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Allford calls for ARB boycott in wake of proposed 20 per cent fee hike

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AHMM director blasts regulator while architecture minister Vaizey says abolishing the ARB ‘is not a decision I can make alone’

A mass resignation from the ARB register has been mooted in response to a 20 per cent retention fee hike, expected to be ratified today (20 September).

Simon Allford of triple Stirling Prize-shortlisted Allford Hall Monaghan Morris said he could ‘see no reason why we should pay anything, let alone more’, as it emerged the annual ARB fee was to increase from £80 to £98.50 amid cash crisis fears.

He said: ‘Perhaps now is the time for a mass resignation and the promotion of the RIBA, which at least has an interest in the culture of architecture. For those who worry about protection of title I would note that no client has ever enquired if I am registered with the ARB.’

However, newly re-appointed architecture minister Ed Vaizey, when reminded of his pledge in 2010 to abolish the ARB, told the AJ: ‘It’s something I need to look at again. It’s not a decision I can make alone.’

Further fee rises of £6.50 in 2014 and £50 in 2015 are also proposed. The retention fee remained at £86 between 2009 and 2010 before being reduced to £80 in 2011 and remaining at that level until now. The RIBA fees recently increased by 3.5 per cent to £383.

The board papers said: ‘Although ARB has held and then reduced the fee since 2009, this is not sustainable and it is now being increased to slightly under the level it would have been for 2013, had it kept up with inflation.’

Alfred Munkenbeck of Munkenbeck + Partners said: ‘[The ARB] has too many staff and overly plush offices. Consumers do not need £3 million a year of protection from potential rogues.’ Stanhope Gate, principal at Alireza Sagharchi, described the hike as a ‘modest increase’.


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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • John Kellett

    As an architect in the real world, 'resignation' from ARB would mean that I wouldn't be able to call myself a chartered architect and use the letters RIBA. Whereas if I resigned from the RIBA I could still call myself an architect. Do the Maths :-)

    There is no reason why the work of the ARB cannot be carried out by the RIBA.

    I'm not happy with the increase in registration fee, particularly since it appears that some of the fee goes to prosecuting those criminals who call themselves 'architects' illegally and who threaten my business. If the guilty paid rather than the innocent perhaps there could be a reduction in fee?

    Buildings should be required to be designed by those qualified to do so, as in most of the rest of the World, rather than open to all sorts of unqualified architectural 'consultants' and 'designers' who are damaging the profession by association.

    Protection of title does nothing to protect the public from self-appointed building designers, many of whom are too incompetent to realise the fact.

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