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Preparing for ARB’s new self-service portal – FAQs

The way you pay your retention fee is changing – you need to take action!

What is happening?

Part of ARB’s strategy is to develop our IT systems so you can better manage your own registration. We will soon be moving to a system where you’ll be able to pay for your retention fee, download certificates and receipts, manage your payment details, stay in touch on matters relating to your statutory registration.  

For this we will need to hold both a registration address (usually your home), and a second, business address, which will appear online. 

You will access your Registration via a unique portal (similar to online banking) and we’ll shortly be sending the details to you. You need to take action now, as you’ll need to set up the portal in time to pay your retention fee, starting in October 2023.



What are the changes and why are they happening?

  • All architects will access and maintain their registration using an online portal, allowing 24/7 access.
  • We need a ‘Registration’ contact address and email, which will be used to contact you about regulatory matters. There will also be a ‘Business’ address which will be published on the online Register, as required by the Architects Act 1997. Your registration contact details will not be made public.
  • You will pay your retention fee using the portal, and confirm a set of annual declarations relating to your professional status and insurance.
  • You will be able to submit future CPD evidence via the portal (starting in 2024).

What do I need to do now?

  • Check your current details so we have a compliant email address that only you can access.
  • Look out for your portal login. This will come to the email we have for you on the Register, later in the summer.  If you don’t hear from us by the end of July, please contact us on info@arb.org.uk.
  • As soon as you receive the portal login, sign in, check your details, and add your new registration contact details, and verify the business details you wish to be visible on the online Register. You may wish to review our guidance on partial addresses.
  • Contact us if you need help, or to advise us of any reasons you are unable to manage your registration online.  Only those with a valid ‘reasonable adjustment’ will be able to manage the process manually without incurring an administration fee.

What format should my email take?

  • The email must be only accessible by you. It can be a work email address, but must be your own. It cannot be a group or team email, and it cannot be an administrator. This is for GDPR purposes and the fact that you need to make legal declarations as part of the annual retention process. These cannot be made by someone on your behalf.
  • Emails with ‘hello@’, ‘mail@’, ‘admin@’ etc will not be valid.
  • If you do not update your email address, your portal login details will not be sent to you, or will not be valid. This security level is similar to that is required for online banking and is to protect you. If you do not receive your login or act on the instruction you may not be able to pay your retention fee which risks your continued registration.

What if I don’t have an email? Can I do things on paper?

  • You should ensure you have an email, even if you do not use one for work.  If you are not working as an architect and using the title, you do not need to be registered.  Please ensure that you have read the other FAQs on this page.
  • You can set up a gmail, hotmail or other email address, even if only for this purpose.

My employer usually pays my fee, can they still do that?

  • No, you will need to make a declaration and pay the fee yourself.  You can then download a certificate and receipt that you can use to claim the retention fee from your employer. We will not be accepting employer payments on behalf of architects.

Why do you need a registration address and a business address? Can they be the same?

  • We need a registration contact, so we can communicate with you about your registration. This is usually your home address. It will not be published online. This is because we have personal and sensitive data that relates to you, either education or contact details, financial account or payments, or information regarding any professional conduct matters raised against you. Others in your practice or firm should not be able to access these details, even if they work with you.
  • The Architects Act 1997 requires every registered architect to have an online address. This is the address they use to conduct the majority of their business.  It can be a home address if you work from home, or it can be a PO Box.  The address can be partially hidden, but it must show the town or city and the first part of the postcode, as part of public protection and ease of identification of those who are registered.
  • The addresses can be the same, but if they are, it will be visible online.  Read our guidance on your responsibilities as a registered architect here.
  • You cannot have a public address that is c/o ARB.

What changes are there to how I pay my retention fee?

  • You will need to pay your own Registration fee. Your employer cannot make a payment for you. You will either set up a direct debit or make a payment via the online portal.
  • You will be asked to confirm a declaration relating to any criminal or outstanding convictions, your insurance provision, and that you have complied with ARB’s CPD requirements.  Only you can make this declaration; others cannot make it on your behalf.  You will need to make the declaration before you pay the fee.
  • We will not be accepting forms of payment other than via the portal.  This includes cheques, BACS transfers or employer bank account direct debits.  You can download your own receipt and certificate if your employer is reimbursing the fee.  We won’t be providing employers with lists of architects, or providing invoices or receipts to them. You must provide your employer with the documents yourself, outside of the retention fee process.

I am not working as an architect - do I need to do this?

  • If you are truly retired from practice, then you can leave the Register and still call yourself an architect in a social context. If you are carrying out any architectural work, including, for example, making submissions in respect of planning applications, or giving talks on topics relating to the practice of architecture, then you are not retired and must be registered to use the title.
  • Read our guidance here to determine whether you need to stay on the Register.
  • If you wish to resign, you can do so here.