Built Work Program of Assessment - Stage 1 applications due 31 May 2017

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Applicants who intend to lodlge applications for the BWPrA this year are encouraged to submit applications for Stage 1 by 31 May 2017.  This will provide the Board ample time to assess nominated projects and inform eligible candidates in due time to be included in this year's Stage 2 final assessment in Octoctober.

Interested parties can download the forms from




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Meet ARB OPEN - a 3 year project to create a more open platform for architecture.
You can read more about ARB OPEN in our new 3 year Strategic Plan.

At it's centre, is a new digital-first strategy. So what does it mean for you? Well, firstly, we're saying goodbye to hardcopy mail. From now on you'll only hear from us by email. And it's up to you to make sure we can get in touch.

What else? This year:

  • Re-registrations must be completed between 1- 30 June 2017.
  • Architects will be able to tailor their own entry on the Register of Architects at any time
  • ALL architects are required to attach a CPD Activity Record and evidence of PII, if relevant

If you're the Nominated Responsible Architect for your firm you should also ensure your details are up to date when you re-register.

We'll share more in coming weeks as ARB OPEN comes alive.

Re-registrations must be completed between 1-30 June 2017

In past years, we've opened re-registrations in April for a full 3 months until 30 June.

We think this long period of time has been counter productive – allowing so long that no action was needed. As a result, many architects miss the 30 June deadline and end up with a $150 additional charge to be restored. We want to make it easier to get it right. So this year, we're opening re-registrations on 1 June, and closing at midnight on 30 June. This year, just think: it's due in June.

Architects can tailor their own entry on the Register of Architects at any time

One of the primary functions of the Board is to maintain a Register of Architects. But what purpose should it serve? Searching for an architect on the Register isn't very helpful. It tells you if the person is an architect or not. But if they are, we give no help to those looking to get in touch. We field calls all the time from homeowners and prospective clients looking for ways to contact an architect. We think architects might like the chance to take that call themselves. So ARB OPEN is giving architects the option to add an email, or phone number, a social media handle or business website.

ALL architects are required to attach a CPD Activity Record and evidence of PII, if relevant

In return for protection of the title, architects are expected to remain covered and stay current. This means 20 hours of every year needs to be allocated to continuing professional development (interestingly, the average Australian spends 4.4 hours each week commuting). From 1 June, ARB OPEN makes it easy for every practising architect to attach a CPD Activity Record. And if you carry your own Professional Indemnity Insurance policy, we're asking you to upload this too. These records remain confidential and secure.

And it's up to you to make sure we can get in touch.

An architect must inform the Board of any change in contact details within 14 days. In fact, the Licensing and Registration (Uniform Procedures) Act makes it an offence for us to have outdated details. What's more, if you unsubscribe to our emails, you can't know what you need to know. We won't email you unless you need to know. We don't send monthly newsletters to clog up your inbox.

Got questions? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

2017 Architects Medallion

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Georgia Forbes Smith

This year’s Architects Medallion goes to Georgia Forbes-Smith from the University of Sydney. Her final project take us to from the outer limits of human aspiration (understanding the cosmos) to the minutia of everyday human existence – in equal measure. Her theoretical construct, mapped across a coastal bluff in Sydney, presents ‘experience-installations’ from a planetarium (embodying our highest collective quest), a crematorium (the individual human life span), and a Museum of Time and Space — charting the distance between the two. Just as expansive as her thinking, was Georgia's method of presenting the work, coupling a small bound compendium of the project with two-metre-long blueprints. 

Making the most of her educational opportunities, Georgia has been a consistently high academic achiever, who made the Dean’s List of Excellence two years running (2011, 2012) and was awarded the 1st Degree Graduate of the Year and Most Outstanding Student in Design and Professional Studies (2014) from the Australian Institute of Architects. She also secured an International Exchange Outbound Scholarship 2015, and an Innovation in Architectural Design Award in 2016.

