Last edited 12 Aug 2016

RIBA professional conduct guidance

The Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) maintains a Code of Professional Conduct for its members to promote professional good conduct and best practice. It sets out the standards of professional conduct and practice that the institute requires of its members.

In July 2016, the RIBA published new professional conduct guidance to support the RIBA Code of Professional Conduct. The guidance, agreed by RIBA Council takes the form of eight notes that augment the principles of good practice:

  • GN1, Integrity, conflicts etc.
  • GN2, Advertising.
  • GN3, Appointments.
  • GN4, Insurance.
  • GN5, Continued professional development.
  • GN6, Relationships.
  • GN7, Employment and equal opportunities.
  • GN8, Complaints and dispute resolution.

The two key changes relate to complaints handling and taking over a project already started by someone else:

  • The complaints handling guidance is intended help prevent complaints from escalating to the point at which they involve formal approaches to the RIBA Professional Standard office, as this often takes place before the architect has had the opportunity to address the complaint themselves. The new guidance proposes that a formal written procedure for handling disputes and complaints should be available on request to potential complainants.
  • When taking over projects already started by someone else, architects are advised to have in place procedures, including templates for communications to the previous architect and the client. The guidance makes clear that the existence of a dispute should not necessarily prevent the architect taking over the project, but that they should endeavour to understand the facts of the dispute and to use their judgement as to whether to proceed.

Adam Williamson, RIBA Head of Professional Standards said “The RIBA Code of Conduct and accompanying guidance are not intended as rules, but as principles for good practice. They need to react to the expectations of clients and the profession. I hope that these revisions will allow members to develop frameworks which will help avoid some of the pitfalls of practice and make for smoother client relationships.”

The revised guidance notes are published alongside the Code of Conduct.

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