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ARB fee set to skyrocket 20% over cash crisis fears

The ARB annual retention fee is set to increase from £80 to £98.50

The sharp climb comes as the statutory regulator fears it will breach its minimum reserve limits at some point this year.

Equivalent to 38 pence per week, the increase would see architects paying £18.50 more to remain on the register in 2013.  

Further fee increases of £6.50 in 2014 and £5.00 in 2015 are also proposed although the board will only be able to approve these hikes in later meetings.

Board papers have blamed the anticipated cash reserves breach on a ‘significant increase’ in costs relating to misuse of title and complaints referred to the Professional Conduct Committee. They also point to ‘significant’ increases in external costs including VAT, rates and workload in key areas during 2012.

Although ARB has successfully held and then reduced the fee since 2009, this is no longer sustainable

The ARB is unable to borrow money and must hold at least four months’ budgeted expenditure in reserves alongside wind-up costs.

The ARB retention fee remained at £86 between 2009 and 2010 before being reduced to £80 in 2011 and remaining at that level to the present.

Increases to application, readmission and exam fees have also been proposed in an attempt to cover the costs of routes to registration.  

The cost of readmission to the register after resignation for less than two years will increase by £20 while resignations for more than two years will increase £40.

Joining the register for the first time within two years of passing the part three will cost an additional £20 and additional £40 for those who passed the exam more than two years ago.

The cost of the prescribed examination is also set to increase from £1,390 to £1,671. The ARB board will vote on whether to adopt all the changes at a meeting on Thursday next week.

The board papers said: ‘The current position was in part anticipated when the fee was set for 2012 in that ARB would no longer be able to subsidise the retention fee and fund one off costs from reserves in 2013 and would need to substantially increase the fee. This was referred to in the Board’s press release announcing the 2012 fee.’

They papers also said: ‘Although ARB has successfully held and then reduced the fee since 2009, this is no longer sustainable and the fee is now being increased to slightly under the level it would have been for 2013, had the fee kept pace with inflation.

‘Although we understand the financial pressures faced by many architects, which is why architects have had the benefit of the lower fee for the last few years, we can no longer absorb the increase in costs that many similar organisations are facing, together with an increased workload.’

Meanhwile staff salaries at the organisation will increase by one per cent next year, ending a two year pay freeze. There are no plans to relocate the ARB from its Fitzrovia premises which currently cost £32.50 per square foot.

 

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