Last edited 17 May 2017

ARB code of conduct

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the independent statutory regulator that regulates the architects’ profession in the UK to ensures standards are maintained.

Section 13 of the Architects Act 1997 requires that the ARB issue a code setting standards of professional conduct and practice expected of persons registered as architects under the Act for the benefit of the clients they serve and to maintain public confidence in the profession.

Architects are expected to be guided by the spirit of the code as well as its express terms. Whilst failure to comply with the provisions of the code may not in itself constitute unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence, it will be taken into account in disciplinary proceedings by the ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee.

The latest version of the code, Architects Code: Standards of Professional Conduct and Practice, came into force on 1 January 2017. This updates the previous 2010 code following consultations with architects, their professional bodies, public interest organisations and others in the regulatory community. It is not intended to be a detailed set of rules, but rather offers a set of principles to be followed, taking into account areas in which architects are most likely to encounter problems.

Twelve standards are described, with further detail provided in supplemental clauses:

  1. Be honest and act with integrity.
  2. Be competent.
  3. Promote your services honestly and responsibly.
  4. Manage your business competently.
  5. Consider the wider impact of your work.
  6. Carry out your work faithfully and conscientiously.
  7. Be trustworthy and look after your clients’ money properly.
  8. Have appropriate insurance arrangements.
  9. Maintain the reputation of architects.
  10. Deal with disputes or complaints appropriately.
  11. Co-operate with regulatory requirements and investigations.
  12. Have respect for others.

Standard 4.4 of the new code addresses architects who fail to provide adequate terms of engagement before undertaking professional work, setting out minimum requirements for written agreements. There is also a new restriction (Standard 9.5) preventing architects from entering into a settlement which would prevent a complaint about their conduct or competence being raised with the ARB. This is intended to prevent architects 'contracting out' of their professional responsibilities.

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