Formal vs Informal CPD points for Architects


Formal CPD Activities

These activities must pertain to practicing as an architect and is in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment.
Formal CPD activities are considered to have:

•         stated learning outcomes

•         Include an assessment activity or;

o   Significant interaction between presenter and learner

•         Presenters must possess academic, technical or practical expertise.

 E.g., of formal CPD activities for architects include;

o   Courses by registered training organisations (e.g., CAD courses by TAFE) and universities are formal activities.

o   Professional associations, architects’ networks, employers or similar providing short courses with stated learning outcomes with formal assessment e.g., tests, self-check Q&A or paper submission upon completion of activity.

o   Other activities without formal assessment but involve significant interaction between presenter and learner are acceptable providing the significant interaction includes direct communication between presenter and learner, such as case studies, exercises, workshops, discussions or similar requiring the learner to actively participate and receive feedback about the activity. The maximum of 30-35 participants is allowed in this category of formal activity to allow for appropriate level of interaction between presenter and the participants.

Formal activities may include architects to prepare beforehand to maximise the benefits.  E.g., reading specific articles or preparation of case study prior to attendance of activity for analysis and discussion.

Examples of activities with significant interaction include:

•         small groups undertaking case studies and/or written exercises with feedback from the presenter;

•         Online based tools that requires learner interaction and input, e.g., the completion of a set activity;

•         participation in formalised group discussions involving a case study relevant to architecture or industry practices; and

•         “in house” training where the learner is required to complete specified tasks or activities.

Architects involved in the preparation and presentation of CPD activities and authoring published articles, books and papers are also able to claim formal CPD points.

Informal CPD Activities

These activities must pertain to practicing as an architect and is in addition to activities already undertaken in the normal course of practice or employment but doesn’t include any form of assessment nor significant interaction between presenter and learner. Informal CPD activity for architects may have stated learning outcomes. Only two points can be claimed for an informal activity at any one time.

E.g., of informal CPD include:

•         self directed study of practice notes and professional magazines;

•         talks and presentations;

•         visits to buildings and exhibitions;

•         conferences;

•         involvement in mentoring programs;

•         participation in professional committees and advisory groups; and

•         raising awareness of architecture in primary and secondary schools.

Activities that are simply marketing exercises are not CPD activities.

Registration Board, N. (2019). Continuing Professional Development (CPD). [online] NSW Architects Registration Board. Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2019].