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SACAP launches RPL Online - Monday 08 May 2017

Monday, 08 May 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jacquie Cullis
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Online self-assessment for RPL goes live for SA’s architectural profession

Johannesburg, 8 May 2017: The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) announces that from Monday, 8 May 2017, its registered Professional Architectural Draughtspersons, Professional Architectural Technologists and Professional Senior Architectural Technologists can gain access to its Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme by applying to register for the online self-assessment phase – the first such online platform developed amongst SA’s Built Environment Professional Councils.


The purpose of RPL is to redress past imbalances and assess previously acquired skills, knowledge and experience, with the view to providing an opportunity to articulate to the next level of professional registration. The RPL programme allows only for access to elevated professional registration and is not an academic qualification.  Articulating within the profession will uplift the professional status of successful applicants and is expected to help them unlock more lucrative work opportunities. The highest registration category is that of Professional Architect.


Through its research, SACAP estimates that a significant portion of the register across the country, commonly referred to as “The Missing Middle in Architecture”, need access to equal opportunity and practical redress for past imbalances and are eager to take their first steps on SACAP’s innovative RPL online platform. Each will have to demonstrate a portfolio of work from the last three to five years, depending on their registration category.


To be eligible, the individual must be registered as a professional in any registration category and, as such, have passed both paper 1 and 2 of SACAP’s Professional Practice Exam (PPE). Additional criteria for eligibility are contained in the MATRIX FOR RE-GRADING OF PROFESSIONALS THROUGH EXPERIENCE that forms part of the RPL ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES. This is available on the registration page of SACAP’s website, under Recognition of Prior Learning.


The programme has been designed as a two-phase process preceded by an online application for access to the first phase. The first phase happens as an online self-assessment. Applicants will need to enter evidence that demonstrates they meet the minimum standards in 10 different outcome areas during this online process.  A tutorial is available to guide first time users through this process. A demonstration video is also in development.

The outcome of this assessment determines whether the user can progress to the second phase. The second phase includes the applicant being invited to present their work evidenced in the self-assessment phase for review by an assessment panel. The assessment panel will be made up of registered professionals and academics and will convene in major cities, based on demand, around the country, on pre-determined dates. 

During this phase, applicants may be required to undertake a design test or a mini dissertation.

In the spirit of transparency and constructive input, every applicant will be issued with an assessment rubric with points range and comments. An independent adjudicator will be part of this jury.


The initial online application can be done on SACAP’s website ( Recognition of Prior Learning is located on the Registration section of the website. On this section, applicants will find the online form which must be completed and submitted to SACAP for evaluation to make sure that the applicant meets the criteria and is eligible for the RPL assessment.  Thereafter, successful applicants will be given access to the RPL online portal to complete the self-assessment phase of the process.


Guidance will be given to those professionals who need to first supplement their knowledge in order to demonstrate readiness to present to the assessment panel. As part of further development, a virtual library will be made available through SACAP’s partnership with the Architectural Learning Sites (ALSs) and Voluntary Associations (VAs) that are recognised by SACAP. This is envisaged to include access to online journals, dissertations and material from Professional Practice Examinations (PPEs) and previous Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses.


Following a moratorium on SACAP’s RPL programme instituted in 2010, a lengthy period of consultation ensued between SACAP’s 4th Term Council and its recognised Voluntary Associations which resulted in a new format of the programme, as well as the testing of the newly designed RPL software. More recently, the relevant Board Notice 47 of 2017 was published in the Government Gazette to advise stakeholders of the administration fees charged for this process. These fees were determined in accordance with the current category of registration of the applicant and will be payable in two parts, at the beginning of each of the two phases of the process.  Please click on the following hyperlink Fees and Charges for the financial year 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018 to access the RPL fees which have been published and refer to section 8 for more information.


As the architectural professionals’ regulatory body, SACAP’s strategic plan and objectives are aligned with the imperatives of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the roll out of its large-scale infrastructure projects. Architectural Professionals ignite the planning process of projects such as these undertaken by the Department of Public Works.


President of SACAP, Dr Yashaen Luckan says, “I anticipate equity statistics will improve through this RPL programme and am certain it will enable the realization of our transformation objectives and the vision for people-centred architecture. The fundamental philosophy on which the RPL assessment is based is that practitioners in all four categories essentially share the same professional landscape and social responsibilities. They are exposed to exactly the same technological, environmental, legislative and socio-economic parameters and constraints, although arguably to different degrees depending on the complexity of the project and circumstances.”


Six architectural professionals who took part in the testing phase of the online programme will be the first to formally submit their online self-assessment applications to SACAP’s Professional Statutory Services Unit on Monday 8th May.