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ARB wants more cash from profession to take on fake architects

ARB graphic logo2

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is set to ask architects for more money to tackle the increasing number of firms illegally calling themselves architects

The ARB said that a sample study showed that there are now an estimated 7,500 cases of individuals falsely claiming they are architects.

In response, it proposes to employ a full-time member of staff to ‘promote the register’, and create an administrative post to deal with any uplift in the resulting caseload. The ARB is proposing to add £2 to next year’s retention fee to help pay for the two new posts.

A report to the ARB said: ‘There is an expectation from among both public and profession that ARB is the body for ensuring, as far as it can, that those looking to use an architect can do so with the reasonable assurance that they are using a properly qualified, experienced person.

‘If there is an insufficient awareness of the register, and no effective means of regulating those who use the title, then all the other work of ARB is arguably rendered pointless.’

The ARB has rejected an approach that would have used the additional resource to proactively look for misuse of title cases, and be more robust in prosecuting offenders.

The report said this was because ‘simply increasing the levels of case management and prosecutions would be an inefficient use of resource, but that additional money committed to raising awareness of the register would be to the benefit of the public and the profession.’

The report said: ‘Feedback from the profession is that architects expect ARB to act strongly in this area, and would be willing to tolerate an increase in their retention fee if they knew it was to be committed to the protection of their hard-earned title.’

Under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997, only those on the ARB register are legally permitted to use the name, style or title containing the word ‘architect’ in the course of business or practice.

In addition to those illegally promoting themselves as architects directly, mislistings on online directories ‘are now likely to stretch into the tens of thousands’, according to the ARB.

Previous attempts to increase the impact of the register ‘have not enjoyed sustained success because of a lack of a dedicated resource to maintain initial momentum,’ the report added.

The board will consider the proposals on Tuesday (11 September).


Readers' comments (4)

  • Rather than raise the cost of ARB membership, maybe they could move out of London offices and reduce the enormous salaries of their higher level staff.

    Of last year's £4.6M income, ARB spendt roughly half of it on staff and office costs. I recall from one of their reports that office cleaning cost roughly an average architect's salary. Near 1 million on legal costs too?

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  • Empire building costs money.

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  • So genuine architects are being asked to stump up extra to pay for those in breech of title. Surely additional revenue should be sought from those in breech of title through fines.

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  • Those calling themselves Architects have only themselves to blame when caught. In 2005 I became so disillusioned with both the RIBA and ARB and the perception of the profession that I stopped practising as an Architect. I now practice as a "Property, Planning and Architectural Consultant, CDM Principal Designer and Construction Safety Consultant. PI is £5m for projects up to £10m and workload is regularly 70 hours per week as a sole practitioner including BIM level 2. My business title and style were approved by ARB even to the extent that they permitted me to say 'qualified as a Chartered Architect in 1983 and practised as such until 2005' providing I don't call myself an Architect now. Fines for those caught should be steeply increased to pay for their prosecutions and ARB's costs and there should be no increase for ARB members.

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