While her Masters project was of a highly conceptual nature, she applies her passion and big-picture thinking to real world issues around public space and domestic housing. An articulate and engaging storyteller, Georgia is an architectural dreamer and practitioner who we believe will be highly influential to the next generation of architects and architecture.

Speaking up for aspiring architects

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To mark 2017 International Women's Day, we asked 2016 Architects Medallion winner, Chloe Yuen, to set out in her own words some of the issues she sees most relevant in architectural practice.

As the recipient of the 2016 NSW Architects Medallion and one of many recent Architecture Graduates in NSW, I would like to take this opportunity to share my own thoughts on three issues that should concern us, and inspire us to evolve architecture in Australia:

  1. our common misconception of architecture,
  2. progress in architectural design and advocacy, especially with regards to humanitarian architecture and
  3. women in architecture

These topics always arise during conversations with my peers, and I believe it’s very relevant and a great opportunity to express these issues and hopes through this platform and to utilise my ability to speak up as one of many young aspiring Architects.

Our common misconception of Architecture

As a young designer working in a design practice that works on multi-scalar projects, from the urban, to the built, to exhibition and even to the finest of details of joinery units, it is the only profession, as worded by Jorn Utzon, “with such as strong element of humanism”. We create the environments that manipulate the way people move in a city; around buildings and objects. However, society seems to have a misconception of what architecture is and have little-to-no understanding of what it involves. We take what surrounds us for granted, and can be unaware that architecture involves an intensive process of research, planning and delivery. Architecture is more than what appears on the surface, which seems to be the general social understanding. Architecture needs to be acknowledged as a multi-disciplinary profession. It is a hope that society will begin to appreciate not just the aesthetics of the objects architects and designers create, but to acknowledge the level of knowledge of different fields, which is dependent on the project, and social awareness that must be considered in order to create a successful environment that is effective, efficient, innovative and responsive to society’s needs. This misconception may be due to the lack of community involvement in a project and their participation in the discussion of architecture. We have architectural events and talks, which are obviously aimed at the architectural community. However, is there a way to engage the general public in these discussions as well?

Progress in Architectural Design and Advocacy

As designers we can’t lose sight of what exists around us, and we should not be afraid to tackle issues that are not widely discussed in architecture – using humanitarian work as our guide. We are essentially creative problem solvers and advocates. We have the ability to bring life to issues and use design as a tool to achieve and test potentials. We must think beyond what we are expecting to achieve, in order to produce the best possible design solutions. Humanitarian work involves a number of factors, such as politics, economics, sociology, psychology and urban planning. Humanitarian architecture - in particular refugee camps - is a category of architecture that has had some discussions and proposals from practices all over the world. How should we manage the issue of growing refugee camps? Why are we failing to have an impact? I am bringing this topic to light in the hope of a more public discussion regarding this topic in the future. Current proposals that have surfaced investigate living pods that are minimal in size, but functional and practical for the environments that they are placed in – functioning as temporary shelters. Unfortunately, with refugee camps growing exponentially, architects need to offer proposals to not only consider the building scale of these living pods, but to consider these camps at an urban scale. Research is needed to understand refugee camps as growing cities, rather than a ground of temporary shelters.

Women in Architecture

As it is International Women’s Day, it is most fitting to express and share the privilege that I have currently working in an office that is female dominated and also lead by one of our Principles, Tamara Donnellan, who received The NSW Emerging Architect Prize in 2010 - which recognises the contributions to architectural practice, education, design excellence and community involvement. Having worked in the Terroir office and assisted Tamara for almost 4 years, I have been fortunate to be given a number of opportunities to work on many different projects to gather the necessary skills and knowledge in architectural design and practice. 2016 was also the first time in 92 years, all four nominees for the Architects Medallion were women. This reinforces the capacity of young women entering the profession are more than capable to tackle similar tasks as that of male architects. However, there is still an issue of inequality for women in architecture. One reoccurring topic for discussion amongst my peers is unequal pay. One case that has come to light is a male Architect with less than 5 years’ experience is paid the same as a female Senior Architect with over 10 years’ experience. The pay gap between women and men, not just in architecture, but also in other fields is an issue that must be addressed. This is just one situation, but there are written accounts of women being demoralised and disrespected in the profession. International Women’s Day is a great occasion to bring these issues to light and for the community to be aware.  One platform and not-for-profit organisation that brings women in architecture together, giving them a voice and the freedom to express any concerns, debates and discussions with fellow women in architecture, but also to the architecture community, is Parlour, a not-for-profit organisation. It is through these organisations, that empower women to push for change and equality, and it is a hope that the gap between men and women will eventually be bridged, not just in architecture, but in all professions. 

