“Is my architect qualified?”

2Be aware that terms such as “Architectural services”, “Architectural Consultant” and “Architectural Designer” do not necessarily mean that someone is a registered professional. Misuse of the title architect, is widespread, which is simply misleading to an unwary client.

Whilst anyone can offer architectural services, only someone who has been registered with the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB) can describe or promote themselves as, or offer the services of, an architect. This is a statutory requirement under The Architects Registration Act 1994. To be safe, do visit the ARB website, http://search.arb.org.uk click on check the register and type in their name.

Equally, only members of CIAT (Architectural Technologists who have gained Chartered status) are also recognised to practice in offering professional advice regarding the technical, and detail building design and project delivery to your satisfaction.

So, who should I use?

Well, put simply …. if you were in need of a tooth extraction, would you use a dentist, or a farrier? Or if you needed Legal advice, would you use a solicitor or rely on anecdotal opinion freely given over the pub bar?

Only one has sufficient training and ability to provide you with the correct service, but more importantly, only one of them is a professional, with a governing body, a code of conduct and operate in an ethical manner. In essence you have protection if you use an Architect or CIAT member, but you do not if you use any of the others.

The RSA Practice encapsulates the skills of both Chartered Architect (member of Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA), and Chartered Architectural Technologist (CIAT), and are bound by a regulatory body’s Code of Conduct in our professional relationship with you. These require that our business is conducted in a proper and ethical way and has disciplinary procedures for infringements of their respective Codes for your protection. If anything goes wrong or you feel you have not had the service you expected, you have a route for redress, but with the others you have nothing.

As part of these Codes we are required to undertake Continuous Professional Development and have adequate professional indemnity insurance (PII) if offering our services to you. Evidence can be provided to clients upon appointment. This insurance is separate to a building warranty, which is the insurance you should check that your contractor has in place to cover building defects.