News

 
  • NZRAB Newsletter of 2 September 20202 September 2020

    NZRAB’s achievements and plans

    Appointments to the NZRAB Board

    The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Judith Thompson as a Board Member, commencing on 1 September 2020 for a two-year term.  Judith is an experienced director; not an architect but with expertise in design and innovation.  She is Chair of AUT University’s Property Committee and is a Chartered member of the Institute of Directors.

    Current Board Members Gina Jones, Diane Brand and Louise Wright have all been re-appointed for a further three years.

    Changes to the Secretariat—now called the Executive
    As was announced over the earlier part of the year, our longstanding Chief Executive Paul Jackman retired in early July 2020 and our new Chief Executive Margaret Bearsley is now guiding the organisation.  We are hoping she will be able to get out and about to meet the profession when travel frees up again.  In the meantime, she is strongly focused on stamping her mark on the organisation, including in relation to the Secretariat, now called the Executive. 

    With so many upheavals over 2020, not only with the Covid Lockdown, but also with Paul having had to take extended sick leave toward the end of his tenure, the NZRAB extends its thanks to Andrew Symonds for having managed the Acting CE position for several months before Margaret’s arrival.  The Board also acknowledges the work of the Executive to help Margaret settle very quickly into her role.

    Living within our means and focusing on our regulatory role
    When the NZRAB Annual Report is published later in the year, it will be apparent that we have tight monetary constraints this financial year.  Partially this is due to the unprecedented number of complaints and Disciplinary Hearings we have been dealing with.  Partially it is due to the accumulated costs of running the very expensive CPD Framework website. 

    With our new Chief Executive on board and her feet now firmly under the desk, we have taken a hard look at how we organise the NZRAB and where we best should be putting our focus.  We have decided we need a stronger focus on our role in public protection, as a regulator of the profession.

    We expect changes over the coming months and years, including to align our expenditure more strongly to our statutory functions.  We anticipate encouraging the profession to make the most of its links with the NZIA and other providers for high quality CPD, and the NZRAB moving away from funding the management of CPD records.  We will instead be focusing on enforcing the Act and Rules.

    Public protection—complaints and discipline
    Over the 2019/20 financial year, the NZRAB received 11 Complaints about architects.  Lack of due care and diligence, and negligence and incompetence were the most common allegations in Complaints.

    Most of the Complaints were about domestic projects.  Some of the issues raised by complainants were:
    • Design over budget
    • Overcharging for small projects
    • Poorly prepared construction documentation
    • Design inadequacies resulting in extra costs for the clients
    • Resource consent variations leading to project delays.

    For most Complaints received, had the architect better managed communications with the client, and the client’s expectations, projects may have reached a more favourable conclusion.  Communication and managing client expectations continue to be major themes coming to the Board’s attention.

    Bullying of council staff
    The Board received two Complaints from local authorities about architects being bullying and abusive towards council staff and disrespecting council processes.  This kind of behaviour is disappointing and is well below the expected standard of professionals.  Looking ahead, the Board intends to strengthen the architects’ Code of minimum standards of ethical conduct in the Registered Architects Rules.  Amongst the envisaged changes would be clarification that this kind of behaviour is an actionable breach that could result in the architect being disciplined.

    Disciplinary Hearings and Service Concerns
    The Board held two hearings over the past financial year.  Two new cautionary notes (Numbers 10 and 11) are available in the For Architects/Discipline section of the NZRAB website, with information for the profession from these hearings.  There are also two hearings scheduled for the 2020/21 financial year, with each hearing anticipated to cost in the vicinity of $60,000. 

    Under section 26 (disciplinary penalties) of the Registered Architects Act, the Board has the power to order that the Board’s costs and expenses for an inquiry, where there are grounds to discipline an architect, be paid by the architect.  Previously, costs orders were set at between 30% and 50% of actual costs.  As has been flagged previously, under the new complaints and discipline processes that came into force in January 2020, the NZRAB expects to make section 26 costs orders for 100% of the costs of hearings that are held under the new processes. 

    The new informal disputes service, the Architectural Service Concerns process, has been operating since early 2020.  The aim of the informal service is to facilitate the resolution of problems between the client and architect, if that achieves a better outcome than would the making of a Complaint or Competence Concern to be determined by the Board.

