UK government architecture review

UK government calls for architects' views on professional reform

The UK government has invited architects to "shape the future" of the profession by submitting their views on regulation, the Architects Registration Board, and how to improve diversity and innovation.

The call to evidence invites submissions from those working in the architectural and built environment professions and will examine the country's regulatory framework and the role of the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Individuals have 12 weeks from 16 August 2021 to submit evidence, which they can do by filling out an online survey at the government's official website.

A chance to "look to the future"

The government is positioning the consultation as part of a wholesale review aimed at modernising regulation, improving diversity and "upholding the UK's global reputation in architecture".

In addition to questions related to the ARB, the government has said the review will look at how the profession can become more diverse and accessible and whether the current regulatory regime is fit for purpose.

It will examine the role of architects' regulation in ensuring a more sustainable built environment, and look at how the government can promote innovation in the sector.

The review was launched by housing minister Christopher Pincher, who said the changes could contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable industry.

"Our architectural sector is one of the best in the world – with first-class educational institutions, world-leading practices, and a healthy export market," Pincher said.

"The review we are launching today builds on this outstanding legacy, looking to the future and exploring the changes we need for an innovative, accessible and broad profession that delivers better, greener and safer design and construction."

Review "asks important questions"

The review is being welcomed by the Architects Registration Board, which is currently conducting its own public engagement exercises.

"ARB has set an ambitious agenda that will modernise and transform the way we regulate," said ARB chair Alan Kershaw. "It's essential that we have a renewed and modern policy framework to match."

"The government's review asks important questions about policy and regulation and we look forward to playing a full part in shaping and supporting an architectural profession that is fit for the future."

As part of the review, the government will also conduct thematic workshops and interviews with sector representatives.

The housing minister will then receive initial findings by spring 2022, and an outcome from the review is expected in the summer of that year.

Call to evidence follows controversial proposals for UK planning reforms

The review follows last year's Planning for the Future reform proposals, which were criticised as prioritising the interests of developers over the building of good-quality, affordable housing.

The feedback to those consultations is still being analysed.

Separately, the government has also instituted a new Office for Place within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which is meant to support local authorities to introduce their own local design codes based their own communities and preferences.

To participate in the current review, architects can fill out the online survey.