Last edited 28 Oct 2020


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In the built environment, the term ‘practice’ can mean a number of different things depending on the context.

The term 'professional practice' refers to the conduct and work of someone from a particular profession. Practitioners are often professionally-qualified people selling services to clients. This may be, for example, an architect, an engineer, a surveyor and so on. Standards of professional practice may be prescribed by professional bodies such as the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Building, and so on. Codes of Practice (CoP) may provide guidance about how professionals are expected to perform under particular circumstances.

Certain standards of professional practice may also be expected by law or by contractual obligations, such as a duty of care, duty to warn, reasonable skill and care, and so on.

The term ‘practice’ can also refer to a business that provides specific services to clients, such as an architectural practice. The term ‘chartered practice’ is legally protected and designated by professional institutions such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). This means that only architectural practices that are accredited by the RIBA can use the labelRIBA Chartered Practice’, use the logo, and include or display certification in proposals, bids or offices.

The term ‘practice’ can also be used in the context of ‘best practice’, ‘good practice’, ‘bad practice’, and so on. This refers to the method or technique by which an activity is carried out and relates to certain standards that have been established in terms of quality, ethics, regulations, benchmarking, and so on.

The term ‘collaborative practice’ refers to the way in which certain activities, procedures and project management are undertaken collaboratively.

Designing Buildings Wiki has a range of articles relating to ‘practice’, including:

The term can also relate to the process of learning, for example, a music school may contain practice rooms.

NB: In British English, 'practise' is a verb whilst 'practice' is a noun. In American English, 'practice' a noun and verb.

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