Is there any particular value in choosing an Architect over an 'Architectural Designer?'

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) hold the list of registered architects practicing in the UK, and protects the title of 'Architect'. The benefit of hiring a registered architect is that they are regulated by the ARB and you can be assured that their competence and training is of a high professional standard. However, many architectural designers have not followed this traditional route in their professional training, and this does not mean that they are any less competent or talented.

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69 Comments

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    John Kellett

    Right Glen, let's go through this point by point shall we.

    -  'Architectural' technologist's degree courses are not recognised by ARB or the EU as containing sufficient merit to meet the ARB Part 1 aspect of an architect's training, let alone Parts 2 and Part 3. - ONE AT course has achieved Part 1 status, a good thing.

    - A CIAT member's training is a degree plus some work in an office but in a different profession to that of architect. - FACT

    - An architectural technology degree is not a degree in architecture. - FACT.

    - After an architect's training (degree + min.1 year in an office + masters degree + min. 1 year in an office + day long professional exam = average 9 years) we have covered most, if not all, of a technologist's training but the reverse is most certainly not true - FACT. How could it be, given the shorter course to a lower academic level than that of Part 2 and Part 3? Parity with Part 1 would be welcomed as AT courses do not look that dissimilar in terms of building design, apart from the lack of architecture content, to my BSc.(hons) in Architecture.

    - Technologists have very little architectural (as in pertaining to Architecture) training otherwise their courses would be recognised by ARB and the EU. Some chartered technologists may think of themselves as being architects but without the independently verified proof of gaining ARB recognition and actually becoming architects they cannot in anyway demonstrate that. - FACT.

    Qualified 'architectural' technicians and technologists are actually trained in constructional matters not architectural ones. - FACT. Another profession purporting to be architects when it has its own specialism in the construction detailing aspects would and is silly.

    - CIAT, unfortunately, is in many ways misleading the public by using the term 'architectural' in the title. The 'architectural' content of their courses is, of necessity, less than that of a Part 1 architecture student. Apart from the one course, FACT. Architectural means pertaining to architecture. How is a CIAT member architecturally trained when their courses, apart from one, are not recognised as meeting the requirements of an architecture degree at Part 1 level when there are another two higher academic standards to pass before registration with the ARB as an architect can be achieved? 

    - A CIAT member working for an architect is indeed working in an architectural context. - FACT.

    - CIAT members operating independently of architects are not working in an architectural context, they are operating in the context of their own professional sector of building design, as are chartered structural and building services engineers. - FACT.

    - Architect and technologist are not interchangeable job functions and are never likely to be. FACT.

    - I am certain chartered technologists are good at their job, but that job is not that of architect. They are no more an architect than many of the unqualified charlatan 'architectural designers' and 'architectural consultants'. FACT.

    Which follows on from the obvious, that despite it being legal for 'architectural designers' to practice and offer 'architectural services' they are not architects and those services contain very little, if any, architecture.

    A graduate of the University whose AT degree has been approved by the ARB and EU as meeting the requirements of Part 1 would still have at least 3 or 4 years of University backed study and training to pass Parts 2 and Part 3 before being able to register as an architect.

    That is not an attack on CIAT, if anything it is promoting the value of their profession in building design teams as collaborators. The annoyance is your insistence in claiming that CIAT members are equivalent to architects and RIBA members. Individual CIAT members may well have sufficient qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience etc. But if they do it is possible for them to register with ARB to prove that. Quite a few architects have followed that route to registration, and feel that they benefitted from that route, by qualifying as technicians / technologists first.

    As for your silly claim that there is no internationally agreed standard, I can only repeat the following facts. "Glen, of course there is an internationally agreed standard. It has been agreed across North America and Australasia for a start and accords with the requirements to enter the profession in most Countries around the World including most of Europe. Which is a MINIMUM of 5 years of University study plus 2 years professional training in Practice. To allow persons with only the equivalent of Part 1 or Part 2 to call themselves an architect is a lowering of the standard and will be resisted". Admittedly there are some lesser standards including that of 'no qualifications necessary' but they tend to be limited to the Country concerned without any international agreements.

