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ARB fees rise again

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The Architects’ Registration Board (ARB) is to raise its annual retention fee for a third year in a row

The board, which is awaiting the outcome of its three yearly government review, confirmed it was increasing its fee by £2.00 from £105 to £107 for 2015. The annual fee in 2012 was £80.

The increase comes just weeks after it was revealed the ARB’s total income had ballooned by 22 per cent to nearly £3.7 million for the year ending 2013 and that the amount it had spent on legal fees had mushroomed from £853,648 to £938,557 (AJ 27.08.14).

The news of the fees will not be welcomed by the RIBA which in its response to the government on the future of the registration body in May (see attached), called for the ‘wasteful’ ARB to be pared back.

The institute claimed ‘the ARB [had] become increasingly extravagant in its expenditure’ and was ‘not currently providing value for money and had not been performing the totality of its duties properly.’

Long-term ARB critic Simon Allford of AHMM said: ‘As the ARB does ever less and fails in what it does… I was hoping for a discount. Now is the time for RIBA to step up its case against the board.’

However Beatrice Fraenkel, ARB chair, said the decision about fees had been made in conjunction with the board’s 2015 business plan. She said: ‘The increase represents a 1.9 per cent rise, which is below the current RPI of 2.5 per cent.’

The board also confirmed it would be reducing the cost of re-joining the register following removal for ‘non-payment or failure to notify change of address’ by £10 to £20.

In January the ARB faced a massive backlash after removing more than 2,000 architects from its register for failing to pay their annual retention fee on time (AJ 07.01.14)

Almost six per cent of the UK’s 34,000 registered architects did not manage to cough up the fee before the 31 December 2013 deadline.

Meanwhile the fees for the prescribed examination process, the provision of the PDF Register and the Certificates of Architectural Education will remain the same for 2015.

Other comments

Jane Duncan, RIBA president elect
‘The prospect of a small rise in itself is not alarming but this needs to be set against a review of the general performance of the Board.  This may all become irrelevant following the government’s review, which I hope will follow the RIBA’s proposals.’

George Oldham
‘If the government, in reviewing the role, or even the necessity of the continuation of the ARB, accede to the RIBA’s request that the ARB strictly limits its activities to the terms of the Architect’s Act, £107 will be roughly three times as much as it requires to carry out its statutory functions.

‘If my own submitted arguments that the ARB is a pointless and parasitic burden on the profession are accepted, and logically abolishes it, a £107 retention fee will be not only £107 too much, there will be over £1,000,000 spare from ARB reserves which can be returned to the profession - I suggest to the Architects’ Benevolent Society.

‘That would be a rather better use of architects’ money than supporting a self-serving bureaucracy.’

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