Imagine this. You are somewhere remote - on a two-person boat in the Atlantic; halfway up a mountain in the Himalayas; in the Amazonian jungle - and you have a medical emergency.
Let's say appendicitis. You need urgent treatment, and at this point your companion reveals that they are a trainee doctor. How do you feel? If you are a glass half-full person, you may think, 'Well, at least that's something.' If you are more pessimistic, you may worry about which part of their training they have completed. The point is that you grasp immediately that they are not yet fully trained to do the job. That's what 'trainee' means, and we all know that.
Well, not quite all of us it seems. The ARB apparently doesn't. Alan Peacock from the board's regulation department has written to the AJ (see Letters on page 20) complaining about the fact that, in the careers supplement in AJ 22.02.07, Atkins' Yousef Musallam is described as a 'trainee architect'. 'I have checked the Register of Architects, ' writes Mr Peacock, 'and should advise that Mr Musallam is not registered and should not, therefore, be referred to as a fitrainee architectfl.' To which the automatic response is: 'Of course he's not on the register. He's still only a trainee.'
It would be funny - well, it is funny - but you can't forget the cost of these activities. It must add up to about an hour of Mr Peacock's time. Think of what he earns and double it for the overheads on those snazzy central-London offices. And suddenly it seems a bit less amusing that architects' registration fees are squandered on nonsense like this. In its dogged pursuit of architects who won't declare their PI Insurance status, the ARB has already been accused of over-spending to achieve relatively trivial ends.
The board is not short of detractors. Look at who pays for follies like Peacock's letter and you soon see that the joke is really on the profession. And that can't be good for the ARB.