Architects’ registration boards in the United Kingdom and the United States have reached an agreement that will enable architects to benefit from a clearer process for obtaining licensing in both countries. The MRA results from negotiations between the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) in the United States and its counterpart in the United Kingdom, the Architects Registration Board (ARB).
This agreement is the result of nearly four years of research and negotiations between the National Bank for Arab Agricultural Research and the Arab African Bank. In 2018, NCARB began the process of assessing UK registration requirements, comparing them to the licensing process in the US. The analysis found significant overlap between standards in both countries. These similarities form the basis of mutual agreement.
The United Kingdom and the United States of America are among the world leaders in architecture. This mutual recognition agreement will further enhance this, helping qualified professionals to register between the two countries, and share their skills and services,” said Alan Kershaw, President of the Architects Registration Board.
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Last week, the agreement was ratified by all NCARD board members, marking a significant milestone in this process. Before it is officially introduced, all 55 US jurisdictions must individually decide whether to accept it. The mutual recognition agreement must also receive final review and approval in the UK by both the government and ARB, a process expected to be completed sometime in 2023. The agreement will enter into force 60 days after the parties sign it.
The US currently has similar agreements with Canada and Mexico, signed in 2014, and Australia and New Zealand, signed in 2017. Meanwhile, ARB does not recognize any other certification outside the UK. The only exceptions are registrations issued prior to Brexit, while the EU Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive was still in effect.
Both the UK and the US offer many opportunities for architects, so it makes sense that many UK architectural offices would have a large US presence. The New York skyline is one evidence of this phenomenon, with the Hearst Tower designed by Foster + Partners, the Bryant Tower designed by David Chipperfield Architects, or the Third World Trade Center office building designed by Rogers Stirk Harbor & Partners. The reverse also applies, with many US-based offices operating in the UK. The Scalpel from KPF in London or the Stratford Skyscraper in SOM are just a few examples. The Mutual Recognition Agreement is obligated to encourage this type of influence between the two countries.