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What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is ongoing learning. It is the process of recording the knowledge, skills and experience relevant to practice that is gained in addition to a normal scope of work. CPD helps to maintain a high level of professionalism and to develop and maintain the knowledge necessary for the provision of architectural services in compliance with the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

The objective of CPD for Victorian architects is to maintain and enhance professional knowledge and skills of architects, to maintain technical excellence, and to serve the community better.

CPD should:

Is CPD required in Victoria?

The Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct requires architects to have “suitable skills and experience” to be in charge of a client’s project, and to “maintain a thorough knowledge of the architectural services to be provided and of matters relating to the performance of those services”.

The Board has endorsed the national model of CPD developed by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA), and adopted by NSW, QLD, SA and WA as one way architects can comply with the Code. The Board has also developed an online method of recording CPD through the ARBV website to make it easier for architects to maintain their records.

Why is CPD recommended for Architects?

CPD is recommended to architects to maintain and enhance professional knowledge and skills, maintain technical excellence and ensure that architects better serve the community and the profession. It may foster confidence in those searching the ARBV website, that up to date knowledge and skills are maintained by an architect. The public facing page of the ARBV website states when an architect has completed the recommended 20 hours of CPD for the financial year. CPD is an opportunity for architects to take responsibility for the profession and their business by reviewing areas of knowledge that may require development and ensure that skills are not only maintained but current. It is also required by the Code.

What are some of the Benefits of CPD?
  • Sign of professionalism and commitment of self development
  • Improved knowledge and skills; current knowledge of building codes, legislation and trends including OH+S and ESD
  • Evidence of current knowledge
  • Sustained growth and progress
  • Enhanced proficiency, which enhances adaptation to change within the profession
  • Improved management of career and career planning
  • Improved career prospects with a strengthened and diverse skill base
  • Enhanced networking and peer support
  • Reduced liability exposure
  • Better business practices and may reduce disputes
  • Improved credibility within the wider community
  • Detailed documentation of prior learning
  • Commitment
Does CPD come with a high financial cost?

Completing the Board recommended 20 hours of CPD (mimimum 10 formal) each financial year does not need to come at a high financial cost. CPD activity must be additional to the activities undertaken in the course or practice of architecture or architectural employment. Many architects already undertake CPD activities throughout the year, which may be logged as an Informal CPD activity. Examples include reading technical magazines, site visits, self-directed study of practice notes, talks and presentations by peers and participation in professional practice committees and advisory groups.

There are also many activities in which the cost involved is an architect’s time. These activities include raising awareness of architecture in primary and high schools, involvement in mentoring programs or preparations/presentation for peer review.

Why plan for CPD?

An effective CPD plan will guide you from your goals to your outcomes. By creating a plan you can consider what needs to be done without the uncertainty of which activity to do next to achieve your goal. Planning CPD may also help in keeping costs low. For example, organising a working group, can save time and money in the long run when it comes meeting the recommended CPD hours/points each year.

What is an effective CPD plan?

An effective CPD plan has a goal, a vision of how to reach the goal and has come about through strategic thinking. Appropriate activities, time, cost etc. are all taken into account. An effective plan is necessary to avoid wasting time and money down the track from going back and forth trying to decide which activities to complete.

How do I record my CPD?

Architects may record CPD online through the ARBV website (a password protected area for architects).

The journal entry sheet on the CPD website will provide for entry, identification and annotation of all CPD – the course or task undertaken, the knowledge acquired and how many points/hours are claimed. It is not a requirement to log CPD activity with the ARBV, but it is strongly encouraged. If an architect is subject to Tribunal inquiry on professional matters, the Tribunal is likely to ask to review CPD carried out by the architect and will expect to see clear accurate records.

Are there recommended topics for CPD?

It is recommended that each CPD activity should be contained within one or more units and context of the NCSA. The ARBV from time to time may put recommended CPD activities on the website.

How many hours of CPD are recommended per year?

20 hours of CPD per registration year is recommended – a minimum 10 formal hours. This is in line with the national CPD model.

What is the definition of FORMAL CPD activity?

A formal CPD activity must be ‘structured’ in a learning environment with structured learning outcomes or assessment. A learning outcome is a general term that is used to state specifically what architects should know and be able to do in measurable terms as a result of an activity.

