Association of Consulting Architects Australia’s Pulse Check No. 5 Survey

We are now over a year into the pandemic. How is your practice going? What has changed? What has stayed the same? How is the future looking?

Please take the Association of Consulting Architects Australia‘s Pulse Check No. 5 Survey to help us all plan for a robust future for architectural practices.

Take the survey (

Whether you are an ACA member or not, please get one person from your practice in each state to complete this survey as soon as possible – the more responses, the better the data. Survey closes COB Friday 30 April 2021.

Review of the NSCA – Progress Updates as at end March 2021

Stage 5 of the Review of the National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA) concluded at the start of March. This stage sought comment from Stakeholders on a Consultation Draft of the proposed revised Standard. 25 submissions were received, with the majority of stakeholder feedback:

  • Supporting the restructuring of the Standard
  • Supporting the open and transparent process that had been undertaken to-date.

Following review and analysis of the submissions by the AACA and consideration of the issues by the Expert Reference Group, the following work is being undertaken on the proposed revised Standard:

  • Review for consistency of terminology and language
  • Clearer delineation between the three competency levels, and clarification that the third competency level will only be used by Architect Registration Boards as they see fit within their local jurisdiction
  • Inclusion of critical areas of practice required at the graduate competency level
  • Clarity around language and requirement for contract administration, project management, and cultural and environmental requirements
  • A re-ordering of the organisation of the Performance Criteria within each of the 4 Units
  • Further review of all Performance Criteria to ensure that they are all framed in a manner that allows them to be assessable
  • Legal review
  • Graphic design

The AACA thanks the members of the Expert Reference Group for their involvement in the review process from March 2020 to March 2021:

  • Dr Tanja Glusac (WA) – AASA Nominee
  • Ms Charmaine Kai (QLD) – ACA Nominee
  • Mr Bill Krotiris (VIC) – nominated by the ARBs as having current practice experience
  • Dr Kirsten Orr (NSW) – nominated by the Registrars of the ARBs as having experience with regulation
  • Emeritus Professor Alec Tzannes AM (NSW) – AIA Nominee

The following work continues in support of the finalisation of the review and publishing of the revised 2021 NSCA by mid-year:

  • The proposed revised Standard is being prepared for referral to the eight Australian Architect Registration Boards for their detailed consideration and endorsement.
  • A detailed Implementation Plan is being developed, inclusive of the need to prepare updated Program, Assessor and Candidate Guides and other relevant documentation.

A further update will be provided by mid 2021, inclusive of more detailed information on the Implementation Plan and associated timings.

Final chance to have your say on the revised National Standard of Competency for Architects

In mid December the AACA released the revised National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA)  for consideration by Stakeholders.

Written comment on the revised standard must be received by AACA at [email protected] by no later than Monday 1st March 2021.

Extensions to the submission date will not be possible.

Background information can be read in the Consultation Guidance – access here.

The Revised NSCA (Consultation draft) can be accessed here.

An overview of the project, project stages and timeframes, and links to all project communications can be found on the 2020 NSCA Review webpage here.

Applications for 2021 National Program of Assessment (NPrA) close on 1 March

The National Program of Assessment (NPrA) provides an alternative entry to the Architectural Practice Examination for practitioners who have relevant experience under the supervision of an architect but have not  completed an accredited architectural qualification.  

The National Program of Assessment is a design exercise that tests candidates’ competency in design based on their acquired knowledge and experience. Candidates must design a complex building in response to a hypothetical design brief.  See here for information about the program, including assessors and past applicants talking about the program.  

Timetable for the 2021 program is here.  Applications close on 1 March 2021.  More information: contact the AACA on [email protected].


Update Report for Stakeholders of the Accreditation of Architecture Programs – January 2021

The latest Stakeholder Update Report on the Accreditation of Architecture Programs has been released.

You can access the January 2021 Stakeholder Update Report here: Accreditation of Architecture Programs – Stakeholder Update Report – January 2021

The Report includes updates on:

  • Updates to the Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure – published December 2020
  • Managing the impact of COVID-19 on the accreditation of architecture programs
  • 2021 Provider Annual Reporting – submit by 15th April 2021
  • Accreditation Management Committee update
  • Annual Report on 2019 Accredited Architecture Programs in Australia
  • Updates to the listing of accredited architecture qualifications
  • Nominations to join the Australian Accreditation Standing Panel – submit by 31st March 2021
  • Review of the National Standard of Competency for Architects
  • Leadership changes at AACA – Appointment of new CEO

The Report has been distributed to all key stakeholders.

This and earlier Stakeholder Update Reports, as well as all other Architecture Program Accreditation documents can be found on the AACA Publications web page.

Any inquiries on the Update Report should be directed to the Accreditation Secretariat C/AACA via [email protected].

AACA appoints new CEO

The AACA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Kathlyn Loseby as incoming CEO effective 8 March 2021. 

Kathlyn brings to the role significant leadership and relationship management expertise developed over her career in architectural practice and business, and her advocacy within the Institute of Architects and the construction industry more broadly.

President of the AACA, Catherine Townsend says: “We ae delighted that Kathlyn will be joining the AACA as CEO. Kathlyn is an accomplished leader and brings an excellent skillset to the AACA team ready to lead us in to the future. This year will focus on the implementation of the revised National Standard of Competency and the changing regulatory frameworks in the construction industry”.

