The Architects Act 1991 (“the Act”) provides for the registration of individuals as architects and the approval of architectural partnerships and architectural companies.
The Register of Architects
Individuals are registered in one of two classes: ‘Practising’ or ‘Non-Practising’.
Practising Architects are registered to provide architectural services that lead directly to the design of buildings or parts of buildings. As a condition of registration, practising architects must provide the ARBV with proof that they have Professional Indemnity insurance cover in respect of their work as an architect.
Non-Practising Architects have elected for a range of reasons to register in this class and have declared that they will not practise as an architect in Victoria while in this class. Non-Practising Architects are not required to provide the ARBV with proof of Professional Indemnity insurance cover.
The Register of Approved Architectural Companies contains those companies that comply with the requirement that at least one Director is an architect covered by Professional Indemnity insurance.
The Register of Approved Architectural Partnerships contains those Partnerships that comply with the requirement that at least one Partner is an architect covered by Professional Indemnity insurance.
Applications for registration - architects
The ARBV assesses applications as per the requirements of section 10 of the Architects Act 1991. The assessment process involves checking qualifications, experience, and good character.
Generally, applications are processed between 4-6 weeks. However, this is an indication and applications may extend beyond this time frame.
The Act provides for two classes of registration; Architect (practising) and Architect (non-practising). When registering for the first time, you must register in the practising class.
The practising class allows architects registered with ARBV to provide architectural services, whereas the non-practising class of registration allows for architects to use the controlled terms (e.g. architect) but restricts their ability to provide architectural services.
Note: It is an offence to provide architectural services or purport to be able to provide such services when not registered as a practising architect.
Supporting documents for registration applications
The application requires applicant’s personal contact details, details of the organisation they work for or to indicate if they are a sole practitioner, insurance information and details the pathway to registration.
Insurance: applicants must provide proof of their professional indemnity insurance (PII Insurance). The ARBV must receive the full policy, please see the PI Insurance page for further details.
Pathway details: applicants upload assessment outcome letters if the pathway to registration was through a competency-based assessment. applicants who completed the APE are not required to submit documents, unless they completed the APE in a different state or territory, proof of successful completion must also be uploaded. Successful APE candidates from Victoria are not required to submit any documents.
Good character – The Act requires assessment of an applicant’s ‘good character’ as part of the application process. Any conduct matters or criminal convictions must be disclosed in the series of questions in the application form.
Application fees change every financial year. Please see the Annual fees FAQs for a schedule of the current fees.
The registration period is per financial year. Each architect’s registration will be from the time registration is granted until 30 June of the same financial year. Please note: applicants are required to pay the application fee and the annual fees at the time of applying. Application fees are non-refundable if an applicant is unsuccessful.
The ARBV will inform you of your outcome in writing. Please remember you are registered only when you receive written confirmation and your registration number.
Applications for approval - Companies and Partnerships
Please click on the relevant tabs under the “Registration” tab for information about applications for approval of Companies and Partnerships.
Proof of Registration
Registration cards can be downloaded from an architect’s membership profile. Simply log into your profile through the ARBV website, select ‘manage profile’ and then select ‘membership card’.
Certified Extract of Register can be obtained by contacting the Board by email at email@example.com.
Change of registration class
The Act provides for two classes of registration. The Architect (Practising) and Architect (Non-practising). The practising class allows for architects registered with ARBV to provide architectural services. The non-practising class of registration allows for architects to use the controlled terms (e.g. architect) but restricts their ability to provide architectural services. It is an offence to provide architectural services or purport to be able to provide such services when not registered or in the correct registration category.
How do I change my class of registration?
Architects can change their class of registration between practising and non-practising. Generally, architects in the non-practising class of registration are no longer working in Victoria, retiring or will be on an extended leave.
To change your class of registration you must make a formal application in writing. If you have remained as an Architect (Non-practising) for more than 2 years (and are not subject to mutual recognition) you will be required to have an assessment of your standard of professional practice.
Please note: When changing to the practising class after more than 2 years, you may be required to pay an assessment fee.
All application forms should be emailed to Registrar@arbv.vic.gov.au
Searching the Register
The ‘Search the Register’ tab on this site enables users to search the Register of Architects to confirm whether or not an individual is registered as an Architect (Practising) and a company or partnership is an approved company or partnership on the Register of Architects.
Architects (Non-practising) do not appear on this search as they are not permitted to provide architectural services (however may use the title ‘architect’). A list of Architects (Non-practising) is included here.
Suspension of Registration
It must be understood that the effect of suspension of registration as an architect means that the person who is suspended is not an architect for the duration of the suspension.
- their name does not appear on the Register of Architects;
- they are unable to use the controlled terms (“architect”, “architectural design”, “architectural services”);
- they are unable to function as an architect in any way, including using an architect registration number, implying in any way they are able to offer architectural services, maintaining advertising or continuing to use business stationery using the controlled terms;
- they must notify clients of their suspension as an architect and advise them they are no longer able to carry out engagements as an architect;
Otherwise they are breaching the Architects Act 1991 and are liable to prosecution.
Furthermore, if the person suspended was the sole architect director of an approved architectural company, or the sole architect member of an approved architectural partnership, the company/partnership approval must also be suspended, and the above conditions apply to the company/partnership.
Failure to comply with the requirement to pay the annual registration fee by July 1 each year, or the statutory fee for late payment of the annual fee, will result in suspension of registration.
Failure to provide proof of compliant Professional Indemnity Insurance by Practising Architects will result in suspension of registration.
Suspension of registration may be revoked only by satisfying the condition that led to the suspension, i.e.
- payment of the annual fee, and if applicable the revocation fee, The Architects Act 1991 S15 (4);
- provision of proof of compliant Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Financial hardship assistance
What is financial hardship?
Financial hardship is when an individual, company or partnership is unable to pay due to an often unexpected short or long-term event.
Common events leading to this include:
- changes in income and/or expenditure
- significant economic business impacts e.g. cash flow, debts
- emergency events such as coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- natural disasters
- personal circumstances e.g. loss of employment, major illness
How can we help?
The ARBV understands unexpected circumstances can make it difficult to keep up with bills and payments. Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for receiving additional time to pay statutory annual fees. This applies to annual fees* outlined Architects Act 1991 (Vic) and the Architects Regulations 2015.This applies to annual fees* outlined Architects Act 1991 (Vic) and the Architects Regulations 2015
*The ARBV is not able to consider providing additional time for other types of fees. These include application fees, assessment fees and revocation fees.
Financial hardship support relates to annual fees and is separate from the Architectural Practice Examination (APE) exceptional circumstances policy, which outlines the ARBV’s approach to refunds for APE candidates directly impacted by COVID-19.
Seeking financial hardship assistance
If you are experiencing financial hardship that is impacting your capacity to pay your annual fees, you must contact the ARBV to apply for hardship assistance before 1 July in the relevant year.
Applications can be made by completing the application for financial hardship assistance form below.
Architects and/or the relevant architect director or partner will need to provide written details of their circumstances, including the requested length of the payment extension being sought.
Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Change of name and address
Regulation 18 provides that the ARBV must be notified within 14 days of any change in relation to information contained within the Register.
The Register records the names and addresses of architects, approved companies, and approved partnerships.
Regulation 9 provides that failure to comply with regulation 18 without reasonable excuse is unprofessional conduct.