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Thursday24 July 2014

Arb ponders UK qualification to combat European red tape

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Greater flexibility in architecture education could be achieved with UK-only title

A UK-only architecture qualification could be introduced to avoid stricter EU rules on professional qualifications, under plans to be considered by the Arb.

Qualifications currently prescribed by the Arb allow UK architects to gain professional recognition across Europe.

But stricter rules on the timing and location of architecture training being debated by the EU could lead Arb to introduce a more flexible qualification only applicable in the UK.

Speaking at an Arb meeting, board member and Bath University head of architecture Alex Wright said: “The board does have within its power to prescribe qualifications just within the UK. That might be a policy we need to re-address.”

The European Commission is nearing the end of a consultation on changes to its Qualifications Directive. Alison Carr, chief executive at the Arb, said: “The one contribution that the ARB has made is the importance of flexibility. If the directive seeks to bring in more restrictions that could potentially be damaging.”

Carr said the issue was likely to be considered at an upcoming board strategy day when the Arb is expected to consider its policy priorities.

Arb head of qualifications Emma Matthews said: “It’s something the prescription committee looked at in great detail last year. At that point the committee decided that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to warrant a change in the policy but of course all our policies are up for regular review. There are a number of things going on at the moment that could warrant a change in the future.”

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Alison Carr, chief executive at the Arb, said: “The one contribution that the ARB has made is the importance of flexibility. If the directive seeks to bring in more restrictions that could potentially be damaging.”

    The unasked question is...damaging to whom?

    For "flexibility" substitute "...the possibility for the ARB to work around the restrictions of a modified Directive..."

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  • The ARB complaining about EU "red tape" must surely e a joke. "Red tape" and ARB are synonymous. The intention of the EU Architects' Directive was to eliminate red tape and facilitate the registration of architects across all Member States but ARB's response to the Directive has consistently been to make it as difficult as possible for a non-UK, EU architect to obtain registration here.

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  • Seems silly to me, I retrained here in the UK on RIBA pt 1 & 2 accredited course and thanks to the silly rules to take for the pt 3, I can't take the final exam despite 15 years in practice! I am however a registered Architect in Ireland tanks to my British qualifications & have just been approved for registration in Canada. I think it's clear to me where the problem of red tape is! I am currently running my own Architectural practice here in the UK and no longer see the merit of ARB registration.

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  • @Paul: if you are a registered Architect in Ireland then under the terms of the EU Architects' Directive you are entitled to register in the UK and ARB, as the Registrar, is **not allowed** to place obstacle in your way.

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  • It seems the rules have changed, if I had registered in Ireland prior to even taking any formal training here in the UK, (during the amnesty period), I would have automatically been entitled to register here in the UK. Doing the right thing has stung me. As there are no part 3 positions available in my part of the country and certainly none that would pay a salary to compensate a mature person with large student dept and young family, I can't see how I will ever get registered now. The whole ARB process is inflexible and should allow individuals be judged on their own merits. My argument is that I should be able to take the pt 3 exam based upon my 15 years plus experience in architectural practice and completion of RIBA accredited pt 1 & pt 2 course. I guess I am destined to use the title of architectural designer (here in the UK)

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  • @Paul - actually according to the Architects' Directive, as I understand it you should not have to take RIBA Part 3 at all, since based on the principle of reciprocity that subtends the Architects' Directive, all Member States are required to automatically recognise the qualifications of all other Member states. I suggest you go over the head of ARB and take your case to the Department for Communities and Local Government, to which ARB is ultimately answerable

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