent rated projects in the most sensitive of historic settings, and design new buildings that we hope will become enduring, loved and protected structures of the future. We understand that how we repair, repurpose and build today will improve the quality of life of people in these locations for generations to come.
Striving for minimal impact, we aim to deliver projects that offer energy efficient solutions, are built using locally or sustainably sourced materials and implement environmental systems that can deliver realistic payback. Our commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System accreditation and through the active input of our Sustainability Support Group to implementing environmental standards and values to our projects.
Purcell recently joined other leading practices in signing up to the Architects Declare initiative, to call for a declaration of a state of emergency with respect to the world’s climate and biodiversity. The manifesto will seek to raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst clients and supply chains.
Our people are integral to our success. We are committed to their continuous improvement to ensure that we always make the most of what they have to offer and ultimately, that they feel happy, safe and engaged. We work as one family of many experts: Architects, Designers, Heritage Consultants and Specialist Consultants.
We expect all of our partners and employees to apply the following corporate values:
- Treat colleagues fairly, equitably and with respect.
- Operate ethically and with integrity at all times.
- Keep within the law and observe standards of human rights.
- Protect the environment for future generations through all personal and professional activities.
- Be a responsible neighbour in the community.
As a professional services business, our work can only be as good as the combined knowledge and skills of our staff and hence the continued enhancement of these skills is essential. Our practices in this respect include continuing professional development and on-going assessment and skills planning for all employees. We encourage a minimum of 35 hours continuous professional development (CPD) per year, including technical skills, leadership training, mentoring or specialised courses.
For a week in May last year, Purcell people from all regions and job roles gathered in Manchester for Purcell’s RIBA-recognised Conservation School. The exciting opportunity offered training on the conservation of historic buildings and visits to some Purcell architecture projects.
The Conservation School was held in Manchester Town Hall, a current project which the Purcell Manchester studio is working on. Sessions explored various themes including conservation
approaches, historic building materials and contextual design development.
A mixture of theory and practice, the full programme of lectures and seminars ranged from topics as diverse as how to assess a buildings historic significance right through to a practical demonstration of hot lime. Internal Purcell expertise was supplemented with external speakers who provided the content of the 5 day long course. Watch the video below to find out more:
At Purcell, we are committed to supporting a change in attitude and understanding towards mental health. We have set up a network of champions across our practice, known as the “Purcell Pals”, who support and encourage good mental health and wellbeing within the workplace. We recently signed an employer pledge with Time to Change, the growing social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness which supports people to open up to mental health problems. By signing, Purcell is committing to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.
Purcell Voice is a group of employees who communicate on behalf of the company’s wider staff with the board. The group is formed of volunteers representing as far as possible all roles, regions, levels of seniority and working arrangements within the practice. The group listen to the aspirations,
opinions, thoughts and suggestions of all employees on practice-wide issues; discuss employee feedback to identify common issues, potential solutions and need for change and engage with employees and the Board to assist and influence decision-making. See video below:
We aim to practice “Responsible Architecture”, recognising our role in the community and finding ways to support and give back to the communities in which we work.
National representation through local design studios is a core element of our strategy for providing our services. We believe that our clients’ needs are best served through having a network of smaller sized local offices with the resultant benefits of employment and skills creation in each location. Most aspects of our work have some element of community involvement as the buildings that we work on have their place in the community and involvement in local consultations is often an element of such work.
Charity & Fundraising
CRASH Christmas Appeal
For the past 10 years, we have been supporting the construction industry charity’s Christmas appeal. CRASH make a lasting difference to the lives of people who are homeless or need end of life care in a hospice.
Superhero Walk for Robin Cancer Trust
Staff from the Colchester studio and their families attended a sponsored superhero walk for a local charity, The Robin Cancer Trust. Along with 100 others, Purcell’s caped crusaders walked, ran and wheeled their way around a 1km course, held at the University of Essex’s main campus. The event, which was sponsored by Purcell, raised thousands of pounds for the important cause.
We have been working with apprentices as part of the M Futures programme, led by Manchester City Council. The scheme has given young people the opportunity to gain a Construction and Building Services Management Level 4 NVQ and a HNC qualification, while acquiring invaluable industry experience. Purcell, along with other companies working on the Our Town Hall project, have offered apprentices the chance to develop their skills in an exciting architectural environment.
As part of the 'Our Town Hall' project in Manchester, we are involved in ongoing engagement with Manchester School of Architecture. We recently held an event with Manchester City Council, where roughly 180 students enjoyed a half-day visit to the Manchester Town Hall project, including a short talk by Senior Architect Helen Walker, a tour of the building and sketching session.
Open Doors Day
As part of Open Doors weekend, our Bristol studio opened to the public with tours of the Old Police Station happening hourly between 10am and 4pm. An estimated 150+ people passed through the studio over the 6 hour time frame, with a number of them having frequented the building when it was operating as an actual police station. Teaming up with our office neighbours, architectural visualisation company Preconstruct, it was a unique opportunity to engage with the local community and swap stories of the local area and showcase our surrounding projects.