    I strongly suggest that CIAT members concentrate on getting the Government to require ALL building designers to be appropriately qualified and registered/licensed, as many architects have been, rather than demean my profession, the entry into which is controlled through legislation. The disciplines of surveyor, technologist and engineer (without the word chartered in front) are not protected through legislation and can be used as job titles by anybody. That is what CIAT should be concerned about, unqualified technologists.

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    Glen Smith

    John. A reciprocal (mutual) agreement between the USA & Australia is not an International 'standard'. You've heard the one about 'World Series Baseball', haven't you?

    As for everything else, you're missing the point that the UK Registrar, is (unlawfully?) restricting access to the Architect's register, for suitably experienced architectural professionals. Why do you continue to turn a blind eye to this?

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    Glen Smith

    BTW John. Only the title 'Architect' is restricted in the UK, not 'architecture', which can be provided just as successfully by Non-ARB-Registrants (& far too often, not, by ARB-Registrants).

    You do not need the title 'Architect' to create 'Architecture', that's purely opinion.

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    Glen Smith

    Now. If Design is subjective & Architecture is not the preserve of (just) ARB Registered Architects (FACT), then, John, you have already conceded that CIAT Chartered Architectural Technologists (& Chartered Building Surveyors) fulfill two of the other Vitruvian Triad requirements.

    Mmmmmm, it does make you wonder?

    Edited by Glen Smith
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    John Kellett

    Glen, Good design is objective. It is Art that can be considered as being subjective, but even then only in terms of 'fashion'.  A good Victorian building is as good as a good Brutalist one. Both 'styles' have been fashions that have, at times, been subjectively unpopular. But that fact has not diminished their objective quality of design.

    It takes all three of the Vitruvian principles to be Architecture. CIAT members are well qualified to produce building designs that meet two of those principles, but without the 'delight' they cannot be good design or architecture.

    Training and qualifications in architecture is a way of ensuring good architecture (give or take the dictatorial aesthetic requirements of planners). Employing someone without training or qualifications in architecture is a poor way of ensuring ability and competence. Competence in building design is very different as the architecture (the 'delight') can be, and is, excluded. People without training and expertise in architecture are unlikely to fully comprehend the difference. Those without the knowledge do not necessarily know what they don't know. Which is very evident from your statements.

    It is true that not everyone 'wants' architecture. But has humans we do 'need' all three of the Vitruvian principles to be present, in equal high measure, in our built environment. But 'two out of three' is not 'three' is it :-) It is also a matter of literacy - Daily Mail v. Shakespeare, Philip Glass v. musical hall, Turner v. pornography, Alvar Aalto v. Bovis. 'Popular' does NOT equal 'good', which is something planning committees fail to understand :-) A building does not have to be liked at all moments in time to be architecture. If the populists had held sway St Pancras Station would have been demolished. The 'philistinism' continues with the fate of Brutalist buildings today.

    CIAT members are qualified building designers not Architects. It is very rare but yes it is possible for a non-architect (unqualified) to produce architecture but they as individuals can register as architects. To do that in the twentieth century they will have to prove their competence and ability though recognised routes to call themselves architects.

    The ARB do recognise 'alternative' routes to registration. There is, or will be, a new apprenticeship route. You have discovered yourself that an AT degree, if it meets the requirements, can be considered as forming an element of the ARB/RIBA Part 1 requirements.

    I have yet to see a building designed by an unqualified 'architectural designer' that could be considered as either good or architecture. Plenty of fluffy 'Art' ('delight') without any 'firmness' or 'commodity' though. And yes there are some 'starchitects' who are not very good architects but very good at 'fashion' and self promotion :-)

    Edited by John Kellett
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    Glen Smith

    John. What are your thoughts on the (unlawful?) restriction of entry onto the ARB Register, for experienced Architectural Professionals, as identified within the Barrister's Opinion, dealing with Paul McGrath's Judicial Review?

    Similarly identified within the Michael Highton Report.

    The North American 'standards', which you refer to, have no such restrictions, for 'experience only' individuals.

