National Registration Framework Joint Statement

30 October 2021

The ACA has made a joint statement with the Institute and the AASA in response to the National Registration Framework, raising concerns about the lack of distinction between architects and building designers.

The Association of Consulting Architects, the Australian Institute of Architects and the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia, collectively representing the architecture profession in Australia, have come together to advocate for better building quality and outcomes.

The joint statement is in response to the National Registration Framework as proposed by the Australian Building Codes Board’s proposal for a Building Designers level 1 – Unlimited Design Licence to be permitted to practice with an equivalent scope of design services as those currently provided by registered Architects, but without comparable qualifications, experience, or regulatory framework to do so.

The NRF fails to understand fundamental differences in qualification and regulatory frameworks that are already in place across the Architecture profession, with each State and Territory applying their own registration regimes across multiple government authorities.

The foundational 5-year education of Bachelor plus Master of Architecture that supports qualification pathways towards registration as an Architect in Australia is thorough, robust, internationally recognised, and professionally accredited by a panel of national experts every five years. The National Standard of Competency for Architects 2021 V1.0 provides units of competency from project inception through to the completion of construction phase services. The skills and knowledge developed during this education is superior to the proposed NRF requirements for bachelor-level qualifications for future Building Designers.

We believe that the NRF, in its current form, will provide unintended consequences and will reduce consumer protection and impair international recognition of our skills base by indicating that an Architect and Building Designer (Level 1) are equivalent in terms of their education, skills, experience, ongoing professional development, regulation, and expertise when they are clearly not the same. It is not easy for consumers to understand the difference between a Building Designer and an Architect. By conflating the two professions, the NRF is signalling to the market that the product delivered by the two will be of the same quality.

Read the full joint submission here.