Plans to regularly check architects’ competence have been announced by the government. The proposals, set out in a consultation announced by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher, will allow the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to set statutory standards of competence for architects and to expel incompetent practitioners.
The proposals follow Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which was set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. It found the system for ensuring fire and structural safety of high-rise residential buildings was insufficient.
The government accepted Dame Judith’s findings in full and is bringing forward plans to reform the regulatory system through the Building Safety Bill and by amending the Architects Act 1997.
As part of its reforms, the government wants to give the ARB the statutory power to set out any competence checks or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements it believes are necessary. The current system of CPD required by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) does not have statutory backing.
The government is also consulting on plans to recognise international architectural qualifications following the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The Rt Hon Christopher Pincher said the plans “will make sure the people who design the homes we live in and buildings we work in are always guided by the highest safety standards. I encourage all architects, as well as those involved in the wider built environment, to submit their views and feedback on our proposals.”
RIBA President, Alan Jones, said: “This milestone consultation outlines significant changes that seek to enhance the competence of UK architects.” He also called for “less ambiguous and more ambitious buildings regulations and reform of our deeply flawed construction industry procurement processes.”
James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions believes that many UK architects will welcome the proposals. “The UK’s architects have a global reputation for their skill and expertise, with many of the world’s most iconic buildings designed by British firms. These new proposals will help to keep Britain’s architects at the forefront of the global industry.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published the consultation, which will run until 22 January 2021, and its press release on the government website. Reports and responses to the consultation have been published by the Architects Registration Board, RIBA, Architects Journal and Designing Buildings Wiki.
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