CPD requirements for Landscape Architects

CPD requirements for Landscape Architects

31 Aug 2021

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Landscape architects (or landscape designers) plan, design and advise on the construction of urban, rural, residential and public landscapes. This requires practitioners to maintain and enhance their skills and knowledge, while keeping abreast with the latest changes in technologies, legislation and sustainable practices. This article will provide a brief overview of CPD requirements for Landscape Architects, as well as the types of CPD and courses available.

Overview of the Landscape Architecture Sector

Providing high-quality services for the benefit of both the broader community and the environment in which we live is a strength of the landscape architect’s profession. The role of a landscape architect or designer can be varied and wide-ranging. They can work on a variety of projects from designing parks and green space, to gardens and sports sites or improving construction sites.

Many landscape architects work alone, while others involves collaboration with other professionals such as landscape contractors, environmentalists, surveyors and engineers across a wide range of projects in both natural and urban environments. Landscape architecture often addresses concerns such as climate change, sustainability, water and housing.

In the constantly evolving world of construction, it is important to continue learning every day, whether you are a newly qualified architect or have many years of experience under your belt. Landscape architects need to be confident in their ideas, the products and materials that they choose, and the designs they create in order to deliver successful results in practice. Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is the systematic way in which landscape architects maintain, improve and broaden the competencies and expertise required in their professional lives.

Many landscape architecture organisations and Institutes require members to under a certain number of hours or accumulate points of Continuing Professional Development in order to retain membership and maintain competence. Now a requirement of the Code of Conduct, architects failing to provide records of their CPD within a reasonable time period may be considered to be in breach of the code and be removed from practice.

What is considered as Continuing Professional Development?

Recognising that you are the best person to assess the value of an activity to your professional development is important, as CPD demonstrates your personal commitment to continue to develop your professional knowledge and practice.

The objective of providing CPD requirements for Landscape Architects is to keep the level of understanding, knowledge and skills up to date during their professional practice. CPD is a self-directed and planned program, allowing you to take charge of your personal learning and professional needs in order to broaden gaps in knowledge, keep up-to-date with current Legislation and Regulations, innovation, trends or changing practice. CPD can be either formal or informal, although many professional registration bodies and institutes have their own specific requirements for points or hours based CPD.

A registered architect may bring CPD into effect by, for example, taking part in a course, excursion, lecture, training, seminar, symposium, or workshop. It can also include other kinds of experience and activity, such as volunteering, researching good or best industry practice, dealing with a new problem or issue, or mentoring a junior member of staff.

For Landscape Architects, effective CPD should:

  • relate to your practice as a Landscape Architect;
  • be additional to activities already undertaken in the course of your practice or employment;
  • broaden your experience in practice: and
  • maintain an understanding of all competencies applicable to Landscape Architects. 

Whatever the activity it is important to take a reflective approach to their practice by reviewing their activities and experiences, reflecting on what has been learned, and how to apply that learning in their practice.

CPD requirements for Landscape Architects

CPD Examples for Landscape Architects

A wide range of activities and experiences can contribute to a Landscape Architects professional and personal development. When considering whether an activity counts as CPD, you should initially refer back to your CPD goals to see whether it will help your development objectives. CPD activities can include:

  • Any formal or published written work such as articles, proposals, project plans or tenders
  • Attendance at seminars, conferences or briefings, whether online, streamed or attended in person
  • Delivering lectures and tutorials
  • Peer-to-peer discussions
  • Private study of relevant journals, newsletters, articles, briefing papers and practice notes
  • Research you have conducted on relevant topics
  • Study, whether on courses leading to a qualification, short academic courses, open or distance learning, individual study or attending lectures
  • Work-based development, including background reading, research or preparation to tackle a new area of work; visiting landscape projects, supporting colleagues or mentoring students 

We recommend that you explore a mix of different types and methods of professional development activity to give you a more well-rounded learning experience. If your CPD record shows a very high proportion of one particular mode of activity, you should explain why.

Who is the professional body for Landscape Architects in the UK?

As the Royal Chartered Body for the landscape profession, the Landscape Institute (LI) is a UK based professional body for the landscape profession and is required to ‘establish, uphold and advance the standards of education, qualification, competence and conduct of those who practice Landscape Architecture as a profession’. 

The Landscape Institute provides a professional home for all landscape practitioners including Landscape Scientists, Landscape Planners, Landscape Architects, Landscape Managers and Urban Designers. The competence of members is of fundamental importance to the strength and reputation of the landscape profession. This requires members to be committed to, and actively engaged in, their professional development.

Landscape Institute CPD requirements

Members of the Landscape Institute are required to comply with a Code of Conduct. All LI members, excluding affiliate, retired and student members, must complete a minimum of 25 hours’ CPD every year.

Although the Landscape Institute is not prescriptive about the types of activity that count as CPD. However, nothing should be reported as CPD unless you have personally learnt from it. Members are required to take responsibility for identifying their development needs, and for planning their learning and development to ensure that their development needs are met. In doing so, they will need to identify and take account of:

  • their own personal and career development requirements
  • the needs of their employer, in particular to help achieve business aims and objectives
  • requirements and developments affecting their own areas of practice
  • wider developments in the profession  

As of 2020 the Landscape Institute switched over to a new submission system and there are some changes for its members that are summarised below:

  • Online submission (with a transitional period of whatever method practices and individuals had for recording CPD)
  • The CPD will run according to the LI sessional year which is from 1 July to 30 June the following year.
  • 25 hours remain but the quality of the topics changes;
  • At least 10 hours per year of ‘formal’ events requested (workshops, presentations)
  • At least 5 hours per year of topics on climate change and sustainability 
Find CPD courses for landscape architecture

Keeping a record of your CPD

Ideally, CPD activities should follow the plan that you have developed for your professional needs and be undertaken regularly throughout the year. This will help to ensure that your CPD activities are relevant and ‘best fit’ for your needs, rather than being a last-minute scramble at the end of the CPD reporting period. However, the LI also encourages you to take advantage of other opportunities that arise where they help to build competencies or are simply areas of interest.

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.

In pursuance of its responsibility under the Royal Charter, the LI annually selects a random sample of its corporate members to monitor in respect of CPD. Members selected for monitoring will be required to submit records of CPD undertaken relating to the previous 12 months.

Where to find CPD Courses for Landscape Architects

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996, and is the largest and leading independent CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. Thousands of CPD training courses, events, e-learning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars are formally CPD certified by us every year.

We support members in meeting their professional development objectives by providing a range of opportunities for CPD. Within the CPD Industry Hubs, you can find a full scope of Construction and Architecture CPD providers and courses covering a range of subjects. For example, there are landscape architecture accredited CPD courses and e-learning available on topics such as surveying, site design, urban horticulture, planning, urban design, water and environmental management.

Accredited CPD Training for Landscape Architects

By ensuring that a training course has been reviewed and approved by an established organisation, you can ensure that the training offered is robust and fit for purpose. One of the most common methods to do this is by ensuring that a CPD training course has been CPD accredited or certified as being suitable for Continuing Professional Development purposes.

We hope this brief article on the CPD requirements for Landscape Architects was helpful. If you are an architect or design professional and are thinking of applying CPD accreditation to your existing training courses and educational events, please contact our team to discuss in more detail.

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For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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