Is your Architect qualified?


In light of the recent construction boom and because more people are getting involved in their own construction projects, the Mpumalanga Institute of Architects' (MPIA) notices that the public has learnt expensive lessons and suffered great loss by using (cheaper?) unqualified or under qualified individuals. Of course this also poses a threat to the dignity of the architectural profession.


Developing property in today's market place is a big investment, thus it’s critical to make informed decisions regarding the professional assistance you will require.


The categories of professionals in the architectural field can be summed up as follows:


  • Professional Architect

  • Professional Senior Architectural Technologist

  • Professional Architectural Technologist

  • Professional Architectural Draughts person. 


These categories were established by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) with the objective of protecting the public from misconduct.  They also identify a work schedule which limits certain categories to a level of competency (the same principle applies to the medical profession where a nurse won’t be allowed to perform the work of a surgeon etc.).


Unfortunately the public is misled by individuals claiming to be architects when in fact they are unqualified.  In order to become a professional architect the candidate must obtain a five year B.Arch/M.Arch degree from a university (not a university of technology), after which a two year apprenticeship must be completed.  Meanwhile a registered architect must have passed the professional practice exam and register with SACAP. The title "architect" is thus also a legal one, indicating that a person has demonstrated his or her professional competence by examination (a professional architect will always indicate his or her registration with the suffix Pr.Arch behind his or her name).


When engaging the services of any individual in the above mentioned categories it is imperative that you know what qualification they have and insist on their proof of registration. By law, no individual who is not registered with SACAP is allowed to submit building plans for approval to municipalities.


Registration numbers can be confirmed on SACAP's website: Link to SACAP provided at affiliations.