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Once again 97% of architects pay their annual retention fee on time

January 10, 2020 | News Release

Under the Architects Act 1997, those who wish to practise as an architect in the UK must join the Architects Register.  As the profession’s regulator, we are tasked with maintaining the Register.  Architects pay a fee to be registered which funds our statutory duties.  For 2020, the fee for architects was £111.

As with the last three years, 97% of the Register paid their fee on time and 3% were removed for non-payment.  Over half of all payments (54%) were made online, and more payments were made this way than last year.  The second most popular method was Direct Debits which made up 25% of all payments.

The Register exists to protect the public, who can quickly check to make sure someone is a genuine architect.  We are required to keep the Register  up to date and, to help ensure trust in the profession is maintained, those who do not pay their fee by the deadline are swiftly removed to avoid ambiguity over someone’s registered status.

There are two main routes to registration as an architect in the UK.  Those joining via the UK route account for 82% of the Register, and those joining via the EU account for the remaining 18%.  For 2020, 425 architects (0.1% of the Register) who joined the Register via the EU route were removed for non-payment.  This is the same as last year when 0.1% of EU route individuals were also removed.

We do not want anyone to be removed from the Register who does not want to be.  To try to help avoid this the statutory notice we send to architects in October, ahead of the December payment deadline, is supported by regular postal, email, text and social media reminders along with a dedicated section on our website.  We also extended our office opening times across December to help provide support outside of normal work hours.

This year we added new FAQs for those coordinating payments on behalf of others to our existing FAQs for those paying their own fee.  For the first time we also cross referenced banking changes with existing direct debit arrangements and engaged with those architects to ensure we had up to date information.  This resulted in an 88% decrease in direct debits failing as a result of technical issues (from 89 to 11).

Karen Holmes, ARB Registrar and Chief Executive, said “I would like to thank all the architects who made their payments on time.  It is always disappointing to have to remove some people from the Register but it is important we do so promptly so that the public can remain confident that the Register is an accurate record of all UK architects.

Our focus now is in assisting those who wish to be reinstated to the Register.  Applications are processed on a cost-recovery basis only.  The fees associated with reinstatement after non-payment cover the cost of processing the application.

Throughout the retention fee period we try to balance providing enough information and reminders to those who would benefit from it without overwhelming others.  Nonetheless we are always happy to receive feedback on ways we could improve the process.”

Those whose who wish to re-join the Register can do so securely online.  More information about the process is available on our website here.



Notes for Editors

o ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one independent, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.

o The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Prescribe the qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
– Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
– Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
– Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
– Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects

o For 2020 registration ARB received fee payments from 41,206 architects and 1,332 individuals were removed for non-payment. There were 40,074 payments and 1,096 removals this time last year.

o Of those who joined the register via the EU route, 425 were removed for non-payment. This equates to 32% of all those removed and 5% of all those who joined the Register via this route. Of those who joined the register via the UK route, 907 were removed for non-payment. This equates to 68% of all those removed and 1% of all those who joined the Register via this route.

For further information please contact Kate Howlett (ARB Communications Manager) on 020 7580 5861 or by email at

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