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RIBA regulation of architects policy note - February 2022

An overview of latest developments, key issues and a summary of our views on the future regulation of the profession.

This document outlines the RIBA’s current work in relation to the regulation of architects in the UK and our recommendations to ensure we foster a competent and inclusive architecture sector.

There are currently four important pieces of ongoing work relating to the regulation of architects in the UK: the Government Review of Architects Regulation, the Building Safety Bill and the Professional Qualifications Bill, both currently progressing through Parliament, and the new RIBA Education and Professional Development Framework, set out in The Way Ahead.

In relation to these pieces of work, we have identified several areas of concern and recommendations to address.

Changes cannot undermine UK architecture’s global standard and brand.

Collaboration between the ARB and RIBA is vital to avoid duplication and inefficiency. We therefore recommend that the ARB should prescribe the RIBA’s qualification, providing a system level route to registration for graduates of UK and international schools of architecture validated by the RIBA. The ARB should also certify the RIBA CPD scheme for compliance with its requirements.

Regulation of function and the definition of reserved activities should be prioritised.

In the UK there are no restricted architectural activities, creating confusion about the status of individuals and companies. It is in the public interest that the professional function of the architect should be regulated, and key activities reserved to qualified and competent professionals.

Competency in the profession must be enhanced through pre-qualification education and professional development.

Both the RIBA and ARB recognise the need for greater rigour in monitoring professional development and maintaining competence. The ARB has a duty to safeguard entry to the profession, however, the entry point to the register cannot realistically be set at anything higher than the acceptable minimum standard, and high quality pre-qualification education must be complemented by rigorous CPD requirements

The ARB’s disciplinary processes need to be fairer and used more effectively against those falsely purporting to be architects.

The ARB’s Investigations Panel must be completely impartial. The process must be reformed to redefine the role of the Case Presenter and ensure the presentation of evidence is balanced and fair.

Initial education and training must be flexible and affordable to support access, inclusion, and diversity.

Architects’ education must retain the underpinning theoretical knowledge base and design skills of architecture as an academic, theoretical, and technical discipline and design-based profession. However, to support diversity and inclusion within the sector, ARB should:

  • implement the recommendations of the 2017 Government Periodic Review of the ARB and Architects Regulation to explore opportunities to streamline the prescription of qualifications and consider the flexibility in length and structure of qualifications
  • remove the requirement for a retrospective Part 1 Examination for those who have already achieved a recognised Part 2 (or Part 2 and Part 3)
  • establish a clear and efficient process for signing mutual recognition agreements with the UK’s trading partners

You can download the full paper below.

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