As in most professions, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) allows you to enhance personal proficiency while being able to understand new technologies and techniques within your industry. For architects and design professionals, CPD has become a vital part of each professional’s career requirements. Many of the architecture industry professional institutes now require members to undertake a minimum number of CPD hours each year (such as the RIBA, CIOB, RICS, RTPI, CIAT, ICE, IStructE). This article will outline the numerous benefits of CPD for architects and design professionals, how it is allocated and recorded, as well as the various requirements in this particular field. It will also cover matters such as architecture CPD ideas available that meet specific industry requirements.
What can be considered as CPD for Architects?
Continuing Professional Development describes activities undertaken by architects to ensure their professional skills are kept up-to-date with the latest industry developments. Generally, architecture CPD can be split into 3 forms; – structured, reflective or self-directed. Architects learn new information regularly from CPD training activities that meet their development objectives and improves workplace capability.
Architecture CPD ideas & activities can include:
- Training events
- Conferences, seminars or workshops
- Short courses
- Online and distance learning
- Training other people
- Industry technical reports
- Reading industry literature
- Researching new professional methods
How many CPD points do I need as an Architect or Design Professional?
A certain amount of CPD points are often required per year to maintain active membership at professional bodies within the architecture industry. This is to ensure architects and design professionals maintain certain levels of competence to practice within a rapidly changing profession.
Example 1 – RIBA CPD Requirements
RIBA CPD Requirements for Chartered members are obliged to do the following each year:
- Undertake a minimum of 35 hours of CPD
- Around half CPD should be structured learning
- 20 of the 35 hours must come from the ten mandatory RIBA Core Curriculum CPD topics
- Acquire at least 100 learning points reflecting your assessment of what you got out of the activity
- Record and keep track of CPD activities using the RIBA online CPD recorder
Structured CPD will be taught, face-to-face, online or by distance learning and will have specific learning aims and outcomes.
The RIBA states:
“As in most professions, doing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is obligatory for our Chartered Members. Doing CPD helps you to stay competent, professional, capable and resilient as an architect. CPD enables you to achieve better outcomes and better businesses. CPD also helps you to contend with disruption and to face current and future challenges as well as learn new skills and specialisms.”
Example 2 – Royal Society of Ulster Architects
Members of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) are required to do the following each year:
- At least 19.5 hours per annum from RIBA CPD prescribed core curriculum
- At least 15.5 hours of architecture CPD in other subjects relevant to own requirements
- Record activity via the RIBA CPD record sheet (preferably online)
- Plan CPD via the RIBA professional development plan – RIBA will, at the end of each year monitor a random sample of chartered members’ CPD and will ask to see CPD record sheets if the member is not keeping an online record.
Example 3 – CPD Requirements for Architects at CIAT
The lead qualifying body for architectural technologists and architectural technicians in the UK is the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT). Qualifications available from CIAT include; Chartered Architectural Technologists (MCIAT), and professionally qualified Architectural Technicians (TCIAT). Becoming a Chartered Architectural Technologist requires a CIAT accredited honours degree or equivalent in architectural technology, or alternatively, an equivalent honours degree in a built environment subject. Chartered Architectural Technologists must adhere to a Code of Conduct, maintain adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) and undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD). While any relevant activity can count as valid CPD, members are encouraged to get in the practice of assessing the personal and professional value for all learning activities. As a rule, 1 hour of CPD activity = 1 CPD point, however, check your local board requirements for limits on consecutive hours.
How should CPD points for Architects be recorded?
CPD activities should follow a plan that suits each architect’s professional needs and be undertaken regularly throughout the year. Typically an institution requires that all members should maintain an ongoing record of their Continuing Professional Development, which should include CPD Activities, an overall CPD Plan for future development as well as supporting documentation. CPD records provide evidence that competence is being maintained and do not necessarily have to be in any particular format to be suitable and accepted at the various architecture professional bodies. Neither do architects, or those intending to register, need to duplicate records that they maintain for other bodies, or for their employers. One CPD record should suffice for all annual CPD requirements. The Professional body may request to see a member’s CPD Plan and Record at any time.
Evidence of CPD
An architect or design professional will also be required to provide evidence of CPD they have completed. A personal CPD Plan provides the structured framework for career objectives to be identified, clear progress visibly seen and personal development achieved. Evidence of CPD activities should also be included where appropriate, authenticated by either the trainer or employer or by a certified CPD certificate issued on satisfactory completion.
After undertaking any CPD activity, each architect should take the time to think about and reflect on what has been learnt as well as assess whether that activity will have an impact on their work and practice. Active reflection helps in thinking about the next steps needing to be taken. When planning your Continuing Professional Development, focus on the relevance of your circumstances and your business. If you undertake CPD without considering its relevance to you, you might waste your time and the opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge.
This article was aimed to help provide an overview of the Continuing Professional Development requirements for architects and design professionals as well as a simple guide to the main CPD requirements from across the industry. If you are an architect or design professional with Continuing Professional Development training requirements please feel free to browse our CPD certified Architecture CPD Providers and Courses from across the Construction industry. For more information about Continuing Professional Development please visit our CPD Explained page.