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Why expanding your knowledge via RIBA CPD is as important as ever for architects

This professional feature looks at the changes to RIBA CPD and explores one member’s approach to learning and development.

18 January 2024

Architects’ attitudes towards professional CPD requirements continue to evolve, and not just because of the latest mandatory rule changes brought in by RIBA for 2024.

Undertaking CPD activities changed dramatically with the COVID-19 lockdown when they went completely online overnight, a change that seems largely here to stay. But post-Grenfell, there has also been a new urgency about maintaining and monitoring standards of professional competency.

With changes to RIBA’s CPD requirements now live, it’s as important as ever to develop individual CPD and keep on top of the areas and issues that matter in the profession.

CPD is as important as ever for architects. (Photo: Unsplash)

Why CPD is still as important as ever

Phil Ward, Director of two-strong InGrain Architecture based in rural Kent, thinks there is a generational change happening too, with younger architects more likely to be firmly onside over industry calls for demonstrable competency.

“The new generation that is coming through absolutely get the need for competency,” he says. “CPD in the past used to be important, but I don’t think the gravity of what it meant was the same. Many architects used to regard it as a sort of a chain around their neck, but now I do think we have reached something of a turning point for CPD.”

“Whether you are a two-person or two-hundred-person practice, we’re all facing the same sort of challenges – the Building Safety Act and the new Principal Designer role, climate change... As members, we are representing our practices and RIBA, so we need to be at the top of our game, and it’s CPD that is going to help get us there.”

Read more about the changes to RIBA's CPD.

How do some architects approach CPD?

Phil used to be the CPD organiser for the large practice he worked for before setting up InGrain in 2020. In those pre-pandemic days, CPD talks and events could become social occasions – it wouldn’t be uncommon to find large product manufacturers visiting offices to give a presentation and willing to hang around to chat about current projects.

That is a world away from a two-person practice housed in a barn in the Kentish countryside, where online and on-demand CPD is convenient for small and isolated studios.

However, one new change for InGrain’s CPD activities in 2024 could be the resurrection of CPD as a social event. Phil used to organise CPD for the local RIBA branch in Canterbury, as well as his former practice and misses the catch-ups with other local practices.

“We're trying to flip things to get the social aspect back again,” he says. “There are a couple of small practices nearby, and we met up with a couple of manufacturers before Christmas and they offered to do some CPD this year.”

Along with RIBA’s own local events, talks and workshops across the regions, it’s another way to introduce in-person CPD into his practice’s calendar.

Find RIBA’s events across the country via our What's On feed.

Along with RIBA’s own local events, talks and workshops, attending talks and local events are a good way to boost CPD. (Photo: Pexels)

What are mandatory CPD requirements for RIBA Chartered Members in 2024?

As the need for CPD continues and each individual member will have their own way of approaching learning, it’s important to register the changes to RIBA’s mandatory CPD this year.

One of these changes is the requirement for RIBA Chartered Members to record a brief reflective statement on what they have gained from each CPD activity when they update their personal CPD record on the RIBA online CPD tool. This has replaced the previous system of obtaining a minimum number of ‘learning points’.

Phil thinks this is a well thought out move. He suggests that it helps members think about what they have just learned, and what it means for them as designers, rather than just picking up a few points. Phil also suspects that reflection might help them to remember the activity better.

Elsewhere, core requirements remain unchanged: members must carry out at least 35 hours of relevant learning each year, with at least 20 hours on the ten mandatory RIBA Core Curriculum CPD topics – two hours for each topic.

Half of your CPD should be structured where this is possible, so either face-to-face or online courses rather than informal individual learning.

The 10 mandatory CPD topics are unchanged for 2024:

Any relevant learning from any source can count towards CPD requirements. If you think that a learning activity is relevant to you for whatever role you are carrying out, then it can count as CPD. Your CPD choices are therefore flexible and personal.

CPD can come from any source (including other professional bodies internationally) and does not need to be accredited by RIBA to count, but members are encouraged to consider the wide-ranging CPD courses that are provided by the institute. These include:

  • RIBA Academy: on-demand and live digital content at every learning level, covering all ten mandatory topics. Some are free of charge, others are discounted for RIBA members
  • CPD Expos (formerly known as CPD Roadshows): free events in London and the regions
  • RIBA CPD Providers Network: free events and online seminars
  • Professional events: Future Leaders, Smart Practice, Guerrilla Tactics and more
  • RIBA Books: offers a range of the best architecture, design and construction books from around the world
  • RIBA Journal: free and member-exclusive features, articles and other content
  • Professional features: free digital articles on practice and related issues, all tagged with the relevant core curriculum topic.

If you have any questions on how to fulfil your CPD requirements, please contact us at

Thanks to Phil Ward, Director, InGrain Architecture.

Text by Neal Morris. This is a Professional Feature edited by the RIBA Practice team. Send us your feedback and ideas.

RIBA Core Curriculum topic: Legal, regulatory and statutory compliance.

As part of the flexible RIBA CPD programme, professional features count as microlearning. See further information on the updated RIBA CPD core curriculum and on fulfilling your CPD requirements as a RIBA Chartered Member.

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