    The Board has so far received seven Architectural Concerns and they have been dealt with by the Board’s panel of senior architects.  To date no Architectural Concerns have turned into Complaints.

    Confusion about architects, licensed building practitioners and architectural designers
    The NZRAB receives about a call a week from members of the public regarding design process matters that they are unclear about or issues with their “architect”.  Most calls are about domestic new builds or alterations.  Many callers think they have an architect, when in fact they have a Licensed Building Practitioner or an Architectural Designer.  The NZRAB continues to promote reforms in the building sector that will help to address this confusion.

    Registration

    Professional conversations for initial registration
    Due to the Covid-19 impacts, the professional conversations for the March 2020 initial registration intake were deferred.  They were held during the whole of August 2020, together with the applicants from the June intake.  Professional conversations were all held via the video conference platform Zoom.  So far, feedback from applicants and Assessors has been mostly positive.

    In light of the mid-August 2020 changes to the Covid Alert Levels, it proved fortuitous to have already had the assessments planned to have been via Zoom, and the initial registration intake was able to continue with very little impact to the timetable.  The Zoom format will likely continue for the duration of the pandemic.

    Information for those aiming to register
    For graduates aiming to apply for registration in the near future, the NZRAB provides Working Towards Registration webinars four times a year.  These webinars provide the ‘inside story’ on what the NZRAB requires from an applicant for registration.  The next webinar is due to be presented in November 2020.  Graduates can also join the CPD for Graduates programme.  Information on this can be found at https://www.nzrab.nz/c/CPD –scroll down to the bottom of the page for the heading CPD for Graduates.

    CPD
    By all accounts, architects are finding more opportunities to undertake CPD since the pandemic hit.  The Board commends those who are making the most of all opportunities to maintain the currency of their architectural knowledge and skills, as required by rule 21 of the Registered Architects Rules.

    Annual Certificate of Registration (ACR)
    The number of architects who had not paid their ACR by the 20 June deadline for processing, in advance of year end, was concerning—more than 40%.  Next year the NZRAB aims to implement a better communications plan, so that architects and their practices are better informed about deadlines and consequences. 

    The Board was disappointed to learn of some unprofessional behaviour towards the NZRAB Executive by irate ‘newly expired’ architects.  Let’s hope the process goes more smoothly in the lead-up to June 2021, and as noted, we will aim to do our part by communicating well in advance about the deadline for payment.

    Unfortunately, much as we had hoped to be able to provide some relief to architects struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic, officials made it clear that there was no opportunity to amend the Rules to allow for staggered ACR payments.  So, the Rules remain rigid in requiring full payment of the ACR in time for the payment to be processed before 30 June each year.

    Getting more out of the Register
    The profession can contribute to promoting, in communications for clients and prospective clients, the value of using a registered architect.  The NZRAB is working on how to enable registered architects to download personalised digital information from the Register of Architects.  We envisage something similar to that provided in the UK by the Architects Registration Board protection-toolkit

    Ideas we are looking at include a downloadable digital signature with the NZRAB logo (already useable but not personalised to each registered architect).  We are also hoping to move to having digital ACRs, and potentially other enhancements to the Register as we can afford them.

  • NZRB appoints new Chief Executive2 June 2020

    NZRAB Chair Gina Jones today announced the appointment of Margaret Bearsley as the NZRAB's new CE, replacing Paul Jackman who has decided to retire. 

  • CPD points target reduced9 April 2020

    The NZRAB Board Chair, Gina Jones, today issued an advisory note to architects saying that to assist them deal with the Covid 19 emergency, all architects' CPD points targets were being reduced by 200 points.

  • Newsletter re Covid 19 issued27 March 2020

    The NZRAB's Chair, Gina Jones, today issued a newsletter to architects providing an update on the impact of the Covid 19 health emergency on the NZRAB's activities.

  • Covid 19 24 March 2020

    Following the Government's decision to place New Zealand on Alert Level 4, the NZRAB's offices were shut down today, with staff working from home. In addition, the Pathway 1 Initial Registration Round was cancelled at least until 31 May 2020.  

