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CPD scheme

Through the Building Safety Act 2022, ARB has the duty of monitoring the training and development that architects complete throughout their careers, which we do through a continuing professional development (CPD) scheme for all architects. ARB launched this new scheme in January 2024. The ARB scheme is designed to be flexible and accessible. It is outcomes focused and activities based. CPD helps all architects to maintain and develop their professional competence throughout their careers and gives assurance to the public and those who use the services of architects.

Guidance

The components of the scheme and the requirements are set out in the guidance document here. More information on the requirements of the scheme and the steps architects should take to ensure compliance can be found below.

This guidance has been effective as of January 2024. However, the scheme is being implemented in a phased manner and no architect will be removed from the Register for non-compliance after the scheme’s first year of operation.

Alternatively, RIBA members can record their CPD on RIBA’s platform. Please see the guidance for more details.

Scheme requirements

Prepare

You should identify how you want to develop, or in what areas of practice you want to develop. We recommend you create a personal development plan (PDP). A PDP is a useful tool to help you organise and plan your CPD over the year. Creating a PDP is optional, but you should take the time to review what you want to achieve and plan how to meet your development goals. Your development needs may change over time, so the PDP should be used as a live document to reflect changing priorities throughout the year. Please see the sample records here for examples of PDPs.

Participate

You take part in CPD activities and record activities which improve your expertise and ability to practise. This could include discussing a scenario with a colleague, reading an article, attending a seminar; anything that helps you meet your development needs. While CPD can be done at any time, we strongly encourage that you carry out CPD throughout the year. Please see the guidance here for more information about what counts as a CPD activity.

Record and reflect

You must record your CPD activities on MyARB or RIBA’s platform. You can reflect after each activity, or monthly, quarterly or at the end of each year. Sample records can be seen here.

If recording on ARB’s portal, you will be required to choose from a list of activities that best match your CPD activity.

Retention

In order to renew your registration at the end of the year, you must confirm that you have carried out CPD or have a deferment agreed. More information about deferments can be found in the guidance here.

Where do I record my CPD?

You can record your CPD activities on MyARB, the ARB registrant services portal, or on RIBA’s platform.

When do I record my CPD?

Your registration runs on a calendar year. CPD should therefore be recorded from the start of each year through to December. CPD can be carried out after the retention fee is paid and recorded onto the system.

Architects can choose when to complete an activity and when to record your CPD. However, we suggest that you aim to spread your activities over the twelve months, to help ensure that recording your activities doesn’t become an administrative burden at the end of the year.

What do I record?

You must record the following:

  • date of the activity – if the activity was longer than a day, you can choose to put the start or the end date
  • topic – choose the topic option most relevant to the activity
  • activity type – choose the activity type closest to the activity
  • learning reflection – what you have learned from your activity, how you are applying these to your practice and any known benefits, how this has improved your competency, next steps for future development

The same learning outcome can be identified from multiple activities, and similarly the same outcomes can be identified from more than one activity.

Please do not upload any kind of CPD certificates or attendance reports for events to evidence your record. Such certificates will not be reviewed. The evidence of your development captured by your learning reflection will demonstrate your compliance with the scheme.

Mandatory topics 2024

There are two mandatory topics for 2024 – fire and life safety and environmental sustainability. Learn more here.

Further information

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CPD records annual review

For quality assurance and compliance purposes, ARB will review a sample of CPD records each year.

Records will be chosen randomly based on a risk-based system which includes but is not an exhaustive list:

  • Those that have not previously been selected for review
  • Those that have deferred, for any reason, the previous year
  • Those that have previously been involved in disciplinary proceedings
  • Those that have previously failed to carry out their CPD
  • Those that have been off the Register for a significant period

When a record has been reviewed, the architect will be informed of one of the following outcomes:

  • Meets requirements
  • Action needed
  • Doesn’t meet requirements

Please see the guidance.

Non-compliance

Our CPD scheme is to encourage architects to engage in meaningful professional development. Wherever possible, we will support architects to complete their CPD and provide feedback to help architects improve engagement. If an architect is not compliant with ARB’s CPD requirements, they will be informed so that they can take remedial steps. 

If an architect confirms during retention that they have completed their CPD records and it is subsequently shown that they had not done so, then it would be considered a matter of dishonesty, and they would be subject to an investigation of unacceptable professional conduct.

Deferment

While there is an expectation that every architect on the Register will carry out CPD in support of their ongoing competence, there are entirely legitimate circumstances in which it will not be possible for some to carry out activities. Possible reasons for applying for a deferment are parental leave (maternity, paternity and adoption) or long-term sickness. In such situations, architects can apply to defer their CPD submission for one year but remain on the Register. See the guidance for more information.

Readmittance and reinstatement

To rejoin the Register, architects must demonstrate that they have maintained their competence in a way that is relevant to their practice. An application to rejoin the Register will be reviewed by the Competency Standards Group (CSG) who will recommend to the Registrar if the applicant should be allowed to rejoin the Register. See the guidance for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How many hours of CPD do I have to do each year?

