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Registration board acts onfees and premises problem . . .

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Architects' registration fees are to rise to £50 from the current £30, the arb decided at its meeting in Edinburgh last week. Further increases are likely, and the fee will now be subject to annual review. This is not least because of big problems with the lease on premises in Hallam Street behind the riba, which are no longer suitable for the new board. Inherited from the old registration council, the 350m2 of offices, including a flat now used for office purposes, have a restrictive 99-year lease which prevents the arb from sub-letting the accommodation.

Former riba president and arb deputy chair Owen Luder told aj that more space was needed, especially because of more frequent discipline cases, and the need for separate rooms for witnesses. Luder hopes it will be possible to negotiate a deal with the head leaseholders to vacate the premises, but this could be an expensive, if necessary, option.

The increase in registration fee will be the first since 1992. The board points out that the equivalent fee for other professions is significantly more. Vets pay £150, for example, dentists £90, doctors £80 and solicitors £440. arb chair Barbara Kelly said last week that recent litigation had 'highlighted the progress made by arb in its first year in terms of protecting the title architect. Protecting the consumer and safeguarding the reputation of architects is the objective of arb,' she said.

. . . and prepares ground for entry test review

The arb has endorsed draft proposals for the validation of architecture courses, drawn up by former riba president Frank Duffy, a board member. Under the proposals, working parties of arb and riba representatives would examine:

what might constitute a qualification for admission to the register

what might be a suitable course and examination in architecture for the riba

whether particular qualifications satisfy the needs of the eu Architects Directive

As the statutory body responsible for education, the arb must make unfettered decisions as to admissions to the register. On the other hand it has expressed no wish to overturn existing education systems provided the outcome at the end of Part III is competent professionals joining the register.

The working parties outlined above will be particularly interested in the riba education review being carried out by board member Sir Colin Stansfield Smith.

The Duffy proposals are now being sent to interested parties for consultation.

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