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RIBA announces Part 1, 2 and 3 memberships in major shake-up


Graduates will soon be able to use new RIBA affixes after their name before qualification

Plans to modernise the RIBA’s membership structure have been approved by the institute’s council.

The changes, a result of the recent membership review, will see a graduate membership category introduced recognising academic achievement.

This category will distinguish between student members, students who have completed a Part 1 course, and those who have completed Part 2 and are enrolled on Part 3.

Part 1 students can use the affix ‘Student member of the RIBA’, while Part 2 students enrolled on a course can use the affix ‘Graduate member of the RIBA’

Students enrolled on a RIBA Part 3 course who are Part 1 and 2 qualified will be able to use a newly introduced ‘AssociateRIBA’ affix after their name.

Part III students will be able to use the AssociateRIBA affix


The changes also aim to acknowledge those who have studied architecture but pursued a career elsewhere, with a new affiliate membership class that will be open professionals from the wider construction and creative industries.

Alongside these changes, a new fellow membership class will recognise ‘architects at the height of their profession’ and will be judged on an individual architect’s merit and achievement.

The institution says the changes will ‘modernise the RIBA professional pathway’.

RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: ‘The RIBA is committed to providing membership that is valued, sustainable for the 21st century and above all stands for professional excellence and achievement. 

‘The upcoming changes to the membership offer will ensure that the RIBA encourages wider diversity, including EU & Internationally based architects, while not diminishing the high standards or status of RIBA chartered membership.

‘The changes have been developed following our recent membership review, the most comprehensive for in 25 years. These are important steps in providing an improved, streamlined membership offer that will deliver what our members have told us they want.’

RIBA Vice President, Membership Anthony Clerici said: 

‘Our exciting new programme for RIBA membership is the result of 18 months of extensive research and conversation with our members and the wider industry. The approval by the RIBA Council sets us on path to delivering a new and improved membership offer that reflects what our members want and need from a forward looking RIBA.’

The new membership categories

For those enrolled on a Part 1 RIBA validated course, or successfully completed Part1 within past 2 years. Will be able to use the label: ‘Student member of the RIBA’.

For those enrolled on a Part 2 RIBA validated course or completed Part 1 RIBA validated course and doing PEDR. Will be able to use the label: ‘Graduate member of the RIBA’.

For RIBA members who are Parts 1 and 2 qualified and enrolled on a Part 3 RIBA validated course or doing PEDR; or EU directive recognised qualified. Will be able to use new ‘AssociateRIBA’ affix.

For RIBA members who are Parts 1,2 and 3 qualified; or EU directive recognised plus Part 3; or EU directive recognised plus 5 years’ experience (including 2 years PEDR & MEAP); or full MEAP assessment  for international qualification and experience. These members will continue to use the ‘RIBA’ affix.  

This membership category is for architects who have been chartered RIBA members for 5 years or more with assessed evidence of distinguished achievement in architecture. Will be able to use new affix: ‘FRIBA’.

For members who are Part 1 or 2 qualified pursuing a career outside of the practice of architecture; or qualified co-professional working within the built environment, or non-architect qualified academics teaching in validated school of architecture. Can use the label: ‘Affiliate of the RIBA’.

The changes will be discussed further at the December RIBA council and it has not yet been confirmed when these new membership categories will come into play.        


Readers' comments (13)

  • The affixes are too long winded!

    I've just tweeted these quotes @RIBAJ here a moment ago:-

    ...'AssociateRIBA' is pretty long winded for an Affix. 'RIBAA' would be much better for me until fully chartered!

    ...alternatively 'ARIBA' would conflict in Scotland, where fully chartered RIAS members are in fact also Associates affixed as 'ARIAS'

    ps how about the following suggestions too:-

    ...Part 1 students would be better as ‘sRIBA’
    ...Part 2 students would be better as ‘gRIBA’

    Associates need capital letters, ergo my earlier suggestion of RIBAA

    Fellows okay as traditionally FRIBA

    I've one question though that I've emailed Anthony today as follows:-

    "...will Associates - not Part 3 enrolled yet due to unemployment; or no current patronage - have to temporarily withdraw from the membersip class until otherwise?..."

    ps If Anthony or any other RIBA colleague is subscribed to this thread, perhaps they can comment here too, as I may not be alone in the UK (or am I?)

    I know a quick tel call to RIBA will probably suffice shortly, but it would be good to discuss such things on here too, in an open forum situation, so that many can see and comment. The decisions on affixing can’t be easy. The endeavour is to be commended including the survey work beforehand.

    Pps I recall writing in the survey that I was happy to continue to have no affix until chartered. Again, , I’d easily use RIBAA as an affix, but not ‘AssociateRIBA’. The latter is saying ‘something is wrong’ or ‘this is not a qualification as such’.

    Put simply: I want letters not words!

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  • Paul McGrath


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  • Ps: And a 2nd question if I may.

    Does this relaxation/compromise on ‘affix use’ also mean that I - and other Associates as RIBA labels us - will finally be able to use BArch DipArch (or other equivalent combination of architectural qualifications) after our names too?

