NSCA Performance Criteria at Graduation

This unit of competency encompasses a holistic understanding of the organisation of the profession and business of architecture, with the objective of providing value through sustainable, timely and effective professional services in accordance with the ethical and legal obligations of an architect to clients, colleagues, employees and to broader communities.   


Understand the regulatory requirements and obligations pertaining to practice as an architect, including professional codes of conduct and obligations for continuing professional development and professional indemnity insurance.


Understand the role of quality assurance systems in facilitating efficient and timely delivery of architectural services.


Understand the principles of project planning, considering implications for Country, environmental sustainability, communities, stakeholders and project costs.



Understand the essential elements of a client architect agreement, across the range of procurement methods and the different scales and types of project.


Understand appropriate processes for reporting and varying the scope of services provided by an architect. 


Understand appropriate processes for clear and consistent communication with clients and relevant stakeholders throughout a project, including obtaining approvals from clients and stakeholders.


Understand how to implement culturally responsive and meaningful engagement processes that respect the importance of Country and reciprocal relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across architectural services.



Understand contemporary and emerging building procurement methods. This involves identifying the most appropriate form of delivery for a project, including associated risks, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and understanding appropriate construction and consultant contracts and agreements.


Understand the whole life carbon implications of procurement methods, materials, components and construction systems.



Understand how relevant building codes, standards and planning controls apply across architectural practice, including climate change implications, the principles of fire safety, and barriers to universal access.


Have knowledge of documentation processes that facilitate project delivery appropriate to selected procurement processes.



Understand legal and ethical obligations relating to copyright, moral rights, authorship of cultural knowledge and intellectual property requirements across architectural services.


Understand risk management and mitigation principles and strategies – including safety in design, project risk, requirement for resilience from the impacts of climate change and appropriate insurances – across architectural services.


This unit of competency encompasses the intelligent, creative, iterative and culturally responsive processes of initiating a project and the early stages of design. This involves research, analysis and the exploration of approaches, design ideas and alternative solutions. It leads to a design concept that meets the client’s brief, respects Country and is capable of compliance with planning controls and construction codes.


Have an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ aspirations to care for Country and how these inform architectural design.


Be able to apply creative imagination, design precedents, research, emergent knowledge and critical evaluation in formulating and refining concept design options, including the exploration of three dimensional form and spatial quality.


Understand the purpose of project feasibility assessments, including research of site constraints, opportunities and risks, and methods of determining preliminary cost analysis.  





Understand the purpose and process of generating a return brief for approval by the client and relevant stakeholders, including an awareness of the implications of non-compliance.


Understand how to identify and evaluate project development options in response to a project brief – its objectives, budget, user intent and built purpose, risks and timeframe, including environmental sustainability considerations.


Be able to draw on knowledge from the history and theory of architecture as part of preliminary design research and when developing the conceptual design.


Be able to undertake site, cultural and contextual analysis as part of preliminary design research.


Understand how to embed the knowledge, worldviews and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, shared through engagement processes, into the conceptual design in a meaningful, respectful and appropriate way.


Be able to draw on knowledge from building sciences and technology, environmental sciences and behavioural and social sciences as part of preliminary design research and when developing the conceptual design to optimise the performance of the project.


Be able to develop and evaluate design options in terms of the heritage, cultural and community values embodied in the site, and in relation to project requirements.


Be able to explore options for siting a project, including integrating information and analysis of relevant cultural, social and economic factors.


Be able to identify, analyse and integrate information relevant to environmental sustainability – such as energy and water consumption, resources depletion, waste, embodied carbon and carbon emissions – over the lifecycle of a project.


Be able to apply planning principles and statutory planning requirements to the site and conceptual design of the project.


Be able to investigate, coordinate and integrate sustainable environmental systems – including water, thermal, lighting and acoustics – into the conceptual design.


Be able to apply principles and methodologies for presenting conceptual design proposals and associated information to clients, stakeholders and communities, including using culturally responsive methods appropriate to different audiences.

This unit of competency encompasses the process of developing the design through research, detailed assessment of options and the integration of technical solutions, value and cost control processes to maintain or enhance the design intent. The final design proposal is cohesive, fully described and resolved to achieve value and cost objectives, and compliance with planning controls and construction codes.


Be able to apply creative imagination, design precedents, emergent knowledge, critical evaluation and continued engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to produce a coherent project design. This should be resolved in terms of supporting health and wellbeing outcomes for Country, site planning, formal composition, spatial planning and circulation as appropriate to the project brief and all other factors affecting the project.




Understand how the integration of material selection, structural and construction systems impacts on design outcomes.


Be able to resolve and present a coherent detailed design solution within necessary timeframes to obtain client and stakeholder approvals.





Understand the roles and types of relevant consultants and suppliers as well as applicable construction terminology.


Understand processes for selecting materials, finishes, fittings, components and systems, based on consideration of quality and performance standards, the impact on Country and the environment, and the whole life carbon impact of the project.


Understand the processes for producing project documentation that meets the requirements of the contract and procurement procedure and complies with regulatory controls, building standards, codes, and conditions of construction and planning approvals.


Be able to complete and communicate on-time, accurate documents for relevant stakeholders, including drawings, models, specifications, schedules and construction documentation.

This unit of competency encompasses the provision of services to support the process of project execution through construction. This may occur through a variety of building procurement methods and construction contracts. The form of construction contract may establish different expectations and obligations upon the architect and may include contract administration services. Typically, all contract types include the timely and cost-effective management of design delivery, review and inspection processes.


Understand available procurement methods and their application to project delivery, considering relevant factors including project type, scale and coordination of contractors.




Understand the process of selecting qualified contractors in accordance with an agreed procurement method and construction contract.




Understand the purpose of periodic site visits of construction works for quality assurance.


Understand methodologies for record keeping, document control and revision status during the construction phase.


Understand the purpose of identification of defects, rectifications and approval substitutions.


Understand the principles of contract administration, including certification, variations, instructions, requests for information and practical completion.


Understand the contract components – including all documents – and the process of executing a contract, as defined within the construction contract and in accordance with relevant building and planning codes.



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Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Gadigal Country
Suite 3, Level 5, 75 Castlereagh Street

Located on Gadigal Country, the AACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.