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RIBA and ARB agree to clarify suffixes with new guidance

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riba council

The RIBA is to draft a new guide for the ARB and for institute members in an attempt to clarify the suffix situation, post-Baden Hellard.

After a 'cooperative and friendly' meeting last Tuesday between ARB registrar Andrew Finch, chair Barbara Kelly, RIBA president David Rock and institute director general Alex Reid, Rock told council that there was 'good news' on four different issues - PII (see box), education, the code and Baden Hellard.

He said the Baden Hellard advisory note - which Rock said he will draft - will be sent out based on a 'commonsense view of the Baden Hellard result'. It has been provisionally agreed, Rock said, that both retired members and Honorary Fellows will be able to use the initials, as well as people in businesses or practices unrelated to architecture - such as dentists or vicars. The use of DipArch is less clear, however. Rock said examples of people in related fields could be listed in the note, which an ARB spokeswoman said would take around two weeks to get out.

For its part the ARB is sending out letters to the profession updating them on the situation and advising that the 'majority of RIBA members' will not be affected by the Baden Hellard decision.

'The ARB aims to protect the consumer and safeguard the reputation and status of the profession and the decision to appeal this case demonstrates the ARB's commitment to these objectives', the letter reads.

On the subject of the code of conduct, Rock said that the ARB had conceded that the code 'needs revising' and had started the consultation process.

On education, Rock said there was 'very good news', as SCHOSA had said that there would be 'minimal changes made to the examining situation' - the joint validation panel continues but reporting to an ARB qualifications committee.

And on professional indemnity insurance, Rock said the RIBA had made 'strong representations' about the level of insurance cover ARB wants from architects, resulting in ARB backing down on its demands.


The ARB's guidelines state that minimum PII cover should be £50,000 excluding legal costs for those with a fee income of up to £10,000 per annum £100,000 excluding legal costs for practices earning fees up to £50,000 per annum £250,000 excluding legal costs for those earning fees between £50,000 and £100,000 pa £500,000 excluding legal costs for those earning fees over £100,000 pa

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