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Regulated chaos

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What is going on in the world of architectural regulation? Those who imagined that the Architects Registration Board would be a de minimis body going about its business of keeping a list, ticking off the naughty and prosecuting the odd people who think masquerading as an architect will be to their advantage, were gravely mistaken. The board includes four former RIBA presidents (Messrs Luder, Goldschmied, Duffy and Rolland) who, apparently, have little regard for their old institute.

This is particularly the case in respect of education and how schools are validated. ARBwatchers may recall that one of its loony 'initiatives'was to pay its representatives on joint visiting boards, while RIBA representatives did the job unpaid because their institute asked them to. That is now all over, because the ARB is not interested in 'irrelevant' visiting boards anymore, which it is now leaving to the RIBA. Instead, it is planning to demand reams of paperwork from the schools, apparently including confidential reports made by external examiners, which have previously been the province of the university to which the school belongs. The board is thus managing to antagonise the following: the RIBA, which is being treated as a nuisance; heads of schools of architecture, whose efforts to maintain peace between ARB and the RIBA have come to nothing;

and universities (and their vicechancellors), whose academic respectability is being questioned by a bunch of unaccountable quangocrats in Hallam Street.

Architects keep paying through the nose, of course. Deregulation must be back on the agenda.

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