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RIBA CPD quick guide

Continuing professional development (CPD) is an obligatory part of membership for all RIBA Chartered Members regardless of their professional circumstances.

This quick guide should answer any questions you may have about maintaining your records, changes in your circumstances, and how to keep up to date with your CPD obligations.

You can also read more about your CPD obligations as a RIBA Member, or log in to your online account to record your RIBA CPD.

What counts as CPD?

Any relevant learning activity, whether structured or informal, can count on your record.

Structured CPD is classroom based: whether face to face, distance, or online. It will be taught by someone who gives you learning aims and outcomes. Informal learning is usually short and self-directed. Examples might include reading, research, listening to podcasts, blogs, and email updates from construction and design bodies, RIBA, NBS, or the trade press.

The minimum obligation equates to 45 minutes a week, and one can gain CPD through informal means as well. The core curriculum requirement equates to roughly 30 minutes of the 45. Some of that would be automatically gained through reading the construction and design press, and RIBA and NBS updates, as examples.

CPD does not have to come from the RIBA to count. Your CPD should also be relevant to your personal, career and professional circumstances.

Find out more about your CPD obligations as a RIBA Member.

How does the RIBA CPD core curriculum work?

The RIBA has defined ten mandatory RIBA CPD core curriculum topics, in response to the skills our members need to practice architecture now and in the future.

All RIBA Chartered Members, wherever they practice and whatever they do, are expected to attain at least two hours in each of the ten topics yearly. However, there is huge flexibility in how you meet that obligation. CPD does not mean solely seminars and courses, or what the RIBA can provide. You can do CPD in countless ways: many that are self-directed and informal and from any source.

The extensive CPD primer provides context for each of the ten topics. It is a suggested framework of possible target issues for each topic. While the primer is comprehensive, it is not exclusive; you are encouraged to engage with the topics in a way that suits your needs best.

Can I use another form of recording or providing evidence?

We are unable to accept alternative forms of proof or recording. We are looking for very specific information and data for individual chartered members, who are obliged to record their own activities on our CPD recording tool. Please note that if you are a member of more than one professional body, you are expected to record CPD separately for each of those bodies as evidence that you have met your obligations for each one.

I teach (or do some other role not in a practice): do I have to do CPD?

You have the same obligations as any other chartered member, and you are expected to record your activities on the RIBA’s online recording platform. However, your CPD should be relevant to your working and professional circumstances. You will be the best judge of what your CPD programme will be based on what you do. Teaching, for example, presumes that you are responsible for imparting up to date knowledge to students, to ensure competent graduates. Being involved with a RIBA committee, as another example, presumes knowledge of the issues other architects are facing.

I recently qualified and only became a member in July (for example). Do I have to complete only half of the necessary hours as I joined mid-term?

Your obligation starts when you join and hence is pro-rated for the first year. If you joined in July, your obligation would be around half for the first year.

I am not based in the UK. How can I do CPD?

A: You have the same obligations as any other chartered member, and you are expected to record your activities on the RIBA’s online recording tool. However, any CPD you do locally will count towards your requirement. You are not expected to double the requirement or do separate RIBA CPD.

Contact the registration body or professional organisation in the country in which you reside and practice for what’s available to access locally. In Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the USA, contact your provincial, regional or state associations.

You are also able to access online CPD from RIBA Academy and content from RIBA in the USA, Gulf and China.

I work part time as an architect, 17.5 hours a week. Are the CPD expectations the same as for full time employees?

The 35 hours are calculated as the minimum time someone needs to spend maintaining skills and competence. It relates to one’s status as a chartered architect, rather than the number of hours one may or may not work. 35 hours per year equates to 45 minutes per week.

I have been on maternity leave and I won’t be able to undertake structured CPD. What should I do?

It can be difficult to do or access structured CPD when you are on maternity leave. However, informal learning is advised, when and where it can be fitted in. This should enable you to be ready to practice when you return. You can also find online content on RIBA Academy.

I am unwell and not working. How can I keep up?

It can also be difficult to keep up to date at this time, even informally. You are advised to keep up if you can whenever you are able to. Many informal and self-directed activities can also count as CPD, so try to plug into these informal sources just to be ready for when you return to work. We suggest reading the architecture and construction press online and RIBAJ, RIBA and NBS updates, or taking webinars on RIBA Academy.

I am semi-retired, or thinking of retiring. Am I still obliged to take CPD?

Only fully retired members who are not working in any professional or advisory capacity are exempt.

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