Your Architect/designer: Code of Conduct

  • Creation Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Many people are unaware that all architectural practitioners are bound by law to be registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession, (SACAP) before they may practice and are thus bound by a Code of Conduct aimed at giving you the client, a good professional service.
A most important issue is that no unregistered person, regardless of their qualification or experience, is permitted to do any architectural design work unless they are employed in a  registered architectural practice. It is illegal for them to present themselves as being registered with SACAP to solicit work when they are in fact not registered. It is also illegal for an unregistered person to effect a design and then request a registered person to sign their drawings off for them so that they can submit their design to the municipality for approval. The consequence of doing that is that the registered person could lose their professional registration.

It is also stated in the Code of Conduct that a registered person in their own architectural practice may not undertake architectural work without adequate and appropriate professional indemnity insurance. This insurance covers all aspects of their design work and covers them in the event that they make design errors that might lead to a claim from the client.  Where such insurance has not been taken out, it is the duty of the professional to inform the client of that fact in the letter of appointment. As the client, you would then have the choice of appointing that person or seeking someone else.

With the introduction of the SANS 10400 XA (Deemed to Satisfy) code on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, it is important to enquire at a very early stage in your design thinking whether the proposed design could fall within or outside the parameters of the XA code. If there is a possibility that the design may fall outside the parameters of that code then your Architect/designer would need to be qualified to do rational design in terms of the SANS 204 Energy Efficiency code.

If they have not been registered as being competent to do rational design and it is required, then the municipality will not accept their design for approval and you would have to appoint someone who is competent to effect the design with probable negative financial consequences for yourself. 

It is therefore very important that you check your architect/designer's SACAP registration status as well as whether they are deemed competent in terms of the Energy Efficiency codes before you engage them.

Article written by Les Abbott. PrArch.

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