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In order to maintain public confidence in the profession, architects admitted to the register must have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and behaviour to practice. As the independent regulator, ARB sets the Criteria for qualifications in architecture that will permit access to the Register of Architects. Higher Education Institutions that teach those qualifications must do so in accordance with the published Criteria at Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Architects told us that safety and sustainability have become more important in their work in the last five years. As a result, between February and April 2021 we ran a consultation on new guidance on these topics, which may change the way that the existing Criteria are taught by all institutions offering ARB recognised qualifications. The guidance aims to ensure that architecture students are well trained to be able to design safe and sustainable buildings. Read on to discover the findings from the consultation as well as the finalised guidance for schools at the bottom of this page.

Consultation and implementation

We received 48 responses to the consultation. The majority (69%) of respondents agreed we should begin incorporating the guidance into our prescription process from September 2021. We proposed that we check progress of implementation through our pre-existing annual monitoring process, and the majority (85%) of respondents agreed with our proposal. You can read the report summarising the responses to the consultation here.

Following the consultation, the Board has updated the guidance for institutions offering qualifications in architecture, and it is now published. Institutions should start introducing it into their curriculum as soon as possible, where it is not already covered.

Institutions have let us know the guidance is welcome, but it will take some time to make the changes required to comply. In response to this feedback, we are now clarifying our expectations. From September 2021 onwards, when we monitor a school as part of our annual process or consider an application for a new or renewed qualification to be prescribed, we will request a plan as to how they have implemented or will implement the guidance.

We expect institutions to be committed to implementing the guidance within a reasonable time, and that their progress against the plan will be demonstrated during the annual monitoring process. We want to work with institutions to afford them the necessary time and space to put in place the necessary resources and quality assurance, but we do insist that students are taught these important topics in sufficient detail.

We have made some changes to the content of the guidance following feedback received in the consultation. For example, in the fire and life safety guidance we have strengthened the importance of collaboration as part of the architect’s role in the design team.

Review of initial education and training

We are currently undertaking a full review of the initial education and training of architects, and the way that we recognise qualifications so that architects can join the UK register. We will use the feedback we have received from this consultation to inform the review of ARB criteria and the importance of sustainability throughout education and training. You can stay involved in this review by joining ARB’s Architects Engagement Group.