Our role in Europe

ARB’s Competent Authority role

Whilst the UK remains a member of the EU it is bound by an EU law called the Professional Qualifications Directive [2005/36/EC] (PQD) which sets out the conditions an individual must meet in order to register as an architect in another EU Member State. Part of this law requires an organisation or a body to undertake the role of ‘Competent Authority’ in each EU country. ARB is the Competent Authority for architects in the UK. This means that we implement and facilitate European legislation which provides freedom of movement for appropriately qualified architects to enable them to work in different parts of Europe.

We continue to maintain valuable and close relationships with and actively contribute to the work of both the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) and the European Network of Architects’ Competent Authorities (ENACA), attending meetings as relevant and appropriate. The Professional Qualifications Directive was amended in 2013 and we ensured that we were compliant with the relevant changes to the Directive by the implementation date in early 2016.

ACE has provided helpful information about new and upcoming Directives as well as the way in which other EU Member States accredit qualifications. ENACA has shared practical information about the implementation of the revised Directive.

Notifications of qualifications

In practice the principle of freedom of movement enshrined in the PQD is managed through a process of mutual recognition of qualifications in architecture. We notify ARB-recognised qualifications to the European Commission for listing and inclusion under Annex V of the Directive so that individuals who meet the relevant requirements for registration in the UK can benefit from the automatic recognition of their qualifications in other Member States. In turn, we review and comment on the compliance of qualifications notified by other Member States for listing under the Directive.

There is a substantial amount of activity in this area. In 2016, we reviewed 37 new notifications from 10 member states. We undertook an active role in reviewing these notifications, raising queries in relation to their compliance with the minimum requirements set out in the PQD where appropriate. For each notification there is a two-month consultation period and we met this deadline in all cases.

We notified one UK title change during 2016. We had planning meetings with three institutions regarding the notification of new qualifications. Two of these new Part 2 qualifications were notified to the Commission, and for consultation with Member States. This consultation ended in mid-2016.

New Notifications

Achievements of the Qualifications Department

The Qualifications Department continued to deliver the prescription process in a timely and efficient manner in line with key performance indicators and agreed procedures. This was achieved against a backdrop of increased applications from new institutions. At the same time stakeholder engagement activity continued to be a key focus for the qualifications department. Team members attended forums with their EU counterparts, liaised with organisations in the sector and conducted a comprehensive programme of university liaison visits.