Competence Concern

Aside from laying a complaint, clients or other parties have another option where, in their view, an architect’s performance or behaviour has been inadequate.

As an alternative to laying a complaint, a “Competence Concern” about an architect can be raised with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).

This involves a member of the public or an organisation writing to the NZRAB about an architect’s performance or behaviour. The NZRAB then considers the matter in terms of whether or not it raises a general concern about the architect’s competence. If it does, then the NZRAB may require the architect to undertake a competence review by which the NZRAB makes a judgement as to whether the architect should be permitted to continue practising.

All architects have to be reviewed in this way every five years, but the NZRAB does have the discretionary authority to require an architect to undertake an additional one-off out-of-sequence competence review to determine whether or not the architect still meets the minimum standard for continuing registration.

A one-off competence review is not a punishment or a disciplinary procedure. However, where a concern is raised about an architect’s competence, the NZRAB does have an obligation to consider the matter.

When this happens, it is referred to two of the NZRAB’s registration convenors who determine whether or not a one-off competence review is required.

One-off reviews must be face-to-face between the architect and two registration assessors, and the assessors are provided with the correspondence.

If, as a result, an architect is found to not meet the minimum standard for continuing registration, then his or her registration is suspended (which means he or she cannot practise). Then, 12 months later, the architect’s registration is cancelled, unless in the meantime the architect has had another review, this time successful.

If you wish to write to the NZRAB regarding an architect’s competence, please fill out the Competence Concern Form and email to info@nzrab.org.nz.