Have you checked the Architects Register?

Architects are the only statutorily regulated profession in the build environment.  Find out why they are tailor-made to support your self build project, how to check you are using a genuine professional and how you are protected by regulation.

Article written by Architects Registration Board (ARB)

A professional with holistic expertise

Architects are highly qualified individuals, tailor-made to support self builds. In the UK it takes seven years to gain the qualifications and experience required to become an architect.  Through this training architects develop the expertise to assist you from conception of your project right through to completion.   

For example, an architect can:

  • talk you through early stage considerations like house types, plots, orientation and energy efficiency;
  • prepare feasibility studies and identify possible constraints;
  • assist with procurement, identifying and evaluating other contractors;
  • produce conceptual and technical designs;
  • support you through building regulations;
  • administer your building contract;
  • make final inspections after Practical Completion.

The benefits of regulation

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) was set up by Parliament and is the independent regulator of the architects’ profession in the UK.  It protects those who use or may use architects’ services and supports architects through regulation. 

Only those with the right skills and experience can legally call themselves an architect in the UK.  It is important to be aware that only ‘architect’ is protected in this way – this means someone calling themselves an ‘architectural consultant’ or ‘architectural assistant’ is not covered by ARB’s regulatory activities.  

ARB keeps a public register of all the architects in the UK, making sure every registrant has the required skills to practise.  There are currently over 41,000 architects on the Architects Register, which you can search quickly and easily online by name, address, company or region to check you are using a genuine professional.  If someone is not on the Register, they are not an architect and not subject to our regulation – it is as simple as that.

ARB also set standards of conduct for architects, which includes holding adequate insurance cover and keeping knowledge and skills up to date.  Under the Architects Code, architects are expected to abide by the following principles which are outlined in more detail within the Code:

  • Be honest and act with integrity;
  • Be competent;
  • Promote your services honestly and responsibly;
  • Manage your business competently;
  • Consider the wider impact of your work;
  • Carry out your work faithfully and conscientiously;
  • Be trustworthy and look after your clients’ money properly;
  • Have appropriate insurance arrangements;
  • Maintain the reputation of architects;
  • Deal with disputes or complaints appropriately;
  • Co-operate with regulatory requirements and investigations;
  • Have respect for others.

Serious failings by architects are rare, with around only 160 architects investigated each year (0.4% of the Register).  However if an issue does arise ARB can help and, if necessary, take action including removing the individual from the Register so they can no longer practise as an architect.  ARB can also take action against unregistered individuals who claim to be an architect, prosecuting them where appropriate.  It can be reassuring to know there is an independent body dedicated to investigating your concerns – even if you never need it.  

For more information, advice and guidance about the regulation of architects visit arb.org.uk or follow ARB on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.