What is SACAP and why is it important?

SACAP stands for the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). To put it simply, they are the legal body which regulates everybody in the architectural profession. They have many responsibilities like:

  • Registering everybody in the Architectural profession
  • Collecting and deciding on professional fees (renewals, annual fees etc)
  • Accrediting Architectural educational institutions
  • Protecting you - the public - in your dealings with architectural professionals
  • Investigating complaints about unprofessional conduct
SACAP mssion statement

For this blog though, we will focus on two main responsibilities that they cover because they relate to you 🙂:

  1. Registration of Professionals
  2. Protecting the public

Also here are some contact details for SACAP just in case you need them:
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SACAP Guides the Registration of Professionals

Two SACAP registered architects working together

SACAP is responsible for the registration of professionals and candidates into specific categories of registration according to their level of education and or experience.

As with other professions, architecture has different categories of registration. These categories are based on one's level of education and or work experience. The categories can be broken down into two basic groups:

  • Professionals (practising 'experienced' professionals)
  • Candidates (in training to become a professional)

Now, within these two basic groups are sub-categories defined by SACAP, again based on one's education and or work experience. The sub-categories are:

  • Architect- Masters Degree
  • Senior Architectural Technologist- Honours Degree/ B-Tech Degree
  • Architectural Technologist- National Diploma
  • Architectural draughtsperson- Higher certificate

BUT, you didn't know this right? because everyone who draws plans is an architect 😉lol! According to SACAP - there are levels to this thing.

This is an important consideration depending on the nature of the project you want to complete. Architectural professionals will have a different level of skills and expertise based on their category of registration as well as the number of years of experience they have. Pricing may also differ significantly depending on the category of registration. The best thing for you to do is shop around for what's suitable for you.

SACAP Protects the Public

SACAP must protect the public

SACAP has a duty to protect the public against unprofessional conduct by these ☝🏽registered persons and to ensure that the profession maintains acceptable professional standards and technical competence.

This related to SACAP's code of Professional Conduct which can be found here. Registered professionals are required to comply with the 6 main rules of the code of professional conduct as outlined by SACAP:

  1. Unprofessional conduct- you're not allowed to be #Unprofessional
  2. Technical competence and professional work- you have to know what you're doing, based on your level of registration. #StayInYourLane
  3. Promotion of services- you have to be truthful and responsible when you promote yourself and not take credit for work you didn't do #DontMisleadThePublic
  4. Professional responsibilities- the terms of your appointment for a particular job have to be outlined clearly #AlwaysPutItInWriting
  5. Establishment of an architectural practice and carrying on of a business- you have to let SACAP know that you are running a business #GetKnown
  6. International work- all international work must be done under a locally recognised legal body #InternationalStandards

Oh... and people are allowed to complain about you - if you have any issues just speak to SACAP about the professional involved.

Putting things into perspective 🤓

It is illegal to provide architectural services of any nature without being registered with SACAP.

Some things to note: Candidates are not permitted to do any architectural work without supervision by a registered professional. This ultimately means that candidates are not permitted to submit any architectural work on their own.

To check whether or not the person you've appointed to draw your plan is registered or not, simply ask for their registration number and verify on this link.

SACAP plays a significant role in ensuring that the profession maintains acceptable professional standards and technical competence. One of their responsibilities is to create awareness about the importance of protecting the built environment against unsound architecture, and ensuring public health and safety within the built environment.

And there you have it... SACAP in a nutshell. We hope you find that helpful - make sure to tell a friend that might be starting a renovation project!