Pact will boost flexibility for students and give design professionals a streamlined registration process

Hugh Simpson

Source: Arb

Arb chief executive Hugh Simpson

Professional regulator the Architects Registration Board has signed a mutual-recognition agreement with its counterparts in Australia and New Zealand that will relax the registration process for design professionals and increase flexibility for students.

The deal with the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board is the result of six years of work between the parties and follows a similar agreement reached with regulators in the United States last month.

Under the mutual-recognition agreement with Australia and New Zealand, student architects who have achieved a masters-level architecture qualification in either country or the UK will be able to complete their training in another partner country, if they wish.

Fully-qualified architects, meanwhile, will benefit from a “streamlined” registration process if they want to work in one of the partner countries, reducing costs and the number of examinations.

Arb chief executive and registrar Hugh Simpson said the deal would open up the architecture profession at the same time as upholding standards because of the “rigorous competencies” required to register in each country and the regulators’ quality-assurance processes

“The agreement builds on the close links between our three countries and has been made possible because of the constructive engagement between regulatory bodies and the confidence we have in the integrity of regulation and assurance of standards across Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“We’re delighted that as well as helping eligible architects to register, saving them time and money, the new and more proportionate process will also create opportunities for tomorrow’s architects to study internationally across the three countries.”

RIBA president Simon Allford said the deal was “another welcome step” that would open up new global opportunities for architects and architecture.

“Through these agreements, we enable the sharing of expertise and innovation internationally,” he said.

“With our cultural links and this new agreement, I am optimistic that UK architecture will be able to engage in more projects in Australia and New Zealand, and crucially, the new arrangements will save architects time and money.

“I hope that our members and their peers in Australia and New Zealand make the most of this chance to expand beyond borders and import and export best practice in the design of the low-carbon future.”

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch predicted the agreement would enrich UK practices following post-Brexit free-trade deals with Australia and New Zealand.

“This is great news for British architects, unlocking new markets and helping UK businesses to grow, create new jobs and pay higher wages,” she said.

The mutual-recognition agreement takes effect from 25 May.