I have a regular subscription to the aj and have recently removed my name from the arb Register, as I do not wish to undertake professional liability insurance which is now a condition of being registered, but I intend to remain a member (formerly an associate) of the riba. I have also given up referring to myself as an architect. My occupation before retirement in 1988 was as a senior lecturer at Newcastle Polytechnic, teaching construction.
I am writing with regard to Sue Lindsey's article (aj 11.2.99), to query her statement that 'the present arrangements distinguish merely between those who pay to retain their name on the register and those who do not - to allow those who no longer wish to hold themselves out as practising to remove their name from the register would be a potential benefit to the public'.
Having discussed my personal situation with the riba, by telephone, at the time when the £50 annual premium was superseded by the £140pa premium, I cannot see what is to prevent any architect from writing to the arb to retire from the register and to pay no further fee to it. This is provided for in Section 3 (3) of the Architects Act 1997. One can continue to be a corporate member of the riba and to use the affix, provided one does not undertake any architectural work or other activities which the arb includes as allied to it.
The problem is, I suggest, not in the passage I have quoted above, but in the need for an affix which clearly distinguishes between a person, qualified as an architect, who remains on the arb register and is able and willing to practise as such, as complies with the requirements for professional liability insurance, cpd, etc, laid down by the arb, and one who has retired from the profession, as actively pursued, or has moved on to other activities, eg become a lawyer. Here I entirely agree with Sue Lindsey that a designation 'riba np' - presumably indicating 'non- practising' - or, putting it the other way round, 'riba pa' - indicating a 'practising associate' - is the answer.
G J Fisher, riba (retired)
Shotley Bridge, Co Durham