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Compliance

The ARBV oversees compliance with the Architects Act 1991, the Architects Regulations 2015 (incorporating the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct), and the Architects Insurance Ministerial Order.

NOTE: On 19 May 2015, Architects Regulations 2015 came into effect, superseding the Architects Regulations 2004.

The main focus is on three areas:

  1. regulation of the professional conduct of architects;
  2. compliance with Professional Indemnity Insurance requirements by Practising Architects;
  3. investigation of breaches of the title provisions of the Act.

Compliance matters are managed by the Compliance Consultant.

1. Regulation of the professional conduct of architects

Architects’ professional conduct is regulated by the Architects Regulations 2015 which contains the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

NOTE: On 19 May 2015, Architects Regulations 2015 came into effect, superseding the Architects Regulations 2004. The Architects Regulations 2015 contains the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct, which supersedes the Professional Conduct Regulations in the Architects Regulations 2004.

Section 7 of the Architects Regulations 2015 enables the Board to make Guidelines to the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct. To view Guidelines to the Code, click on the tab “Compliance Resources” item below.

The Architects Act (Section 18) provides that the Board may determine whether or not an architect’s fitness to practise or professional conduct should be the subject of an inquiry. Normally this would arise out of someone making a formal complaint against an architect, however the Board may refer a matter to Tribunal inquiry on its own initiative.

Inquiries are carried out by the Architects Tribunal. The Tribunal is independent of the Board.

If the Architects Tribunal finds allegations against an architect proved, the Board is required to enforce the Determinations made by the Tribunal.

For information about making a complaint, please click on the tab “Make a Complaint”.

2. Compliance with Professional Indemnity Insurance requirements by Practising Architects

Please click on the tab “PI Insurance” for information about this.

3. Investigation of breaches of the title provisions of the Act

The Architects Act 1991 controls the title architect, and expressions containing the word architectural (architectural design, architectural services and architectural design services). It also contains provisions against non-architects generally “holding out” to be architects: they must not use any other title, name or description that indicates, or is capable of being understood to indicate, or is calculated to lead a person to infer, that the person or body is an architect or is registered or approved under the Act.

Only entities (individuals, partnerships and companies) which appear on the Register of Architects can use this language in the context of building design and the provision of architectural services*. Therefore non-architects must be aware that they cannot use this language, or in any way imply that they are registered.

*The language is not controlled in other contexts, for example IT (“website architect”), landscape or naval architecture, descriptions of objects or products (“architectural mouldings”).

It is also an offence for a third party (e.g. an employer, a publisher, an advertiser, real estate agents) to represent a non-architect to be an architect.

The Board investigates apparent breaches of the title provisions of the Act. Initially the focus is on obtaining compliance, however in cases of persistence in breaching the Act, the Board prosecutes. Prosecutions take place in the Magistrates Court.

The Act provides for penalties up to 60 Penalty Units per offence. The current value of a penalty unit is $151.67 (as at 1 July 2016).

NOTE: Architectural graduates who have not yet registered as architects are advised to exercise great care in how they describe themselves and what language they allow others (e.g. employers) to use in describing them. Use of terms such as “graduate architect” by such persons is a breach of the title provisions of the Architects Act.

The term “architectural graduate” is an appropriate alternative.

Business Names

What is a business name?

A business name (also often called a trading name) is a name that is used by an individual or a company in carrying out business. For example, Mary Jones is a sole-practitioner architect and she uses “MJ Architects” as her business name. Outer Eastern Architects Pty Ltd is a registered architectural company; it uses “Outer Eastern Architects” as its business name.

Business names are required by law to be registered with ASIC. See information here: http://www.asic.gov.au/business-names.

Information for Architects:

If you or your company use a business name, you need to inform us what it is. This is especially so when the name does not resemble your or your company’s name. In the example above, if someone wanted to know if “MJ Architects” is the business of a registered architect, this would not be known unless architect Mary Jones has told the Board.

Business names were formerly registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria, and they required a letter of permission from us before they would register a name containing a controlled word such as the title architect. This is no longer the case, so the Board no longer issues these letters of permission.

Sometimes there is confusion about the difference between a business name and a company. A business name (also often called a trading name) is simply a name that is used by an individual or a company in carrying out business, which needs to be registered with ASIC. A business name is not a legal entity, unlike an individual, a partnership, or a company. A company is an entity whose name ends in Pty Ltd, which has a separate legal identity to that of its directors, and which is registered with ASIC. If you wish to set up a company to practise architecture, it needs to be approved by the ARBV so that it appears on the Register of Architects.

Information for Non-Architects:

The Architects Act 1991 controls the title “architect”, and three expressions containing the word architectural (“architectural design”, “architectural services” and “architectural design services”).Only entities which appear on the Register of Architects can use this language in the context of building design and the provision of architectural services. Therefore non-architects should be aware that they cannot use this language, including in a business name.

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