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Chinese recognition stumbles on ARB check

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Your report on an emerging mutual recognition pact between the Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) and the Chinese government (AJ 26.6.03) indicates that 'British architects will be allowed to work freely in China without having to work in collaboration with local practices' and 'will be reciprocated, allowing Chinesequalified architects to pick up jobs in Britain'.

Is there not a wee snag here, in the shape of the Architects Registration Board?

Outrageously, in my opinion, the ARB declines to accept even the qualifications of the many schools outside the UK whose courses and examinations are directly inspected and recognised by the RIBA.

The latest case coming to my attention is of an individual who proceeded via a UK Part 2 and 3 to postgraduate level and employment in practice here, but who was required to assemble Part 1 material for assessment by the ARB at a cost of more than £300, having passed that examination over a decade ago at a school abroad which has long been part of the RIBA system.

The inference is surely that any architect who has qualified in China would face having to produce student work and paying for assessment by the ARB at all relevant levels before being able to practise here independently.

If not, there must be a human rights case to mount on behalf of those with RIBA-recognised qualifications gained outside the UK. (Let us not dwell on the fact that the ARB must accept with no inspection those individuals with academic diplomas, etc, notified by EU member states, and without Part 3. ) Peter Gibbs-Kennet, Bisley, Gloucestershire

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