What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities ensure that architects maintain, develop and enhance their professional knowledge and skills throughout the life of their career. Architects registered in New South Wales are required to undertake and record a minimum of 20 hours of CPD activities each year. Click here for more information about how to record CPD. 

There are two types of CPD activities: Formal and Informal. These activities should relate to practice as an architect, be in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of the architect's practice or employment and should relate to a minimum of two units in the National Architecture Competency Standards - Design, Documentation, Project Delivery and Practice Management. 

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

What is informal CPD?

Informal CPD is self-directed activity relating to practice as an architect, in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment but does not include any form of assessment. For activities to be considered informal:

  • Learning outcomes may be identified
  • Activity is intended to be educational, and is not part of normal employment practices
  • New knowledge and skills are being acquired or being shared with peers
  • Consideration has been given to how this new knowledge may be applied to practice.

Only two hours can be claimed for an informal activity at any one time.

Examples of informal CPD activities include:

  • Self directed study of practice notes, technical magazines.
  • Talks and presentations by peers.
  • Structured visits to buildings and exhibitions.
  • Design workshops, lectures and seminars.
  • Involvement in mentoring programs.
  • Participation in professional practice committees and advisory groups - through professional associations, regulatory authorities, or government bodies.

Activities that simply promote product brand names and services would not be deemed to be a CPD activity.

What is formal CPD?

Formal CPD is structured activity that relates to practice as an architect and is in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment. In formal CPD activities:

  • New knowledge and skills are being acquired or being 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 significant interaction between the presenter and the participant.
  • Presenters must have appropriate academic, technical or practical expertise.

Formal CPD activities may 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.

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

An architect may be deemed to have breached the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct if they cannot satisfy the Board that they have met their CPD obligations. To comply with the Code, architects should undertake 20 hours total CPD - 10 hours of which should be formal activities. Architects who work part-time are not exempt from this requirement.

Where an architect has not met the minimum hours required, the Board may take into account the individual circumstances of an architect when considering whether all reasonable steps have been taken to mee their CPD obligations. Matters that may be taken into consideration include:

  • Has the architect or his/her immediate family member suffered serious illness or some other misadventures?
  • Has the architect been overseas for a considerable part of the year (at least 3 months)?
  • Has the architect been on parental leave during the registration year?
  • Has the architect been included on the Registrar part way through the year?
  • Other exception circumstances.

In these situations, a pro-rata commitment will be expected. For example, if an architect has only been registered for 6 months, the Board expects at least 5 formal hours and 5 informal hours of CPD.

During the renewal or registration, architects in these cases will be required to upload a letter outlining their circumstance. This allows the Board to consider whether all reasonable steps have been taken in the registration year to maintain and improve the skills and knowledge necessary for the provision of the architectural services that the architect normally provides.



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:



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



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



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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