Accreditation by professional institutes of undergraduate degree programmes is sought by universities, as it serves as an independent assessment that the course produces graduates with the skills and attributes required by industry.

For some universities, teaching building and construction management courses, the accreditation process has just become more expensive due to a decision of the UK Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB-UK).

“For many years, there has been an alliance agreement between the Australian Institute of Building (AIB) and the CIOB-UK, where each organisation would recognise each other’s university accreditation. However, the British counterparts have unilaterally terminated this agreement,” said Troy Williams, AIB Chief Executive.

The outcome is that universities seeking to have their courses recognised by CIOB-UK will need to outlay additional staff and funds to undergo a separate accreditation process managed by the British.

“In an environment, where university resources are tightly-stretched and academic staff are over-worked, it is highly surprising that the CIOB-UK expects universities to devote staff and spend funds to prepare a separate accreditation submission,” Troy Williams said.

“It confirms observations of senior stakeholders that CIOB-UK is disconnected from the environment in which Australian universities are currently operating,” he continued.

Significantly, the British decision comes at a time, when many professional institutes in Australia and internationally are harmonising their accreditation processes.

“AIB has been working with other professional institutes to harmonise its accreditation processes to reduce the workload on university staff – we prefer academics to spend time with students rather than fill in paperwork. Clearly the CIOB-UK has a different view,” Troy Williams said.

“In recent times AIB has been lobbying the Australian Government to provide additional resources to universities teaching undergraduate courses in building and construction management.”

“It would be terrible if the decision of the CIOB-UK simply means that these resources go on administration rather than teaching,” Troy Williams said.