The scheme has no minimum requirement for the number of hours or activities. We want architects to focus on the quality and outcome of their development activities instead. However, we recommend architects carry out a minimum of eight CPD activities over the year (which will include activities carried out in respect of the two mandatory topics). This figure is based on a comparison of other professionals’ CPD schemes, and our research into the amount of CPD architects currently undertake. Architects will need to carry out CPD every year and confirm they have undertaken it when they pay their retention fee to satisfy the scheme’s requirements. 

What counts as an activity?

The CPD scheme requires architects to undertake relevant activities to contribute to their professional development, and to record these activities along with a reflection on what they learned as a result. Architects can define their own CPD activities, which can include formal learning or informal development. There will be no minimum time required for an activity to qualify as being relevant.

If an architect has developed professionally and can apply what they have learned to their practice, then it can be considered continuing professional development. Some of the examples of activities shared by respondents to our survey in 2021 include:

  • online learning
  • learning from technical experts
  • peer-to-peer networks
  • in-person and online events
  • reading
  • attending demonstrations
  • teaching
  • site visits
  • visits to or from organisations
  • case studies
  • mentors
  • podcasts
Do I need to submit evidence of my CPD activities?

No, please do not upload any kind of CPD certificates or attendance reports for events to evidence your record. Such certificates will not be reviewed. The evidence of your development captured by your learning reflection will demonstrate your compliance with the scheme.

What are the different activity types to choose from if I record my CPD activities on MyARB?
  • Formal training: For example a course, seminar or conference session. This list is not exhaustive. You are the learner/trainee. The learning material has been planned with specific learning outcomes identified.
  • Peer discussion: A conversation with a peer, colleague or fellow architect where you gain understanding or knowledge and can apply this to your practice.
  • Practical experience: For example, on-the-job experience or experience when on a site visit. This list is not exhaustive. You learn or gain knowledge from doing something rather than from a book or course.
  • Research: While carrying out research for a project you learn something or consolidate knowledge which you can apply to your practice.
  • Self-directed learning: You choose to read a specific article, listen to a radio programme, or podcast, or watch a documentary and you learn or consolidate knowledge which you can apply to your practice.
  • Teaching/training: You are the teacher or trainer. You deliver a course. You gain new learning or understanding while preparing and/or delivering learning material
  • Other: Any other type of CPD activity not currently covered by the above list.
Can the public and third parties see CPD records on the Register or MyARB?

No, the CPD section of the MyARB profile can only be seen by the individual architect and the ARB staff – this includes reviewers, once a CPD record has been assigned to them. Similarly, the public will not be able to see, on the Register, if an architect has completed CPD. However, the individual can choose to email a copy of their record to themselves which they can then share with anyone they want to, if they wish to do so.  

I am on the Register but I work in construction/academia/another sector. Do I still need to do it?

To meet the scheme’s requirements you would have to participate in appropriate CPD as set out in the guidance. The ARB CPD scheme requires every architect to demonstrate continuing professional development in their field of work. 

We have not taken a ‘one-size-fits-all- approach. The scheme allows individuals to maintain and develop their competence in a way that is relevant to their day-to-day work and practice. As long as you can identify a learning outcome and how this has been applied to your practice or day-to day work, then we will accept it as valid CPD, no matter what field or sector it relates to. 

I am on parental leave/not working at the moment. Do I still need to do it?

Compliance with ARB’s CPD scheme will become a requirement of registration, and architects will have to complete their CPD annually to remain eligible to stay on the Register. 

In some circumstances it may not be possible to carry out CPD activities, for example, those on parental leave or if someone is suffering a long-term illness. In such situations, architects may apply to defer their CPD submissions for one year but remain on the Register. Multiple deferments will only be agreed in exceptional circumstances.

If you wish to withdraw from the Register, please refer to the detailed guidance for more information on retiring from the Register.

I am retired. Do I still need to do it?

Compliance with ARB’s CPD scheme will become a requirement of registration, and architects will have to complete their CPD annually to remain eligible to stay on the Register. If you are retired and no longer practicing professionally, you may find that you are unable to meet the requirements of the CPD scheme.

If you are no longer engaged in professional practice and have retired, you may not need to be on the Register. You can continue to call yourself an architect in social settings, as long as you are no longer carrying out any type of architectural work. You can find more information here. 

I’m a part-time architect, do I have to meet the same CPD requirements as full-time architects?

All architects who wish to remain on the UK Register will have to conduct appropriate CPD. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure they maintain and develop their competence and to help reassure the public that all architects, regardless of their employment status and work area, are suitably qualified to work.

I work abroad. Do I still need to do it?

To meet the scheme’s requirements you must participate in appropriate CPD, regardless of whether you are practicing in the UK or abroad.

If I do CPD activities for another organisation's scheme, would they count towards my ARB CPD requirement?

