Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment chair Sir Stuart Lipton has told black architects that the government body can help increase their profile.
Sir Stuart, speaking at the launch of the Society of Black Architects' Business Forum, said black architectural practices should approach Cabe, which could then pass on their names to clients.

He said: "My message to black architects is, come and see us. Such firms need to be encouraged and need a higher profile. We can help by getting firms in the right place and telling you who to talk to in order to get commissions."

But a leading black architect said she did not feel the move went far enough.

Fisher Associates director Annette Fisher said she had not yet approached Cabe as she felt not enough would be done to help her firm.

She said: "If I wrote to Cabe there would be more discussion but I am not convinced about how much action there would be. Cabe should be coming to us to address the ethnic imbalance in architecture.

"What practices want are opportunities to bid for projects. Nobody wants a hand-out but we want to earn respect and people have to know you are out there."

Meanwhile, SOBA intend to use the business forum to highlight the work of ethnic minority architecture practices. The launch was the first of a series of events to mark the association's 10th anniversary.

The speech follows a call from Prince Charles to architects to encourage more recruits from the ethnic minorities.

Black architects said the move needed more support from clients.