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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.’








Readers' comments (10)

  • A £65 levy on those not paying close attention is hardly surprising from ARB. I joined the register this year and was charged £85 for 35 days registration. Someone is doing well out of all this, and I doubt it is the architects.

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  • I have probably paid by DD for 30 years , this year
    computer says "No"!!!
    I was sent a reminder on Dec 31st,whilst I was climbing in the Anti-Atlas mountains. Our office manager is currently having to prove this was paid quite some time ago.
    For an organisation already low on popularity, and of dubious benefit, a strange move. Karen Holmes should be removed not 6% of the profession !

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  • The 6% should enjoy their freedom while it lasts.

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  • If I'm not mistaken, ARB - without any pre-announcement that I am aware of - arbitrarily moved the registration date forward by a month (it used to be the end of January each year) so it's little wonder such a high number of architects have found themselves caught out. Quite apart from banking the registration fees a month earlier than usual, the £65 penalty to re-register does not suggest a proportionate charge - it indicates ARB's cost structure is way out of line and needs to be reined in. High time to move this organisation - if it is needed at all - out of its expensive central London eyrie.

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  • I don't mind paying an increase in my retention fee but one does question where this money is being spent. How does an organisation such as this spend nearly £1 million pounds on IT charges in 3 years? I hope it was justified!

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  • Since not renewing ARB in 2005 and leaving the RIBA after 25 years, business has massively improved. I may not call myself Architect but as the public and industry perception of Architects has been poor for some time I am unwilling to rejoin the formal ranks. I still operate as if registered and chartered in terms of conduct and professionalism and maintain full PI. The 'freedom' is not an operational one but a perceptional one for clients who now receive services from me far outside the scope of what Architects are perceived to provide. Perhaps some of the 2000 will follow suit and abandon ship?

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  • If one is removed from the ARB register but continues to remain a Chartered Member of the RIBA, can that person retain his / her title of 'Architect', let alone 'Chartered Architect'?

    And with the recent state of disarray in the profession; the RIBA membership shake-up, the prospective obliteration of the Part 3 qualification, the impending and mutual exchange of architects in the European Union possibly and eventually practicing in the UK...would anyone here consider having to combine both the ARB and the RIBA into a single, and perhaps a more robust and resilient entity?

    A hybrid organisation set up to regulate the profession and maintain the register while promoting architecture all at the same time, and retention fee plus professional association membership all rolled into one. Why not.

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  • I'd just like to point out to Architecture that you've just failed your part III exam, fallen at the first hurdle, do not pass go, do not collect £100...

    'Architect' is a legally protected title and you can only call yourself so by being registered with the ARB. If you're off the list you lose the title!

    That said I agree with your comments on rolling the two together. Why not have one one focused body that protects the profession and promotes it with one code of conduct to ensure we all tow the line... I'd'd pay for that.

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  • francesco pacitto

    In keeping with their current spirit I expect ARB will now be prosecuting the bulk of the 2000 ex-architects who are probably continuing to use the title Architect whilst trying to re-register.

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  • The Architects' Act 1997 provides that where a registered architect has not paid the retention fee by the end of a prescribed period the Registrar may remove the architect from the register and may charge a fee for re-instatement.

    ARB is, in fact charging two fees for re-instatement - a £35 'application fee' and a £30 re-instatement fee. The Act makes it clear that asking to be re-instated does not constitute an 'application' under the Act, so it seems clear that the £35 fee is ultra vires.

    Since the retention fee for any particular year can not fall due before the 1 January it follows that the 'prescribed period' cannot start before the 1 January. By insisting on payment by midnight on the 31 December the ARB has set the prescribed period at zero. That cannot be lawful .

    I received the removal e-mail on the 6 Jan and immediately paid the retention fee and the penalties under protest and wrote to the Registrar setting out the above points.

    By the 14 January I had received no answer, other than a letter dated 9 January confirming my removal, and my name is still not back on the register.

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