RIBA president-elect Paul Hyett today meets representatives of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to thrash out a deal that would allow architects with British or US qualifications to work in either country without hindrance.
The meeting in Denver, Colorado, is the latest development in Hyett's year-long campaign to obtain equal treatment for UK and US architects.
Hyett is 'appalled' by the prospect of Americans practising in this country with apparent impunity while British architects face formidable obstacles in order to work across the Atlantic.
No one can call themselves an architect in the UK unless they are registered with the Architects' Registration Board (ARB), but Hyett estimates that about 300 American architects are working in London without such registration.
'I'm a total free-trader, ' Hyett told the AJ. 'So I say of course Americans can come over here and practise, providing they have bothered to register with the ARB, which means recognizing American schools of architecture. But that means they have to recognize us in return.'
Hyett is meeting Ronald Skaggs, president of the AIA, and will press him on three points: that British practices ought to be able to open offices in the US;
that individuals with British qualifications should be able to set up practices in the States; and that people with British qualifications should be permitted to travel to the US and work without having to undergo a conversion course. 'I'm going to be looking for a constructive relationship with the AIA to find a way through these difficulties, ' said Hyett.
ARB chief executive Robin Vaughan agreed that ARB-registered (and therefore RIBA-qualified) architects ought to be able to work unhindered in America, but took issue with Hyett over the number of US architects working in the UK. 'We can't find these American architects misusing titles, ' he said. 'All we say is this - if you can find them, tell us and we will prosecute them.'
See Letters, page 14.