Review of the NSCA Project – Progress update as at end September 2020

Stage 3 of the review of the National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA) concluded at the end of July. This stage sought input from Stakeholders on an Issues Paper that described the background, issues and recommendations for change within the Standard. The majority of stakeholder feedback:

  • Supported the issues identified in the Paper as being appropriate to form the basis of further changes to the NSCA
  • Supported the recommendations for change to the NSCA identified in the Paper, based on the assumption that the changes would address the issues identified in the Issues Paper.

Some themes identified in the stakeholder feedback included:

  • Some stakeholders emphasised the need to ensure changes to social and ethical matters are appropriate and meaningful in how they are approached and measured (or tested) within the standard
  • Whilst design is essentially at the heart of the profession, some stakeholders were concerned about a diminished role for other professional responsibilities, including project management.
  • Some stakeholders indicated a desire to increase the recognition of the importance of technology to the profession, and incorporation of related language
  • Some stakeholders indicated a desire to see the Review influence changes to the content in accredited qualifications.

Stage 4 of the review is progressing well. This stage involves:

  • Option analysis
  • Drafting of detailed revisions to the Standard
  • Development of an implementation strategy for the revised Standard across AACA programs

The Expert Reference Group continues to guide the direction of the review work, whilst further expertise from outside of the AACA is engaged to inform the detailed re-drafting of the Standard.  Stage 4 work continues based on the Expert Reference Group’s earlier agreement that the essential components of the current NSCA are sound but recognises the need to reframe the NSCA so that it:

  • reflects the knowledge, skills and competencies required of architects now and into the immediate future;
  • reframes architectural services away from the traditional linear framework of services described in accordance with traditional modes of delivering architectural projects to one with a clearer focus on the architects’ design responsibilities to clients and society;
  • is acknowledged as the basis for a proportionate, effective regulatory model which ensures that only competent architects are eligible to join and remain on the Architect Registers in order to provide assurance and confidence to the public about the expected professional standard of architects in Australia;
  • is flexible enough to reflect core competencies applied across varied competency profiles; and
  • reflects an explicit ethical focus – particularly around societal obligations of architects with respect to climate change and acknowledgement of the of integrating indigenous perspectives in the design process, and cultural diversity more broadly.

To support the broad consultation that has occurred, as well as the iterative process of review and refinement, the Project Timeframes continue to be reviewed and adjusted, with the current stage of work being extended to early November. This will result in the follow-on final consultation stage (Stage 5) commencing from mid November and extending into late January.

All important details, including updates on progress, can be found on the 2020 Review of the NSCA webpage here.

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