CPD is a compulsory requirement for continued registration as an architect in South Australia under section 31A of the Architectural Practice Act 2009 (SA). The Board regards engagement with CPD as an indication of an architect’s currency of skills, knowledge and understanding.

The APBSA framework is consistent with the nationally agreed framework by all architect registration boards.

Key principles of the framework for CPD include:

  • CPD activity includes Formal and Informal learning
  • 20 points/hours undertaken annually (one hour = one point)
  • A minimum of 10 points/hours categorised as Formal
  • Recording of CPD by architects is required
  • CPD records will be recognised by interstate registration Boards.

The Board has developed some resources to assist architects with their CPD and can be downloaded here.

Cardijn College Centre of Innovation and Creativity, Tridente Boyce. Photography by Simon Cecere.

CPD rules

CPD is self-directed learning by the architect. Architects must complete a minimum of 20 points of CPD per annum, of which a minimum of 10 points must be categorized as Formal. The remaining points of CPD may be Informal. One point = one hour of activity. Specific employment based learning may be included as CPD.

Architects must keep records of all CPD undertaken and make a declaration to the Board on the amount of CPD undertaken during the preceding 12 months at the time of renewing registration. Architects must also keep their record for 5 years, and make their CPD record available to the APBSA, at any time, if requested to do so.

Core areas
It is a matter for each architect to choose the subject of each activity they wish to undertake to accrue the 20 points each year. 

Architects should ensure their CPD activity aligns with the 4 Units of the National Standards of Competency for Architects 2021 (NSCA), the National Construction Code (NCC), or other relevant codes or legal requirements operating in South Australia.

APBSA does not mandate specific units of competency, or specific performance criteria. It is recommended that architects explore a range of relevant Units of Competency and Performance Criteria in CPD activities to strategically develop knowledge and skills relevant to the individual architect’s career development needs, personal objectives and demands of practice.

National Standard of Competency for Architects 2021
The 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects identifies the skills, knowledge and capabilities required for the general practice of architecture in Australia. These are grouped into 4 Units of Competency.

The four Units of Competency outlined in the 2021 NSCA outline the required knowledge and skills involved in the practice of architecture.

  1. Practice Management and Professional Conduct
    A holistic understanding of the organisation of the profession, practice and business of architecture, with the objective of providing value through sustainable, timely and effective professional services in accordance with the ethical and legal obligations of an architect to clients, colleagues, employees and to broader communities.
  2. Project Initiation and Conceptual Design
    Intelligent, creative, iterative and culturally responsive processes of initiating a project and the early stages of design. This involves research, analysis and the exploration of approaches, design ideas and alternative solutions. It leads to a design concept that meets the client’s brief, respects Country and is capable of compliance with planning controls and construction codes.
  3. Detailed Design and Construction Documentation
    The process of developing the design through research, detailed assessment of options and the integration of technical solutions, value and cost control processes to maintain or enhance the design intent. The final design proposal is cohesive, fully described and resolved to achieve value and cost objectives, and compliance with planning controls and construction codes.
  4. Design Delivery and Construction Phase Services
    The provision of services to support project delivery through construction. This may occur through a variety of building procurement methods and construction contracts. The form of construction contract may establish different expectations and obligations upon the architect and may include contract administration services. Typically, all contract types include the timely and cost-effective management of design delivery, review and inspection processes.

The 2021 NSCA outlines two specific new areas of responsibility and knowledge (performance criteria):

  • Understanding and respecting Country
  • Sustainability, life cycle assessment and whole life carbon.

The units of competency are populated by a total of 60 Performance Criteria that describe the discrete aspects of required knowledge and skills involved in architectural practice. Performance Criteria describe are organised under one or more Units of Competency. The NSCA does not prioritise any unit of competency or performance criteria. The ordering of the performance criteria does not suppose a particular mode of practice or project type, nor is there any weighting applied to individual performance criteria in the NSCA.

Formal CPD

Formal CPD is an educational activity dedicated to professional development, with learning outcomes clearly stated by the provider. There must be significant interaction between the presenter and the learner, and assessment may be involved.

The CPD must be mapped to the relevant 4 Core areas (as above). In doing so, the course must also clearly identify the way in which it aligns to professional practice. For example, its alignment to the National Construction Code, other relevant codes or legal requirements operating in South Australia, quality assurance, or developing technologies relevant to architectural practice (eg information technology; construction; other).

Formal CPD is conducted by presenters with appropriate academic, technical or practice expertise. Broad categories of activities that would be considered as Formal include:

  1. Provider delivered activities or structured workshop groups with specific learning outcomes, including case studies, group tasks, or written exercises, that genuinely test participants’ understanding of content, with feedback from the presenter, or a formal assessment process
  2. Activities relating to the preparation and delivery of CPD activities
  3. Structured training activities delivered by Architect Registration Boards and the AACA for Examiners and Assessors who are engaged in the assessment of candidates of the various pathways to registration, or in the assessment of Providers of accredited architecture programs
  4. Participation in an Accreditation Panel visit for the purpose of assessing qualifications recognized for registration
  5. Activities relating to the teaching of architecture at a tertiary level and that involve significant preparation and/or scholarship. This may include lecture content, developing new content, or new curriculum
  6. Authorship of published articles, books, papers on Architecture practice or theory.

