We asked, you said, we did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

  • The way we educate and train architects in the UK needs to change. The current system has produced thousands of excellent architects, but it’s also created significant barriers to some people becoming architects at all. We have a vision of how we might modernise the system, by developing a regulatory model that focusses on the outcomes required of an individual at the end of their initial period of education and training.
     
  • We believe that the most important factor is what a newly qualified architect should be able to do – not how they got there. This means that we are open to considering different routes to registration, particularly those which might widen access to the profession.
     
  • We invited views on our proposed vision for how to modernise initial education and training in order to achieve this.
     
  • The survey comprised of five questions.
     
  • Two were ‘open’ questions inviting a written response, and three were a mixed format in which respondents could answer a multiple-choice element to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with our proposal and also share their views in a written response. The questions are reproduced in order below:

Question 10: Chapter 4 of the discussion paper sets out the evidence we have analysed to date, and the conclusions we’ve reached. Is there anything you believe is missing from these conclusions, that we should also take into account as we start developing the outcomes-based approach?

Respondents were invited to write a response into an open text box.

Question 11: Chapter 5 of the discussion paper sets out the vision for our new regulatory approach. To what extent do you agree with our vision? Please feel free to explain your view, and make any suggestions as to what is missing.

  1. Public
  2. Profession and employers
  3. Institutions
  4. Future architects
  5. Regulatory

Respondents were invited to select one of the following options for each vision: Strongly agree, Agree, Neither agree nor disagree, Disagree or Strongly disagree. Respondents were also invited to write a response into an open text box.

Question 12: To enable institutions to innovate and to promote diversity, we think that the structure needs to change from the current approach of Parts 1, 2 and 3. What are your views on this?

Respondents were invited to select one of the following options for each vision: Strongly agree, Agree, Neither agree nor disagree, Disagree or Strongly disagree. Respondents were also invited to write a response into an open text box.

Question 13: We believe that the best way to describe the competencies architects need may be to describe what an architect must KNOW, what they must be able to DO, and how they must BEHAVE. To what extent do you agree?

Respondents were invited to select one of the following options for each vision: Strongly agree, Agree, Neither agree nor disagree, Disagree or Strongly disagree. Respondents were also invited to write a response into an open text box.

Question 14: Are there any other views you would like to share with us about this work?

Respondents were invited to write a response into an open text box.

You said

  • We received 711 unique responses to the survey from different groups, including architects, students, educators, and other built environment professionals.
     
  • Each of the five aspects of ARB’s vision for success received high levels of support. The most popular was the need to provide future architects with skills, knowledge, experience, and behaviours that they can develop and apply throughout their careers (which was supported by 92% of respondents).
     
  • Our proposal to move from a rules-based approach of the current Criteria to an outcomes-based approach was supported by 80% of respondents.
     
  • Our suggestion that the structure of education and training needs to change from the current approach of Parts 1,2 and 3 was supported by 65% of respondents. Architecture students were most likely to agree with the need for change (94%) followed by related professionals working in the built environment (90%) and over half (55%) of architects.
     
  • One of the most popular suggestions made by respondents was that ARB should restructure the requirement for professional practical experience. Respondents also raised the need for more flexible ways of learning and training, and suggested we find ways to reduce the cost and time it takes to qualify.
     
  • Respondents also raised areas of architects’ competence that should be considered as part of our review. The most common were business skills (including skills such as time management, professional competence, and general preparedness for working in a practice); professionalism and ethics; climate change and sustainability; and health and safety.
     
  • Some respondents also raised concerns about working conditions and mistreatment, and that the current system disproportionately affects or counts against women, transgender or non-binary people, people from a minority ethnic group, or people from a lower socio-economic background.

We did

We produced an analysis report of the survey and this is available here: arb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/ARB-Education-Survey-Report-June-2022.pdf 

  • The insights gained through this survey are invaluable in informing how we will work with the sector to modernise initial education and training. We will continue to develop the outcomes-based approach as well as more specific proposals on how we can reform the current regulatory requirements around the current three-part structure to enable more innovation, flexibility and support diversity.
     
