Consumers and architects to benefi t from new rules

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Minister for Building Issues Clayton Cosgrove has announced new rules governing the registration, ongoing training and discipline of architects which are hoped to bring signifi cant benefi ts to the profession and consumers. 

From July 1, 2006, a new public register of registered architects overseen by a new board was established under the Registered Architects Act 2005. Mr Cosgrove says the Act aims to maintain high standards in the profession, improve consumer protection and raise the status of registered architects by differentiating them from other design professionals, such as architectural designers. 

“Architects spend about eight years studying to qualify, and the Act recognises this,” Mr Cosgrove says. “If you design buildings, prepare plans and specifications for buildings, or supervise the construction of buildings, you won’t be able to use the title ‘registered architect’ or ‘architect’ unless you are registered.” 

The annual practicing certifi cate issued by the Architects Education and Registration Board (AERB) will be phased out over the next six months and replaced by an annual certificate of registration, issued by the recently established New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). 

The AERB will cease to exist. Under the new system, all registered architects will need to undertake ongoing professional development to remain registered, in keeping with the direction of related industries, such as building and engineering. “Good buildings start with good design. 

These changes ensure architects are competent at their job, and undergo regular training to keep up to date with the latest innovative design solutions and any industry changes,” Mr Cosgrove says. The register will be held by the NZRAB and be publicly available on-line. 

The Act also offers greater consumer protection, with an improved disciplinary process to deal with incompetence, negligence and unethical behaviour. Previously, complaints could only be made on the grounds of gross incompetence or gross negligence. 

The Board will be able to impose fines of up to $10,000, require supervision or retraining, or in particularly serious cases, suspend or cancel an architect’s registration.