Architects and Architectural People

It's not uncommon for us to take on a project started by someone else. Frequently, the client will talk about their previous 'Architect' only for us to highlight that they're not an architect and for the client to be shocked. It's important to know when someone is or isn't an architect.

Architects undergo years of training, a minimum of 7 years, but commonly around 10 years. By the time an architect is qualified they've had a lot of training and professional experience followed by an interview of their peers in order to be able to use the title 'Architect'. The use of the title is regulated by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) who were established in 1997 by an act of Parliament. The following is an extract from their website:

Under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997, the title ‘architect’ is protected. It can only be used in business or practice by someone who has had the education, training and experience needed to become an architect, and who is registered with us. Firms or partnerships can use ‘architect’ in their business name, as long as a registered architect is in direct control. When someone uses the title ‘architect’, it means that people can check with us that they are dealing with a trained and qualified professional. The Act also protects the public from dishonest individuals who deliberately mislead people by calling themselves something they’re not. The name ‘architect’ is sometimes used in a way that isn’t connected to building and design. For example, ‘software architect’ or ‘systems architect’ are examples from the computer and IT industry. We take the commonsense view, and accept that no one could be misled into thinking this had something to do with the design and construction of buildings, and we wouldn’t take any action in these cases. Consolidated: this document has been produced to assist; it is not an official version.

The Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional membership organisation that you can only join if you're on the ARB register and commit to further professional and quality assurance standards.

So be sure to check that your architect is a registered architect. Quick clues that suggest they might not be include businesses with "architecture" or "architectural" in the title. This isn't to say that these companies aren't professionals, just that they haven't got the backing of the ARB Registration confirming their education and experience.

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