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What is the Code of Conduct?

Section 13 of the Architects Act 1997 requires the Board to issue a code laying down standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects.  It is not a list of rules, but a guidance document.

 

Why has the Code been revised?

The Act requires the Board to keep the Code under review and to vary its provisions whenever it considers it appropriate to do so.  Given the last revision of the Code took place in 2010, a review was considered appropriate to ensure its relevancy.

 

When did the consultation take place and who was invited to respond?

There were two consultations, to which professional bodies, consumer organisations, the public, and the profession itself were all invited to comment.  The first, which took place between 11 May and 11 August 2015, asked for general responses on what should be in the Code of Conduct. The second, which took place between 16 February and 30 Match 2016, asked for comments on the proposed changes.  All the documents associated with the consultations and its responses can be accessed from ARB’s website.

 

Who should be aware of the Code?

The Code is provided to all architects on the Register, and it is their individual responsibility to be aware of its contents.  If you have any queries regarding your obligations under the Code, you should contact ARB’s Professional Standards Department at professionalstandards@arb.org.uk .

 

What if I practise outside the United Kingdom?

The Code lays down the standards of conduct and practice expected of architects, wherever they may live or practise.  However, it is a guidance document and those who practise outside the UK may be subject to different legislation, guidance or common practice which will influence their behaviour.  For example, local legislation may be in conflict with the Code and may provide a sound reason for taking a decision not to follow the Code

 

Do I need to do anything following these changes?

Although some of the language of the Code has been reworded, there are few substantive changes from the 2010 Code. Standard 4.4 has strengthened the expectation of what should be in an architect’s Terms of Engagement, and you should ensure that your own terms reflect those provisions.

There is also a new restriction on architects entering into any settlement which contain terms that prevent a client from making a complaint to ARB.

 

Do I have to reissue my Terms of Engagement?

No.  As the Code expects you to issue Terms of Engagement before you undertake any work, your amended Terms will only need to be issued to new clients.

 

What happens if I fall short of the Standards set down in the Code?

As the Code is not a set of rules, it will not automatically lead to disciplinary proceedings should you fall short of any of the standards.  However, any failure to comply with the provisions of the Code will be taken into account in event of a complaint.  Each case is judged on its own facts.

 

If someone complains about me, which Code will my conduct or competence be judged against?

ARB will consider a complaint against whichever Code was in place at the time of the alleged misconduct or incompetence.

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