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Registering as an architect, company or partnership

To work as an architect in Victoria, you must be registered with the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV). Registration helps ensure the quality and safety of Victoria's built environment and protects the reputation of the architectural profession.

About registration

To work as an architect in Victoria, you must be registered with the ARBV. This requirement is outlined in the Architects Act 1991, and describes:

  • the process for registration
  • required experience and qualifications
  • the standard of professional conduct architects are expected to meet in their day-to-day practise

If you are not registered with the ARBV, you cannot:

  • describe or represent yourself as an 'architect'
  • use the below terms to describe your work
    • 'architectural services'
    • 'architectural design services'
    • 'architectural design'

Graduates of an architectural qualification are also restricted from using certain terms and should refer to themselves as an 'architectural graduate,' but not 'graduate architect.'

There are 2 classes of registration:

  1. Architect (practising)
  2. Architect (non-practising)

Generally, architects in the non-practising class of registration are no longer working in Victoria, retiring or will be on an extended leave.

The ARBV also approves architectural partnerships and companies.

Architect registration 

When registering for the first time, you must register as a practising architect.

To register as an architect (practising), you must:

To maintain registration as an architect (practising), you need to renew your registration each financial year by making the relevant declarations and paying the required fee. The declarations relate to your CPD requirements and changes to your circumstances that may affect your registration.

You will also be required to provide your complete professional indemnity insurance policy as proof that you are covered by the required insurance.

You can do this through the ARBV Portal.

Fit and Proper Person

The Architects Act 1991 requires assessing if an applicant for registration as an architect is a ‘Fit and Proper Person as part of the application process. This involves an assessment of any documentation provided that may impact on your 'fitness to practice.' Any conduct matters or criminal convictions must be disclosed via the questions in the application form.

Documentation requirements

Individual architects need to provide:

  • Details of the organisation you work for, or whether you intend to be a sole practitioner. This includes professional details to be displayed on the register.
  • Proof of your professional indemnity insurance, if you are registering as a practising architect. The ARBV requires complete policies to be provided. If covered under insurance by an employer, applicants will need to provide proof of employment.
  • Assessment outcome letter, if you completed your architectural practice examination in another state or territory.
  • Assessment outcome letter, if you have completed the experienced practitioner assessment.
  • Any conduct matters or criminal convictions, as part of an assessment of your fitness to practice.

Applications are assessed and processed between 4 to 6 weeks.

Registration outcome

The ARBV may grant or refuse your application for registration as an architect (practising). Applications must be processed within 3 months of receiving a complete application. If your application for registration is refused you may seek a review of this decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The ARBV will inform you of your outcome in writing. Please remember you are registered only when you receive written confirmation and your registration number.

Registration pathways

There are 3 pathways to registration as an architect, depending on your experience. Many applicants undertake the Architectural Practice Examination (APE), while those who have registered as an architect in another jurisdiction may be eligible for the Experienced Practitioner Assessment or mutual recognition schemes.

Find out more about registration pathways.

Conferring ceremony

For many new architects, registration is an important step in their career. Newly registered architects may attend a conferring ceremony. Ceremonies are held in November or December each year, and invitations are usually sent out in October.

Proof of registration

Once you have registered, you may need to provide evidence of your registration. The ARBV does not issue registration certificates, however you can contact the ARBV for a certified extract of the registration.  

Company and partnership approval

Architectural companies and partnerships need approval from the ARBV to provide architectural services.

It is illegal to:

  • represent yourself to be an architect or allow yourself to be represented as an architect
  • say that you can offer ‘architectural services’, ‘architectural design’ or ‘architectural design services’
  • if your company or partnership does not have approval from the ARBV.

The words business and company are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. A business is not required to be registered with the ARBV, however a company is required to be registered.

A business is not a separate legal entity and is often the responsibility of the individual who established it, that individual is known as a sole trader. Business’ will often have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

A company is a separate legal entity that has separate liability, it is registered with ASIC and has an Australian Company Number (ACN). A company may have a trading name, but will be registered under the entities legal name.

A company that is providing architectural services must be registered.

