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nzrab Newsletter 2019/1



Welcome to the NZRAB’s first newsletter for 2019.


My name is Gina Jones and from the beginning of the year I’ve taken over from Warwick Bell as Chair of the Board. Warwick served as Board Chair for eight years and in doing so contributed substantially to the profession.


The Board of the NZRAB has also changed with two new Board members, New Plymouth Architect Murali Bhaskar and lay member Rob Hall who is Chief Executive of Development Christchurch Limited.


These are “interesting times” for the NZRAB. We are about to implement a substantial reform of our complaints and discipline procedures, as described below. Fundamental policy work is underway looking at our initial registration procedures. We are rethinking how CPD and continuing registration works.


On the broader picture, we see a steady trend of the number of Registered Architects in New Zealand increasing. Our Annual Reports recorded 1,499 Registered Architects in June 2007 and 1,960 in June 2018, and as I write this, we are at 2,027. In response, the NZRAB has been steadily increasing its organisational capacity. Our growing catchment of architects has meant despite inflation we’ve been able to fund the NZRAB since May 2013 within our existing fee structure, but this cannot continue indefinitely.


Meantime, architects and the public can be assured that the NZRAB remains focused on its core tasks – setting the standard for what it means to be an architect, operating registration and continuing registration procedures that determine the membership of the profession, providing the online New Zealand Architects’ Register, and when necessary investigating complaints.


This work matters, in that it protects the public and, by that, enhances the contribution that the profession makes to New Zealand.

Gina Jones


Complaints reform
The Minister for Building and Construction, the Hon Jenny Salesa, has approved in principle a series of substantial changes to the NZRAB’s complaints and discipline procedures. Work is beginning now on drafting the required regulations.

Currently, the NZRAB’s complaints procedures involve two stages – firstly an investigation into the complaint conducted by a three-person committee and then, if there is a case to answer, a formal disciplinary hearing where a charge is laid, evidence is presented under oath and cross examination takes place typically by counsel.

This procedure makes sense where the matter is very serious, and the architect’s future is at risk. However, almost all the complaints received so far have involved residential projects where the relationship between the architect and the client has broken down, but, though mistakes may have been made, there’s been no deliberate malpractice by the architect.

In these scenarios, the current procedures are onerous, too expensive and too time consuming. Also, at the end architects found at fault have often faced costs that far exceeded the penalty.

To resolve this, the plan is that the panel conducting the initial investigation will have a new delegated authority to find the architect at fault if that’s what the evidence indicates. This will allow for a one-stop-shop resolution, probably without any lawyers involved.

However, if the architect does not accept the result, then the architect will be entitled to insist on a formal disciplinary hearing as at present, with all its checks, balances, costs and risks.

We hope this will be up and running in a few months’ time, subject to final ministerial approval.

A side effect of this reform is that we will be bringing together a small pool of experienced architects to serve on Investigating Panels. This may be something you would like to do – if so please email info@nzrab.org.nz or call 04 471 1336.

Fresh thinking is taking place about the CPD framework. The NZIA administers the CPD framework on the NZRAB’s behalf and the service agreement for this comes up for renewal later this year. This presents an opportunity for a first principles assessment of how this works and whether improvements can be made.

Earlier this week the Board discussed where it wants to take this. A working party is being set up to develop proposals that would increase efficiency and enable the NZRAB to have more influence on the content of the CPD that architects do.

We’ll keep you posted on how this develops.

Continuing Registration
The law requires that every five years all architects are reviewed to make sure they are still safe to practice. The 2019 Competence Reviews are just about over. Earlier this week the Board approved 179 Architects as still meeting the required standard. Four architects who were reviewed chose to go into voluntary suspension and three reviews are yet to be completed.

Separately, 131 architects who weren’t due for review agreed to be reviewed anyway. This helps, in that every five years most of the architects that came to the NZRAB from the Architects Education and Review Board come up for review at the one time and this strains our systems. The 131 architects from that group are now in another registration cohort, which will help spread the load in the future.

Ethics Webinar
At the beginning of 2018 a series of amendments to the Architects’ Code of Ethics came into effect. Shortly the NZIA will be hosting a webinar on the revised code, presented by former Board members Warwick Bell and Euan Mac Kellar, both of whom were on the working party that developed the revised code. This will be well worth taking part in.

New Offices
The NZRAB recently moved into new offices at Level 8, ICentre, 50 Manners St, Wellington. This followed the NZRAB being required to evacuate from its 79 Boulcott St office in April 2018 due to seismic concerns. We went into temporary accommodation until the current office was set up. The new office is an improvement, in that we now have a room specially set aside for conducting registration interviews and the like. The fit out was designed by CCM Architect Guy Cleverley, who, we think, did a great job.

New staff member
We’ve taken on a new staffer to help with our registration procedures. Clare Davidson comes from an education background and is already making a great contribution. Increasingly, she’s the person who deal with applicants for initial and continuing registration.

And that’s our news to date. If you have any issues or concerns, please contact us at info@nzrab.org.nz or call 04 471 1336


+64 4 471 1336, info@nzrab.org.nz, www.nzrab.nz