ARB has developed a flexible scheme in order to avoid duplication. If an architect has developed professionally and can apply what they have learned to their practice, then it can be considered continuing professional development. It doesn’t matter where or how you did your CPD, so long as it’s an activity that helped you to learn and develop in your work.

Will there be a specific online platform for recording ARB CPD?

CPD can be recorded on MyARB or on RIBA’s platform. Architects will need to record the CPD activities they carry out and the outcomes from them. They will also need to reflect on what they learned from their CPD activity, how it has been applied to their practice and any known benefits, how it has helped their competencies and any further development.

Architects only need to record their CPD on one platform – be it ARB or RIBA. If an architect is selected for a CPD review by ARB and they have recorded their CPD on RIBA’s platform, a copy of those records can be uploaded to the ARB platform or sent electronically to ARB. Those electing to record their CPD activities on RIBA’s platform must still ensure they cover the two mandatory ARB topics.

Those architects who choose to use RIBA’s platform will also still have to confirm with ARB that they have done their CPD when they pay their retention fee to stay on the Register each year. If an architect is selected for a CPD review by ARB and they have recorded their CPD on RIBA’s platform, a copy of those records will have to be uploaded to MyARB.  

Will I have to do specific or mandated CPD topics – and if so, how many of these will be required and how will you tell us about them?

ARB may mandate particular areas of architectural practice that must be covered by an architect’s CPD activities.

The two mandatory topics for 2024 are fire and life safety design and environmental sustainability.

Any mandated topics will be decided following engagement with the profession and key stakeholders, including government departments and professional membership bodies across the United Kingdom. While all architects must carry out CPD on these mandatory areas, they will have the discretion to do so in a way that is relevant to their practice.

Guideline competencies available on the ARB website provide details of what you should know for each mandatory topic. You can review these guidelines here.

Will ARB approve or recommend specific CPD?

No, ARB will not provide or accredit or approve CPD resources. This applies to mandatory topics as well.

We will however signpost to resources. Please see here for resources for environmental sustainability, and here for resources for fire and life safety. Please see here for general CPD resources.

Do I get to choose the CPD topic I want to do, so it is most relevant to my practice?

Yes, the purpose of the CPD scheme is for every architect to develop professionally in their field of work. We encourage you to participate in CPD activities that will enable you to develop in your role.

ARB may also, on occasion, choose to mandate specific topics. Architects must carry out CPD on these mandatory areas but will have the discretion to do so in a way that is relevant to their practice. The topics for 2024 are fire and life safety and environmental sustainability.

Will my CPD record be reviewed by ARB?

ARB will annually review a selection of architect’s CPD records. If you are included in that selection, ARB will notify you. If you are using RIBA’s platform to record your CPD, you will be asked to upload a copy of your record to the MyARB portal by a set date. You can find more information on documenting your CPD records here.

How does the ARB review work and will it be possible to appeal the decision of the CPD review panel?

A proportionate percentage of architects will be selected for review each year. Their records will be reviewed by our reviewers, all of whom are registered architects who have experience with peer review. The review is an exercise in quality assurance to ensure registrants are compliant with the scheme and to offer feedback should this be required. The reviewers are not there to judge individual architects, but rather to confirm that the selected architects have carried out CPD, that they have identified lessons learned from their CPD activities and have identified how they can apply what they’ve learned to their practice. They will not be assessing whether the CPD undertaken by each individual architect is suitable for that individual’s needs. Our scheme is based on four principles, one of which is ‘tailored by architects to their own practice and needs’ – it is the responsibility of each individual architect to decide if the CPD they have undertaken is suitable for their own day-to-day practice. 

There are three outcomes of the review: 

  • Meets requirements 
  • Action needed 
  • Doesn’t meet requirement.    

Those with the outcome ‘action needed’ will be given clear guidance on what changes are needed to meet requirements and a period of time to make those changes. They will be asked to resubmit by a set deadline and their record will be reviewed again. 

Will architects who fail to maintain competence be publicly announced, in a similar way to the proceedings on the Professional Conduct Committee?

No, the CPD scheme is designed to encourage architects to develop. Where an architect has been informed that they are not compliant with ARB’s CPD requirements, they will be given the opportunity to take necessary remedial steps within a required period. If after that period, they still fail to comply, they will be removed from the Register.  

Please note that if an architect confirms during retention that they have completed their CPD records and it is subsequently shown that they had not done so, then it would be considered a matter of dishonesty, and they would be subject to an investigation of unacceptable professional conduct. If this leads to a PCC hearing and the outcome is a sanction for the architect, then this will be publicly announced, as are all PCC hearing sanctions. 

How much will it cost me?

As far as possible, the scheme will avoid any additional costs for architects. Due to the flexibility of our scheme, we believe it will be possible for you to complete CPD activities without having to spend additional money attending courses or events. We know that some architects choose to pay for CPD courses or events, and this will be entirely at their discretion.

If your question was not answered in this list, please contact us at CPD@arb.org.uk