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    John Kellett

    Glen, What unlawful restriction? When I served on RIBA Council we had a request for membership from an architect who had registered with ARB on 'experience' and ability, he was admitted and grated chartered status. It was a while ago but post 1997. You are NOT getting his name as such matters are CONFIDENTIAL to the RIBA, nothing to do with 'taking my word for it'. Same with the CIAT member who referred to himself as an architect in my presence. Perhaps they didn't think the applicant capable without undertaking a course? What would a Barrister know about architecture as a profession? That is the ARB's and RIBA's remit not the barrister's or yours :-)

    The USA, like the UK, have a standard, provided it is met by examination or some other way, the applicant can be permitted to use the term architect. The USA think their qualification process is more rigorous than ours (of course), it isn't though.

    THIS POST DOES NOT CONCERN CIAT or its members, only architects (a job title protected in law and reserved for those of proven ability and competence) and 'architectural designers', (a meaningless job title that does not require any ability to use). CIAT members have their own protected title and have no need to use the 'architectural designer' moniker, unless they are pretending to be architects, a profession they do not belong to.

    If any 'architectural designer' feels aggrieved by my comments there is nothing to stop them independently proving their ability and competence by undertaking the requisite courses (or proving their ability to be 'excused' them) and applying to register with the ARB. Glen is throwing a 'wobbily', 'alternative' to registration are available and are used. It will take longer than 5 minutes though. It takes very able 18 year olds a minimum of 7 years even with very good 'A' levels in Art, Maths and Physics (for example).

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    Glen Smith

    John. A Barrister knows the law, which isn't, apparently, being applied correctly by the UK Architects Registration Board (ARB).

    You call it a 'Wobbily', a Barrister calls it 'Unlawful'. ;-)

    Besides, Michael Highton isn't a Barrister?

    Edited by Glen Smith
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    John Kellett

    You are the only one who mentioned Michael Highton being a barrister :-)

    Where is your evidence that the ARB doesn't register SUITABLY QUALIFIED (by whatever route) onto the register? My experience on RIBA Council is that they do. How would a barrister know if any particular person was suitably qualified or not.

    Again I have to repeat myself: THIS POST DOES NOT CONCERN CIAT or its members, only architects (a job title protected in law and reserved for those of proven ability and competence) and 'architectural designers', (a meaningless job title that does not require any ability to use). CIAT members have their own protected title and have no need to use the 'architectural designer' moniker, unless they are pretending to be architects, a profession they do not belong to.

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    Glen Smith

    John. You dismissed my earlier comment due to the fact that it mentioned a Barrister, but it also mentioned Michael Highton. You only commented on the Barrister's knowledge of architecture, but chose not to comment on Michael Highton's knowledge of architecture.

    Please, read this article & in particular the attachments. Clearly you haven't yet done so, otherwise you surely wouldn't be so obtuse:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/arb-routes-registration-title-architect-glen-smith

    Of course the discussion concerns CIAT. If you attack the Institute (in a potentially libellous manner) & its members (for no good reason & without any evidence), you have to expect a response.

     

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    John Kellett

    THIS POST DOES NOT CONCERN CIAT or its members, only architects (a job title protected in law and reserved for those of proven ability and competence) and 'architectural designers', (a meaningless job title that does not require any ability to use). CIAT members have their own protected title and have no need to use the 'architectural designer' moniker, unless they are pretending to be architects, a profession they do not belong to.

    What I think of Michael's thoughts on architecture is no concern of yours.

    The post did not mention CIAT I mentioned it as an example of non-architects pretending to be architects which you are doing no more than to prove.

    Your profession has its own protected title and role in building design teams. Everyone of CIAT's members is a qualified building designer (along with chartered surveyors etc). Each of whom has no reason, except fraud, to use a job title for which no qualifications are required. You, Glen, are a chartered Technologist qualified to design buildings, you are not an architectural designer. To revert to the medical analogy, why as a qualified 'nurse' are you crowing about how good an unqualified 'hospital porter' you are?

    As it happens I use the term 'architectural designer' as a keyword on my website to catch those erroneously seeking an architectural designer when they actually require an architect but are unaware of the difference. Hence the post. Anyone seeking a chartered technologist would be using that as a Google search term.

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    Glen Smith

    John. There's no such thing as a Chartered Technologist. I think you mean Chartered ArchitectURAL Technologist.

    If I didn't know you were deadly serious, I would congratulate you on your great sense of humour. ;-))))

    Now read the article (link above) & stop being so churlish & non-professional.

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    John Kellett

    You hijack a post and accuse me of being unprofessional!
    Whether I read the link or not is absolutely no concern of yours and certainly of no interest to anyone wanting an answer to the FAQ.

