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The current trouble at the arb is only to be expected

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Any organisation whose only visible expenditure over the course of the last two years has been the provision of a lilac-coloured, scented envelope in what Woolworths used to describe as 'Vellum' deserves whatever it gets for such a monumental lapse of taste.

The irony is that architects have had to sit on the sidelines and watch as this organisation sits on its fat arb, and cocks up the very things any architect who's got their Part 3 exam gets drummed into them at birth.

What kind of architect would survive for a single day if they:

1. Doubled their fees on demand?

2. At the same time, abolished contributions to the Maintenance Grant Fund for impoverished students, which was the only material benefit which anyone got from their registration money?

3. Wrote standard letters using badly veiled insolence and continually referring to the recipient with a confrontational 'you'?

4. Were so unaware of the value of professional time as to require a job applicant to attend five separate interviews?

Who, in other words, is overseeing the registration of the professionals who are sitting in judgement on architects? Who are the people in the Privy Council who appoint them? And who validated their courses? The other great question for architects must be this: whose arb is going to get kicked over this?

If this were the real architectural world - and not the virtual world of quasi-governmental quangos - the chair would be held to (literal) account over this mess.

The fact is, there really is one institution that has failed the arb, and which should be brought to book when its validation comes up. And that institution is its Charm School.

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