The Architects Regulations 2015 came into operation on Tuesday 19 May 2015.
One of the main differences introduced by these new regulations is the inclusion of the Victorian Architects Code of Professional Conduct (Schedule 1) (Code) to address the standard of professional conduct and practice for architects. The Code has been based on the New South Wales and Queensland codes of conduct, on the Architects Model Statutory Code of Professional Standards, Conduct prepared by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. While the provisions in the Code also reflect previous requirements set out in the 2004 Regulations, there are new consumer protection provisions which seek to clarify and confirm an architect’s obligations to a client in respect of professional fees and costs and their obligation to inform the client to enable the client to make informed decisions and to ensure information provided to a client is accurate and unambiguous. Importantly, the 2015 Regulations require an architect to keep, among other things, an agreement in writing signed by the client for a period of 10 years after the completion of the architectural services or the limitation period under s 134 of the Building Act 1993. The 2004 Regulations did not expressly require an architect’s terms of engagement to be signed by a client.
The 2015 Regulations also:
- simplify classes of registered architects to practising and non-practising
- introduce a new power to enable the Board to advise an architect if the Board reasonably suspects there is a compliance issue to be addressed
- introduces the power to conduct an election for the nomination of architects to the Architects Registration Board of Victoria using technology assisted voting and computer counting.