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    Glen Smith

    No worries, John.

    Feel free to come back to us, if & when you decide to read the article.

    For the record, the article is not about CIATechnologists. It's about Registration of title 'Architect,' for all 'Architectural Designers', being the topic of this discussion (& the content of my very first comment BTW).

    Perhaps your views may mellow, once you appreciate some of the anomalies surrounding the current (unlawful?) registration system.

    Edited by Glen Smith
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    Ariella Stone

    Thank you very much Glen Smith for your support. To John Kellett, we do not consider ourselves as Architects anymore than you see yourselves as Chartered Architectural Technologists. We do not masquerade as Architects either. Furthermore, contrary to what has been discussed, there are quite a few Architects who have become Chartered Architectural Technologists as well as vice versa. We are on the same level as Architects, similar to the comparative value of a Chartered Surveyor (RICS) or Structural Engineer. We have two distinct professions here,  surely we can stop the bickering  after all there is enough room in the working environment for the two professions so there is no need to become so protective. Lastly, may I point out the adage that although it is nice to be important it is more important to be nice. Have a good night!

    Deborah Shaw MCIAT MA BSc (Hons).

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    John Kellett

    Can we put this spit to bed please. The FAQ is about Architects and 'architectural designers' NOT CIAT members. CIAT members are qualified building designers as are Chartered Engineers, Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Builders etc. All of those professions have a MINIMUM academic entry requirement of a degree or equivalent. That of architect (Chartered or otherwise) has a MINIMUM academic entry level of a postgraduate degree or equivalent. NOT on the same level as is claimed and proved by the one undergraduate AT course that meets the requirement of both professions by only meeting ARB/RIBA Part 1 NOT parts 2 and 3.

    CIAT and CIOB and RICS members have there own specialisms in the construction industry and have no need to use the title 'architectural designer' UNLESS they are masquerading as architects. An architect's 'specialism' is the architecture, if an 'architectural designer' had sufficient expertise in architecture (the reason for adopting the title 'architectural designer' in the first place) they could easily register as an architect despite Glen's comments.

    As they are different professions why would a client looking for and needing an architect be looking for a CIAT member?

    If the FAQ concerned a client requesting a building designer then any of the professions could meet that need EXCEPT 'architectural designer' for which there is no minimum entry requirement and it is not a profession.

    Personally I certainly do not have any animosity towards CIAT members except those who think they are architects and sell themselves as such. CIAT members who place the word 'architect' in the metadata and text of their websites / online dictionary entries in order to mislead Google and the public into believing they are architects are breaking the law, ARB will prosecute.

    One question. If CIAT members do not want to be seen as architects why refer to their businesses as 'architectural' when the training covers very little architecture in comparison to that of the training to be an architect? The word 'architectural' means 'pertaining to architecture' and was a logical choice in the past when 'architectural' technologists and technicians worked for architects on a design prepared by an architect. The World has changed and CIAT have forged a course in building design separate from that of the architect and, therefore, architecture.

    Not all building design is architecture. Architecture is part of the added value of using an architect over and above the value added by the other qualified building designers in the design team.

     

    Edited by John Kellett
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    Glen Smith

    John. You do know that the RIBA were instrumental in the naming of CIAT (SAAT), from the point the Institute was founded, back in 1965. As YOU say, above, "The word 'architectural' means 'pertaining to architecture'".

    The RIBA (your professional membership body) clearly appreciates (& always have) CIAT's architectural (pertaining to architecture) credentials, even if you do not.

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    Glen Smith

    On the subject of CIAT's Accredited Degree, becoming accredited by ARB (as you profess, John), I raised this matter with an MCIAT educator at CIAT HQ this very afternoon. They knew nothing about it. Perhaps you would like to expand?

    Part 3?

    'Architectural Designer's (easy) registration of title architect'?

    I take it you still haven't read my article, then?

    Edited by Glen Smith
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    John Kellett

    Glen, you really are a sanctimonious irritant. It was a CIAT member that made the claim that CIAT members were architectural designers following my true statement that most architectural designers have no architectural training, or very little, and are not a member of the architect's profession. It was a CIAT member who chose to conflate the term 'architectural designer' with Chartered 'Architectural' Technologist. CIAT is a different profession, you keep saying so yourself, so are not 'architectural designers' pretending to be architects, the subject of the FAQ.

