Last edited 09 Jun 2021

The Architects Act

The Architects Act 1997 is an Act of Parliament that consolidates the originating and amending Acts relating to the registration of architects.

Although buildings in the UK are commonly designed by people who are not architects, the term ‘architect’ itself is protected by the act. Section 20 of the Architects Act states that 'A person shall not practise or carry on business under any name style or title containing the word ‘architect’ unless he is a person registered under this Act'.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to offer services as an architect if they are not on the register of the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

The act, which came into force in July 1997, consolidated the Architects (Registration) Act 1931 (which had required the Register of Architects to be established), and the changes enacted in Part III of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

It also provided that:

The act was amended in 2011 to recognise European qualifications, enabling migrants from the European Economic Area or Switzerland to register as architects in the UK.

On 7 January 2019, a revised version of the Architects Act 1997 came into force reflecting the possibility of the UK leaving the EU.

In November 2020, the Government announced a consultation changes to the Act to make competence assessment compulsory. For more information see: ‎Architects' building safety competence consultation.

In June 2021, the government confirmed plans to allow architects with certain international qualifications to join their UK Register. In addition, it confirmed that wider proposals to drive up professional competence in the sector will be implemented via the Building Safety Bill, with the ARB given new powers to monitor the way architects manage their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

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