  • Andrew Symonds Acting CE12 March 2020

    Owing to NZRB Chief Executive Paul Jackman being ill and on extended sick leave, Andrew Symonds today stood in as Acting Chief Executive, with all the relevant duties, delegations and responsibilities. This was in addition to Andrew's normal duties as Executive Officer - Public Protection.   

  • ACR fee increase5 March 2020

    The fee schedule to the Registered Architects Rules 2006 was today amended so that the annual Certificate of Registration Fee was increased from $644.00 to $724.50, effective 1 July 2020.

  • New Service Concerns Procedures9 January 2020

    The NZRAB today advised architects of new service concern procedures being implimented, starting 10 January 2020, to improve the way the NZRAB carries out its disciplinary functions.  

  • NZRB Newsletter December 201912 December 2019

    The NZRAB today issued its last newsletter to architects for 2019. 

  • NZRAB Annual Report 201914 November 2019

    The NZRAB today published its Annual Report for 2019.

  • Cautionary Note No 9 Avoiding Inducements26 September 2019

    The Chair of the NZRAB today issued a Cautionary Note to the Profession in regard to avoiding inducements. 

  • Fees consultation21 August 2019

    The NZRAB today began a consultation with architects and other stakeholders regarding a proposed increase in the Architects' Annual Certificate of Registration Fee from $644.00 (GST included) to $724.50 (GST included). The consultation closes on 23 September 2019.

  • NZRAB submission to MBIE re occupational regulation14 June 2019

    The NZRAB today provided the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) with a submission in response to a MBIE consultation about occupational regulation in the building sector and other matters.

  • Ethics consultation7 June 2019

    The NZRAB today asked architects for feedback on the Architects' Code of Ethics, given that it was revised in late 2017. Architects were asked whether any of the clauses in the code were causing them "any difficulties, in terms of interpretation, compliance, or anything else." Responses were requested by 28 June 2019.

  • Consulting about consultation10 May 2019

    The NZRAB today invited architects to make suggestions in regard to a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment consultation relating to legisation in the building sector. 

  • Cautionary Note withdrawn2 May 2019

    The NZRAB today advised architects that a Cautionary Note entitled: "Managing clients expectations in regard to project costs" had been withdrawn. Architects were advised that since the note was issued the Architects' Code of Ethics had been amended. Architects were advised to refer to the new code requirement 58B which states:

    Client communication
    A registered architect must—
    a)  ensure that, where applicable, effective systems are in place during a commission to establish and monitor its quality, budget, cost estimates, and time line; and
    b)  advise the client in a timely manner of any significant issues that arise, or are identified, at any time during the commission.  

  • NZRAB Newsletter8 April 2019

    The NZRAB today issued its first newsletter for 2019.

  • Minister appoints NZRAB Chair23 January 2019

    Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa today announced the appointment of Gina Jones as Chair of the NZRAB. She also announced the appointment of Marc Woodbury as Deputy Chair and the appointment of new Board members Murali Bhaskar and Robert Hall.

  • NZRAB Annual Report 201815 November 2018

    The NZRAB today released its Annual Report for 2017 2018.

  • New NZRAB office6 November 2018

    The NZRAB today 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 on 12 April 2018 due to seismic concerns, afterwhich the NZRAB went into temporary accomodation until today.

  • Consultation regarding complaints procedures8 August 2018

    The NZRAB today invited architects and its other stakeholders to take part in a consultation regarding proposed changes to the NZRAB's complaints procedures, intended to make them simpler and less expensive. The consultation document can be viewed here and a graphic of what's proposed here. The deadline for submissions is Friday 14 September 2018.

  • NZRAB temporary office 30 April 2018

    The NZRAB today moved into a temporary office at Suite 11, Level 4, 24 Johnston St, Wellington. This followed the NZRAB having to evacuate its 79 Boulcott St office on 12 April 2018 as a result of seismic concerns.

  • New lay NZRAB Board member sought 28 April 2018

    The government today advertised for a new NZRAB board member, this time a lay-person to represent consumer interests. For more details and/or to apply go here.

  • Annual tertiary education consultation1 February 2018

    Today the NZRAB conducted its annual consultation on educational matters with the three architectural schools providing recognised architectural qualifications and the New Zealand Institute of Architects (Inc).

  • New NZRAB Board member23 January 2018

    A new member of the NZRAB Board has been appointed. She is Wellington-base Architect Gina Jones.

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