    It was your good self that shouted about the AT degree that ARB/RIBA had accredited. YOU pointed it out to me so why should I expand on the fact that it exists? IF CIAT don't recognise it as you crowed then that even further re-inforces my point that there is little or no architecture in AT courses. However, I would be quite happy for an AT degree to form part of the ARB/RIBA Part 1 examination if it met the requirements of ARB/RIBA and the EU.

    When I was 18 I was an 'architectural designer' with an 'A' level that included the History of Art and Architecture. I went to University to study and train to be an architect, qualified through Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3, registered as an architect with ARB, became a chartered member of the RIBA and then studied for and gained a further postgraduate diploma in architectural conservation. SEE, it is easy if you have the ability and competence. Why should I read the article? I am not a monkey to perform to your beck and call. Even if I had/do read it I see no reason to inform you of the fact, who the hell do you think you are?

    Even when the requirement for 'Part 3' is removed the required entry requirements will be exactly the same except the label 'Part 3' will removed and the content of that curriculum placed within Part 2.

    I fully appreciate CIAT credentials, and yes I dispute their 'architectural' validity if not working in an architect's practice. What was true in 1965 is not the case now in 2017.

    Edited by John Kellett
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    Glen Smith

    John. Your memory must be fading. Earlier in this discussion you stated:

    "I would hope that an AT undergraduate degree could be considered equal to an Architecture undergraduate degree. There is one AT course that is, but none of the others yet are"

    To go further back in time, from the LinkedIn discussions, you openly suggested that CIAT were seeking ARB accreditation of an AT Degree Course within your home town University (Northampton). This was the first I had heard of this.

    So, may I ask you again? On the subject of CIAT's Accredited Degree, becoming accredited by ARB (as you profess, John), I raised this matter with an MCIAT educator at CIAT HQ this very afternoon. They knew nothing about it. Perhaps you would like to expand?

    Edited by Glen Smith
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    Glen Smith

    On the discussion title subject of 'Architect' & 'Architectural Designers', you are a Registered Architect & that makes you an 'Architectural Designer'. I am a Chartered Architectural Technologist & that, too, makes me an 'Architectural Designer'.

    As such, I have every right to comment on this discussion.

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    John Kellett

    Glenn, indeed my local University is SEEKING ARB accreditation but are unlikely to succeed. The AT course that is actually acreddited was pointed out by you to me. I have no idea where without wasting even more of my time.

    This 'argument' was started by a CIAT member claiming that CIAT members were 'architectural designers' after I stated that anyone using the title has little or no training in architecture. Which is a fact.

    RICS, CIOB, CIAT, Chartered Engineers and Architects are all building designers. Only Architects are trained, educated and registered as being able and competent as architects in architecture (hence the use of 'architectural' being used to get around the law, legally unfortunately). Other nations where the title 'architect' is protected by law have included the word 'architectural' in the protection such that building designers cannot use it without being architects. Canada is an example. Please be content with being a qualified building designer in your profession and stop trying to claim equivalence to mine. By the way there is a difference in meaning between 'equal' (in Chartered status) and 'equivalence' (in education, knowledge, skill and experience) between our professions. Membership of CIAT is NOT equivalent to being an Architect or chartered membership of RIBA, Part 1 Architectural student possibly (which I would welcome). In fact CIAT members could join the RIBA as 'affiliate' or 'student' members.

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    Glen Smith

    John. I have never stated that any CIAT accredited degree course has ARB accreditation. That's something you have fabricated within your own mind, I'm afraid.

    MCIAT/ARB are both professional 'Architectural Designers', by default, which you have already confirmed within the content of this discussion.

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    Glen Smith

    John. As for everything else you state, I think you really should read (& digest) my article, in full. Here's a link:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/arb-routes-registration-title-architect-glen-smith?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_recent_activity_details_shares%3BKMdsUEJPBURrVowYwtvSjQ%3D%3D

    Not sure what you are afraid of, by not reading it. Perhaps afraid of being proved wrong, in most of what you believe?

