The ARB is currently balloting architects to vote for candidates for the board. The number of architects who vote is usually small, probably because the role of the ARB has always seemed rather vague, with very little apparent impact on the dayto- day (or year-to-year) activities of the normal architect's practice.
The marketplace does not resonate to the sound of the ARB's code of practice being championed.
The ARB defines its role as 'protecting the consumer and safeguarding the reputation of the architects'. This seems generally to divide down into three functions: dealing with complaints and misdemeanours;
ensuring architects have the appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover; and supporting good standards of education.
Complaints and misdemeanours are the more newsworthy, but they affect a tiny percentage of the profession. Professional indemnity cover is a necessity, although many of us would argue the cover being required by some clients is now ridiculously expensive.
The education of future architects is vital, although there appears a wide variation in attitudes about what schools of architecture should attempt to deliver.
A priority for the ARB must be to work with the RIBA and SCHOSA to deliver students who are able to practise as architects. On this subject I was interested to see that, if elected, Don Gray would be the first head of a school of architecture to be represented on the board.
In the circumstances, this would seem a reasonable basis for our support.
Charles Thomson, Rivington Street Studio, London EC2