1. How is A + membership different from 'normal' membership?
A+ membership is different in that it provides all of your eligible staff with membership to the Institute whilst also providing them with access to additional services such as Acumen, the Environment Design Guide, Standards Australia and HR+.
A+ is about a whole of workplace commitment to best practice, the Institute and the future of the architectural profession.
2. What is the difference between Practice Membership and A+ Membership?
A+ membership differs from the current Practice Membership in that all professional staff in the practice are required to become members (not just the directors), and members who have been graduated for 11 years or more are subject to mandatory CPD.
A+ Membership also has number of additional benefits over Practice Membership, including:
- Reduced membership fees for individual members.
- Online access to Australian Standards Quick Reference
- Online access to Acumen and the Environment Design Guide (EDG)
- Access to the Institute’s HR and IR information service, HR+
- The marketing benefit of the A+ brand
3. What are the main obligations of being an A+ practice?
Both the benefits and obligations of A+ membership are aimed at ensuring that A+ practices are best equipped to deliver best practice.
As such, the main obligations of A+ practices are this:
- Having all eligible staff as Institute members,
- Having all senior staff in the practice (registered architects and graduates of 11 years or more) commit to life-long learning through mandatory CPD, and
- Maintaining appropriate levels of PI insurance.
4. What are the eligibility criteria for staff?
Eligible staff includes all architects and any other professional staff with a recognised architectural degree or a degree in a discipline related to architecture, such as planning, interior design, urban design, landscape architecture and the like.
Permanent part-time staff who work 3 days per week or more must be included, but casual staff are not required to be included (but may be). Contractors are generally not eligible.
5. What are the eligibility criteria for practices?
To be eligible for A+ membership, a practice must first meet all requirements of the relevant Architects Registration Board for architectural practices (if any).
6. What happens if an employee joins or leaves the practice?
The practice can update its member profile online at any time, here: edit your practice profile. In addition, all A+ practices will be contacted towards the end of each quarter and asked to verify that there have been no changes in the number, categories or status of any staff members in the practice.
7. Who pays the individual A+ fees - the practice or the individual?
The practice is responsible for the A+ membership fees. However, the practice can choose to make any arrangement with staff that they choose regarding payment of individual fees. Practices may also choose to include A+ membership as part of the salary package for staff.
8. Will individual members continue to receive current benefits, such as personal copies of Architecture Australia?
Yes, all your current benefits are still included, with the addition of A+ benefits.
9. We have a student member in the office - can they also be part of our A+ membership?
No. Student members are not part of the A+ membership system but students can of course become individual members of the Institute.
10. Can sole practitioners be A+ members?
Sole practitioners, provided they are registered architects, are eligible for A+ membership.
11. Can members in A+ practices still use the post-nominal letters ‘RAIA’ or ‘FRAIA’ etc?
Yes, of course. All of the rights and obligations of individual Institute membership remain the same for A+ members.
12. I'm currently a Member Level 2 who is in the process of establishing a sole practice. I would like to upgrade to Member Level 1 membership with A+. Is this possible?
Absolutely yes, you need to be a Level 1 member to take up A+ membership as a sole practitioner, but upgrading to Level 1 and taking up A+ membership can be done at the same time. Simply contact the Membership Team.
13. I am a current Institute member employed by a practice that is not an A+ practice. Can I be an A+ member?
No, unless the practice joins as an A+ member. If you would like to receive the benefits of A+ membership, you should encourage the practice directors to consider upgrading.
14. If I become an Institute member as an employee of an A+ practice, can I transfer my A+ membership to another practice?
Yes, if the new practice is also an A+ practice. If they are not an A+ practice then, no.
15. What if I am part of an architectural 'unit' in a government department or other large commercial organisation - is the unit entitled to A+ membership?
Yes, if the unit or team is operating as a reasonably discrete business unit or cost centre and be primarily focused on architectural activities.
The unit will also need to be under the direction of a registered architect, and must also be capable of fulfilling all the obligations of A+ practices.
16. Can we take up A+ membership if the practice is based outside Australia?
Generally, no. However, the Institute is prepared to consider applications from overseas based offices associated with Australian practices on a case by case basis.
17. Can you tell me more about the CPD requirements?
Those members in an A+ practice who are architects or architecture graduates of 11 years or more are required to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of CPD annually, including a minimum of 10 ‘formal’ hours, across at least two of the four main competency areas (design, documentation, project management, practice management).
Individual CPD activities need to be logged and a small percentage of subject members may be audited each year, to confirm compliance. These individual members in A+ practices may be required to provide a declaration of CPD compliance at the end of each year.
This is the same requirement for architectural registration boards in NSW, WA, Tasmania and Queensland.
Requirements for CPD are set out in the Institute’s CPD Policy.
18. What happens if one of our staff fails to meet their annual CPD points requirement - is everyone penalised?
No. Firstly, the Institute will not take a heavy-handed approach to ensuring CPD compliance, but will rely substantially on the honesty and integrity of members. Where there is a legitimate reason for not meeting the modest CPD requirement, opportunity will be provided to 'catch-up' in a subsequent period. However, in the unlikely event that a member still fails to meet their CPD obligation, the penalty will be based on removal of some or all of their member benefits.
19. Is there a minimum requirement for PI insurance for A+ members?
No. There is no specific requirement for the value of PI Insurance to be taken out by A+ practices, but evidence of current PI insurance must be provided.
20. Are there limitations to Australian Standards services?
The Australian Standards service provides read-only access to Australian (AS), joint Australia/New Zealand (AS/NZS) plus Australian and joint Australian/New Zealand adoptions of ISO and IEC Standards (AS/ISO, AS/IEC, AS/NZS/ISO and AS/NZS/IEC).
It is designed essentially as a reference service and not as a replacement for purchasing commonly used standards, printing of Standards is not possible and sessions will be time-limited. However, part of the service includes a simple online purchase facility, with a special discount of 20% off the normal hard-copy price solely for A+ members. See the SAI Global Fact Sheet for more information.
21. Is there any benefit for A+ practices entering projects in the Awards?
Yes. Fees for Awards entries from A+ practices attract a 10% discount.
22. Does A+ membership cost more or less than other membership options?
This very much depends on the make-up of the particular practice and what current membership options are in place. The cost for individual members in A+ practices can be up to 50% of the rate for individual members who are not in an A+ practice. However, there is also a practice fee payable by the practice (even if the practice is a sole practice). For a fee estimate for your practice, use the A+ rates calculator.
Open A+ rates calculator
23. Is the cost of A+ membership tax deductible?
The GST component of A+ membership fees can generally be claimed by any practice that is registered for GST. Each practice and individual member should obviously seek their own tax advice, based on their specific circumstances.
24. How do we join?
Start here: Apply for A+ membership.