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    John Kellett

    No Glenn, CIAT members and architects are both building designers. The fact that no AT course, if you have retracted the information you gave to me, has been accredited by both CIAT and ARB rather proves my point that CIAT members have very little architectural training, in architecture. If an AT degree and a year's experience has gained Part 1 status there is still a lot to learn before architect status can be achieved. Parts 2 and Part 3 will take a MINIMUM of a further 3 years University backed training, to above Masters degree standard, that not all Part 1 graduates achieve either.
    This FAQ was about the huge difference 'architectural designers' (not qualified in architecture) and architects (qualified and with proven competence in architecture) which I have now explained repeatedly.

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    Glen Smith

    I haven't retracted anything, John, no need.

    But when YOU said "There is one AT course that is, but none of the others yet are", what did YOU mean? Or are you simply saying something, that's untrue, to course discord?

    Why deny what you confirmed, from only a few posts ago?

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    Glen Smith

    BTW, John. Back in 1965, fully qualified Members of SAAT (CIAT) were still permitted to act in an 'Architectural' (pertaining to Architecture) capacity, independently (& not necessarily within an architect's practice). The RIBA were fully aware of this fact, even back then.

    Who's authority on this matter should we consider most valid. Yours or the RIBA's?

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    John Kellett

    Glenn, it would appear, from the information you insisted I take on board, that an AT degree course had been accredited by ARB as meeting the requirements for the degree element of ARB/RIBA Part 1. If that is so, which you now deny, then that would be a good thing and demonstrate that anyone with that particular AT degree has a some, a little, education in architecture. Which confirms my original statement that anyone using the meaningless title 'architectural designer' instead of 'architect' is probably using using it to get around the law. An architect is an architectural designer because we are registered as architects. The title is used by non-architects to mislead the public into believing they are architects. The fact that a CIAT member stated that they were architectural designers when they do not need to as CIAT members are a Chartered building design profession proves my point. Similarly RICS, CIOB and Chartered engineers etc are building design professions NOT architects. Not one of those professions has any need to cheat and use the term 'architectural designer' in place of 'building designer' to infer a knowledge of architecture they do not have. A Part 2 architectural graduate can use the title 'architectural designer' because they legally can, as you can, but the so can my cat or a hospital porter, but they are NOT architects and might never be architects either. Most architectural students studying to be architects use the term architectural assistant because it accurately describes their role as being in training to be architects without breaking the law by using ILLEGAL job titles such as 'student architect' or 'Part 2 architect'. Yes those terms are used but doing so does not make them legal to use, the Architects Act may indeed be badly written but it is the law. A CIAT member is not an Architect and has no qualifications that are recognised as meeting the ARB/RIBA Part 3, the MINIMUM requirement for a U.K trained person to be registered as an architect in the U.K. A fact that will not change after Brexit. There is an separate ARB register for those qualified as architects abroad to a lower standard than that required in the UK. A level that CIAT members not meet the requirements of either. Be content with your own profession and keep out of mine.

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    John Kellett

    CIAT members who use the term 'architectural designer' rather than the name of their own profession are only doing so to mislead the public. As CIAT members you are building designers NOT Architects. There use a low level of architecture in your qualification courses content as proven by the very limited recognition, apparently, of AT courses being recognised by ARB as meeting the first part of three stages to register as an architect. Every CIAT member is a competent building designer in their own specialism, as Chartered Engineers and Chartered Surveyors but not as an Architect. The reason? Lack of sufficient training, education, skills, knowledge and experience in the subject of architecture, which is our 'specialism' as architects. Get used to it.

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    Glen Smith

    John. The only person that as ever stated that a CIAT Accredited Degree has obtained ARB Accreditation, is you (as far as I know), in this discussion. Here it is again, as you have obviously forgot that you said it:

    "There is one AT course that is, but none of the others yet are" (Statement | John Kellett | 23rd February 2017).

    It is true, that CIAT (SAAT/BIAT) believe more importance should be placed on the practice of architecture (technical & construction), as opposed to the current ARB requirements placed on the theory & history (as confirmed to CIAT, by the ARB) of architecture (art & theory). Hence no current CIAT/ARB dual accreditation, that I know of (other than what you suggested earlier in the discussion).

    Everything else is your opinion & not the opinion of the RIBA, CIAT, or a legal Barrister.

    Edited by Glen Smith
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