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ARB boots 1,300 architects off register over unpaid fees

ARB graphic logo

The Architects’ Registration Board (ARB) has removed 1,332 architects from its register for failing to pay their annual retention fees on time – the largest number removed from its books since 2016

The ARB has revealed that it had ‘swiftly removed’ 3 per cent of the UK’s 41,206 architects for failing to pay the £111 fee before the 31 December deadline.

This is the biggest cull, in terms of total numbers, since 2016 when 1,438 architects were kicked off the list. However, the figure is still significantly less than the 2,043 who lost the right to call themselves an architect by not coughing up in time in 2014.

Among those removed from the register were 425 non-UK EU nationals – an increase from the 385 non-UK EU nationals taken off in 2019. 

Karen Holmes, the ARB’s registrar and chief executive, said: ’I would like to thank all the architects who made their payments on time. It is always disappointing to have to remove some people from the register but it is important we do so promptly so that the public can remain confident that the register is an accurate record of all UK architects.’ 

Holmes insisted the ARB would not be profiting from those attempting to get back onto the register.

She added: ’Our focus is now on assisting those who wish to be reinstated to the register. Applications are processed on a cost-recovery basis only. The fees associated with reinstatement after non-payment cover the cost of processing the application.

’Throughout the retention fee period we try to balance providing enough information and reminders to those who would benefit from it without overwhelming others.  Nonetheless we are always happy to receive feedback on ways we could improve the process.’

According to the board, more than half of all payments (54 per cent) were made online, and more payments were made this way than last year.  The second most popular method was by direct debit, which accounted for a quarter of all payments.

A spokesperson added: ’We do not want anyone to be removed from the register who does not want to be. To try to help avoid this the statutory notice we send to architects in October, ahead of the December payment deadline, is supported by regular postal, email, text and social media reminders, along with a dedicated section on our website.  We also extended our office opening times across December to help provide support outside of normal work hours.’

Register removals

  • 2020 - 1,332
  • 2019 - 1,096
  • 2018 - 1,202
  • 2017 - 1,204
  • 2016 - 1,438
  • 2015 - 1,824
  • 2014 - 2,043 



Readers' comments (4)

  • John Kellett

    Removing architects from the register plays into hands of the non-architects carrying out our role without having the qualifications.
    If the ARB’s role is as a public body to protect the public the best way to achieve that is to require ALL buildings to be designed by architects and chartered professionals. Recent case law is demonstrating that fact. Most of the developed world already has similar legislation, the government has no eaccuse.

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  • Architects should pay their bills on time, just as they expect their clients to do so.

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  • Daniel Lacey

    John, just for clarity, is it 'non-architects' that bother you, or just unchartered professionals?

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  • Bunch of cunts

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