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CPD, or Continuing Professional Development, is the term used to describe lifelong learning or continuing education as it relates to those active in the professions. There have been several attempts to define the concept, but this one has wide application:
"The systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout the practitioner's working life".
In a rapidly changing environment CPD is the mechanism whereby we work to ensure that professionals are up to date in their field. For the individual, in today's competitive and changing world, CPD is essential for continued employment and advancement. For the practice it is essential for survival. As for the RIAI, one of its most important roles is to provide Architects and Architectural Technicians/Technologists with the intellectual and technical support they need to continue delivering an effective service to society.
"the most precious asset any professional controls is knowledge of the discipline and the skill to apply it effectively. Over the long run it is more important to maintain the value of this asset than the office, the furniture, the computer hardware, or even the bank account." Professor Robert Gutman, Progressive Architecture, June 1992.
It has always been implicitly understood that it is the responsibility of any professional to maintain his or her professional skills. In 1998 the RIAI introduced its first formal CPD policy. In 2008, responding to registration of the title of ‘Architect’, its new role as Registration Body, and an increasingly complex regulatory, technical, and professional environment, the RIAI drafted a new policy to protect the consumer, support the profession and promote the production of high quality architecture.
Download the RIAI's CPD Policy document (updated July 2011)
updated July 2011)iupdated July 2011) Performance Standards
Society, in the shape of the Civil Law, expects of a professional that he or she will exercise reasonable skill and care in the course of employment. The standard applied is "…the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent man exercising that particular art." (Building and the Law. David Keane, RIAI, 1993).
Article 22 of European Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications requires that:
“in accordance with the procedures specific to each Member State, continuing education and training shall ensure that persons who have completed their studies are able to keep abreast of professional developments to the extent necessary to maintain safe and effective practice.”
The Building Control Act 2007 Section 2 defines professional misconduct as “any act, omission or pattern of conduct of the registered professional that – (a) is in breach of the code prepared by the relevant registration body. . . .”
The new RIAI Code of Professional Conduct, drafted under this provision of the Act, includes requirements for the maintenance of professional skills.
Principle 1: Architects should act with honesty and integrity when providing architectural services.
1.2 Architects shall ensure that they continually maintain and develop their professional knowledge and skill in all areas relevant to their practice in the State to the standards established by the Registration Body.
1.3 Architects shall continually seek to raise their standards of excellence in all relevant areas including architectural education, research, training, design, technology, construction methods and practice.”
Principle 3: Architects shall uphold the integrity and dignity of their profession.
3.13 Architects at all times shall maintain a reasonable level of professional skill and competence and at least to the standards as established by the Registration Body.
These principles form the basis of the RIAI Policy on CPD, which applies to any person who is registered on the Register for Architects and to all members of the RIAI, except those who are no longer professionally active.
The purpose of RIAI CPD is:
- To support architects and architectural technologists in the production of high quality architecture
- To protect the consumer
- To protect the public interest
- To increase client satisfaction
- To increase effectiveness (for the practice)
- To increase job satisfaction (for the architect or architectural technologist)
- To promote career advancement (for the employee)
- To promote the performance and the reputation of the profession
The pace of change has made keeping up-to-date an increasingly onerous task for the individual practitioner, while increasing expectations on the part of consumers put pressure on both practitioners and the professional bodies to ensure that skills are indeed being maintained. This updated RIAI Policy on CPD is intended to provide a support structure which will help individual registrants and members, and the RIAI as a body, to meet these demands.