ARB is very conscious that the current economic climate has had an impact on the financial stability of some architects’ practices. The Professional Standards team has seen an increase in the number of enquiries from concerned architects as a result.
Help and advice is available from a number of sources (including architectural professional bodies, such as RIBA) for any architect who is facing financial difficulties.
Seeking help at an early stage is sensible as well as beneficial, because it provides an opportunity to explore the range of options available. The Insolvency Service (http://www.insolvency.gov.uk) provides general guidance, and if you do find yourself in this position, we would encourage you to seek professional advice from your accountant before deciding on the most appropriate route forward.
We have prepared this guidance not only to help you, but also to highlight your obligations regarding your registration. We also want to reassure you that if you are facing financial difficulty, such problems do not automatically lead to removal from the Register.
If you are the subject of a bankruptcy order, or you make an arrangement with your creditors, or you are the director of a company which is wound up (other than for reconstruction purposes), you should report the circumstances to ARB within 28 days.
Neither bankruptcy nor being a director of an insolvent company will automatically lead to disciplinary action or the removal of your name from the Register. We may ask you to send us some information on the circumstances surrounding your financial situation, such as its impact on your clients and creditors and how the financial problems arose, and if your practice has been placed into liquidation we may ask for the company’s Statement of Affairs. Only where our enquiries suggest that an architect may have wilfully disregarded their responsibilities or that they demonstrated a lack of integrity, will ARB’s Investigations Panel need to give more detailed consideration to the matter.
The availability of ongoing or run-off professional indemnity insurance (where the practice has ceased) will vary considerably according to the particular situation. It is important that you to establish what your exact circumstances are, and you should take advice from your insurance broker/provider or an insolvency practitioner on any steps that you can take to ensure your continued cover.
Please contact the ARB’s Professional Standards Department on +44 (0) 20 7580 5861 or at firstname.lastname@example.org should you require any further information.