The NSW Architects Registration Board has removed 566 architects from the state register. The board’s decision was made effective from 1 July 2017, meaning that many architects working within NSW may be beginning the new financial year in violation of the Architects Act.
According to the Act, registered architects must renew their licence on an annual basis if they are to continue legally using the term architect. This year, a change in registration procedures was implemented in NSW. In light of the changes, the board contacted all registered architects in the state in March with renewal reminders.
According to Tim Horton, registrar of the NSW Architects Registration Board, 566 is the highest rate of failure to renew in recent memory. Although at least one case of removal was due to substandard practice, he says the number is not due to the board’s recent crackdown on quality within the state.
"We know of at least one case where it is directly related,” he says.
Rather, the majority of the 566 removals were the simple result of a failure to renew, and of a widespread misunderstanding of what the annual renewal process involves.
Horton says there are several takeaways from this year’s disappointing results:
“Large practices are regularly delegating the task of re-registering to executive assistants,” he tells A&D. “This places the executive assistant in the difficult legal position of making formal attestations on behalf of their directors.
“In the past, paper-based registration meant payment was sometimes forwarded but the architects never got around the registering. One year, half the directors of a well-known Sydney practice were removed from the register.
“Curiously, some architects seem to view registration like a magazine subscription,” he adds. “[They seek] to make payment without realising it’s a formal application process requiring evidence of CPD [points] and the like.”
All architects removed from the register as of 1 July 2017 have been notified of their removal, as required under Section 28 of the Architects Act. Affected architects wishing to restore their name to the register must apply to do so, and pay an accompanying restoration fee of $150.
More information regarding licence renewal can be found on the board’s website.