Reminder – insurance requirements
Architects registered in the practising class must be covered by the required Professional Indemnity Insurance, often referred to as PI insurance or PII.
The ARBV requires proof that you have the required insurance before it can grant your application for registration in the practising class, and on renewal of the policy.
You may hold the required insurance in your own name or be covered by an employer’s policy. A company approved by the ARBV must hold the required insurance in the company’s name.
Professional Indemnity Insurance covers you against liability resulting from any claim made during the period of insurance. To learn more about the insurance policy that you need, refer to the Architects Insurance Ministerial Order (No. S90, Thursday 12 May 2005).
Managing Costs and a Client’s Budget – Determination of the Architects Tribunal
The Architects Tribunal has found that two architects were careless in their practice with respect to costs and their clients’ budget.
The two architects were directors of a company that provided architectural and other design services. The clients engaged the company to provide a design for a new residential dwelling and granny flat at their property in Belgrave. The project initially involved the potential use of shipping containers. The property was sloped and subject to a high Bushfire Attack Level. The clients’ budget was fixed, however the brief and instructions changed during the engagement.
Ultimately, the architects’ design exceeded the clients’ budget and the project did not proceed.
The two architects admitted that they had been careless or incompetent with respect to informing themselves and their clients about likely costs.
The Tribunal found that that the architects:
- failed to inform themselves about the likely costs to construct a building at the site based on their design; and
- failed to adequately inform the client about the likely costs and if they could design a building within the clients’ budget.
The architects were cautioned and ordered to pay the costs of the inquiry.
This matter illustrates that architects have an important role to play in managing costs and must have regard to a client’s budget. At times it may be necessary for an architect to advise a client (or prospective client) that the outcome they want simply cannot be achieved within their budget. This also forms part of an architect’s obligations to communicate with a client, including the obligation to provide relevant information and inform a client as set out in paragraph 7 of the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct (Code).
The determination of the Architects Tribunal can be found by clicking HERE
The Code can be found here. If you have any queries regarding compliance with the Code or other conduct issues relating to architects, please contact the Board’s Compliance Consultant at email@example.com or on 0437 912 922.
Client & Architect Agreements - they are a must! - 24 September 2018
Architects must enter into written agreements with their clients before they commence work. Not only is this good practice, it is a legal requirement pursuant to the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct (Code).
Item 4 of the Code prohibits architects providing architectural services for a client unless the architect (or the relevant approved company or partnership) has entered into a written agreement with the client for the provision of those services. The agreement must address the matters listed in clause 4(2) of the Code, which include the scope and nature of the services, the time frames in which they will be provided and how the client may authorise changes or amendments to the services. A failure to enter into a compliant written agreement is a breach of the Code, which constitutes unprofessional conduct.
Importantly, the obligation to enter into a written agreement applies whether or not the architect is actually charging the client for his or her services, given the way in which the Code defines “client”. “Client” is defined as “an entity with whom an architect, an approved partnership or an approved company enters into an agreement (whether or not for payment) to provide architectural services” (regulation 5). So, even if architects are providing architectural services to local clubs, organisations or even friends at no cost, a written agreement must be in place.
A written agreement ensures that both the architect and client are clear about the services to be provided and the fees (if any) to be paid. It can also assist to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes between the parties.
To view a copy of the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct, visit www.legislation.vic.gov.au. Click the ‘Victorian Law Today’ tab, select ‘Statutory Rules’ and click ‘A’ in the alpha list. The Code can be found by scrolling down to number #52. If you have any queries regarding compliance with the Code or other conduct issues relating to architects, please contact the Board’s Compliance Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0437 912 922.
Architects and Cladding Issues in Victoria
The use of non-compliant external cladding on buildings in Victoria is a significant safety issue and one which the ARBV takes very seriously.
Given an architect’s role can include specifying building materials or products for construction, the ARBV appreciates that you may have concerns about an architect’s conduct with respect to non-compliant cladding.
If you are considering making a complaint about an architect that relates to cladding, please read the information on the ‘Make a Complaint’ page before you commence your complaint.
If you would like to discuss making a complaint about an architect, phone the ARBV and ask to speak to the Compliance Consultant so we can help you.
Complaints are lodged using an Architectural Services Complaint Form, which the ARBV’s Compliance Consultant can send you. Remember that complaints need to be substantiated: that is, there needs to be some evidence of the matters being complaints about. If you need assistance with copying of material, e.g. plans or other documents, the Compliance Consultant can help.
The Complaints Process
Neither the ARBV nor the Architects Tribunal have power to require rectification work to be carried out or order compensation.
When a complaint is received by the ARBV, it notifies the architect and asks for a response. Two ARBV members (an architect and non-architect) review and report on the matter. The ARBV then decides whether or not an inquiry should be held into the architect’s fitness to practise or professional conduct.
If the Architects Tribunal conducts an inquiry into an architect’s conduct and finds an allegation(s) against the architect proven it will make a Determination regarding Penalty.
Further information about the complaints process and Architects Tribunal inquiries is available on the ‘Make a Complaint’ page.
Other bodies who are helping to resolve cladding issues
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is conducting a state-wide audit of buildings to identify unsafe cladding. See the VBA’s website for more information about its audit and the cladding issue more generally, including fire safety concerns and steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of fire – www.vba.vic.gov.au/cladding.
The Victorian Cladding Taskforce has also been established by the government to investigate and address the use of non-compliant building materials on buildings within Victoria – for more information about the Taskforce see https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/building-policy/victorian-cladding-taskforce.
RMIT Practice Futures Compendium 2018 - 11 May 2018
Click on this link to view the Practice Futures.
‘In Practice Futures we begin to investigate the challenges and opportunities that arise out of the increasing adoption of digital fabrication within the design and construction industries.’ – Vivian Mitsogianni
The lead researchers for Practice Futures are Professor Vivian Mitsogianni, Ben Milbourne, John Doyle and Patrick Macasaet.
This report was completed in 2018 by RMIT Architecture for the Practice Futures project commissioned by the ARBV.
Under the Architects Act, the Board may “apply any money at its discretion, for the purpose of the advancement of architectural education in any manner the Board determines”.
Minister’s Guideline and Building Product Safety Alert - 13 March 2018
The Minister for Planning has issued a guideline to reduce the risks to life and property arising from the inappropriate use of cladding products in external wall systems in multistory buildings in Victoria.
GRADUATE ARCHITECT? – NO SUCH THING! – You mean “Architectural Graduate” - 17 January 2018
Don’t risk prosecution!
The term “graduate architect” is only ever used by or about someone who has an architectural qualification but who is not registered as an architect.
This is a breach of the Architects Act, which restricts use of the title “architect” to persons whose name appears on the Register of Architects. Read more…
APE Dates 2018:
***LOGBOOK SUBMISSIONS FOR ROUND 1 & 2 ARE NOW CLOSED. NO FURTHER LOGBOOKS WILL BE ACCEPTED THIS YEAR***
Logbook submissions: Wednesday 21st February to Tuesday 27th February
National Examination Paper (NEP): Tuesday 17th April
Interviews: During May and June on dates TBC
Logbook submissions: Wednesday 11th July to Tuesday 17th July*
National Examination Paper (NEP): Tuesday 21st August
Interviews: During September and October on dates TBC
*Logbooks must be submitted during the specified submission dates. Late submissions will not be accepted