Architectural Governing Bodies & Organisations

In South Africa, there are two architectural organisations, significant to both architects and their clientsthe South African Institute of Architects, and South African Council for the Architectural Profession. Globally, architects can elect to belong to the International Union of Architects. This is “a platform for knowledge sharing, helping craft innovative and collaborative solutions for architectural advancement, with a particular focus on sustainable development”.

These organisations standardise and regulate all values and services offered by architects. As a client, it is important to familiarise oneself with these organisations. And clients should found out whether or not their architect is a part of any. For example, in South Africa, architects can only acquire certain projects if they are registered with ‘SACAP’. Architect’s memberships and affiliations can tell you a great deal about the quality of their work. And help to decide whether they would be an appropriate choice for your project.

The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)

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The vision of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession is to “transform Architectural leaders serving society in a sustainable built environment”. The earliest version of SACAP was the South African Council for Architects – which was established on the 1st of March,1971. Its legislation was operational for 30 years. The South African Council for the Architectural Profession dates back to the 12th of September 2001. Its legislation has been in effect since.

SACAP’s legislation called for the registration of all Architectural professionals – including Architects, Senior Architectural Technologists, Architectural Technologists, and Draughts-persons.

SACAP controls the standard of education at all tertiary institutions that offer architectural degrees. This regulates professional registration. SACAP protects public interest through classifying architectural professionals by category of the type of architectural work within their capabilities.

SACAP has a collection of core values that form the foundation of their mission. These values include being accountable for your decisions and actions and promoting high standards of quality. As well as being ethical and trustworthy, having an ethos of respect, and being inclusive and transparent.

South African Institute of Architects (SAIA)

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The South African Institute of Architects is an architectural organisation, founded in 1996. This succeeded the Institute of South African Architects which had been established since 1927. The organisation encompasses all of South Africa’s regional institutes.

SAIA’s mission is to promote the interests of its members and assist in producing excellent, ethically sound results. The organisation attempts to maintain the dignity of the architectural profession, as well as improve and enhance the built environment and society at large. SAIA stands for the fundamental principles of equality and justice. The SAIA, therefore, commits to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and competence throughout the built environment.

The South African Institute of Architects forms part of greater architectural governing bodies such as the African Union of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Architects. The SAIA is also part of the International Union of Architects.

Architects who register with the Institute are under obligation to maintain their values. In addition, they should actively adhere to their vision and mission. This includes the enhancing the built environment via responsible design and the improvement of safety standards to protect all societies. In addition, Architects must conserve the natural environment to the benefit of all. The Institute states that its members are “educated and trained to provide leadership, critical judgment, specialist knowledge, skills and aptitude, for the design and development of the built environment”. The institute also has a Code of Ethics that regulates how its members pursue this vision.


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