    To my mind, although I don’t know how others feel, there’s no point being able to use an affix without being able to reveal what qualifications that affix pertains to.

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  • Pps: Ultimately (as compromises) none of this is great, for Associates, if being held back from being able to become or call oneself an architect, especially in times like these when or if you’re made redundant in the interim...

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  • ridiculous, and just so I'm not misinterpreted, I'm an architect but not a member of RIBA. The headline suggested something more substantial was going to happen like making the course 2 years shorter, this just shows how pointless and out of touch RIBA is. The only reason to be a member of RIBA is that most of the public have heard of it, but haven't heard of ARB. I once didn't get an interview for a job at an interior design firm because I wasn't a member of RIBA. I couldn't afford to be (still can't)!

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  • I have concerns about the use of an affix AssociateRIBA by students who have reached Part 3 stage. Not that they should not have recognition and encouragement but that the use of an affix AssociateRIBA will create uncertainty with the public and be abbreviated to ARIBA which will cause problems and very difficult to monitor. However Council agreed to what it was said was a change supported by members in the membership survey but that depended on the question was phrased and whether members in giving their reply and thought through the implications. However Council has agreed to he use of that as an affix and we should accept that but keep the situation under review. Owen Luder PPRIBA

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  • i.e. as I can't call myself an architect in my own right. This is deplorable and scandalous after obtaining/devoting more credence than most qualifying architects.

    The profession surely can't leave people like me out on a limb at such a critical stage in one’s career, having post-graduated in 2000 with 3 years' ug & 8 years' pg practical experience so far.

    Many 100s of you as businesses have my CV. Please give me a call please, or risk the profession more than falling as it stumbles to determine its [still] rogue qualifications agenda

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  • 'Does this relaxation/compromise on ‘affix use’ also mean that I - and other Associates as RIBA labels us - will finally be able to use BArch DipArch (or other equivalent combination of architectural qualifications) after our names too?'

    Kevin there is currently nothing to stop you using BA, BArch, DipArch or the affix of whatever degree/qualifcation you possess. Whether you use them or not has nothing to do with the RIBA.

    'I’d easily use RIBAA as an affix, but not ‘AssociateRIBA’. The latter is saying ‘something is wrong’ or ‘this is not a qualification as such’.'

    Well yes AssociateRIBA does say that and rightly so. RIBAA would be too similar to RIBA and would make it easier for unqualified persons to create the impression that they were in fact fully qualified architects causing confusion with the general public.

    Also the affix 'RIBA' despite what some people might assume is in no way a qualification it is a professional body you can join if eligible.

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  • David, since joining RIBA a few years ago, I've limited my use of affixes in case I give the impression that I'm an architect before registering as one. This was after reading [perhaps] a by-law or the likes - long ago - that qualification affixes must also not be used in conjunction with not using the affix of the professional body. I’m sure it was RIBA Bylaws if I remember correctly. I agree with this though.

    As I said earlier in my individual response to the survey, I’m happy to remain letter-less until registration to prevent giving the impression to the public that I’m otherwise registered. Simply because affixing whatever non-chartered category will confuse the public even more! That aforesaid bylaw that I read was nothing short of spot on. And, I hope it’s still there in b&w.

    As for a potential RIBAA affix for RIBA Associates, well why not? If anything, a simple ‘RIBA’ affix will then become the veritable downgrade from the compliment of being potentially RIBAA for the longest time possible. However, personally I want to upgrade to RIBA rather than downgrade onto it from potentially RIBAA, because as I said: 1) the public need to confide without confusion and doubt on strong, and as streamlined as possible, affixes rather than a weak multitude; and 2) because I’m not seeking the self esteem that ‘BArch DipArch RIBAA’ would bring me when having to introduce myself in public from symposiums to the jobcentre and everything in-between. I also argue that other Associates should likewise refrain, let alone especially the student, graduate, fellow, and affiliate members being proposed to have affixes.

    Introducing RIBAA; sRIBA; gRIBA; FRIBA; affRIBA; or whatever in addition to simply RIBA is going to take immense public education, outreach and publicity, which I doubt we have resourced for. Let’s stick with the wisdom of the old Byelaws: ‘No affix until chartered’.

    [Ps A couple of days ago - nothing new this - I was tabled as an Architect at a stone course for architects engineers etc. I didn’t say I was one; I used the word architecture for my discipline/designation. I’m most often called one than asked if I’m one, but I don’t necessarily like it because of the current public confusion over qualification. I’m also not surprised that there’s this confusion, even without a proliferation of affixes! ]

    You learn something new every day!

    I got a reply, and Owen’s suggestion above looks likely as there’s a number of stages before any such proposition can take effect. We’re looking at somewhere during 2015 or ’16 for this "shake-up" to materialise.

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  • [pps there's an option that one can call oneself a 'trainee' architect publicly, but It sounds so wrong for someone of my credence. Therefore maybe a 'RIBAA' affix for Associates should indeed be considered as an advanced late form of [developed trainee] architect, dependent on the number of post-grad years of recorded experience. The whole fiasco has hitherto made my CV too full of description because there's no such affix/description as yet - architect candidates have got to make up their own - long-winded - explanations.]

    Truth (& change) will out!

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