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Taking part in protests

We’ve recently received some questions about the regulatory expectation for architects taking part in protests, such as political demonstrations or marches.

As part of a regulated profession architects are guided by the Architects Code. The Code covers architects’ private as well as professional lives and outlines the professional standards an architect is expected to adhere to.

Architects have the same civil rights as anyone to express their political opinions and the Code does not prevent architects taking part in protests. The Code expects architects to act with integrity, and ensure public confidence in the profession is maintained. Therefore, architects should ensure that their actions are lawful and in line with their broader professional obligations.

We have a legal duty to consider concerns or self-referrals about an architect. Our focus in doing so is always to protect the users of architects’ services and uphold the collective reputation of the profession. Our decisions are based on the specific facts of each case and will consider factors such as the degree of risk to the public and the architect’s disciplinary history.

As with any criminal convictions, architects must report an offence resulting from protest activities to us within 28 days. We then consider whether the offence has material relevance to the architect’s fitness to practise, again based on the specific facts of the case.

Factors which can determine relevance include, but are not limited to, the offence constituting dishonesty, relating directly to professional activities or falling so seriously short of standards as to bring the profession into disrepute.

More information on what may be considered a breach of the Architects Code can be found on our website here. Further information on our approach to criminal convictions can be found in the Code itself, section 9.2 and General Guidance section, available here.