Moving into the role as CEO of the AACA would be exciting at any point but it is particularly engaging at this point in time with broad changes afoot across the profession and the industry in general. I feel it has clear synergies with my recent roles in practice, as an assessor, in advocacy and in regulatory development. In these roles, I have become ever more aware that the AACA underpins all aspects of the profession and is a fundamental, critical player in the future development of the industry and our profession’s ability to shape this future in a positive way, says Kathlyn.

Kate Doyle is stepping down from the role of CEO on 5 March. The AACA acknowledges Kate’s great contribution to the AACA, and thanks her for outstanding leadership and unfailing professionalism over her tenure.

Kathlyn’s appointment as CEO ensures the continuing relevance and role of the AACA across the profession and the construction more broadly”, says AACA’s President Catherine Townsend.


Catherine Townsend 20 January 2020

Amendments to the Accreditation Procedure Published

A small number of amendments have been incorporated and the updated Procedural documents published in December 2020.

A summary of the amendments can be read here.

The amendments include a small number of corrections and a small number of procedural clarifications.  There has been no material change to the underpinning focus of the Procedure, which is to assess that architecture programs are designed to enable a graduate to achieve the required 37 Performance Criteria of the National Standard of Competency for Architects.

The complete updated procedural document set can be downloaded from this link.  This 58 page PDF contains the main procedural document and all supporting guidance documents in a single PDF.

For further information see:

Have Your Say on the revised National Standard of Competency for Architects

The AACA has released the revised National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA)  for consideration by Stakeholders.

Background information can be read in the Consultation Guidance – access here.

The Revised NSCA (Consultation draft) can be accessed here.

Written comment on the revised standard must be received by AACA at [email protected] by no later than 1st March 2021.

Extensions to the submission date will not be possible.

An overview of the project, project stages and timeframes, and links to all project communications can be found on the 2020 NSCA Review webpage here.

Review of the NSCA Project – Progress update as at mid November 2020

Stage 4 of the Review is progressing well and is close to completion. The Expert Reference Group (ERG) continues to guide the direction of the review, whilst further expertise from outside of the AACA is engaged to inform the detailed re-drafting. The process has been iterative, with continual reference back to the ERG’s early agreed direction and the key themes from the first round of feedback on the Issues Paper.

Inputs and considerations during this current stage of work have included:

  • A review of the regulatory and legislative framework impacting federally and all states and territories
  • A review of the terminology and analysis of the material differences in content in relation to stages of architectural services and key industry reference documents
  • Consultation with subject matter experts familiar with all of the AACA assessment programs
  • Consultation with nominees from AIA’s First Nation’s Advisory Group
  • Consultation with nominees from AIA’s Climate Action Taskforce Advisory Group
  • Editorial review for consistency.

The Issues Paper released in June 2020 noted five key recommendations. All Recommendations received general support from the majority of submissions received (many submissions noting that support was dependent on seeing the final details of the proposed changes). An update on plans to address those recommendations is noted in the table below.

Recommendations noted in the Issues Paper, 1 June 2020

Current plans to progress these recommendations in the revised NSCA

Recommendation 1. Conceive the NSCA as a Framework of Professional Competency viewed through specified Professional Capabilities.

This recommendation continues to be progressed. The structure and coverage of the Professional Capabilities influence the re-worded Performance Criteria. The Professional Capabilities are being developed in a manner that will allow their inclusion in all AACA Assessment Programs.

Recommendation 2. Retain four units of competency with a refocus on the architect’s primary responsibilities in design and in design project delivery.

This recommendation continues to be progressed, with a focus on grouping the Performance Criteria specific to each area of focus within the units.

Recommendation 3. Revise Performance Criteria to reduce repetition – focussing less on the linear project phases and more on the core component of professional obligations of the architect in relation to design services to clients; acknowledging that the functional aspects of these obligations may apply differently across projects depending upon the project type, scale and context of risk and liabilities.

This recommendation continues to be progressed though the extent of the level of reduction in the number of Performance Criteria.

Recommendation 4. Remove Elements, the current subgrouping of Performance Criteria under the four units of competency, in order to reduce linearity and repetition in the NSCA


Recommendation 5. Review language and organisation of the Performance Criteria in order to improve user understanding of how Performance Criteria are applied at differing levels across the contexts of the competency profiles of the Architectural Graduate, the Architectural Graduate at Registration and the Registered Architect.

This recommendation continues to be progressed. Performance Criteria linked to the Architectural Graduate and the Architectural Graduate at Registration will underpin the basis of AACA Assessment Programs. Use of the Performance Criteria linked to the Profile of the Architect post registration may be used to inform Boards’ regulatory functions.  


The Project Timeframes have been reviewed. The current Stage has been extended to support the broad consultation that has occurred, as well as the iterative process of review and refinement.

Work is underway to commence the next stage in early December, with the release of the revised draft of the Standard and the draft implementation strategy. The consultation stage will remain open until the end of February.

All important details, including the revised project timeframes, can be found on the 2020 Review of the NSCA webpage here.

2020 Christmas Closure Notice

The AACA office will be closed over the holiday period from COB Tuesday 22 December 2020 and re-open on Monday 11 January 2021. If there are any enquiries during this time please email [email protected] and you will receive a response shortly after the office resumes.


Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Gadigal Country
Suite 3, Level 5, 75 Castlereagh Street

+61 (2) 8042 8930
[email protected]
Located on Gadigal Country, the AACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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