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Information for practices, employers and others who are coordinating the payment of annual retention fees on behalf of an architect.

You can use this Fee Form to let us know who you are paying for and/or provide us with an up-to-date list of your architect employees.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, you may wish to check the FAQs for those paying for themselves, as these contain additional details. Alternatively you can contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

The retention fee

Q1. What is the annual retention fee?

In the UK, an individual must join the Architects Register in order to legally call themselves an architect.  Architects must pay an annual fee by 31 December the preceding year in order for to remain registered in the new year.

We are the statutory regulator of UK architects, the fee is our main source of income for our regulatory activities which help maintain standards, and therefore trust, in the profession.

The fee for 2020 is £111 – payment can be made anytime from early October to midnight 31 December 2019, though we don’t recommend leaving it this late!

We are aware that many practices close over the Christmas period and do not return until the New Year so to help we extend our opening hours in December.

Q2. Who is required to pay the fee?

Architects who wish to remain on the Register and continue to call themselves an architect are required to pay the retention fee. 

Ultimately it is an architect’s responsibility to ensure their annual retention fee is paid, however sometimes others, such as employers, offer to cover the fee on their behalf. 

Q3. What happens is an architect’s fee is not successfully paid by 31 December 2019?
  • The architect will be removed from the Register for non-payment
  • They will not be able to legally practise as an architect
  • Potential clients will no longer be able to find them on the Architects Register
  • Additional fees will be required to cover the cost of processing their reinstatement
  • Payments received after 31 December will be returned and not allocated to the architect’s registration
Q4. What problems can arise and how can the risk be minimised?

Problems can arise when:

  • it is unclear where an architect is currently working
  • it is unclear who a payment has been made for
  • office closing times/payment timescales are not accounted for
  • a payment is made by both the architect and their employer
  • architects do not receive payment reminders because their registered details are out of date


Useful tips: 

  • Use the Employers Fee Form or contact us to ensure we have an up to date information on your employees and who you are paying for
  • Encourage the architects you are paying for to ensure their registered details are up to date
  • Notify the architects you are paying for of the date their fee is being paid
  • Double check you have paid the correct fee amount for this year
  • Ensure your account for staff absences and office closures over Christmas, and leave enough time for your payment to reach us by 31 December (processing the transaction by this deadline is not sufficient)
  • Make all cheque payments have been dated and signed, and are accompanied by the registration numbers of all architects the payment applies to
  • When paying by bank transfer please ensure you pay all bank charges as well, otherwise we may not receive the full fee amount
  • Ask your employees to forward you their registration certificates and retention fee receipts once you confirm their fee has been paid – please note these are sometimes directed to junk/spam mail
  • If you ask us to cancel a direct debit after 14 November, we recommend confirming with your bank that our request to cancel has been actioned as this is close to the date the direct debit will be processed and on rare occasions the request is not picked up in time.

Paying fees

Q5. What are the key steps of the payment process?

Step 1
In October, a fee notice is sent to all architects at their registered postal and email address.

Step 2
A fee is paid for each architect wishing to remain registered in the new year.

Step 3
Once allocated, a digital certificate and payment receipt is sent to the architect’s registered email address. Should you require a receipt, please ask your architect to forward it to you. This is not a VAT receipt as ARB is not VAT registered.

Q6. What methods can we use to pay fees?

Direct Debit

Setting up a direct debit is a quick and simple way to pay a fee and means the payment will be made automatically going forward so you won’t have to remember to pay the fee each year.

To pay by direct debit you can complete this form and return it to us by post, or call us on +44 (0)20 7580 5861. You need to get your direct debit form to us by 15 November 2019 so that we can set it up in time for the payment to be taken on or around 3 December 2019.

Online – credit/debit card

You can pay securely using a credit/debit card through our payment portal.

To protect against fraud, credit/debit cards payments are limited to £5,000 per transaction – equivalent to the fees for 45 architects. Multiple, separate transactions can be made if you are covering the fees of more than 45 architects.

You will need the registration numbers of the architects you are paying for to hand. You can ask the architects for their number, or find them on the Register (you can search in a range of ways including company name) or on the fee notice sent to each architect.

We accept Mastercard, Visa Credit, Visa Debit, Maestro and JCB. We are unable to accept American Express or Diners. We do not charge for paying by credit/debit card. You can also pay by credit/debit card over the phone by calling us on +44 (0) 20 7580 5861.

Online – bank transfer

To pay online by bank transfer, please use our account details below.

Bank:                                 NatWest Plc
Account number:            36172618
Sort code:                         60-09-15

You will need to provide the registration numbers of the architects you are paying for so we can allocate the fee successfully to each. If the fee is received before the deadline but we are unable to allocate it to the architect’s account, they could still be removed for non-payment.

You can send a remittance advice note, or the Employers Fee Form, with the names and registration number of the architects you are paying for to us at info@arb.org.uk.

Please ensure that your transfer will reach us by the 31 December. It is not necessarily sufficient to process the transaction by that date.

Cheque, banker’s draft or postal order

Payments must be in UK sterling and made payable to ‘Architects Registration Board’. Please also ensure that all costs associated with your payment method are covered, otherwise we may not receive the full retention fee balance due.

You will need to either attach the remittance advice slip from the fee notice for the architects you are paying for or list their registration numbers on the back of the cheque.

Please do be mindful of the Christmas period and allow adequate postage time for us to receive your payment before the deadline.

Q7. Can I cancel a Direct Debit for an employee who has moved to another practice?

Yes, you can call us on +44 (0)20 7580 5861 and we will action this for you. It is helpful to let your former employee know you have done this.

Q8. If an employee we paid for leaves our company before the end of 2020, can we request a refund?

A refund cannot be issued to you on this basis. You will need to make arrangements directly with the employee to recover any costs.

Other queries

Q9. Can I change the registered address details of an employee?

Only architects are able to access their registered details via Registrant Services. If you would like to amend a registered address you can email us at info@arb.org.uk, copying the relevant architects into the email.

Q10. Can we resign our employee from the Register?

Only architects can advise us of a wish to resign, and must do so in writing. Please direct the architect to this webpage for more information on resigning, or ask the architect to get in touch with us at info@arb.org.uk.

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