Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Each year at annual renewal of registration architects are required to report on their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities in the previous year.  The Board considers that 20 hours of activities (of which at least 10 hours are formal) should be the minimum amount of activity undertaken by an architect in each year. 

Architects are encouraged to develop a CPD plan that addresses the maintenance, development and enhancement of their own professional knowledge and skills. Activities should relate to practice as an architect and be in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of the architect's practice or employment. Activities in each year should relate to a minimum of two units in the National Architecture Competency Standards – Design, Documentation, Practice Management and Project Management.

What do I need to know about Continuing Professional Development?

The Board has put everything an Architect needs to know about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in one place. Download the Information on CPD and start recording your professional development now.



What is informal CPD?

Informal CPD activities relate to practice as an architect and is in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment. Informal CPD does not include any kind of assessment.  Examples include: self directed study of practice notes and professional magazines, talks and presentations, visits to buildings and exhibitions, conferences, involvement in mentoring programs, participation in professional committees and advisory groups and raising awareness of architecture in primary and secondary schools. 

A maximum of two hours only may be allocated to any one activity at a time.

What is formal CPD?

Continuing professional development activities in the formal category should have stated learning outcomes that are formally assessed or have significant interaction between the presenter and the learner, and should be conducted by presenters with appropriate academic, technical or practical expertise.

Accredited courses relating to any aspect of the practice of architecture conducted by TAFE, universities or Registered Training Organisations are formal activities.

Short courses offered by professional associations, architect networks, employers etc that relate to the practice of architecture, that have stated learning outcomes and are formally assessed are included in the formal category. Assessment may be in a variety of forms, for example a test, self-check questions and answers, a paper submitted at the end of the activity.

Significant interaction is where there is direct communication between the presenter and learner, requiring the learner to actively participate in exercises, case studies, workshops, role-plays, discussions and so on. 

Typical examples of activities with significant interaction include:

  • small groups undertaking case studies and/or written exercises with feedback from the presenter
  • a web-based tool or CD Rom that requires learner interaction and input, for example, the completion of a set activity
  • participation in formalised group discussions involving a case study relevant to architecture or industry practices
  • ‘in house’ training as part of an Architects Learning Group where the learner is required to complete specified tasks or activities.

Can architects claim CPD for other activities?

Architects are also able to claim CPD hours for a range of professional activities. For example, preparation and presentation of CPD activities relating to architecture; preparing and presenting information about architecture to the public, architects authoring published articles/books/papers are also able to claim hours in the formal CPD category - up to 3 hours may be claimed for authorship of published journals, up to 5 hours for preparing and presenting a CPD activity or lecture on architectural matters, and up to 5 hours for part time lecturing in a relevant program at tertiary level.

What records of CPD must architects keep?

The Board has developed a CPD Record of Activity  for architects. Architects may choose to complete the Board's form or keep similar records of activities including the date, activity, location, category of activity - formal or informal, relationship to the National Competency Standards in Architecture and hours claimed. Architects are required to keep records of their activities for at least 5 years.

Compliance with the requirement to take reasonable steps to undertake appropriate CPD will be checked where there is a complaint against the professional conduct of an architect.  A random audit of 5% of architects registered in NSW is conducted each year. Architects selected for the random audit will be required to submit their record of activity, and supporting information for the preceding registration year.

Activity Record

What happens if an architect has not met the minimum CPD obligation in a registration year?

At annual renewal of registration architects who have not met their minimum CPD obligation  should forward with their annual renewal payment  a record of activities undertaken in the registration year together with an explanation of their particular circumstances.  This will allow 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". Section 17 of the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

Where an architect cannot satisfy the Board that they have meet their CPD obligations they may be at risk of being in breach of the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

INFORMATION SHEET - CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT summarises architects' CPD responsibilities, provides guidance about definitions of CPD, how architects may select appropriate CPD activities and general guidance on criteria for exemptions.