Relations between the riba and the Architects Registration Board have turned frosty following an initiative by the board to take more control over architectural education. The aj understands that counsel's opinion, obtained by the board, suggests that joint validation of education courses by arb and the riba is not legally valid. The implication is that the riba has no statutory right to determine who should enter the profession on the basis of its examination system.
This has gone down like a lead balloon at Portland Place, which is itself conducting an extensive review of the whole architectural education system under the chairmanship of Sir Colin Stansfield Smith. There is also alarm over arb plans to appoint an education officer. 'It is just like the old registration council with too much bureaucracy and replication,' said one insider.
The arb code of conduct which landed on desks last week has outraged some members of the profession, who see clauses within it as breaches of the entire legal system (see Paul Hyett, page 26). As reported in the aj (13.11.97), the conduct code places an obligation on architects to report fellow professionals to the board if there is a 'serious falling short' of standards laid down in the code, though what this means is not defined.
The board, which has a majority of lay representatives, argues that its statutory duty is to protect the consumer interest (which critics say simply means those who pay fees rather than the public). This sits oddly with the board's refusal to allow the press to attend and report its meetings.