Architect Organisations and Governing Bodies

Architecture as an industry is considerable in size; therefore, Architectural Organisations are set up by jurisdiction, to ensure the sector is effectively governed on a local level.

Once qualified, Architects are to undergo a process of registration with the Architect’s authority or council that governs the jurisdiction in which they wish to practice. This process is one of legal accreditation that aims to ensure that only aptly qualified individuals can practice. Formal registration is a prerequisite that seeks to eliminate fraud and illegitimate construction from taking place. For any Architect wanting to practice within South Africa, the organisation with which to register is the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP).

Associations and Governing Bodies Within South Africa

Partners and stakeholders, each with a role to play at various industry levels, make up the SACAP. (South African Council for the Architectural Profession) Today, the organisation has over 10 000 registered Architectural candidates and professionals. These roles include, in order of importance, government, educational institutions, voluntary associations and even media partners.

architect organisationsThe government requires that all SACAP registered Architects adhere to the code of conduct outlined and authorised by the council. They also recommend that the public only make use of such Architects when commissioning the drawing and creation of plans that will be approved by local authorities. An Architect’s registration documents are viewable by the public via a search on the SACAP’s website. Find this out before starting a project, to ensure that all elements of the project are above board.

There is no single council that all Architects have to register with on an international level. However, the International Union of Architects (Union Internationale des Architectes or UIA) is a non-governmental organisation. The UIA represents Architects from across the globe. Founded in 1948, the UIA has grown to an estimated 3.2 million members. Today, it is the only international organisation for Architects that is recognised by most United Nations agencies. The UIA convenes every three years at a different location. During this time, the UIA General Assembly meets to conduct any business, as well as to elect UIA officials for the next three-year term. Discussions around work programmes across smaller, individual councils take place at these conferences. In addition, there is time to award and recognise the agencies and individuals who have excellent performance over the last term.

Client Agreements

Just as there is no one central body that governs the industry, Client Architect Agreements are subjective to individual firms, and even, on occasion, are drawn up between the Client and the Architect directly.

The SACAP has a guideline and a draft Client Professional Project Agreement (CPPA) on their website that can help any Architect, starting or experienced, to construct an official contract and decide on professional fees. The Guideline Professional Fees are issued in terms of Section 34(2) of the Architectural Profession Act no 44 of 2000. Although these fees are entirely negotiable, this guide has proved useful to most. Arguably so when choosing between charging Project Cost-Based Fees and Time-Based Fees.

Project Cost-Based Fees consist of two parts: the base plus the percentage. One does not reflect the other. You should add these two figures. The Competition Act exists to allow all South Africans to right to choose their registered Professional Architect, freely.

Once you agree on Fees, the Architect draws up a contract between the Client and themself. Both parties sign this contract before the project commences.

Whether you’re an Architect of expert status, a newly-qualified individual or a member of the public who’s in the process of planning for construction, you can rest assured that the work you are setting out to do is legitimate.
to becoming a Professional Architect may be a long one. However, for those passionate about the industry, the years are well worth the work.


For more information about Architect Services and on how we can assist you, get in touch with DScape on 021 422 5041 or via email to

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