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A joint venture

Ben Derbyshire and Nabila Zulfiqar

The Institute and ARB will collaborate to deliver our respective aims in a complementary way

Architecture is the only independently regulated profession working in the built environment. At a time when society is looking for reassurance that its safety and wellbeing is in competent hands, we are keen to demonstrate that the relationship between the RIBA and the ARB is effective and well understood by the profession, the public and our clients.

We, the President of the RIBA and the Chair of the ARB, want both organisations to engage constructively to share ideas and deliver our respective aims in a complementary way.  We are committed to being as effective as we can by demonstrating shared values, collaborative leadership and working for mutual benefit. Where possible and appropriate, we will align our approach to delivering on the promise of a safe, high quality built environment that truly contributes to social wellbeing and safeguards the public.

We share a belief that a high quality, well-regulated profession with an ethical framework in the public interest is required to deliver the built environment the public demands and deserves.        

Our complementary roles are clear: the RIBA promotes the profession, advancing civil architecture in the public interest, and the ARB maintains and raises awareness of the Register of Architects so that clients and the public can make informed choices about who they instruct. Both are important and working together we support the maintenance and improvement of standards of behaviour and conduct in the profession.

We each commission research to build evidence on the needs of stakeholders, identify the benefits of employing well trained and regulated architects and inform our policy and decision making. The RIBA has undertaken detailed research with clients which shaped subsequent work, including a new Memorandum of Understanding with the CIOB, and a recently appointed Vice President for Research will implement a standard methodology for post-occupancy evaluation.  Following engagement with a range of stakeholders, the ARB recently launched a welcome pack for new registrants. The ARB will also undertake comprehensive research into its stakeholder relationships to help inform strategic decision making in this area over the next three years.

Where possible and appropriate, we will align our approach to delivering on the promise of a safe, high quality built environment

We have different roles when it comes to the prescription (recognition) and validation of qualifications in architecture. Our aim, however, is to try and retain criteria in common to facilitate our respective processes and minimise any burden on institutions. The RIBA plans a more radical rethink of the curriculum and course structure and the ARB Board is committed to reviewing UK routes to registration at an appropriate stage in Brexit developments.  We plan to hold joint working sessions to retain an effective level of alignment in this area.

In addition to reviewing its Code of Conduct, the RIBA is establishing a Commission on Ethics and Sustainable Development.  In its first year the Commission will consider how the profession can best reflect its core values of public interest, social purpose and sustainability. The ARB revised the Architects Code in 2017 with updates to better reflect modern practice. Both the ARB and the RIBA are committed to looking at whether greater alignment of our Codes would be appropriate to remove inconsistencies and introduce greater clarity for the public and the profession.

We plan to work together on practical measures for protecting the title ‘architect’. While the ARB already raises awareness of the Register and tackles about 300 instances of misuse of title annually, we agree that more can be done to raise awareness of title restrictions and deter transgressions of the Act. 

Finally, as part of a programme to broaden the horizons of debate at the RIBA Council, the institute will host a series of discussions, with ARB’s input, about the future of the profession.We look forward to this collaboration and encourage registrants and members to engage with us. 

@ben_derbyshire or


Awards shortlist

Congratulations to all of the projects across the UK that have been shortlisted for the RIBA Regional Awards. Each of the regional shortlists showcase our best new buildings and demonstrates the unique and innovative talent of the UK’s architectural sector. We now enter the visiting stage where projects are assessed up and down the country by our expert juries. The RIBA Regional Award winners will be announced in May.