Massive surge in complaints over phoney architects
The ARB has seen an 85 per cent boom in the number of complaints about people pretending to be architects
The architectural profession’s regulator started 276 separate investigations into alleged misuse of title in the nine months to September alone.
The figure is 85 per cent above the same period last year and has cost the organisation £23,000 more than it planned to spend protecting the title.
General complaints against architects have also continued to rise suggesting a worrying trend of consumer dissatisfaction.
A ‘significant increase’ in costs relating to misuse of title and complaints referred to the Professional Conduct Committee saw the board increase architects’ annual retention fee by 23 per cent in September.
At a board meeting this week the organisation admitted to taking on additional ‘temporary assistance’ to help deal with the torrent of allegations.
ARB registrar Alison Carr warned: ‘We will continue to use temporary assistance for a six month period but next year we will need to think longer term about the increasing impact it could have on our resources.’
Since September, the organisation has reined in its forecasted end of year deficit from £476,000 to £363,000. This was in part due to an unexpected additional income of £37,000 from applications and examinations.
ARB staff have also been warned to avoid speaking to the press after the organisation apologised for reproaching media for describing two practitioners not registered in the UK, Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind, as architects.
The board papers said: ‘The email did not help achieve ARB’s aims of raising awareness and a statement was issued which apologised for the email.’ ARB received five complaints and one architect also resigned from its register following the incident.
Carr said the board would discuss a strategy to ‘engage the press so they reflect the UK legislation’ in February.
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