A partnership is not a separate legal entity and the partners may have equal liability depending on the partnership arrangement. A partnership will have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and may have associated trading and business names.

Please note trading names and business names cannot be used as the registered name but can be noted on the application form.

Applications are assessed and processed between 4 to 6 weeks.

Approval requirements

For companies to gain approval, you must:

  • have at least one director who is registered as an architect (practising) with the ARBV
  • have a constitution that states your company’s purpose is to provide architectural services
  • pay the required fees (in addition to the fees you pay to register as an individual architect).

For partnerships to gain approval, you must:

  • have at least one partner who is registered as an architect (practising) with the ARBV
  • pay the required fees (in addition to the fees you pay to register as an individual architect).

Sole traders are considered individual architects for registration purposes, and do not need to gain approval as a company.

To maintain your approval as a company or partnership, you will need to renew it each financial year and pay the required fee. You can do this through the ARBV Portal.

Documentation requirements

Companies will need to provide:

Partnerships will need to provide:

Approval outcome

The ARBV may grant or refuse your application for registration as an approved company or partnership. Applications must be processed within 3 months of receiving a complete application. If your application for registration is refused you may seek a review of this decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The ARBV will inform you of your outcome in writing. Please remember you are registered only when the company or partnership receive written confirmation and their registration number.

Annual fees

If you are registering as an architect or for company or partnership approval, you must pay your fees when you submit your application.

You can now send your annual fee payment to an approved company or partnership if they are paying for your registration on your behalf.

Paying your annual fees

You can pay online via the ARBV Portal via the following methods:

  • credit card
  • PayPal
  • cheque
  • bank transfer.

If you are paying by cheque, select 'Offline Payment' in the ARBV Portal and follow the prompts. Once you have submitted your registration renewal please send your cheque to:

Architects Registration Board of Victoria
Level 10, 533 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

If you are paying by bank transfer, select 'Invoices' in the ARBV Portal and open your invoice for bank details.

If you registered as an architect (practising) and have a partnership or company, you will need to pay two sets of fees.

Annual renewal

Architects (practising) must renew their registration each year. If you are a director or partner of an approved company or partnership, you need to renew your approval each year. For both, you must pay the renewal fees by 1 July.

Architects (practising) will need to make a declaration at each renewal confirming their fitness to practice. They will also be required to make a declaration confirming that they have met the CPD requirements.

Architects (non-practising) will be required to make a declaration at renewal time but do not have to pay renewal fees.

If you don’t pay your annual fees, the ARBV may suspend your individual registration or company/partnership approval.

Fee schedule

Annual renewal fees for registration period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022

Fee category Fee amount
Architect (practising) $300.60
Approved company $450.90
Approved partnership $375.75

Annual fees are subject to change each financial year.

Other fees (1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022) - Architects Regulations 2015

Regulation Fee category Fee units Fee amount
11(2) Application for first registration in Victoria 9 $135.27
11(3)(b) Application for request to change class of registration from architect (non-practising) to architect (practising) (after two years non-practising) 6.5 $97.69
12(2)(b) Application for approval of a partnership 5 $75.15
12(3)(b) Application for approval of a company 9 $135.27
19(2) Certified extract of register 4 $60.12
20(2) Prescribed additional fee 6 $90.18

Suspension of registration or approval

In some circumstances, the ARBV may suspend your registration or approval of a company or partnership. This could occur if you have not paid the annual renewal fees by the due date or if you have not provided proof of your professional indemnity insurance. Registration or approval may also be suspended for disciplinary reasons.

If your registration is suspended, it is against the law for you to call yourself an architect, or allow others to do so, or cause people to believe you are an architect. You also cannot say that that you offer 'architectural services,' 'architectural design services' or 'architectural design.' If you do, you may be prosecuted.

You can request to have your suspension lifted by addressing the problem that caused it. For example, if the ARBV suspends your registration due to unpaid fees, you can pay the fees to lift your suspension. A late fee may also be payable. Contact us at registrar@arbv.vic.gov.au for details on how to revoke your suspension.

Find out more about prohibited conduct.

Reviewed 16 June 2021

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