The Architects’ Registration Board (ARB) has voted to keep its annual retention fee for 2010 at £86
Following years of hikes, which has seen the annual fee balloon from £70 in 2004, the board decided not to raise its yearly charge. Instead, it has vowed to cut its own costs and ‘implement a number of efficiency savings’ by ‘streamlining both the Board’s own processes and its committee structure, as well as making greater use of email communications.’
ARB chair Beatrice Fraenkel said: ‘We all recognise the financial pressures architects are under in the current climate, and we took the view that we must try and avoid further financial burdens on the profession at the moment.’
She added: ‘We are delighted we have been able to hold the retention fee for 2010 without compromising our functions under the Architects Act, but we are also aware we have to ensure we have sufficient financial resources in place in 2011 and beyond so we can continue to deliver our statutory responsibilities.’
However, long-term ARB critic Ian Salisbury believes the board has only been able to freeze the fee due to its cash store. He said: ‘The Board has been able to freeze the retention fee due to the high level of its reserves. Now is the time, however, not for a freeze but for the Board to return its non-statutory functions to the RIBA and to halve the retention fee.’
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the number of resignations from the ARB register rose to 719 in 2008, an increase of 290 on the previous year.
A spokesman for the board said: ‘While the increased number of resignations this year may be seen as a direct result of the current economic climate, it is more likely… many resigned because they were already retired and wished to avoid paying an £8 increase in the ARB retention fee for 2009.’
At the end of July 2009 the number of architects on the register stood at 33,260, a rise of 547 since the end of 2008.