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The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has published extensive analysis of a survey it ran in 2021 on its proposed approach to continuing professional development (CPD).

The Building Safety Bill, when approved by Parliament, will give ARB new powers to monitor the training and development architects carry out throughout their careers. The ARB Board developed four overarching principles to underpin its approach to a CPD scheme and invited architects to share their views before the scheme is developed.

ARB’s survey received 763 responses, 95% of which were from Registered architects.

The survey reveals that:

  • Each of ARB’s proposed principles received a high level of support. The most popular of the four was supported by 91% of respondents, and the least popular was still supported by a majority of 81% of respondents.
  • There was strong support for informal learning and development. Whilst 83% of respondents found on the job learning very useful, only 32% found training delivered by an external provider very useful.
  • Architects expressed preferences for a wide range of different formats of CPD, with respondents raising the value of online events, peer to peer networks, site visits and reading amongst others. There is no one type that all agreed was better or essential.
  • Two thirds of respondents raised concerns about accessing quality CPD, saying that it is hard to find CPD that is relevant to specific areas of practice and is not a sales pitch. The most common barriers to undertaking CPD that architects report are the cost, the time taken, and the need to find CPD that is genuinely relevant to their practice.

The consultation revealed strong support for ARB’s proposal to create a flexible scheme that does not impose restrictions about the type of learning and development architects undertake. The feedback from respondents about potential barriers to undertaking CPD demonstrates alignment with ARB’s principles that the scheme should, where possible, avoid placing any additional financial costs on architects. ARB intends the scheme to formalise, direct and regulate the learning and development that the majority of architects already do.

Alan Kershaw, Chair of the Architects Registration Board, said:

“I’m delighted that architects have shown such strong support for the Board’s principles. They see the need for a scheme that’s proportionate, genuinely helpful to the profession, and tailored by architects to meet their own individual development requirements. Now we’ll design the detail and consult on it before we introduce the scheme.

“The most important message I want to send architects is that we have heard and understood that they don’t want a scheme to force them to spend their time and money on generic courses or events. This has never been our intention. We want architects to reflect on their learning and development and choose an activity that works for their practice and their learning style.”

A summary of the findings of the survey is available on ARB’s website, along with the detailed report.

The insights gained through this survey are informing the further development of ARB’s CPD scheme. Further consultation, this time on the detail of the scheme, is planned for later in 2022. ARB aims for the scheme to be in place for the whole profession in 2023.


Notes for Editors

  • The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent professional regulator, established by Parliament as a statutory body, through the Architects Act, in 1997. It is accountable to government. The law gives ARB a number of core functions:
    • To ensure only those who are suitably competent are allowed to practise as architects. ARB does this by approving the qualifications required to join the UK Register of Architects.
    • ARB maintains a publicly available Register of Architects so anyone using the services of an architect can be confident that they are suitably qualified and are fit to practise.
    • ARB sets the standards of conduct and practice the profession must meet and take action when any architect falls below the required standards of conduct or competence.
    • ARB protects the legally restricted title ‘architect’.
  • The Building Safety Act published in June 2021 is intended to give ARB the power to monitor the training and development architects carry out throughout their careers. ARB will introduce a scheme for monitoring continuing professional development (CPD) that will encourage architects to maintain and develop their competence to practise. In 2021 ARB published a policy paper with details about how it intended to approach the development of the scheme, and launched a public survey to invite views on that approach. ARB’s survey ran from 18 August to 29 November 2021.
  • In the policy paper published alongside the survey, ARB shared the following four principles intended to underpin its scheme:
    • Improve the overall competence of the profession: The scheme will aim for an overall positive shift in the collective competence of the profession by promoting a culture of continuing professional development. It will not be about catching out individuals.
    • Tailored by architects to their own practice and needs: The scheme will encourage architects to reflect, plan, act and evaluate on their learning activities in a way that is relevant to their practice and development needs. The approach will not be ‘one-size-fits-all’.
    • Proportionate and deliverable: ARB’s research shows the majority (70%) of architects are already committed to carrying out dedicated CPD annually, so the scheme will aim to formalise and shape that learning. It should, as far as possible, avoid additional costs for architects.
    • Avoid duplication where possible: ARB intends to design a model that is suitable for all architects, and will be considering how best it can work alongside other schemes – both in terms of subject matter and logistical compatibility.