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RIBA needs to be decisive for once

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Have I got this right?

1. The RIBA tried to present a case in court at 40 minutes' notice to defend one Baden Hellard against an action brought by ARB because he was not registered with ARB as an architect.

2. Although using the letters FRIBA, in the course of work as an arbitrator, Baden Hellard was, according to Nickolls (letter AJ 12.3.98), not either a currently subscribing RIBA member.

3. At the time of the introduction of the 'one-class' membership although most of us acquired, reluctantly, the curious RIBA suffix, some it now seems retained their 'A' and their 'F'. Can I revert to my 'A'?

4. My assumption, that to call myself an architect my continued membership of RIBA and registration with ARB are required, appears to have been confirmed by the RIBA instruction to all non-registered members to register with ARB. The converse therefore also appears to be obvious: that if one does not pay the membership subscription, one cannot use the letters RIBA, although one can of course be a member of ARB, with the appropriate qualifications, as many unattached architects have done for many years.

As various of your correspondents have pointed out, there are many ramifications which now require clarification, mostly by the RIBA which has over a long period brought indecisiveness over a range of issues to an art form.

The ARB decision seems entirely logical, and for reasons which Nickolls has clearly stated, so maybe it will sharpen its focus. The illogicality of introducing the one-type membership is now apparent, especially if, as some want, there is to be diversification. Designating retired members and those not actually engaged in building could clarify one of the issues for the public.

BARRY RUSSELL Chichester, Sussex

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