Informal CPD

Informal CPD activities include self-directed study and professional activities that relate to practice as an architect. Informal CPD activities must be educational (eg related to new knowledge and/or skills) and may be in addition to, or complement, activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment. Informal CPD does not necessarily require interaction or assessment. Topics include those as above for Formal CPD, along with other relevant activities such as personal/character building courses (eg leadership), and activities that support professional practice (eg Wellbeing, Occupational Health and Safety).

Examples may include:

  1. Self directed study of practice notes, professional magazines, or journals, webinars, podcasts
  2. Attending talks and presentations by peers
  3. Design lectures and seminars
  4. Structured and recorded visits to building sites and exhibitions (but not normal site visits for projects)
  5. Self directed research
  6. Attendance at conferences related to CPD core areas
  7. Involvement in mentoring programs
  8. Tutoring at tertiary level where no significant preparation is required
  9. Marking work produced by architecture students at tertiary level
  10. Participation in professional committees and advisory groups through professional associations, regulatory authorities or government bodies
  11. Presenting on architecture to members of the public (eg schools, other public forums), and including curating architectural exhibitions.

CPD records

A CPD record is valid for reporting purposes in SA, and other jurisdictions in Australia. (Other States may require top up CPD – this should be discussed directly with the relevant registration board). Architects are required to keep records of their activities for at least 5 years.

A CPD record, should include the following information:

  • Date
  • Name of activity
  • Provider
  • Category of activity (Formal/Informal)
  • Points claimed (one hour = 1 point)
  • Core area/s
  • How the activity relates to the NSCA, NCC, or other professional obligations in SA

Annual reporting

Architects are required to report the number of CPD points accrued during the year on their annual renewal form.

When signing the declaration on the renewal form, architects are attesting to the accuracy of all the information provided on their renewal form, including CPD points accrued during that year.

Points to be reported are the number of Formal points (minimum of 10) and the number of Informal points – except for the first year (2020/2021) when the number of Formal points reported is a minimum of 5 points and the remaining points (up to a total of 10) are Informal.

Auditing of CPD records

The Board may conduct CPD compliance audits at any time.

Architects who are subject to a CPD compliance audit will be required to submit all CPD records and additional supporting evidence relating to each CPD activity undertaken. Where an Architect is not able to satisfy the Board that they have met the CPD requirements the registered Architect ceases to be entitled to be registered (Section 31A Architectural Practice Act 2009).

Carry over points

In some circumstances Architects may be entitled to carry over CPD points to the following year.

Architects may carry over CPD points from one year to the following year, if:

  • Architects have completed more than the minimum required amount of 10 Formal CPD points and 10 Informal CPD points in the current year
  • Architects have undertaken the additional CPD in the last 3 months of the registration year (April, May, June)
  • It is the responsibility of the architect to keep records of the points they carry forward to the next year.


It is a statutory requirement for all architects to undertake CPD. Exemptions may be granted in certain circumstances.

Non-practicing architects in the following categories are exempt:

  • Architects who are practicing overseas during the whole of the reporting year
  • Architects who are retired
  • Architects who are on extended leave - eg carers leave, parental leave.

Exemptions may be granted on application to the Board for architects who can demonstrate special circumstances - eg illness, financial hardship or compassionate grounds.

Applications must be in writing, and notification will be given of the Board’s decision on any exemption application.

Pro rata

Architects who are in the non-practising category and return to practice during the registration year (ie July - June), must accrue CPD points on a pro rata basis.

The pro rata formula will be calculated to the nearest quarter of a year in the practising category, based on a full registration year where 20 CPD points must be accumulated (with a minimum of half the points accrued being Formal). The formula is:

  • 5 points for architects working up to 3 months
  • 10 points if working from 3 months up to 6 months
  • 15 points if working from 6 months up to 9 months
  • 20 points if working from 9 months to 12 months.

Pro rata does not apply for architects working part time. Architects with practising registration working either full time or part time must accrue the full annual amount of CPD.

APE graduates who have
registered in their first year

Architects who have successfully completed the Architectural Practice Examination (APE), and registered for the first time in the second half of the registration year (ie January – June) are required to undertake CPD on a pro rata basis for their first year of registration. 10 points will be required (minimum of 5 Formal).

CPD providers

APBSA does not accredit CPD activities or programs.

Providers of CPD for architects in South Australia may include:

  • Professional Providers (eg legal practitioners , insurance providers, environmental engineers)
  • Universities
  • Professional and Industry Associations (eg AIA, ACA)
  • Commercial and education training providers
  • Employers (Employers may invite architects from outside the business to attend “in house” CPD activities)
  • Architects” Learning Groups
  • Industry Providers

A Provider Checklist has been developed by the Board to demonsistrate the requirements that all CPD Providers must meet to provide Formal CPD activity. The checklist is available here.