CPD at the RIBA

For practices

Professional organisations insist on CPD rules to make sure that qualified professionals take structured steps to maintain their skills, knowledge and competence. CPD can also help to:

  • build your business and practice
  • Stay employable
  • Meet targets
  • Acquire new skills
  • Get new work and new clients.
  • Maintain competence to practice
  • Provide evidence of competence if needed

Theoretically, you can claim any relevant learning activity, whether structured or self-directed and informal, as CPD. That ranges from weekly reading at one end of the spectrum, to gaining extra relevant qualifications at the other end, with an endless variety of learning activities in-between. CPD may come from any source, as long as what is provided is relevant to architecture or relevant to managing your business.

CPD is an individual obligation for chartered members. However, these people work in architectural practices and other businesses and so it is also sensible for the business to think about and account for CPD.

As a chartered practice, you will have signed a declaration that you have a system for managing CPD in place. There is no set rule for the system your practice puts into place, and there is no minimum amount of CPD you need to provide.

Management systems are known to range very widely. For example, your practice
may trawl the RIBA CPD Providers Network Directory for a monthly lunchtime product
seminar and then top this up with trade press reading.

At the other end of the spectrum you could be a large practice with an HR manager, training budgets and yearly appraisals linked with training plans. You may also have Investors in People status and have some sort of accredited QA system in place.

Many businesses will also have appraisal systems in place, at which development and training are planned in line with individual and business needs.

A structure will help to plan learning and development. This is ideally linked to regular informal and formal performance reviews and identifying training and development needs linked back to the business. Though you need to be flexible enough to take last-minute needs into account, putting a planned and tactical CPD system into practice will help you to:

  • develop your staff, your business, and your career
  • keep your team and you up to date and competent
  • help your clients, and help to gain clients
  • take on new areas of specialism and expertise

Business needs

CPD within the practice ought to take individual staff development needs into account. However, you also must consider the needs of the business itself. Any CPD you provide in practice ought to relate back to your business plans and aims, and ought to directly benefit the organisation.

You also need to consider the skills you and the team need to develop to manage the business more efficiently and profitably.

What are the current technical needs for the practice and any current or future projects?

What specialisms do you and your staff have? Which ones do you want to gain or develop to attract new or specialised work?

Individual needs

Ideally, you will regularly identify individual development needs within the wider context of the business, or you may do this at the yearly performance appraisal. However, it is reasonable to expect individuals to take responsibility for some of their own learning. If someone identifies training that is not something that will improve the business, or can’t be justified in a business case, you may have to decide that this is a personal rather than a business goal.

On the other hand, allowing time for CPD which may not necessarily benefit the team helps you to keep hold of good staff, gets people ready for more responsible roles, and may improve the skills of the practice generally. The potential for staff to share this knowledge can help spread the investment on the individual training.

Budgets and time

What can you spend per head? How much time can you afford to devote? How many hours can you make available to CPD in the practice? Can you share CPD with other local practices? How much could you take advantage of people sharing knowledge? How much time can staff give to informal methods of learning such as reading the construction press?

Learning levels

You will want to think about the level of detail and expertise you need in the practice on any given topic. Do you just need a general update, or a course that will give your team specialist skills and expertise?

Remember, the more detail and expertise you need on a topic, the more time and money you are likely to have to budget for. However, the investment can pay dividends in terms of skills, expertise and client and work potential.

Where to find structured CPD

We at The RIBA are your first source for providing CPD and CPD information. However, you may find that you need to broaden your search and take responsibility for CPD as well, for example, using online search engines such as Google.


  • RIBA CPD Providers Network (in house)
  • RIBA CPD Roadshows (free)
  • RIBA Online CPD (free)
  • RIBA National Programme
  • RIBA Guerilla Tactics
  • RIBA Conferences
  • NBS Training and Conferences
  • NBS TV

Some examples of other sources.

Universities and colleges

Other construction professional institutions: RICS, RTPI, ICE, Landscape Institute, CIAT, CIBSE, LABC (Local Authority Building Control)

  • Other professional organisations: Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Management Institute
  • Relevant specialist organisations: SPAB, English Heritage, Ecclesiastical Architects + Surveyors Association, Carbon Buzz, Carbon Trust, RNIB, Centre for Accessible Environments
  • Research organisations: BRE, BSRIA, CIRIA
  • Industry organisations: Constructing Excellence
  • Development organisations: Article 25, Architectes sans Frontieres
  • Commercial training providers such as Reed  

A note about in-house CPD

RIBA CPD Providers Network members are prepared to come to practices, if this is reasonable, to deliver free in-house CPD.

You should not expect non-providers network CPD to be delivered for free, whether in-house or not. You can find providers network CPD in the yearly CPD Directory or at http://www.ribaonlinecpd.com. For help on finding other CPD, read on or consult the list above under 'where to find structured CPD'.

Help and advice

Other help and advice

All of these sites are valuable. Some will offer guidance on setting up appraisal and development systems.

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