The New Zealand Registered Architects Board

Overview
The New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) is a statutory entity tasked with registering, monitoring and disciplining architects.

This role is to protect the public, which in turn protects the reputation of the architectural profession. 

The NZRAB is established under the Registered Architects Act 2005. The purpose of the Act was to reform the law relating to the registration of architects and to protect the title of registered architect.

The reform of the law required minimum standards for initial registration and continuing registration, a code of ethics for architects, and a complaints and discpline process to apply to architects. Under Section 7 of the Act, in New Zealand no one except a New Zealand registered architect can:

  • use the title "registered architect"; or
  • describe him or herself as an "architect" when providing building design services.

Other persons may design buildings, but they may not call themselves “registered architects” or “architects”.

Section 50 of the Act sets out the NZRAB's functions. The functions flesh out the purpose referred to above. The Registered Architects Rules 2006 contain the details for how the NZRAB's functions work in practice. The Rules also specify a code of ethics that architects must comply with.

Functions
The NZRAB:

  • registers people as architects when they have been assessed as meeting the minimum standards
  • maintains an online register, so the public can confirm whether a person is a registered architect
  • reviews the competence of architects every five years and decides whether to continue their registration
  • investigates complaints about the conduct of architects, and if there are grounds, makes disciplinary orders

Governance
The NZRAB Board members are appointed by the Minister for Building and Construction. Up to four Board members are nominated to the Minister by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA). The Board meets regularly, and can also pass unanimous resolutions in writing. Board minutes are made public.

Organisation
The NZRAB maintains a small office in Wellington, where the NZRAB's Executive staff implement the Board's decisions and requirements. The NZRAB has delegated certain of its functions and powers relating to registration assessments and disciplinary investigations to approximately 60 experienced architects. 

Funding
The NZRAB is funded solely from the fees paid by architects and applicants for registration.

Membership organisations for architects
Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) is the main membership organisation for architects. There are other membership orgaisations, such as Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ). The NZRAB collaborates with the membership organisations where possible. Under the Registered Architects Act 2005, the NZIA nominates to the Minister up to four members of the NZRAB's six- to eight-person Board.