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Last chance to fill out the survey: Should the title of architect be protected?

  • 19 Comments

As the government begins its three yearly review of the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and its role, we want to know what’s most important to you in terms of protection of title and function

At the end of last year RIBA council reaffirmed its commitment to abolish the register and take over the statutory maintenance of architects’ title.

The institute intends to push ministers for the abolition of the board as part of the government’s triennial review of the quango’s functions later this month.

Whether you are an architect, an architectural technician, a student or working within the profession, we want to hear your views.

Is the current regulatory set up value for money? Should the title of architect be protected? Should the ARB really be abolished?

  • 19 Comments

Readers' comments (19)

  • The title must be protected, it is a right and a duty. Architecture is not engineering. Besides too many people like to pretend they are architects with dreadful results. It is time we fight for our rights, it is time to fight for architecture, it is time to fight for culture. Architecture is what is left when time passes by. Can you imagine London without the Mall?

    Eugenio Aguinaga
    Architect
    Madrid

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  • Architect title should be protected - but still many clients and often many other members of the construction profession still do not understand or realise the difference - especially for smaller projects such as domestic work, one off houses, extensions etc so this message should be made clearer. In terms of the regulatory body who performs this - maybe it should be driven by the RIBA now.

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  • "Architecture is not engineering."

    There's no need to be rude about others' professions. Particularly one much more difficult than your own.

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  • Paul McGrath

    My view is the role should have 'protection' through educational standards and understandable measures of competency. It is unacceptable that untrained, uneducated people can be regarded by uninformed clients as being similar to highly educated and skilled 'architects'. It is that association which will always threaten to devalue the profession.

    As a Part 2, I am in favour of a system of voluntary registration for all those who practice architecture and have an architectural education. (For example for Part 2's working in offices.) The legal protection of the title of architect however, means little to the wider public and some clients but the role of the architect is still highly respected.

    To my way of thinking, professional credibility has nothing to do with legally enforced titles.

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  • J Burden

    The title should be protected even if it is difficult to protect the function, after all we don't have a monopoly on creativity or technical know-how.

    There is confusing culture difference between the ARB and RIBA and they need to work with each other if they want to help both Architects and Clients by setting out the value of using an Architect.

    The ARB website is clear and public friendly with helpful links to find an architect and complaints procedures. However, it's a bit like a 'Trust a trader' type website, I don't think design is even mentioned. As design is our key skill this is a big oversight.

    The RIBA website is more design orientated and is aimed at Architects themselves, showcasing exhibitions and reports. Personally, I find the small white on black script at the top hard to read and a Client would need to do some navigating to get the information they might be looking for in regard to how and why they should hire and Architect. (When they get there, the guides are very good!).

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  • ...using the title of architect to sell professional services should be legally framed and regulated.
    However, the right to use the word architect attached to one's name as a title gained studying and legitimised working as a professional in a different country should also be granted. One should have the right to be called architect even when one is not legally allowed to sell professional services that are limited by the UK law. The way in which sometimes the RIBA or the ARB approach the title looks as if somehow a word could have been privatised.
    Also, architecture is older than architects. Certain forms of adapting, extending and self building, among others, could be allowed as a right to make one's place in the world. In particular when access to affordable architecture is sometimes impossible for people economically challenged.
    Controversial I know...

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  • There needs to be much more work done to inform clients of what an Architect actually is/does. Too many members of the public only see us as artists and not as the professionals who should be guiding clients and others through the process of a projects procurement.
    There has to be a middle ground that protects function by promoting the profession and what it can achieve.
    The ARB doesn't seem to have any real ability to promote, only to punish. The RIBA probably has the standing with the public but I think it needs to be a very different organisation to achieve what the profession needs if it is to essentially take over running it.

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  • ...using the title of architect to sell professional services should be legally framed and regulated.
    However, the right to use the word architect attached to one's name as a title gained studying and legitimised working as a professional in a different country should also be granted. One should have the right to be called architect even when one is not legally allowed to sell professional services that are limited by the UK law. The way in which sometimes the RIBA or the ARB approach the title looks as if somehow a word could have been privatised.
    Also, architecture is older than architects. Certain forms of adapting, extending and self building, among others, could be allowed as a right to make one's place in the world. In particular when access to affordable architecture is sometimes impossible for people economically challenged.
    Controversial I know...

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  • The title Architect is and should be legally protected, as it confirms that the user has gone through the full RIBA training to get it. But as anyone can design and build buildings all that the ARB can do is protect the word. I have never understood why the RIBA cannot absorb the ARB - there must be financial savings as well as the advantage that they could work together to promote architecture.

    J. Burden is spot on in her observation that the RIBA website is not user friendly. The tiny print and institutional image would not make a potential client excited about finding an architect - what are they thinking of? Of course, it is the professional clients who know already, not the small member of the public looking for someone to design their office or home. The opening page should make it clear what we do that is unique - the first lesson in selling anything…

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  • I know of at least one person who didn't go through the training, didn't belong to a professional body, did very much his own thing, never took a professional qualification and yet had a highly successful career.

    His name: Carlo Scarpa.

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