Professional Standards - the Code etc

Code Revision - plain English?

Code Revision - "Best" practice?

Applying the Code : will there be difficulties?

Will ARB be claiming the function of architecture aesthetics monitor? (25 October 2010)



Professional Standards - the Code, etc

Under section 13(1) of the Architects Act, the Board is required to issue a code laying down standards of professional conduct and practice expected of registered persons. 

The principal purpose of the code is set down at section 13(4)(b) of the Act where it is stated that “[the code] shall be taken into account in any proceedings against [a registered person] under section 14”.  It is only by extension that the code is of general interest to those on the register and beyond as to what might and what might not constitute [serious*] unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence.  The code is therefore concerned only with those threshold or base-line professional values and should not attempt to emulate the standards promulgated by the professional bodies.

The Board is required to keep the code under review and to vary its provisions whenever it considers it appropriate to do so; and before varying the code, it is required to consult with such professional bodies and such other persons "with an interest in architecture" as it considers appropriate.


The 2010 Code - changes, including the duty to "have regard to ... conserve and enhance the quality of the environment and its natural resources".

In December 2008, the Board published a draft revision of the code containing a significant change in style and a widening of the scope of the standards it contains. The draft was adopted with only minor changes, the new Code of Conduct 2010 being introduced on 1 January 2010. Of particular note is that the Board now acknowledges some European-wide codes and other sources (compare with the Code of Conduct 2002).  Interested persons and policy makers may consider such material extraneous to a properly formulated code, and may conclude that the revised code is excessive in jurisdiction and unnecessary.

AARUK suggests that, in the public interest, the professional bodies will pay close attention to the scope and nature of the changes having regard to the RIBA document The Status of the ARB.  Of particular concern is the new wording of Standard 5, the duty to pay due regard to "the interests of anyone who may reasonably be expected to use and enjoy the products of the [architect's] work". 

This includes the architect's purported "wider responsibility to conserve and enhance the quality of the environment and it natural resources".  Bearing in mind that duty under this code standard is "to pay due regard" to this matter, and bearing in mind that the issue of energy may be considered relevant, particularly when the issue of global warming may be something that architects are expected to consider, an AARUK contributor has written the attached resource and note with a view to assist architects in the discharge of that purported duty.



*See ARB v Vranicky, 16 March 2007 [2007] EWHC 506 (Admin) where, reasoning that the standard applicable to professional conduct should not differ from that applied to professional incompetence, the court explained that, unless what had been done or not done in an individual case could be regarded as a serious lapse, it would not be appropriate to impose a disciplinary sanction. The judge added: “Only in that way can proper weight be given to the adjective ‘unacceptable’”.

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Architects Act
Architects Registration Board
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Professional standards - the code, etc
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