Voluntary Suspension

As a Registered Architect, if you wish, you are entitled to put your registration on hold, known as " voluntary suspension". For this you need to fill out an application form. There is no fee for this procedure.

Architects sometimes do this when they are working overseas, raising a family or studying. It may also be the right approach for an architect who has been made redundant or cannot work for health reasons.

Being in voluntary suspension means:

  • you cannot call yourself a Registered Architect
  • you cannot practice in New Zealand using the titles "architect" or "Registered Architect"
  • you will not be sent invoices for annual Certificates of Registration
  • you can still log on as an architect
  • you can still do and record CPD
  • your name is still visible on the online New Zealand Architects Register, where it is recorded that you are in "Voluntary Suspension".

Voluntary suspension can be for a minimum of 12 months or a maximum of 5 years. Also, if you are in voluntary suspension and it is about to expire, you can apply for another period of up to five years voluntary suspension, and so on.

Coming out of voluntary suspension
If you are in voluntary suspension and if less than five years has elapsed since you were either first registered or had your last five-yearly competence review, you can start practising again at any time. All that's required is that you contact the NZRAB and pay for a current Annual Certificate of Registration. Once that is done, your registration is reactivated and the Register will show this. You can then start practising again.

If, however, you are in voluntary suspension and more than five years have elapsed since you were either first registered or had your last competence review, then before practising again you have to have a Competence Review. This is because the law requires that every five years architects have to be reviewed, to make sure they are still competent. For that you first need to fill out the assessment form which can be found under 'Continuing Registration' here.

Note also that if more than five years will have elapsed since you were last reviewed, then for your Competence Review you will have to be interviewed by two Registration Assessors. This is necessary because as more time passes the risk grows that an architect may be having difficulties and so the NZRAB has to be especially careful.  To find out if this applies to you, log on as an architect and check your details in the "Continuing Registration" section.

Architects in voluntary suspension are entitled to do and record CPD. This is not compulsory, but it is a good idea to help keep you in touch with the profession. Also, it will help in terms of meeting the requirements for continuing registration, whenever your next competence review is due.