Examples of formal CPD activities include :

  • seminars at educational facilities, in-house seminars, workshops, courses, conferences and online and distance learning;
  • authorship of published articles, books, papers (up to 3 hours);
  • preparation, presentation of material to be used in a CPD activity or in other forms of education ie. lecturing (up to 5 hours) – when this is not your full-time employment;
  • postgraduate degree or diploma courses (up to 5 hours);
  • design workshops, lectures and seminars;
  • organised architects’ learning groups.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, only two hours can be claimed for a formal activity at any one time.

What is the definition of INFORMAL CPD activity?

An informal CPD activity must relate to practice as an architect (with the basis in the context of the NCSA) and is in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment but is not structured.

Examples of informal CPD activities include:

  • self-directed study of practice notes, technical magazines + papers;
  • talks and presentations by peers;
  • preparation / presentation for peer review;
  • site visits;
  • involvement in mentoring programs;
  • research through practice (collective memory bank);
  • competitions (research above and beyond normal practice);
  • participation in professional practice committees and advisory groups – through professional associations, regulatory authorities, task forces, government bodies;
  • local area networks (LAN) chairs, presenter and attendance;
  • raising awareness of architecture in primary and secondary schools;relevant volunteer / pro bono work.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, two hours can be claimed for an informal activity for the period of assessment.

Attendance at activities that simply promote product brand names and services will not be deemed to be a CPD activity unless they satisfy a defined learning outcome.

Who provides CPD activities?

CPD activities are provided by a number of organisations and individuals including:

  • registered training organisations;
  • universities, TAFE;
  • professional and industry associations including the AIA;
  • organised learning groups or networks;
  • commercial education and training providers;
  • employers;
  • product and service suppliers (Activities that simply promote product brand names and services would not be deemed to be an appropriate CPD activity).
  • peers
Does the ARBV accredit CPD providers?

No. The Board does not accredit CPD providers.

How do I provide evidence to the ARBV that I have engaged in CPD activity?

Completion of CPD activity is not mandatory in Victoria. Architects are not required to provide evidence of their CPD activity at the time of renewal of registration but the documentation should be kept on file for future reference if required.

Does the ARBV audit CPD activity?

No. The ARBV does not audit architects’ CPD activity. It may from time to time review the records in the database in relation to identified architects.

If I am registered in more than one state, and the other state requires CPD, do I need to complete those CPD requirements?

Yes. Architects should ensure that they comply with the CPD requirements in all other states or territories in which they are registered. The hours used for compliance in another state or territory can be used to meet the Victoria CPD recommendations.

Do architects taking maternity or other leave for several months of the year need to complete the full 20 hours of the Victorian CPD recommendation?

No. Whilst CPD is one way in which architects may enhance their professional skills and knowledge, engagement in CPD activity is not a condition of registration as an architect in Victoria. Architects taking maternity or other leave for several months of the year may choose their own plan for professional development that they deem suitable for the time period they will be practising.

Do practising architects living and working overseas need to comply with the CPD activity recommendations?

No. Whilst CPD is one way in which architects may enhance their professional skills and knowledge, engagement in CPD activity is not a condition of registration as an architect in Victoria. The Board has endorsed the national model of CPD though architects living and working overseas may choose a CPD plan of their own if they wish.

Can overseas activities be logged?

CPD activity in Victoria is self assessed, you may log professional development events attended overseas if you deem them relevant here in Australia.

What is required of employers?

Employers are expected to support and encourage staff in their completion and attendance at CPD activities.

It should be noted that in-house activities and ‘on the job’ training can count toward the CPD required hours.

Employers should ensure that copies of relevant documentation such as tax invoices etc are made accessible to staff for their CPD records.

How was the national model for CPD proposed?

The final model presented was a result of extensive consultation within the industry in 2008 and 2009 as well as on the experience of other jurisdictions in Australia. The ARBV Board formed a working party to steer the process, conduct consultation, make recommendations to the Board and assist with monitoring implementation. Members were representative of key interest groups and chosen to ensure that many categories of Architects were represented:

  • Three Board members
  • Director of a medium-large practice
  • Director of a small practice
  • A representative of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Academic
  • A representative of the Association of Consulting Architects Aust. (ACAA)
  • Sole practitioner
  • Regional practitioner
  • Government employee
  • Full time employee
  • Part time employee
  • Return-to-work parent
  • Consumer representative

Following numerous workshops, the working party prepared a model which was presented to the Board for recommendation to architects.

Architects’ Learning Groups

The ARBV’s present policy on Architects’ Learning Groups is currently being reviewed.  As a result new requests for groups or changes to groups will not be processed at this time.  Current groups can continue to access group facilities via the ARBV website portal. Once the review is finalised any resulting actions will be implemented and communicated to architects.