Our regulatory approach

Our Regulatory Strategy (Strategy) is intended to help architects, approved partnerships and companies regulated by the ARBV develop a strong and effective compliance culture.

The ARBV strives to ensure the delivery of quality architectural services in Victoria, the protection of consumers of architectural services as well as the broader community, and to instill public confidence in the regulation of the architecture sector by the ARBV. To this end, the ARBV is committed to ensuring that outcomes are at the heart of its regulatory approach and activities.

Regulatory objectives

In overseeing the regulatory framework, the ARBV specifically aims to:

  • promote and maintain high standards of professional conduct and practice by architects
  • restrict who can represent themselves as architects
  • ensure only suitably qualified entities are registered and approved to provide architectural services
  • ensure compliance by architects with insurance requirements
  • support architects to fulfil their professional obligations to their clients
  • encourage and support voluntary compliance
  • engender confidence in and respect for the profession.

The ARBV uses all its available regulatory tools to pursue these objectives.

Regulatory strategy

The Regulatory Strategy sets out the ARBV’s risk-based approach. It explains how the ARBV regulates the architecture profession in Victoria using the risks associated with non-compliance that could compromise achievement of regulatory objectives as a guide for its regulatory activities. In turn, this approach helps to ensure that the ARBV regulates in a manner that is effective, fair, efficient and consistent.

The Statement of Regulatory Approach published on the ARBV website provides an overview of the Regulatory Strategy. It enables regulated entities (architects, approved companies and partnerships) to understand the ARBV’s regulatory approach and supports them to develop a positive and effective compliance culture.

Regulatory activities

The ARBV uses its registration and approval function to ensure that only those that are eligible under the regulatory framework are authorised to provide architectural services. In addition, the ARBV undertakes proactive and reactive regulatory activity to respectively mitigate the risk of non-compliance with the regulatory framework and address that risk in cases when non-compliance occurs.

Proactive regulatory activity

Proactive regulatory activity is undertaken on the ARBV’s own initiative to encourage compliance and detect, deter or prevent non-compliance.

Proactive activities include:

  • developing educational materials, including factsheets, updates and webinars, to assist architects to understand and meet their obligations and to help clients to understand their rights
  • engaging with a broad range of stakeholders, including architects, clients and industry bodies, to discuss compliance issues, encourage voluntary compliance, and gain insights about areas of concern
  • carrying out research and analysis to help the ARBV better understand sector-wide issues and concerns
  • monitoring regulated entities, gathering intelligence from various sources about compliance risks and analysing information to detect compliance trends and issues.

Each year, the ARBV develops a new proactive strategic plan that helps to ensure that the ARBV’s proactive regulatory activities dynamically keep pace with a changing context.

Reactive regulatory activity

The ARBV undertakes reactive regulatory activity to respond to instances of actual or possible non-compliance.

The ARBV’s reactive regulatory activity may include:

  • education and engagement
  • informal advice about compliance or warning
  • referral to the Architects Tribunal where there are concerns about an architect’s fitness to practise and/or professional conduct
  • suspending or cancelling registration or approval
  • institution of prosecution proceedings.

Proactive highlights

Important proactive activities undertaken by the ARBV in 2022-23 include the joint research partnership with the New South Wales Architects Registration Board into systemic risks in the architecture sector and the launch of the ARBV’s new webinar series providing continuing professional development for architects, aimed at addressing emerging trends and issues arising for both architects and consumers of architectural services.

Reactive highlights

In 2022-23 the ARBV carried out several complex investigations as part of its reactive enforcement regime (pp 23-24). This included a successful prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria against a former architect and the company through which the former architect carried on his business for numerous offences against the Architects Act 1991.