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Registration fee isout of control

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Having never completed Part III, I do not suffer the disadvantage of being subjected to a compulsory tax over which I have no say - ie, the fee levied by the Architects Registration Board (aj 30.4.98). It used to be said that there was no taxation without representation; even if you accept that the architectural profession does have representatives on the arb ruling council, they are not in the majority. What is to stop the board from pushing up the fee until it resembles the sort of sum paid by solicitors, for example? Why is this fee not capped? Who is responsible?

The other reason I am now grateful for a career in the design profession rather than architecture (apart from the money) is the way in which architects are being treated like pariahs by their own registration board. And what is more, pariahs who are supposed to ring up the board if they notice a colleague has made a professional error. This is a quick way to 'criminalise' increasing numbers of architects, because every time an error is made, it means that at least one other person should have spotted it, and therefore reported the culprit to the arb. Or else they did not spot it, and presumably should turn themselves in.

What a way to run a railroad, especially one where, as you reported recently, the 93,000 complaints over building work in the last recorded year were all complaints against builders!

ANDY BELL

Northampton

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