SACAP Gives SA Architectural Graduates International Head Start

Johannesburg, 26 May 2017: The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) has just given all those on its register, as well as all architectural students from local Architectural Learning Sites (which it validates), a head start should they wish to pursue registering to undertake architectural work in countries represented by the Canberra Accord (CA) signatories. These countries presently include Canada, China, Korea, Mexico, USA and a further 35 countries represented by the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) which sits alongside SACAP as one of the seven full signatories.

Earlier this month, SACAP became one of seven full signatories current to the CA, during the CA’s 6th General Meeting in Sri Lanka. The CA facilitates the portability of educational credentials amongst participating member countries by recognizing the similarity of professional architecture degrees between accreditation agencies.

SACAP was the only applicant to achieve new full signatory status to the Accord at its recent meeting.  This followed a thorough inspection visit by a CA board to SACAP which established that SACAP’s validation requirements and processes with regard to Architectural Learning Sites, as well its organisational systems, records, information systems and registration processes meet the highest international standards.

SACAP has a long standing relationship with the CAA, whose members include those of the South African Development Community (SADC). Architectural practitioners from eastern and southern Africa registered with accrediting bodies that are governed by the CAA can therefore also still apply to SACAP for registration in South Africa.  Following to the positive outcome in Sri Lanka, SACAP joined the CAA visiting validation panel at Namibia University of Science and Technology. The growing intra-regional and south-south agreements have great potential to foster innovation and new knowledge generation, while promulgating practice excellence in these regions.

SACAP falls under the purview of the Department of Public Works and is mandated by an Act of Parliament, The Architectural Profession Act, 2000 (Act No.44 of 2000) to, amongst other things, fulfil the function of controlling the standards of architectural education at tertiary institutions for the purposes of professional registration. It does so through visiting validation boards.

Marella O’Reilly, SACAP’s Registrar/CEO explains, “Straight ‘Piggybacking’ of qualifications is not allowed. CA signatories recognise the substantial equivalency of fellow signatories’ validation systems in architectural education. For instance, architectural graduates wishing to register for accreditation in the United States of America, with its regulatory body called the National Council for Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) will find that it automatically gives those registered with a CA signatory a substantial number equivalent credits required to pass the NCARB’s Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA).

It is the first time that SACAP sits at an equal level with all signatories at the CA. Dr Yashaen Luckan, President of SACAP, explains, “We’re proud that Council’s committed efforts to promote high quality professional qualifications criteria and national syllabi, based on international standards, has been recognised. It follows our achievement last year of entering a Memorandum of Understanding with the Architects’ Council of Europe. Ultimately, the CA full signatory status has positioned the South African profession in place where it is able to contribute to, and benefit from, the global conversations on architectural education in different and diverse contexts.

The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is legally charged with regulating the architectural profession. Its mandates are provided for in the Architectural Profession Act 2000, (Act No. 44 of 2000) which came into operation in 2001. It upholds the standard of education and training through accrediting Architectural Learning Sites situated within tertiary institutions. It registers suitably qualified candidates and professionals and promotes Continuing Professional Development through collaborative engagement with Voluntary Associations. It protects public interest by rules governing registered persons, while it administrates a Code of Conduct applicable to all registered persons.

Please visit the SACAP website for more