In December 2020, the National Institute of Building Services (NIBS) held a social equity roundtable with over two dozen organizations representing the built environment. This conversation resulted in a recommendation to advance the work on this issue, including obtaining consistent research from across the many sectors of the built environment. NIBS partnered with Avenue M to conduct a comprehensive research study aimed at collecting critical data on the workforce of the built environment for the purpose of informing future initiatives on social equity.



Metrics for measuring diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) within associations vary based on the specific industry and the purpose of the initiative. To meet those complex and differing needs, Avenue M developed a survey for the 16 associations that participated in the study. 

NIBS partnered with Avenue M to conduct a comprehensive research study aimed at collecting critical data on the workforce of the built environment to better inform future initiatives on social equity. Approximately 350,000 email invitations were distributed, which led to the collection of 12,000 responses.

The following professional associations (ordered alphabetically) responded to an invitation to participate as a partnering organization and to send the survey to at least a sample of their U.S. contacts in the built environment:

1. American Institute of Architects (AIA)

2. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)


4. Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA International)

5. Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)

6. Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)

7. Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA)

8. Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA)

9. Green Building Initiative (GBI)

10. Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®)

11. International Code Council (ICC)

12. International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC)

13. New Buildings Institute (NBI)

14. Regional Hispanic Contractors Association (RHCA)

15. RMC Research & Education Foundation

16. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)


“Achieving racial equity in the workplace is certain to be one of the most important issues companies will tackle in the coming decade, making it one of many ‘disruptors’ for DBIA, our members and our industry. Business as usual is not an option. Research like this NIBS survey provides the data we need to make informed decisions as we plot a social equity course providing fair and equal treatment regardless of our differences.”  — Lisa Washington, CAE, DBIA Executive Director/CEO

At my previous organization, when we needed a partner to manage a significant DEIA study with 16 societies in the built environment, we turned to Avenue M Group. They provided us with baseline data that was an important first step to help make positive change in our workforce and culture within the industry. Avenue M’s collaborative approach, streamlined tools and frequent communications ensured we were able to achieve our goals in a timely manner.

Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, CEO, American Institute of Architects