How is a building like the Sydney Opera House constructed to be not only visually appealing, but structurally sound as well? While credit has to go to the entire team of licensed trade professionals, the architect in charge of the project is ultimately the one who ensures everything is done right. Because of the level of expertise required to design a building, the title of “architect” is only granted to persons who have undergone extensive training and received a licence to practise architecture in their state or territory.
The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) is the organisation responsible for recommending standards for the registration of architects throughout Australia, but is not the governing authority. Working in conjunction with the AACA, state governing authorities ensure all aspiring architects in the country are trained to a high standard before they can use the title of architect.
Licensing of Architects
Although registration requirements differ from state to state, some general standards apply throughout Australia. First, an aspiring architect must complete a university degree in architecture – usually a five or six year course of study. At the conclusion of study, they must complete the three-part Architectural Practice Examination (APE). The three parts consist of:
After these three parts of the APE are completed, a prospective architect can then apply for registration as an architect in their state or territory.
Types of Jobs Undertaken by Architects
Architects undertake a number of types of jobs. Aside from designing buildings ranging in size and complexity from single family homes to high-rises, an architect might be required to design and oversee any project where the structural integrity of a building is an issue, including extensions, alterations and/or conservation projects. An architect is responsible for:
Architects in New South Wales are governed by the Architects Registration Board. The board’s key function is to protect consumers by:
In NSW, in addition to completing the required university degree or proving the equivalent level of education from an overseas educational institute, an architect cannot be registered until they have logged at least 3,000 hours of work experience and passed the NEP.
In NSW, architects must renew their registration every year. When registration is renewed, the architect receives a card that is valid for that year only. If an architect does not hold a valid and current registration card, they are not legally entitled to the title of architect and their registration is suspended. Architects from other states in Australia or New Zealand can only legally work in New South Wales if they receive registration in NSW.
The Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV) governs registration of architects in Victoria. The ARBV follows general guidelines for registration as recommended by the AACA, including educational requirements, practical experience and successful completion of the National Examination Paper (NEP). In Victoria, a minimum of two years practical experience is needed before a prospective architect can take the NEP and apply for registration.
There are three types of registration available in Victoria:
In addition, there are three categories of architect in Victoria:
If you hire an architect in Victoria, they must be registered as a practising architect. Architects in Victoria must renew their registration and professional indemnity insurance yearly.
The Board of Architects of Queensland (BOAQ) governs architects in that state. In addition to registering qualified architects, the BOAQ:
The BOAQ is responsible for issuing initial registration as an architect, annual re-registration of architects and issuing registration to practise architecture in Queensland to qualified architects from other Australian states or New Zealand. The BOAC can also take legal action against any person or company that poses as an architect or architectural firm but is not registered as such in Queensland.
The Architectural Practice Board of South Australia (APBSA) is responsible for maintaining the register of architects in South Australia. Aside from maintaining the register, responsibilities of the APBSA include:
In South Australia, three categories of architectural registration exist:
Individuals, partnerships and companies practicing as architects in South Australia must be both registered and insured. Registration is renewed annually and if professional indemnity insurance is not also renewed, the APBSA will deny registration.
The Architects Board of Western Australia governs the registration of architects and architectural firms in WA. The board reports to the South Australia Minister of Commerce, but is entirely self-funded by practising architects. There are 10 members of the Architects Board: four are elected by registered architects and six are appointed by Minister of Commerce.
Designed to protect consumers and ensure that only qualified architects practise in South Australia, the Architects Board of Western Australia:
In Western Australia, an aspiring architect must pass a five year course of study at one of two WA universities accredited to teach architecture and receive a Master of Architecture degree. Following that, they must complete at least two years of practical training. Finally, after passing the APE examination, they can apply to practise as a registered architect.
In Tasmania, the Board of Architects of Tasmania is the statutory authority in charge of registering architects. The Board consists of five members:
The rules governing registration of architects in Tasmania are similar to the rules in other states:
After passing the APE, an applicant can apply to be registered as an architect in Tasmania. Only registered architects can advertise their services as those of an “architect” or “architectural” company in Tasmania.
In addition to maintaining the register of architects, the Board of Architects of Tasmania also investigates consumer complaints about architects and allegations of fraudulent claims. If a person or company claims to be an architect or architectural firm, they must have a valid and current registration card to prove their claim.
In the ACT, the Australian Capital Territory Architects Board is in charge of the ACT architects’ register. The Architects Board adheres to guidelines set by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) when prospective architects apply for registration in the ACT. In brief:
In the ACT, only individuals are registered to practise architecture. Registration must be renewed yearly and can be conditional if an applicant is insolvent, under investigation or if a complaint has been made against an architect.
The statutory authority in charge of registering architects in the Northern Territory is the NT Architects Board. Responsibilities of the Board include:
In the NT, architects can be registered as individuals or companies. In the case of a company at least one company director must be a registered architect.
In order to be registered as an architect in the Northern Territory, the applicant must have completed all the steps outlined by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA). After completion of tertiary studies, the applicant must complete two years of practical study and then pass the Architects Practice Exam (APE). After reviewing the application, members of the Architects Board add the applicant’s name to the register and issue registration cards. Registration must be renewed yearly in the NT.