10 reasons for registering
We were set up by Parliament to regulate architects in the UK. Our responsibilities are set out in the Architects Act 1997, and our main duties (with the section of the Act that describes them) are to: * keep the UK’s Register of Architects (Section 3); * decide what qualifications are needed to become an architect (Section 4); * set standards of conduct and practice for architects (Section 13); and * take action when someone is claiming to be an ‘architect’ but they aren’t registered with us (Section 20). Being registered with us allows you to call yourself an architect. It tells your clients and members of the public that you are a fully trained and qualified professional. You are taking an active role in maintaining standards, and this benefits you, your profession and the public. This leaflet highlights the advantages of registering as an architect.
Your right to call yourself an architect is protected by law. Section 20 of the Architects Act states:
“A person shall not practise or carry on business under any name, style or title containing the word ”architect” unless he is a person registered under this Act.”
The Act helps to make sure that only qualified people who are registered with us can call themselves architects. We can – and do – prosecute people for using a name they don’t have the right to use.
This goes with protecting your title. It takes many years of study to become an architect, and we have a duty to make sure that the title you worked so hard for is not used by unregistered or unqualified people. Apart from being illegal, it deliberately misleads members of the public into believing that they are dealing with a genuine professional. This could damage the reputation of architects in the eyes of the public.
Maintaining standards is an important part of our work, and we can take action against architects who don’t meet them. Not only does this help to protect the public, it also helps to protect your reputation, both within the profession and in the public interest.
The Register of Architects is a public document that we have to publish by law. It is the only authorised register in the UK to show the name and business address of every architect. Because people are joining and leaving the register all the time, the printed copy goes out of date very quickly. For more up-to-date and accurate information, you should visit our online register (www.arb.org.uk).
When you register with us, your name and business address are automatically included in the register. This gives you an official ‘seal of approval’ and tells clients and potential clients that you are a fully qualified and registered architect.
Our standards for education and practical experience are in our booklet, “ARB Criteria”. The criteria describe the levels of awareness, knowledge, understanding and skill that architecture students must meet at each stage of their education and practical training experience. They also set out the minimum standards of entry to the architects’ profession that architecture students must meet. You can read the criteria here.
You will find these standards in the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice (the Code). We send a copy of the code to every architect when they register. If you have lost yours, you can download a copy from our website or if you call us on 020 7580 5861, we’ll send you a replacement.
We publish the code under Section 13 of the Act, and review it regularly to keep it up to date with developments in good practice. We make changes to the code only after consulting with professional and consumer groups, architects and members of the public, and other key stakeholders. The wide consultation means that the code benefits from the knowledge and expertise of a range of people, and contains good, professional guidance.
One of the duties we are required to do by law is to bring disciplinary proceedings against architects whose conduct or competence falls short of one or more of the standards in the code. The Professional Conduct Committee protects you against architects who can damage your profession’s reputation by failing to meet the standards that the public and the profession expect. The committee’s work is an important part of maintaining professional standards, which in turn maintains the good name of architects.
You can become involved in our work. For example, you can sign up to take part in our consultation exercises, you can have a say in who gets elected to the Board by voting in the three-yearly elections for board members, or you could stand as a candidate in these elections.
Architects contribute to our work in a number of areas, including:
- setting standards for qualifications;
- assessing qualifications; and
as a member of the Professional Conduct Committee, making sure that architects maintain standards of conduct and practice.
We value the knowledge and expertise of architects, and it is important that they have a say in our work. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
If you are a UK or European national, or you are married to a UK or European national, and you are registered with us, you will find it easier to register as an architect in another EEA country. The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC) was drawn up to help professionals move easily between European member states. Registering with us shows that you are fully qualified, and means that you can apply to register as an architect in any European member state.
Although we were set up by Parliament, we are not a government body. We are a public interest body, with a Board of 15 members to oversee our work. Seven members are architects elected by architects, while the other eight are members of the public, who are appointed by the Privy Council. We have good working relationships with the government department that sponsors us (Communities and Local Government) and with architecture’s professional organisations, but we work independently of any other organisation. We value our independence, because this helps to give the public confidence in architects and their work.
Registering with us shows that you are a professional. It also carries certain responsibilities. One of these is to have protection against costly claims if something goes wrong. No architect can really afford to practise without the protection of professional indemnity insurance The risk of being sued for negligence and being unable to pay damages is too great. The cost of professional indemnity insurance should be seen as an automatic part of an architect’s business costs.
Your clients, particularly those who take on domestic building projects such as a house extension or a loft conversion, will want compensation if you have been negligent. Professional indemnity insurance will cover the cost of this, and avoids expensive legal action. The public recognises that the benefits of professional indemnity insurance cover are another good reason to use an architect.