Te Kāhui Whaihanga was interested to read the editorial in the July/August 2021 issue of Architecture NZ magazine, calling for greater acknowledgement of climate change and sustainability by ourselves and the profession’s regulator, the New Zealand Registered Architects’ Board (NZRAB).
We agree that climate change and sustainability, alongside health and safety and our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, are some of the most urgent issues of our time, and that a high level of competency in these areas must be maintained by architects throughout their careers.
The NZRAB’s Code of Minimum Standards of Ethical Conduct, which must be adhered to by registered architects, is set out in section 7 of the Registered Architects Rules 2006. These rules are set by the NZRAB, pursuant to section 67 of the Registered Architects Act 2005. Te Kāhui Whaihanga does not play a direct role in setting this code.
Any changes made to the Rules require consultation with the profession and sign-off by the responsible minister.
As all registered architects should know, and as NZRAB chair Gina Jones pointed out in her response to the editorial, the requirement for practitioners to have a core understanding of sustainability is clearly stated.
In the NZRAB’s Guide to the Minimum Standards for Initial Registration, applicants are required to demonstrate “an understanding of relevant social, cultural and environmental issues, including issues of sustainability” to achieve registration.
Further, to meet the minimum standards for continued registration, all architects must demonstrate an understanding of the broad principles and implications of core aspects of the practice. The NZRAB explicitly names sustainability as one such area of competency.
Te Kāhui Whaihanga has, and will continue to advocate for the evolution of these standards in a way that best reflects the issues relevant to the sustainable, healthy and culturally appropriate advancement of our built environment, and the profession’s ability to lead this advancement.
We agree with Architecture NZ’s views on the Engineering New Zealand Code of Ethical Conduct. In 2016, we made a submission to the NZRAB, calling for a separation or clear definition of rules relating to professional competence from those relating to ethics. In that submission we referenced Engineering New Zealand’s Code of Ethical Conduct as being an excellent example of how the architects’ own code could be formulated.
We are, therefore, pleased to have the voice of Architecture NZ joining us in our call for positive and sustainable change for the better.
This response was first published on nzia.co.nz.