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Updated: 29 September 2019

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3. Competencies and Skills Required to Perform Architectural Work

A precise definition of the competency of each category of Professional is a complex matter, given the changing conditions under which training has occurred and the impact or different kinds of experience and level of skills.

Thus at a general level, the competencies of the different categories can broadly be defined as follows:

The Professional Architect is trained to engage at a high level in design, theory and history, as well as in technical resolution and the administration and co-ordination of a wide range of architectural projects. The Professional Architect would generally have a Master's Degree or equivalent Degree from a university requiring at least five years of full-time study. The master's Degree (or equivalent) would prepare graduates for advanced and specialised professional employment. The study programme would have been substantially focused on the design of range of building types including complex types and multi-storey structures. The Professional Architect would have completed a compulsory two year period of candidature under an experienced professional or professional firm and would have successfully completed SACAP's compulsory Professional Practice Exam.

Registration and upgrading will be based exclusively on academic credit and/or qualifications as applied internationally.

The Professional Senior Architectural Technologist will have high levels of competency at a technical level, and may also have developed design and administration and coordination skills. The highest qualification a Professional Senior Architectural Technologist would have is a Degree or a Postgraduate Diploma, requiring four years of full-time study. The study programme would have included design and technical resolution of two or three story structures. The combination of competencies and skills within this category would vary greatly, with some Professional Senior Architectural Technologists able to offer highly specialised services in particular areas of architectural work.

The Professional Architectural Technologist will have reasonable levels of competency at a technical level and would have some design understanding. The highest qualification for a Professional Technologist would be a Diploma incorporating three years of full time study. The study programme would have included design and technical resolution of small scale buildings.

The Professional Architectural Draughtsperson will have an entry-level vocational, or industry oriented higher education qualification.

The minimum qualification of a Professional Architectural Draughtsperson would be a Higher Certificate incorporating one year full-time study; the study programme would have focused on developing basic technical and draughting skills.

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NQF Level

Professional Architect


M Arch (Prof)

B. Arch 5 year full time replaced by M Arch (Prof)


Professional Senior Architectural Technologist


BAS Honours, B Tech

B Arch (Prof) [4 years, 480 credits]

PG Diploma


BAS [3 years, 360 credits]

Advanced Diploma

Both + 1 year Work Integrated Learning


Professional Architectural Technologist


Diploma [3 years, 360 credits]

Advanced Certificate [total 240 credits, + 1 year Work Integrated Learning]


Professional Architectural Draughtsperson


Advanced Certificate [Hi Cert + 1 year, 120 credits]

Higher Certificate [1 year, 120 credits, + 1 year Work Integrated Learning]


NB: Refer to Schedule 6: Registration Matrix, for the Qualifications and Experience requirements for registration in each of the categories.

With respect to Professional Senior Architectural Technologists (PrSArchT), Professional Architectural Technologists (PrArchT) and Professional Architectural Draughtspersons (Pr ArchDraught) categories currently registered, a number would NOT have sat the Professional Practice Exam which was not compulsory at the time of initial mandatory registrations. These categories are being encouraged to sit the exam.

All registered Architectural Professionals are required to undertake Continuing Professional Development courses and activities. Performance with respect to this is reviewed at five year intervals serving as a basis for renewal of registration.

Given the difficulties in determining the precise levels of skills within each category, and sometimes between categories, it is highly recommended that before services of any category of Architectural Professional is procured, a portfolio of work produced by the professional is carefully scrutinised, in particular, work of a similar nature to that for which the services are being procured. In addition it is advisable to obtain references.

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