Use of the title "architect"      

The statutory restriction

Under section 20(1) of the Architects Act, a person may only practise or carry on business under any name, style or title containing the word "architect" if registered.  There is no restriction on its use in any other circumstance.  The words in the current Act reflect those of the 1938 Architects Registration Act under which it was decided that the use of the suffix "FRIBA" constituted an infringement.

The fine for contravening section 20 is currently set at a maximum of 2,500.  In 2004/5, the ARB claims that it has processed approximately 500 "alleged title abuse enquiries".  However, of those 500, it says it has successfully prosecuted only 5 cases.

Use of title by companies

By subsection 20(3) corporate bodies firms or partnerships can  carry on business under a name, style or title containing the word "architect" provided that (in broad terms) the architectural business is run by a registered person.   However the Board may (by rules made under subsection 20(4) see General Rules, Rule 25) effectively limit the application of sub-section 20(3) to those corporate bodies firms or partnerships who have supplied information necessary for determining whether the architectural business is run by a registered person.  (Presumably this is the reason why on application to register a company with the word "architect" in the title, Companies House directs applicants to the Architects Registration Board.)

The rule-making power under sub-section 20(4) appears to be limited to prescribing particular information to be provided to the Board viz. "such information necessary for determining whether [subsection 20(3)] applies".  The subsection makes no provision for levying any fee.

(The restrictions on use of title and the exemptions are considered in the AARUK paper The Architects Act Analysis with some Passing Remarks and questions for policy-makers, at " The general burden".)

Further information

For a briefing note about the statutory restrictions on the use of the title "architect" by practitioners and others see the well informed article: A point of view on statutory registration : current options ( PDF version).

State Registered Architect

A contributor to AARUK, reflecting on comments made at the Board meeting of 22 July 2009 and elsewhere, examines the duty of Board members who have been appointed to "represent the interests of users of architectural services and the general public", revealing the paradox that this may have results which go against the interests of the users of architectural services, other professional persons and the public.  It is suggested in the article, for which see here ( pdf version), that the public interest would be better served if the focus of the appointed members was more tightly defined.

Several good reasons for repealing Part IV of the Act  (19 Oct 2010)

On the day when the Government informed the RIBA that it had no intention of repealing the Act, a contributor tackles the complexity of regulatory protection with some simple suggestions for reform and common sense.  The principal note may be found here, leading to a supplementary note which suggests that the ARB is not independent but a satellite of the Government which might be put to better use (shortcut).

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Architects Act
Architects Registration Board
- education
- c ompetence to practise
Professional standards - the code, etc
Use of title
Links to websites:
chartered bodies
historical notes