Changes to professional indemnity insurance compliance requirements
Planning Minister Richard Wynne has issued an Architects Insurance Ministerial Order about professional indemnity insurance requirements for architects relating to non-compliant external wall cladding. The Ministerial Order dated 15 January 2020 will formally come into effect on 15 February 2020. Read more
Media Release - Proposed Architects Act reforms to boost consumer protection and confidence
The Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV) welcomes proposed legislative reforms to the Architects Act introduced into parliament by the State Government this week.
Read the full media release here.
Logo policy change
The ARBV’s logo use policy has been reviewed. The review found that third party use of the ARBV’s logo might be viewed as affiliation with individuals or companies.
Considering the potential for confusion within the community about the ARBV’s role as a regulator, the ARBV has decided to revoke the use of its logo by third parties. There will be a six month phase-out period.
Persons or entities who have been granted permission to use the ARBV logo may continue to do so in accordance with the conditions of their approval until 28 February 2020.
Expressions of Interest: ARBV Examiners - closing date extended
The Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV) is currently inviting expressions of interest for examiners for the Architectural Practice Examination (APE) Part 3 interviews. Multiple roles are available, and the successful examiners will join a panel of examiners used for the APE Part 3 interviews.
This is an excellent opportunity to play an important role in assessing APE candidates applying to be registered as an architect to ensure they demonstrate an adequate knowledge and understanding of the practice of architecture and a capacity to exercise professional skill. APE Interviews are administered by the ARBV and conducted in two sessions annually on behalf of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA).
Applicants for the role of ARBV Examiner will be assessed based on selection criteria, followed by an interview conducted by a panel.
The selection criteria are:
- Current registration as a practising architect
- Minimum 5 years post-registration experience
- An understanding of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria
- Knowledge of the National Standard of competency for architects (NSCA)
- An understanding of contemporary architectural practice environment
- Experience in the supervision and mentoring of graduates of architecture and early-career architects
- Experience in a range of project types, e.g. complex projects, residential etc. (preferable)
The closing date for this position has been extended to allow more time for candidates to prepare an expression of interest. If you are interested in this role, please submit the following to firstname.lastname@example.org by 18 November 2019.
- Current CV
- Application form
- Cover letter
- List of any perceived conflicts
Applications without a response to the selection criteria will not be considered. Applicants must be available during the examination periods and may be sought to assist in other Board related activities.
Successful applicants will be remunerated on an hourly basis, and would operate under a three-year contract by mutual agreement, commencing in 2020.
Update: Annual CPD Declaration
The ARBV is introducing an annual continuing professional development (CPD) declaration as part of registration renewal. From 1 July 2020, architects registered in the practising class will be asked to declare that they have completed and documented professional development to maintain their skills and knowledge in compliance with the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct (as included in the Architects Regulations 2015). The declaration will relate to the registration period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
The declaration is a new process to support ARBV’s previous endorsement of a national model of CPD, developed by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, and assist to drive continuous improvement in architects’ skills and knowledge and enhance the reputation of profession with consumers.
The ARBV will provide more communication about the declaration process soon. This does not affect the current registration renewal process – no declaration is required for renewals that commenced on 1 July 2019.
Media Release - Lacrosse
The Architects Registration Board of Victoria acknowledges the recent decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal regarding the Lacrosse apartment development.
See more here.
Nine Certificates for Cladding Systems Withdrawn
The ARBV has been informed that CertMark International (CMI), a product certification body under the CodeMark scheme has withdrawn nine certificates for cladding systems, including aluminium composite panels (ACP) and expanded polystyrene (EPS).
The nine withdrawn certificates are:
CM40029 Ozone Panel Building Systems
CM40066 Apolic A2
CM40067 Alpolic FR
CM40076 Ultrabond FR
CM40079 Vitrabond FR
CM40082 Dulux Exsulite TM Kooltherm Facade System
CM40093 Larson FR
CM40138 Dulux Exsulite TM Therman Facade non-cavity System
CM40162 Cladex FR
This means the above certificates cannot be relied upon as evidence of suitability.
Certificate holders are obliged under CodeMark Australia rules to notify existing customers of this withdrawal.
Further advice to industry will be issued as it comes to hand.
For further details, please call CertMark International on 1800 237 862.
APE Candidate Information Sessions
ARBV’s CEO and Registrar Adam Toma has been invited by the Australian Institute of Architects to present information sessions on the Architectural Practice Examination (APE).
Candidates wishing to attend these briefings can book tickets here:
National Survey of Architectural Education and the Profession
The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia recently launched the second phase of its major survey of architectural education and the profession in Australia and New Zealand, with the support of all architectural stakeholder organisations in Australia and New Zealand.
The national survey Architectural Education and the Profession in Australia is an important opportunity for all practitioners to share their experiences, opinions and aspirations for architectural education in Australia and New Zealand. The survey of practitioners forms one part of this comprehensive study which also gathers the views of architecture academics, practitioners, students, and professional stakeholders such as Registration Boards and representative bodies. It is a rare opportunity to contribute to future debates about architectural education and professional development, and we encourage you all to share and participate in the questionnaire.
All architectural practitioners are encouraged to take part in the survey which can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WPCKB9V. The survey is only open until 14 December 2018.
The questionnaire takes 10-15 minutes to complete, and is anonymous. It asks questions about your education and career and will seek your views on resourcing, teaching and learning practices, graduate pathways, and future directions in architectural education. Participation is completely voluntary.
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.
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? You mean “Architectural Graduate”
The term “graduate architect” used by or about someone who has an architectural qualification who is not registered as an architect 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…