Our Role: Professional Standards

ARB sets the standards of competence and conduct expected of architects and investigates those who may have fallen below those standards. We issue the Architects Code, provide advice to architects and their clients on matters of professional practice and impose penalties if an architect is found guilty of serious misconduct or incompetence.

We also regulate the use of the title ‘architect’ in the UK by encouraging potential users of an architect to check the Architects Register to ensure they are engaging a genuine professional and by taking enforcement action against unregistered individuals or practices who misuse the title.

The Periodic Review

2017 saw the publication of the Government’s Periodic Review of the regulation of architects. We requested legislative change to support our own regulatory modernisation and these reforms were supported by the Review. The Review included recommendations to change how cases are referred to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), and provide the power to issue reprimands without a requirement to have a disciplinary hearing. While we await the parliamentary opportunity for the Architects Act 1997 to be amended, we have begun our own review of how we handle investigations into the conduct and competence of architects. We launched a consultation in the summer of 2017 and the results of our review are expected to be published in May 2018.

Reducing Serious Cases

Over the last five years we have embarked on an educational campaign to inform architects of the risks we see in their practice, and how they might best avoid falling into disputes with their clients. In 2017 we continued to publish a ‘Dear Architect…’ column for the profession to provide advice and guidance on professional conduct matters, and to deliver professional practice events to architect groups around the country.


Investigations and Hearings

The Professional Standards department has Key Performance Indicators for each area of its investigations processes.

By the end of 2017:

  • 84% of investigations were dealt with at the review stage within the target deadline of 14 weeks
  • 83% of Investigation Panel decisions were issued within the 12 week deadline
  • ARB’s solicitors hit the 12-week target for preparing reports for the PCC 65% of the time
  • PCC hearings were scheduled within the 16-week target in 70% of cases
  • 62% of cases which were considered at the PCC were concluded within a total of 52 weeks

Misuse of title investigations

Investigations into misuse of title rose from 276 in 2016 to 431 in 2017. Despite this significant increase in investigations, 96% were completed within the 16-week deadline.


We request feedback from architects and complainants involved in the complaints process. During 2018 we will review our feedback procedures to help ensure we receive quality data which can inform our ways of working in the future.