Competence tests for architects included in Building Safety Bill

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is to be handed new powers to police the competence of architects. The change is one of hundreds being brought forward in the Building Safety Bill, which was published in draft form in July in the wake of the Hackitt Report.

The Bill sets out the Government’s proposed legislation aimed at improving structural and fire safety through greater planning scrutiny, increasing regulation of professional competence and the introduction of new statutory roles during the design and construction of ‘higher-risk’ buildings.

The draft Bill contains a section which would amend the Architects Act 1997 to allow the ARB to remove people from its register if they have not ‘undertaken such recent training’ as to satisfy it. Under the proposed law change, architects would be allowed to apply for an extension in which to finish their training before the ARB is able to remove them from the register.

The ARB will be able to determine ‘which practical experience or training should be assessed and how the assessment should take place’. The proposal brings the architect profession in line with best practice as most other regulated professions require their registrants to demonstrate competence throughout their career and most professional membership bodies have mandatory CPD requirements.

The ARB has already launched a review of the regulation of architects and plans to consult on how to monitor architects’ competence – as well as on changes to
the syllabus – later this year.

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