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RIBA regional reprimand on registration wrong

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You reported (AJ 11.1.01) assertions by Yasmin Shariff, RIBA regional chairman for Eastern region that, by being a RIBA corporate member without yet being registered with the Architects Registration Board, I had breached RIBA and ARB rules.

Yasmin Shariff had no basis for these allegations, and I am pleased to say that I have today received a letter from RIBA Eastern region withdrawing them.

Firstly, registration with ARB is not a requirement in order to become or remain a UK corporate member of the RIBA. This has been confirmed to me in writing by both the honorary secretary and the chief executive of the RIBA. Secondly, the ARB does not require all UK corporate members of the RIBA to register with ARB. The requirement applies only to those who use the title architect (or the suffix RIBA) as part of the name, style or title under which they practise. I have taken care not to do this until such time as my application for registration is processed.

I should explain that although I obtained my Parts 1 and 2 more than 30 years ago, I only sat and obtained my Part 3 in 1996, after I had become director-general at the RIBA.I did not at the time register with ARB, because there is no need to do so if one is not practising. I was not practising, and am still not practising. But in order that I should have flexibility to practise in the future I have now applied for ARB registration.

There is, of course, the interesting policy question of whether RIBA rules should be changed in the future to confine UKcorporate membership to registered architects. If and when such a policy were to be introduced, then those UK corporate members of the RIBA who are not registered would need to decide whether to register or resign from the RIBA.I personally think such a policy change would be undesirable, in that it would tend to shrink the corporate membership to a core of mainstream practitioners.

Part of the present strength of the RIBA arises from the fact that it has always welcomed into corporate membership those who are fully educated as architects, but have chosen to pursue careers in related fields such as product design, teaching, writing, procurement, planning, public service, and management. These people contribute to the advancement of architecture in many important ways, and as architecture becomes more diverse and specialised they will increasingly do so.

Alex Reid, Cambridge

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