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Fri June 18 2021

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Architects Registration Board getting new powers

9 Jun The government has confirmed plans to amend the Architects Act 1997.

Legislation will give the Architects Registration Board (ARB) new power to monitor the way architects manage their continuing professional development (CPD) and a role in recognising qualifications from other countries.

The Architects Act 1997 is the legislation under which ARB regulates architects in the UK. In 2020 the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) consulted on changes to that legislation. MHCLG has now published the government’s response to that consultation.

The proposed Building Safety Bill will introduce powers for ARB to monitor CPD, providing an opportunity to align architects with other professions by looking at competence beyond the initial point of registration. ARB will use these powers to encourage architects to maintain and develop their competence to practise. The details of the monitoring scheme are being developed through ARB’s competence review.

The government has also confirmed that ARB will be able to recognise certain qualifications from other countries so that architects with those qualifications can join the UK Register, enabling international architects to keep working in the UK. The Professional Qualifications Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 12th May 2021, provides the power to give ARB the ability to pursue opportunities for UK architects to work internationally; this is likely to take the form of reciprocal arrangements with counterpart regulators in other countries.

As part of the reforms, the Architect Registration Board will be allowed to charge for all, not just some, of the services that it offers.

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Housing minister Chris Pincher MP said: “Following an overwhelmingly positive response to our consultation from the architecture profession, we are delighted to be moving forward with firm proposals that will make a real difference to the lives of architects around the world.

“This fundamental realignment of the profession will reassert the United Kingdom’s reputation as a global leader in architecture, ensuring we continue to attract the best architects from around the world to build back better on the homes and infrastructure in this country.”

Alan Kershaw, chair of the Architects Registration Board, said: “Today the government has confirmed its intention to create new powers for ARB which we will use to introduce a scheme to monitor the continuing professional development of architects. This is an opportunity to recognise formally the considerable amount of developmental activity that most architects already do. We will use our regulatory powers to promote consistency across the profession.

“We are aiming to design a scheme that is proportionate, genuinely helpful to the profession, and tailored by architects to meet their own individual development requirements. It’s vital that we develop our approach in collaboration with the profession: an effective monitoring scheme is crucial in maintaining public confidence, and to be successful it has to work for architects.

“ARB’s new role in recognising international qualifications is another positive step. We are going to ensure all individuals registering under this new process are held to equivalent standards, to maintain excellence across the architectural profession whilst also ensuring the UK continues to benefit from the varied skills and experience international architects bring with them.”

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