ARB kicks 2,000 architects off register for non-payment
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has removed 2,043 architects from its register for failing to pay their annual retention fees on time
According to the board, almost six per cent of the UK’s 34,000 registered architects did not manage to cough up the £105 fee before the 31 December 2013 deadline.
The number marks a 57 per cent rise on the 1,300 architects booted off in 2013, and is equivalent to almost half the architects employed by AJ100 practices.
Those wanting to be reinstated to the register will have to pay an ‘accurate and proportionate’ £65 administration charge to the board - together with the recently increased retention fee (see ARB confirms fee increase, AJ 18.09.13).
The ARB would net around £130,000 if all those who had been struck off rejoined the register and paid the additional administrative fee.
Karen Holmes, the ARB’s deputy registrar and head of registration, said: ‘The payment deadline and the reinstatement process are based on the principles of fairness to architects and clarity for consumers. The Act requires that the ARB maintains the Register of Architects. The online Register is searched, on average, over 500 times on a daily basis. Consequently, ensuring the Register is up-to-date is important for ensuring consumer confidence in this resource.
She added: ‘We’ve reduced the cost [to rejoin the register] again this year, due to the online facilities and streamlining of the back-office process.’
Holmes said the £65 charge was not more than the removal and reinstatement process’ acutal cost to ARB.
She continued: ‘The Board is committed to ensuring the reinstatement charge is accurate and proportionate. They are also committed to ensuring the additional work created by the removal and reinstatement process doesn’t place a burden on those who do pay on time.’
However architects, struck off for missing the deadline, have branded the ARB ‘mean and miserable. Maurice Rodger from Kilmarnock said: ‘After 40 years of carefully fulfilling my employers’ and clients’ architectural ambitions without resort to court or any disciplinary procedures, I woke this morning to find myself booted off the register by the bureaucrats at ARB. So endeth an unblemished career.’
He continued: ‘If your ARB fee is one day late, you are summarily booted out. The ultimate sanction is no grace period and no appeal procedure - its the steppes of Siberia for you. But, if you admit to everything (except your leg length) and give us an extra £65 for ‘authorised’ fees, we will (possibly) let you back onto the Register.’
He added: ‘The board, like its predecessor is an aberration. It is a mean and miserable quango - with disciplinary teeth and bovver boots.’
Former ARB president Jack Pringle added: ‘Why does it cost any more to reinstate than to renew? Isn’t it just a tick in an electronic box?’
Fran Balaam of Pie Architecture, said: ‘The £65 charge is ridiculous. And for what? It’s costing more [to be reinstated] than when I joined first time.
‘I’m on maternity leave and so remembering my retention fee was due was not high on my agenda. I explained this when I called, but to no avail.’