how to become an architect in south africa

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by

Architects start their careers in this field by studying a Bachelor of Science: Architecture degree or a National Diploma: Architecture at a university or technikon. A National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course is a prerequisite for these courses.Degree: Bachelor of Science

Qualifications in architecture are subject to accreditation by the SA Council for the Architectural Profession, and must meet the standards set through legislation and by the profession. South African qualifications are highly regarded and many of the degrees and diplomas also enjoy international recognition. Architecture can be studied at several South African Universities and Universities of Technology.

Persons in the architectural profession serve clients, who might need buildings for themselves, or who could represent users, e.g. of hospitals, schools, community centres or private corporations. They assist clients in drawing up a brief and plan for their needs with the assistance of quantity surveyors, engineers and project managers. They then prepare sketch designs and models, cost projections, project documentation, submit plans for approval by the authorities, acquire tenders and then administer the building contract. Besides the time spent in the office, the architect moves around between various building sites and is in constant contact with clients and the many disciplines active in the building process.

Practices in South Africa range from those run by a single person, to firms that employ more than 100 people. A medium sized office generally consists of two or three professional architects who design and manage the projects with the assistance of a few technologists and draughtspeople. Administrative staff provide the required support to the entire practice. Lecturing staff at universities and universities of technology are often registered professional architects, and may also be in private practice. Opportunities are available to join the in house professional team of a developer. Large corporations also employ architects in a variety of positions. Career opportunities exist in the public sector for suitably qualified people of the construction professions. Architects often specialise in a particular field of expertise.

Courses in architecture are continuously evaluated to meet the demands of developing technology and changing society. General subjects include design, construction, the history of architecture and a host of technical subjects ranging from water reticulation to electricity. Computer aided draughting is part of the course.

After receiving a qualification in architecture, one enters an in service training period as a candidate whose minimum lenghth is prescribed by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession SACAP in any one of the categories. After passing a Professional Practice entrance examination, one may register with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession as a professional. This is a requirement by law for practising architecture in South Africa.


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