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Unregistered architect appointed by builder: What now? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 October 2011

 A reader wrote in with the following distressing situation:-

We signed a package deal with a registered contractor, where an architect was appointed by them as part of the package. We were experiencing problems and he cancelled the contract.  We wanted to go ahead with the building and since I worked very hard, also with the planning of that house design, we contacted the architect. When we enquired if she's registered she said she's not. She now has copyright over those sketches (plans not passed and there's still adjustments to be made).  She is now demanding I pay her R7000 for them and I must take it to another architect to complete.  I want a registered architect to work on those plans. What can I do?  The contract is cancelled and I have to start building soon.

Les advised our reader as follows:-

From the knowledge that I have and from enquiries made, it is illegal for anyone to practice as an architect, technologist or draughtsperson in their own right if they are not registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP).  The drawings and designs that any unregistered person produces would be useless to anyone as the drawings would not legally be accepted for submission by any municipality.  It is also illegal for an unregistered person to get a registered person to "sign off" their drawings or designs unless they are employed by that registered person. These are the terms that are set out in the SACAP Code of Conduct for all registered architectural professionals.

The building contractor was at fault in appointing this person as the drawings would not, in any event, have been accepted by the municipality. May I suggest that you contact the SACAP office and make a direct enquiry with them regarding your options. (Visit

I hope that this helps. If you need any further assistance, please contact me again.

Kind regards,
Les Abbott

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