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Unique agreement helps architects register and study between the UK, Australia and New Zealand

March 15, 2023 | News Release

AACA, ARB and NZRAB sign trilateral recognition agreement

A new mutual recognition agreement (MRA) has been signed between the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA), the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB), and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).

The agreement means that from 25 May, eligible architects can benefit from a streamlined registration process that will reduce costs and examinations, making it easier for them to register to work in each country.

The agreement will open up the architects’ profession whilst upholding and maintaining the high standards and safety that help to protect the public. This is because of the alignment between the rigorous competencies required to register in each country, reinforced by the three regulators’ quality assurance processes.

To help improve access to the profession, this unique agreement will also recognise an individuals’ relevant qualifications along the path to becoming an architect. This means someone who has been educated up to and including Master’s level can complete their training in another partner country and benefit from the agreement.

Kathlyn Loseby, CEO of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, said:

“Architects are among the most highly qualified professionals alongside the legal and medical fraternities. Architecture is also one of the professions that benefit most from collaboration, and this agreement enhances the ability of both registered architects and graduates with accredited qualifications to move between the UK and Australia / New Zealand.

Our three nations have an obvious affinity based on shared language and cultural similarities and the new professional recognition process is straightforward and simple. AACA thanks both the ARB and NZRAB for the six years of collaboration culminating in this agreement.”

Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar, Architects Registration Board, said:

“The agreement builds on the close links between our three countries and has been made possible because of the constructive engagement between regulatory bodies and the confidence we have in the integrity of regulation and assurance of standards across Australia and New Zealand.

We’re delighted that as well as helping eligible architects to register, saving them time and money, the new and more proportionate process will also create opportunities for tomorrow’s architects to study internationally across the three countries.”

Dougal McKechnie, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Registered Architects Board, said:

“This agreement will facilitate the mobility of architects registered in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and between our countries.

We want our registration processes to be as straightforward as possible, while still ensuring new registrants have what is necessary for safe and effective practice. Mutual recognition agreements such as this benefit qualifying architects with a simpler pathway to registration between the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

We are delighted to have developed and signed this trilateral agreement and thank the ARB and the AACA for all the work that has gone into making it possible.”

Business & Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

“This is great news for British architects, unlocking new markets and helping UK businesses to grow, create new jobs and pay higher wages and comes following the signature of our new free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.”

Interested architects or students can find more information on their home regulator’s website:

—ENDS—

Notes for Editors

In each country, anyone practising as an architect must join the relevant Register to use the legally protected title. Registration exists to ensure anyone calling themselves an architect has the appropriate skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours.

The agreement is based on AACA, ARB and NZRAB mutually recognising relevant qualifications in each country as comparable and equivalent to their own. It has been built on the high regulatory standards that already help to protect the public in each country and has included each regulator undertaking a series of thorough steps to check the alignment of our respective registration requirements and the competencies required of architects in each country. This then makes it easier for an architect who qualified in one country to register in the other because they are already seen to meet certain standards.

Above this, the agreement provides for each of the three regulators to require incoming applicants to satisfy additional requirements if they choose to do so.

The agreement contains eligibility requirements that will apply to individuals using the routes.

AACA:

The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) is an independent, self-funded, Not-For-Profit organization set up by the statutory state and territory Architect Registration Boards in the 1970s. AACA supports nationally consistent high-quality qualifications and licensing of architects in Australia.

For more details, visit our website aaca.org.au

ARB:

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent professional regulator, established by Parliament as a statutory body, through the Architects Act, in 1997. It is accountable to government. The law gives ARB a number of core functions:

  • To ensure only those who are suitably competent are allowed to practise as architects. ARB does this by approving the qualifications required to join the UK Register of Architects.
  • ARB maintains a publicly available Register of Architects so anyone using the services of an architect can be confident that they are suitably qualified and are fit to practise.
  • ARB sets the standards of conduct and practice the profession must meet and take action when any architect falls below the required standards of conduct or competence.
  • ARB protects the legally restricted title ‘architect’

ARB is now able to enter into mutual recognition agreements following the Professional Qualifications Act 2022 and subsequent secondary legislation. The agreement is being signed as part of ARB’s new approach to registering international architects, made possible by new legislation that has followed the UK’s exit from the EU.

NZRAB:

The New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) is established under the Registered Architects Act 2005 (the Act).  The Act establishes NZRAB’s functions as:

  • making rules relating to architects
  • registering architects, issuing Certificates of Registration, and assessing whether architects meet the
  • standard for continued registration
  • maintaining a Register of architects
  • investigating complaints and, if required, disciplining architects

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