Key milestones achieved by SACAP during 2020/21
The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is a statutory body established in terms of section 2 of the Architectural Profession Act 44 of 2000. The Act prescribes various mandates that must be fulfilled by SACAP. We are proud to announce that SACAP has fulfilled several notable mandates in 2020. This is despite the severe challenges due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions in movement and interpersonal activity imposed by the government. May 2021 marks 2 years since the fifth term Council was appointed by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure.
Guideline professional fees
Section 34 of the Act mandates the Council annually, after consultation with the voluntary associations, to determine guideline professional fees and publish those fees in the Gazette. The guideline professional fees were published on 7 August 2020.
Identification of Work (IDoW)
Section 26 of the Act read with section 20 of the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) Act enjoins the SACAP and the CBE to determine the IDoW. Following extensive consultation with registered persons, voluntary associations, CBE and the Competition Commission, the IDoW was published in a Government gazette on 30 April 2021.
Code of Conduct
Section 27 of the Act mandates Council in consultation with the CBE, voluntary associations and registered persons to draw up a code of conduct for registered persons. Following extensive consultation with the above-mentioned stakeholders, the Code of Conduct was published in a Government gazette on 19 February 2021.
Professional Practice Examination (PPE)
Section 19 (1) (b) (iii) mandates the Council to register candidates with educational qualifications and who has passed the PPE as determined by Council. On 15 July 2020, SACAP introduced the first online PPE. The introduction of the online PPE has eased the burden on candidates to travel to various venues to sit for the examination. All candidates can write PPE at the comfort of their homes or offices.
South African National Standards.
In terms of section 14 (h) of the Act, SACAP is mandated to take any steps it considers necessary for the improvement of the standards of services rendered by registered persons. In order to improve the standard of service by registered persons, SACAP entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to ensure affordable access to national standards by all registered persons. On 30 September 2020, SACAP availed all applicable standards to the profession for free. Furthermore, SACAP is currently working with the SABS Academy to tailor make training and mentoring on the interpretation and application of requirements contained within SANS 10400 for the architectural profession.
In terms of section 15 (5) of the Act, the Council is enjoined to establish and administer an education fund for the purpose of education, training and continuing education and training of registered persons and students in the architectural profession. SACAP has established an education fund. This year SACAP distributed R 40 000.00 to 11 deserving students across various educational institutions. Furthermore, SACAP is currently in discussions with Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) for the funding of the SACAP mentorship program for candidates.
License to practice/Privy Seal
In terms of section 18 (2) of the Act, a person may not practise in any of the categories contemplated in subsection (1), unless he or she is registered in that category. In order to ensure that only registered persons submit building plan applications at the Local Authority, SACAP introduced a Privy Seal, a real time registration verification mechanism. Privy Seal is an assurance to the public that the registered professional has met the standards of registration.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
In terms of section 14 (g) of the Act, SACAP is mandated to take any steps it considers necessary for the protection of the public in their dealings with registered persons for the maintenance of the integrity and the enhancement of the status of the architectural profession. SACAP received 127 complaints from members of the public in 2020/21. All complaints were handled in line with the Act. Further, SACAP continues to receive a high number of complaints against persons who are not registered but performs architectural work for the public. Although these complaints are reported to the South African Police Services for investigation and prosecution, not much progressive has been achieved. To that end, SACAP intends to prosecute unregistered persons directly through the courts for bringing the profession into disrepute.
Competition Commission South Africa
In May 2021, the Memorandum of Understanding between SACAP and the Competition Commission was approved following extensive consultation between the two regulators. The MoU seeks:
o to effectively coordinate exercise of the Competition Commission’s and SACAP’s jurisdiction and powers when taking decisions on competition matters within the architectural profession.
o Timeously provide each other with necessary information in respect of the investigation of anti-competitive practices, regulation of mergers and acquisitions, as well as research developments or studies within the built environment.
o Advocate for SACAP to promote compliance with competition law principles including on regulatory policies such as the IDoW and Guidelines Professional fees.
A number of Registered Professionals have complained to SACAP about the significant delays they experience at various Local Authorities on the approval of building plan applications. SACAP engaged eThekwini, City of Johannesburg and Mangaung metros amongst others to raise concerns about delays to approve building plan applications. Furthermore, SACAP engaged the South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA) and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to address these concerns at a high level. The 5th term Council encourages all local authorities to come on board to address the delays in the approval of building plan applications and Fasttrack the improvement of the country’s infrastructure to improve the economy as mention by honourable the President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa on the economic recovery plan speech.
SACAP has weathered a difficult storm very well. Although many challenges still face both the Council and architectural professionals, the Council has achieved many successes. This is borne out by the many letters of appreciation the Council receives from registered persons. The Council looks forward to welcoming greater numbers of registered persons and transform the profession.