Competence to practise - position of persons already on the Register

Relevant sections of the Act

Section 8.(1) 

The Board may require a registered person to pay a retention fee of a prescribed amount if he wishes his name to be retained in the Register in any calendar year after that in which it was entered.

Section 9(1):

Where the Board is not satisfied that a person who … (b) wishes his name to be retained … in the Register under section 8 has gained such recent practical experience as the Board may prescribe, his name … shall be removed from it, unless he satisfies the Board of his competence to practise.

General Rules made by the Board

Under the heading “Re-entry to the Register” Footnote Rule 20 states:

Any person who falls within the categories described in Section 9(1)(a), (b) or (c) who has not been engaged in the practice of architecture for a continuous period of two years immediately prior to the date of application may be required by the Board to satisfy them of his competence to practise.

1.         Under the present rules a registered person who is engaged in “the practice of architecture” for the prescribed period is entitled to continue to be registered. It seems that under Part II of the Act the Board cannot require anything more of that person. (However under Part III, a high degree of incompetence viz. “serious professional incompetence” on the part of a registered person is subject to disciplinary order by the Professional Conduct Committee of the Board.)

2.         Section 9 does not oblige the Board to be active in enquiring of registrants whether or not they have had the prescribed recent practical experience, rather, it enables it to be active in certain circumstances. These include a person wishing his/her name to be retained in the register. It would be hard to argue that the Board could not make it a rule that registered persons state whether or not they have the recent practical experience it has prescribed Footnote .

3.         Whether or not the Board could make a rule for monitoring recent practical experience, it is open to the Board to expand rule 20. The more demanding and specific the prescription of recent practical experience is, the fewer the number of registrants that will have had that experience, and the greater the residue of registrants who may be required to satisfy the Board of their competence to practise in other ways.

4.         In formulating its policy vis- à-vis the ARB the RIBA will wish to take into account that the Board’s power under section 9 is twofold: the power to prescribe recent practical experience, and the power to require a registrant to satisfy the Board of his or her competence to practise. The second is contingent and separate from the first. Furthermore the two are different in scope. They should not be confused.


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