  • The ideas and suggestions in our report are derived from survey respondents and are not final proposals from ARB. Structural change will take time, and we intend to develop our proposals through extensive two-way engagement with institutions, architects, and other relevant organisations through further meetings and workshops. Once we have proposals for a new structure, we will run a public consultation on both the proposed structure and its phased implementation, so that all interested stakeholders have the opportunity to help shape it.
     
  • We are also considering other work we can do to address the points raised by respondents. It was concerning to read the worries raised about mistreatment, particularly towards those just beginning their careers. We will bear in mind the examples raised by respondents, recognising that while we don’t regulate businesses, architects do have responsibility for the control and management of practices. These issues will be included the forthcoming review of the Architects Code of Conduct and Practice; this provides us with another opportunity to consider how we articulate the requirements for fair and professional behaviour towards communities, clients, and all colleagues including employees.

We asked

  • The Building Safety Bill will give ARB new powers to monitor the training and development architects carry out throughout their careers. We’ll use this to implement a CPD scheme that will encourage architects to maintain and develop their competence to practise.
  • ARB invited views on the proposed principles to underpin that scheme.
  • The survey comprised of six questions.
  • Two were ‘closed’ multiple-choice questions, with the remaining four using an ‘open’ free-text element where respondents could give more insight into their views. The questions are reproduced in order below:

Question 10: To what extent do you support each of the four proposed principles for our CPD scheme?

  1. Improve the overall competence of the profession
  2. Tailored by architects to their own practice and needs
  3. Proportionate and deliverable
  4. Avoid duplication where possible

Respondents were invited to select one of the following options for each principle: Strongly support, Support, Neither support nor oppose, Oppose or Strongly oppose.

Question 11: Are there any key points missing from the principles?

Question 12: What type of learning and development (this could include formal or informal) have you found most useful in your practice?

  1. Self-directed reading
  2. On the job learning
  3. Training delivered by an external provider
  4. Other type of learning and development

Respondents were invited to select one of the following options for each type: Very useful, Somewhat useful, Not so useful, Not applicable

For ‘other’, they were invited to write a response into an open text box.

Question 13: Please tell us about any barriers you have observed that have prevented you or architects you know from undertaking good quality CPD?

Question 14: Do you have any examples of particularly good or innovative CPD?

Question 15: Is there anything further you would like us to bear in mind as we develop the monitoring scheme?

You said

  • We received 763 unique responses to the survey, drawing from across the profession with responses from different sized practices and architects at various stages in their careers.
  • Each of ARB’s proposed principles received high levels of support. The most popular of the four principles was supported by 91% of respondents, and the least popular was still supported by a majority 81% of respondents.
  • There was strong support for informal learning and development, reflected also in high levels of support for ARB’s principle that architects should be able to tailor CPD to their practice, and the principle that the scheme should be proportionate.
  • Roughly one in ten architect respondents expressed the view that they would appreciate and benefit from flexibility to decide when they undertake and record CPD.
  • Responses made it evident that not all architects are able to access all types of CPD equally.
  • Two thirds of respondents raised concerns about accessing good quality CPD.
  • One third of respondents raised (unprompted) the topic of how CPD should be recorded or monitored, often with a rationale for reducing the administrative burden for architects complying with the new scheme.

We did

We produced an analysis report of the survey, which has been discussed and approved by our Board. This report is available here

  • We intend to create a scheme that offers flexibility and will avoid creating restrictions about the type of learning and development architects undertake.
  • The feedback from respondents about potential barriers to undertaking CPD demonstrates alignment with ARB’s principle that the scheme should, where possible, avoid placing any additional financial costs on architects.
  • Any desire for flexibility will need to align with the logistical requirements of monitoring compliance with the scheme, which is likely to run on an annual basis for efficiency.
  • We will engage with other professional bodies that run CPD schemes to investigate whether it would be possible to allow architects to record CPD activities in one place that ARB can access and monitor, providing that record complies with ARB’s scheme requirements.
  • We will develop detailed proposals for the scheme and publicly consult on it prior to introducing it, which will be in 2023 at the earliest.