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ARB publishes new safety and sustainability guidelines for architects

Posted: 25th March 2021

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has today published new guidelines for all architects on Fire and life safety design and Sustainability.

Everyone deserves a built environment which helps people to live healthy, happy and safe lives. Anyone using an architect, or an environment designed by an architect should have confidence in their professionalism and quality. ARB protects the public by ensuring everyone admitted to the Register has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours to practise as an architect. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review ‘Building a Safer Future’ recommended that ARB should address fire safety in design as part of the competence levels required of architects.

All registered architects must do everything they can to secure the health and safety of the people who use buildings. This outweighs any other obligations they may have. ARB’s new guidelines also promote the need for architects to understand their role within a design team, and for them to know how to manage risk on a building project.

ARB has also developed guidelines for all registered architects to ensure they are fully competent in all aspects of sustainability that apply to buildings and all areas of architecture.

Architects themselves support the need for these competencies; in a survey ARB commissioned in autumn 2020, architects reported that safety and sustainability were the two most common issues that had become more important to their job in the last five years.

Alan Kershaw, Chair of the Architects Registration Board, said: “All professionals, however experienced, can learn and improve throughout their careers. We are calling on architects to be proactive, study these new guidelines and reflect on how to develop their practice.

The public need to be assured that these issues are being addressed. I encourage anyone engaging an architectural professional, no matter what the size or scale of the project, to ensure they are registered with us.”

Alan Jones, RIBA President, added: “Considering the scale of the climate emergency and building safety emergency, we must sharpen our focus to ensure that current and future architects are able to address the most significant challenges facing our profession, society and planet.

“We enthusiastically endorse the ARB’s new requirements for registered architects, which complement the RIBA’s current work to strengthen the core, critical knowledge of our own membership.”

ARB is encouraging architects to read the new guidelines immediately. They can also learn about them through films prepared by ARB Board members, Professor Stephen Brookhouse and Professor Elena Marco.