Learn about the Act
- To view a copy of the Architects Act, visit www.legislation.vic.gov.au. Click the 'Victorian
Law Today' tab, select 'Acts' and scroll in the alpha list under 'A'.
The Architects Act has been in place since 1923.
The most recent changes to the Act have occurred as a result of
Productivity Commission recommendations, many of which were approved by
the Government and came into force on 14 June 2005.
The Act contains provisions for
- Registration of architects
- Approval of companies and partnerships to offer architectural
- Regulation of architects' professional conduct
- Procedures for handling complaints against architects
- Protection of the title of "Architect" and the terms "architectural
services", "architectural design services" and "architectural design"
- Accreditation of architectural qualifications
- Board determination of qualifications and experience required for
- Architects Registration Board membership, procedures, powers and
The key changes that came into force on 14 June 2005 are:
- Title Protection (Sections 4-6 and 8, p4-8)
While the title of ARCHITECT continues to be protected, the
'derivative terms' have been amended.
Under competition policy review, restrictions on the terms
'architecture' and 'architectural' were considered to unfairly restrict
the conduct of other businesses. The Bill replaces these terms with
restriction on the use of three terms: 'architectural services',
architectural design services' and 'architectural design' in relation to
the design and planning of buildings. The Bill also strengthens
prohibitions on unregistered persons or firms representing themselves as
registered architects or allowing themselves to be represented as
- Insurance (Sections 8B, 15A, 17A, pp7, 13, 15)
The Bill simplifies insurance arrangements by moving them to the
Architects Act, to be administered by the Architects Registration Board.
Architects only need to deal with one statutory body for both
registration and insurance.
Practising architects are required to provide proof of insurance
at the time of registration and annual renewal or when insurance needs
change. Employee architects will continue to be covered by their company
insurance; unless they undertake work as an architect in their own
right, when insurance will be required
Insurance provisions under the amendments are governed by a
Ministerial Order on Insurance for Architects.
- Approval of companies and partnerships (Section 12, p11)
Ownership and control arrangements for partnerships and companies
have been simplified. The Bill reduces these requirements to at least
one partner or director who is a natural person must be a registered
insured architect responsible for the architectural services of the
company or partnership. It is expected that this will simplify
structural arrangements for firms. Clients will be able to check whether
a firm is eligible to offer architectural services.
- Prohibited conduct (Sections 4 - 8D, p4-8)
Only persons registered with the ARBV or approved Companies or
Partnerships may use the title of 'Architect' or the protected phrases:
'architectural services', 'architectural design', architectural design
services' in relation to design, plans, drawings or specifications for
buildings or parts of buildings.
The Bill strengthens prohibitions on unregistered persons or firms
representing themselves as registered architects or allowing themselves
to be represented as registered. Restrictions on such representation
include any title, name or description that is capable of being
understood that a person/firm is registered or offers the services of an
architect or is willing to undertake work as an architect. (Exceptions:
landscape architect, naval architect, computer systems architect.)
- Broader membership of the Architects Registration Board (Section 47,
Competition Policy review found that Board membership was too
restricted. Board membership has been expanded from 8 members to 10 to
include two people representing major building industry organisations
who are not architects. This will mean that there will be 5 architects
and 5 non-architects on the Board. The non-architects include two
community representatives, and three building industry representatives.
- Total separation of Tribunals from the Board (Section 21, p20)
Previously, while disciplinary Tribunals operate independent of the
Board, up to 2 Board members may be members of a tribunal. In future, no
Board members will sit on Tribunals. This will ensure that Tribunals are
completely independent of the Board. Tribunals will comprise one
architect, one non-architect and one person representing consumer
interests chosen from a panel of names approved by the Minister. One
member of a Tribunal must also have legal knowledge and experience.
- Introduction of alternative dispute resolution via mediation
(Section 18E - 18J, p18-19)
The ARBV will be able to offer confidential mediation services to
architects and clients who are in dispute if both parties agree to
mediation. This may enable earlier resolution of problems and avoid the
need for a Tribunal hearing. If mediation is not successful, further
inquiry may occur.
- Links with the Building Practitioners Board
A member of the ARBV will also be a member of the Building
Practitioners Board. This will facilitate better understanding between
the Boards and professions.