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ARB boots over a thousand architects off its books

ARB graphic logo

The Architects’ Registration Board (ARB) has booted more than a thousand architects off its register for failing to pay their annual retention fees on time

The ARB has revealed it removed 1,100 architects from the register this year, but congratulated the ‘vast majority’ – 97 per cent of architects – who paid by the December 31 deadline.

The figure is lower than the 1,202 removed in 2018, and the lowest number in seven years. More than 2,000 people were removed in 2014.

Among those removed from the register were 385 non-UK EU nationals, a slight increase on the 379 that were removed last year. 

The ARB said that as of the end of last month there were 41,176 architects on the register, and that 40,074 had paid their fees on time.

The retention fee rose from £107 to £111 – a 3.7% cent rise after a four-year freeze

This year’s annual registration fee rose from £107 to £111 – a 3.7 per cent rise after a four-year freeze.

The ARB said it had raised the fees to cover part of the costs of regulating the use of the title and raising awareness of the register.

It said the money would also cover additional funds required in 2018 for ‘unanticipated work demands’. These included responding to the Hackitt Review, planning and preparation for Brexit and high-level explorations of mutual recognition agreements – the reciprocal recognition of non-UK architectural qualifications. 

ARB registrar and chief executive Karen Holmes said: ‘Thank you to every architect who ensured their fee was paid on time.

‘Your fee enables us to carry out regulatory work to maintain standards, and therefore trust, in the profession – including regulating the use of the title “architect”.

‘We welcome and value feedback; if you have views or insights you can contact us and we will take them into account when we reflect on this year’s retention fee process.’

Register removals

  • 2018 - 1,202
  • 2017 - 1,204
  • 2016 - 1,438
  • 2015 - 1,824
  • 2014 - 2,043 

Readers' comments (4)

  • Not to mention those architects with direct debits who had their fee taken one month early. That's a one-off 8% hike.

    But seriously, ARB needs to grow up and realise that quite a few architects are struggling, especially those with their own practice, and many more will do so post BREXIT. Don't just throw architects off the Register willy-nilly for not paying, they comply in all other respects. Have some patience.

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  • Chris Roche

    David Berridge makes a good point, and one which would benefit from closer examination. If as seems likely, unemployed or under-employed architects are struggling to pay their retention fees as a result of genuine financial hardship then surely ARB has a responsibility to address this issue. Clearly it is not in the interest of society to deprive Architects of their hard earned title, thereby reducing the chance of distressed individuals overcoming short term financial difficulties. The RIBA were faced with a not dissimilar problem when I was first on RIBA Council. The RIBA wanted to remove women from the membership list who were not paying their full fees as a result of being on maternity leave. I successfully argued this was draconian if not immoral and put a motion to Council that women on maternity leave should qualify for free membership for the time they were on maternity leave. The then Chief Executive Richard Hastilow, fearing a reduction in income, opposed the move, and the RIBA came back with an alternative "Hardship Rate" for women on maternity leave. I argued this smacked of the Dickensian Workhouse and was an affront to all members and thankfully a 'Reduced Rate" was introduced for all members on maternity leave - women and men. Although I was successful in securing this common sense approach to a genuine problem I was subsequently "blacklisted" by RIBA from attending subsequent RIBA sponsored events together with my RIBA-paired MP Jeremy Corbyn - someone else RIBA were suspicious of because of their left leaning ideology. I was also made to feel I had acted improperly, and if I was not careful I would be kicked out of RIBA. Needless to say I resigned from RIBA Council during my second term of office when faced with not dissimilar right wing bias against female and ethnic minority members. ARB could and should do better.

    Chris Roche / Founder 11.04 Architects

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  • For an ignoramus like me the question is to what extent members of other professions in this country are required to either pay what amounts to a government agency a yearly fee or be denied use of their title and accused of practicing illegally?

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  • The ARB is there to administer the Architects Act. There is no mechanism within the Act to reduce the fee.

    97% of people paying on time is pretty good. It is quite possible that some have retired, died or left the profession, as well as those who forget to pay their fee.

    I do not see why those who do not pay on time expect to remain a member, when a vast majority manage to do so. The fee is not large, compared to other professional bodies (the RIBA, for example).

    There is nothing to stop anyone who does not want to be registered continuing to carry out the functions of an architect, as long as they do not use the title.

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