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Continuing professional development as an architect

As an architect, you are required to participate in both formal and informal learning throughout the year, known as continuing professional development.

Through continuing professional development (CPD), architects have opportunities to maintain and expand their professional skills and knowledge. There are many types of CPD activities you might participate in, including conferences, training and workshops. CPD activities can offer formal and informal learning.

Under the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct, you must maintain your skills and knowledge. The Architects Act provides that the ARBV can require you to complete a set number of hours of CPD activities throughout a registration year. The activities you undertake should reflect your experience in the profession and your needs. The CPD activities you undertake must reflect the performance criteria in the National Standard of Competency for Architects.

If you do not complete the required CPD activities throughout the year, you may not comply with the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

The ARBV may ask you to supply more information about your CPD activities or investigate your situation. Failure to fulfil CPD requirements could be considered unprofessional conduct and, in high-risk cases, the ARBV may consider disciplinary action.

  • Required hours

    ARBV's CPD framework outlines how many CPD activities you must complete during the year and the required mix of formal and informal learning. Within this framework, you can create your own CPD plan based on your individual needs.

    CPD must relate to practise as an architect linked to relevant performance criteria across at least two separate units in the National Standard of Competency for Architects.

    If you are registered as a practising architect in more than one Australian state or territory, you only need to complete one set of CPD activities.

    Architects who work part-time are not exempt from the CPD requirement and are not entitled to a pro-rata calculation of the CPD requirement based on their part-time employment status.

    Architect (practising) – registered for the full year

    If you are registered as an architect (practising) for the full year (1 July to 30 June), you must complete at least 20 hours of CPD activities. Of these, at least 10 hours must be formal CPD activities.  

    Architect (practising) – registered for part of the year or with special circumstances

    If you are registered as an architect (practising) for part of the year, you must complete CPD activities equivalent to the proportion of the year you are registered.

    For example:

    • if you were registered as a practising architect for 6 months (50% of the year), you would need to complete 50% of the CPD hours required for a full year's registration – so, 10 hours of CPD activities
    • if you were registered as a practising architect for three months (25% of the year), you would need to complete 25% of the CPD hours required for a full year's registration – so, 5 hours of CPD activities

    This also applies if you experience special circumstances during the year (for example, a period of illness or extended leave, including parental leave). You will need to describe any special circumstances when you declare the CPD activities you have completed.

    Architects (non-practising)

    Architects (non-practising) are not required to complete CPD activities.

    Keeping records of CPD activities

    From time to time, you may be required to provide evidence of CPD activities you have completed. You must keep your own record of the CPD activities you complete throughout the year, and you should retain these records for at least 5 years.

    Your record of a CPD activity should include:

    • date of the activity
    • name of activity
    • organisation that provided the training
    • category of learning – formal or informal
    • hours you claimed against the CPD requirements
    • how the activity relates to specific performance criteria/units of competency in the National Standard of Competency for Architects

    Find out more about the National Standard of Competency for Architects.

    It's important that you keep your CPD records up to date. Throughout the year, the ARBV may choose to audit your CPD records, based on risk. As part of the audit, the ARBV may request copies of your records if they are the subject of a complaint or investigation.

    Declaration

    When you renew your registration each year, you must make a declaration that you have completed the required CPD hours in the preceding year. This is a new requirement effective 1 July 2020.

    Exemptions

    In certain circumstances, you may be exempt from completing some or all the CPD requirements in a registration year, if approved by the ARBV or relevant architect registration board.

    Architects (non-practising) are exempt from completing CPD requirements.

    Where an architect is granted registration in the practising class part way through the registration year, only holds registration for part of the registration year or has experienced special circumstances (e.g. illness, extended absence from work such as parental leave pro rata CPD requirements will apply.

  • Formal learning

    Formal CPD activities are typically education you undertake with a clear learning outcome assessed at the end of the activity. This type of learning typically involves interaction between you and the presenter, trainer or instructor. Formal learning activities occur outside your normal day-to-day work.

    For a formal learning activity to contribute to your CPD requirements, the activity's learning outcomes must be clearly stated and must map to relevant units of competency/performance criteria from the National Standard of Competency for Architects. Presenters must have appropriate academic, technical or practical expertise.

    There are 6 broad categories of formal learning, outlined in the table below.

    Category Maximum hours you can claim each year
    Activities delivered by a provider which include a structured assessment task that tests participants’ understanding of content No maximum
    Activities delivered by a provider which include significant interaction between the presenter and participants, such as a structured workshop where participants are required to complete an individual or group task No maximum

    Preparation and delivery of CPD activities for other architects

    5 hours

    Activities related to the teaching of architecture at a tertiary level and which involve significant preparation and/or scholarship – for example, the development of new course or curriculum

    5 hours

    Structured training activities delivered by architect registration boards and the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia for examiners and assessors who are engaged in the assessment of candidates of the various pathways to registration or in the assessment of providers of accredited architecture programs

    1 hour per year for any single type of training activity, up to a maximum of 3 hours per year

    Writing articles, books, papers for publication 5 hours

    Informal CPD activities

    Informal CPD activities may include self-directed study and professional activities related to your practice as an architect.

    For an informal learning activity to contribute to your CPD requirements, it must be educational and must help you acquire new knowledge and skills or share your skills with your peers. Usually informal learning activities occur within your normal day-to-day work.

    While informal learning may have clear learning outcomes, it does not need to include formal assessment or interaction between you and the presenter, trainer or instructor.

    You can claim a maximum of two hours for a single informal CPD activity. Examples include:

    Category Description
    Self-directed study
    • Reading practice note and technical/professional journals.
    • Listening to podcasts.
    Events, tours and conferences
    • Attending talks and presentations presented by your peers.
    • Attending design lectures and seminars.
    • Participating in structured visits to building sites, buildings and exhibitions.
    • Attending conferences (note: some conferences offer formal CPD activities, but these must meet the criteria outline under 'Formal CPD activities' above).
    Education
    • Involvement in mentoring programs.
    • Tutoring in architecture at a tertiary level where there is no significant preparation and/or involvement in the development of new content or curriculum – for example, design studio tutoring, where you are not required to prepare.
    • Marking work produced by architecture students at a tertiary level – for example, as a guest critic or tutor.

    Supporting the profession

    • Participating as an examiner or assessor for the Architectural Practice. Examination or any other pathway to registration.
    • Participating in professional practice committees and advisory groups through professional associations, regulatory authorities, or government bodies such as Standards Australia.
  • While a wide range of providers deliver CPD activities for architects in Victoria, the ARBV does not accredit CPD activities.

    Providers seeking to deliver CPD activities for architects should familiarise themselves with the requirements in ARBV's CPD framework. When designing CPD activities, providers should:

    • clearly state the learning objectives and assessment, or describe the opportunities for significant interaction between participants and the presenter (for formal CPD)
    • specify which performance criteria/units of competency from the National Standard of Competency for Architects the CPD activity will address
    • provide a statement of completion for each participant including:
      • the date
      • name of the activity
      • the name of the provider
      • the category of activity (formal or informal)
      • hours each participant can claim
      • how the activity relates to performance criteria/units of competency from the National Standard of Competency for Architects.
  • In February 2020, the Parliament of Victoria made some changes to the oversight of CPD activities for architects. Under the amendments to the Architects Act 1991, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will consult with the ARBV and stakeholders to further develop CPD requirements for the Architects Regulations.

    We will keep you informed of updates on our website.

Reviewed 28 July 2021

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