Small beginnings for a better balance

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Camilla Block

Direct attempts at redressing gender inequity are often treated with charges of discrimination under a different heading. Undermining merit and questioning motives, a more subtle resentment and misogyny emerges.

So I have agreed to out myself. A little while ago I was reading something about the endlessly depressing under representation of women in architecture and realised yet again that as an unregistered architect, I was contributing to this negative picture.

I didn’t mean not to get registered. It was the combination of a rapidly accelerating and demanding small practice with three children that made it difficult to prioritise. And the longer I put it off, the less the registration process seemed to be applicable to me. The information that a two year graduate learns by supervised work, study and courses, I had been learning on the job for over 20 years. 

My lack of registration became increasingly embarrassing to confess. That throat clearing 'ahem' when I got asked to speak or contribute and I would have to say 'happy to take part, thank you for thinking of me but just so you know I am not a registered architect'. And at 50, calling myself a graduate architect seemed more and more silly. I am proud to contribute to our profession and no longer wanted to explain this shameful anomaly. And I continued to 'not count' as an architect. 

Mine is not an uncommon story. I know many talented and senior people working at the highest level in our profession without being able to call themselves architects.

So I channelled my most vehement self and spoke to Shaun Carter, the then NSW Chapter President of the AIA.

In essence my pitch was - bring back mid-career registration. It used to be available after 10 years of practice. It was canned when I got to 9 years. Registration builds our presence, consolidates trust in the profession, protects the public interest through defined competencies.  And more architects in the world can only be a good thing right? It would be a process to encourage those who have slipped though back into the fold. Make it generous, open the gates, encourage everyone in a similar position to get registered. A mixture of an amnesty, an acknowledgment and a welcome.    

And the best part... It would not need to be pitched as a gender equity initiative but by default it would have this effect. Although the broken career path, the unusual twists and turns of balancing life with work, affects both men and women, the evidence is overwhelming that it affects women more. 

This registration process didn’t even have to say it was trying to solve this imbalance! I had grand visions of the numbers of architects slowly growing and the gender balance correcting, a wave, a tsunami! And yes, I was probably raving by this time. 

The most miraculous part is that it happened and in a comparatively short timeframe!

Shaun is the most charming and receptive human being. Shaun and Callantha Brigham took up the cause. Serendipitously, Emma Williamson of National Committee for Gender Equity had the same thought. With the drive of Tim Horton and Kate Doyle of AACA the initiative is now a national pathway to registration.

The process is both rigorous and welcoming. It aims to see and acknowledge work and contributions, support study, value and sometimes commiserate with experience. The pathway wants you to succeed. As of late last year I added myself to the over 50's women architects after I completed the registration process. Twelve people completed the process in total, four of them women. So it is with small beginnings. 

I encourage everyone with more than seven years’ experience to try this registration path and increase our numbers generally. I support the generosity of the AACA in continuing to widen the doorway, broadening the definitions of what constitutes the work of an architect in practice, in teaching, in research. 

Dedicated architects choose this life for its joys, and despite its difficulties. Women fight to stay part of the profession for the divided years of raising families with less hours in lesser roles.  It is time for us to embrace generosity and openness and reward our profession. To watch the numbers grow. And to balance. 


