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RP Guide to Open Architectural Firm

Step-by-step guide on how to set up an architectural practice which complies with the Code of Conduct.


1.       Introduction 


South Africa's architectural profession is governed by the Architectural Profession Act 44 of 2000 (APA). All newly qualified Registered Professionals seeking to establish an architectural practice must consult the APA and the Code of Conduct to ensure that all statutory requirements are complied with, and all the prescribed steps have been taken.


2.       Practical preparation steps for setting up an architectural practice 

a)       Be registered as a Professional (Note: a person registered as a candidate is not allowed to establish a practice);

b)       Decide whether you want to practice architecture as a sole proprietor or as a registered company;

c)       If you decide to register a company, you must register the company with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) (;

d)       Have a physical address for operations of the practice in terms of Rule 5.11 (d) of the Code of Conduct;

e)       Have an e-mail account for communication with stakeholders and clients;

f)        Design a letterhead for your new practice in line with Rule 5.11 of the Code of Conduct;

g)       Open a business bank account for practice (Note: Commercial banks such as FNB and CIPC offer company registration with a bank account)


3.       Statutory requirements for setting up an architectural practice 

a)       Register the architectural practice in terms of Rule 5.1 of the Code of Conduct within 30 (thirty) days of the establishment;

b)       Ensure that registered architectural professionals hold majority shares of the practice;

c)       Be in possession of a Professional Indemnity Insurance;

d)       Submit the proposed name of the practice to SACAP;

e)       Ensure that the proposed name of the architectural practice is not misleading or capable of being confused with that of another practice;

f)        Indicate the practice type (The practice type is determined by the registration category of a registered principal actively engaged in the practice);

g)       If the practice is multi-disciplinary, the architecture department must be under the direction and control of a registered professional;

h)       Ensure that the architectural practice is under the continuous, direct, and personal supervision of a Registered Professional;

i)         Ensure that the practice does not use the Council’s logo on any corporate stationery or letterheads as prescribed by Rule 5.11 (f) of the Code of Conduct;

j)         Use the SACAP registration number in all architectural reports and other documentation;

k)       Display the registration certificate in a prominent place. 


4.       Application process to register the practice with SACAP 

a)       The application for registration of the practice can be done through the SACAP online registration process;

b)       Through your membership login details, click on the application for registration of practices;

c)       Ensure that the corporate details, your membership details and the contact information of the practice are correctly captured;

d)       Submit the registration application online for review;

e)       The practice will be registered within one working day.