What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

The NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct Part 5, Section 16 requires that architects must annually demonstrate to the NSW Architects Registration Board that they have taken all reasonable steps to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills relevant to their architectural practice and their provision of architectural services.

Architects are required at their annual renewal of registration to upload evidence of their CPD activity for the last 12-month period. Click here for more information about how to record CPD. 

Architects should undertake a minimum of 20 hours of CPD each year, of which at least 10 hours must be Formal CPD activityIn NSW, a one-hour activity is equivalent to one CPD point.

Architects should regard the requirement to undertake CPD as an opportunity to address their individual career development and employment needs and to meet personal objectives. As such, architects should be strategic in how they plan their CPD to ensure that it genuinely relates to, and enhances, their practice.

An effective CPD regime for architects should have as its basis the National Standard of Competency for Architects.

See below for more information about the differences between Formal and Informal CPD or read the Board's Information Sheet - Continuing Professional Development.

Are you looking to provide a CPD event? Read our best practice guide for CPD Providers

What is informal CPD?

Up to 10 hours of CPD claimed annually may be Informal CPD.

Informal CPD activities include self-directed study and professional activities that relate to practice as an architect. They are in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment.

A maximum of two hours may be claimed for any one Informal CPD event.

Informal CPD activities are not required to include assessment or significant interaction between the presenter and the participant.

Examples of Informal CPD activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-directed study of practice notes, technical/professional journals, podcasts, etc;
  • Talks and presentations by peers;
  • Design lectures and seminars;
  • Structured visits to building sites, buildings and exhibitions;
  • Conferences. Note that where a conference offers a specific CPD event or a stream of CPD sessions, these may qualify as Formal CPD if the requirements for Formal CPD outlined above are met;
  • Authorship of published articles/books/papers, etc (where not already claimed as Formal CPD);
  • 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 (eg. Design studio tutoring, where architects are often not required to do any preparation);
  • Marking work produced by architecture students at a tertiary level (such as a guest critic role or other marking undertaken by a tutor);
  • Participation as a NSW Examiner for the Board’s Architectural Practice Examination or as an Assessor for other pathways to registration;
  • Participation in professional practice committees and advisory groups through professional associations, regulatory authorities, or government bodies, such as Standards Australia;
  • Raising awareness of architecture in primary and secondary schools.

Features of Informal CPD activities include:

  • New knowledge and skills are acquired from, or shared with, peers;
  • Learning outcomes can be identified;
  • Activity is intended to be educational and is in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment;
  • Consideration has been given as to how the knowledge and skills gained from the activity may be applied to practice or employment.

What is formal CPD?

At least 10 hours of CPD claimed annually must be Formal CPD.

Formal CPD activities are structured and relate to practice as an architect. They are in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment.

Formal CPD activities fall under seven broad categories:

  • Provider-delivered activities that include a structured assessment task that genuinely tests participants’ understanding of content;
  • Provider-delivered activities that are structured to include significant interaction between the presenter and the participant, such as a structured workshop where participants are required to complete an individual or group task;
  • Activities relating to the preparation and delivery of CPD activities; (*a maximum 5 hrs per year may be claimed in this category)
  • Activities relating to the teaching of architecture at a tertiary level that involve significant preparation and/or scholarship, as in the development of new course and/or lecture content and/or the definition of new curriculum; (*a maximum 5 hrs per year may be claimed in this category)
  • Structured training activities delivered by the Board and the AACA for NSW Examiners and Assessors who are engaged in the assessment of candidates of the various pathways to registration; (*1 hr per year may be claimed for any one type of training activity, up to a maximum of 3 hrs per year in this category)
  • Authorship of published articles, books, papers; (*a maximum 5 hrs per year may be claimed in this category)
  • Participation in Architects’ Learning Groups. (*a maximum 3 hrs per year may be claimed for preparing and presenting Learning Sessions; a maximum 10 hrs per year may be claimed for participating in Learning Sessions)

Provider-delivered Formal CPD activities must include:

  • New knowledge and skills are acquired from, or shared with, peers;
  • Learning outcomes are clearly stated by the provider and mapped to relevant Units of Competency / Elements of Competency / Performance Criteria from the Standard;
  • A structured assessment task is included to genuinely test participants’ understanding of content; or there is a significant interaction between the presenter and the participant;
  • Presenters have appropriate academic, technical or practical expertise.

What happens if an architect has not met the minimum CPD requirements?

Where an architect is not able to satisfy the Board that they have met their CPD obligations and where it is the Board’s view that no extenuating circumstances apply, this may be grounds for characterising the architect’s behaviour as unsatisfactory professional conduct, as defined by the Architects Act 2003.

To comply with the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct, architects should undertake 20 hours total CPD, of which at least 10 hours should be Formal CPD activities.

Architects registered in the Non-Practising category, and architects residing and practising overseas are exempt CPD requirements.

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.

Where an architect has not met the minimum hours required, the Board may take into account individual circumstances when considering whether all reasonable steps have been taken by the architect to meet their CPD obligations.

Architects seeking a pro-rata exemption from the CPD requirements must at their annual renewal of registration upload a letter to the Board outlining their circumstances.

Matters that may be taken into consideration by the Board include:

  • Has the architect or an immediate family member suffered serious illness or some other misadventure?
  • Has the architect been overseas for a considerable part of the year and not offering architectural services during that period (at least 3 consecutive months)?
  • Has the architect been on parental leave during the registration year?
  • Has the architect been unemployed for a considerable part of the year (at least 3 consecutive months)?
  • Has the architect been added to the Register part way through the year?
  • Are there other exceptional circumstances?

Recording Your CPD

When recording your CPD you will need to include the:

  • Date

  • Name of Activity

  • Location

  • Category of activity (formal/informal)

  • Hours claimed, and

  • How the activity relates to the National Competency Standards in Architecture.

Architects are required to kep records of their activities for at least 5 years. 

Below are three ways you can record your CPD:

ARB OPEN APP

ARB OPEN APP

Architects can use the ARB OPEN smartphone application to synchrose their CPD progress with their online profile as they complete activities. 

UPLOAD ONLINE

UPLOAD ONLINE

Architects can upload their CPD Activity online any time on the Board's website by logging into their profile. 

CPD ACTIVITY RECORD

CPD ACTIVITY RECORD

Architects who prefer to record their CPD offline can use the CPD Record of Activity form and submit it while renewing their registration between the 1st and 30th of June each year. 

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