Camilla Block

Durbach Block Jaggers

Registered Architect  9972

Adjunct Professor University of Technology Sydney

Faculty Design Architecture and Building

Image credit: Julia Charles

Online Applications for LEP

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The Board's online facility is open for Locally Experienced Architects (LEP) applications.

These out-of-season applications are charged at a higher fee rate ($970). The next round of in-season applications will open in Q3 2017.

Please read the Guide for applicants carefully before making your application. 

If you require further information please contact the Board at (02) 9241 4033.


Online Application for the Architectural Practice Examination

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Applications for Session 1 Architectural Practice Examination (APE) can now be made online. 

Read the  APE Guide for Online Application before you proceed.

Click this secure link: or go to this website's sidebar for easy access.

APE Part 1 and 2 applications close midnight Friday 17 February 2017

Local Experienced Practitioner Program applications close midnight Friday 21 April 2017

APE Part 3 applications close midnight Friday 28 April 2017

Get on Board

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Get on board: nominations open for 2 elected architects


The NSW Architects Registration Board (ARB) administers the Architects Act 2003, the legislation regulating architects in NSW. 

The Board comprises 11 members, including;

1. The immediate past president of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects

2. The NSW Government Architect 

3. One architect who is an academic and who teaches architects at one of the four schools of architecture in NSW

4. Two architects elected by architects

5. An architect appointed by the Minister, who the Minister thinks will represent the interests of practising architects (and who is not an office holder in any Australian architectural industry organization)

6. A person appointed by the Minister who will represent the views of home owners 

7. A person appointed by the Minister who has particular knowledge of the views of local government in respect of the quality of buildings

8. A person appointed by the Minister with expertise in the property development industry

9. A person appointed by the Minister who is a legal practitioner with expettis ein building and construction law

10. One person appointed by the Minister with expetrtise in the building industry


The Board's key role is to protect consumers of architectural services by ensuring that architects provide services to the public in a professional and competent manner, disciplining architects who have acted unprofessionally or incompetently, accrediting architectural qualifications for the purpose of registration,  informing the public about the qualifications and competence of individuals or organisations holding themselves out as architects, and promoting a better understanding of architectural issues in the community. 

To learn more about the dates, or to download the nomination forms and candidate information, head to the NSW Electoral Commission site

Complaints and Conduct Forum

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How does the Architects Act work? What’s the Board’s role in compliance and enforcement? How does it apply to architects? How does it apply to non-architects? How does the complaints process work? What are strategies to avoid complaints in the first place? What does the evidence show?

We explored these questions and more us at the launch of a new mediation pathway that promises to resolve issues between homeowners and their architects sooner, and provide another choice beyond lodging a complaint. 

For those who missed the event;

LISTEN to the audio from the event on our SoundCloud site.

DOWNLOAD the event primer - Better pathways to resolve disputes sooner.pdf.

Featuring presentations, followed by a panel discussion with Matt Curll, Legal Member; Natalise Sullivan, Planned Cover; Dr Philip Briggs, Chair, Senior Counsellor; and Robyn Bailey, NSW ARB Mediator.

Kindly supported by Hall & Wilcox

Managing mental health

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Tim Horton, Registrar NSW Architects Registration Board

Each year, the NSW Architects Registration Board receives applications from architects for all sorts of things. It may be an application for an exemption from completing continuing professional development due to prolonged illness, surgery or personal circumstance. In some cases, applications are supported by a doctor’s certificate. In a few cases, the applications relate to mental illness.

The Board has the authority to grant exemptions and waivers. But we recently asked ourselves, is that the limit of our role? If our primary mission is to protect the public by ensuring that architects provide services to the public in a professional and competent manner, don’t we need to ensure that an architect experiencing mental illness has some support? For example, in one recent application, a doctor certified that the architect in question had not been fit to practise that prior year. Yet she had – presumably providing services to clients, working with councils and builders and making sure her business activity statement (BAS) was in on time.