Important Changes to AACA Fees in 2022

The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) will be introducing fee increases to two of its program streams, the Experienced Practitioner Assessment (EPA) and the Overseas Qualifications Assessment (OQA) next year.

These changes will ensure the AACA can continue to deliver the best quality EPA and OQA programs and make the fee-for-service charges sustainable into the future.

The AACA is working to ensure information about the changes is communicated to all key stakeholders well in advance of them coming into effect.

Background

Programs administered by the AACA help ensure the integrity and excellence of architectural practice in Australia.

The programs are an important part of a broader framework providing quality assurance to consumers and regulators alike. They uphold and enhance the profession’s strong reputation both domestically and internationally.

Why the changes are needed

A recent examination of the fee-for-service cost base of the EPA and the OQA reveals that both programs have been operating at a loss for many years.

Despite increased operating costs and more rigorous assessment requirements, there has been no substantive increase to the fee charged for the EPA and OQA over this time.

Recognising the imperative to ensure the AACA remains commercially sound and the value proposition it offers through the delivery of these programs, other services and value-adding new initiatives a decision has been made to increase fees to return the EPA and OQA to a sound financial footing.

The extended period during which these programs have operated at a loss has meant some streams will need a larger step up in price to return to a feasible basis.

What is changing

Fee increases are commensurate with covering the cost of program delivery and will therefore vary across the program streams to ensure this is achieved across the board.

The new prices are comparative with the range of fees charged for equivalent assessments in other professions. They will also reflect the high quality of the assessment delivered.

As part of this, the OQA has been overhauled to deliver significant improvements and enhance fairness.

At the new price points, the EPA continues to offer substantial benefit to experienced practitioners seeking registration by simplifying and significantly fast-tracking the assessment process.

For example, the EPA local stream condenses what can be a 12 month+ process into a mere two to three-month one.

EPA Local

Now: $ 1,224

March 2022: $ 3,050

Compare:

Architectural Practice Exam

  • 2yrs logbook
  • Statement
  • Exam
  • Interview

APE fee: $ 892

PALs or PARC: nominally $1,000

 

EPA Overseas

Now: full fee $ 2,590 / reduced fee* $1,224

March 2022: full fee $ 4,200 / reduced fee *$3,150

Compare:

Overseas Qualifications Assessment 2 Stages

OQA Stage 1 & 2**:

Now: $ 2,295

March 2022: $ 3,000

* Reduced fee will continue to be available to applicants who have completed an assessment with the AACA previously. 

OQA Stage 1**

Now: $ 1,071

March: must complete Stage 1 & 2 concuerrently** 

OQA Stage 2

Now: $ 1,224

March 2022: $ 2,300** Only available to applicants who submitted OQA Stage 1 prior to 1 March 2022.

** Skilled Migration Assessment From March 2022: New applicants who wish to apply for Overseas Qualification Assessment must complete Stage 1 and 2 concurrently. This will allow applicants who do not reside in Australia the opportunity to complete the full assessment, further information and application platform will be available in Feb 2022. Please note returning applicants who have applied for Stage 1 before 1 March 2022 will still be able to apply for Stage 2 without the need to lodge a new concurrent application. 

When the changes come into effect

The new pricing will come into effect from 00:00 (12:00am) on 1 March 2022 (AEDT).

 

Frequently asked questions

Will the fee changes apply to Experienced Practitioner and Overseas Qualifications Assessments that are already underway as of 1 March 2022?

No, changes to the fees will only apply to applications for EPAs or OQAs received on or after 1 March 2022. To receive the current fee, you must submit your application by 11:59pm 28 Feb 2022 (AEDT). 

If I apply for an Experienced Practitioner and Overseas Qualifications Assessment before 1 March 2022 will I pay the existing fee?

 Yes, applications received BEFORE 1st March 2022 will be processed at the existing fee. 

Why are the fees increasing?

A recent examination of the fee-for-service cost base of the EPA and the OQA reveals that both programs have been operating at a loss for many years.

Despite increased operating costs and more rigorous assessment requirements, there has been no substantive increase to the fee charged for the EPA and OQA over this time.

Recognising the imperative to ensure the AACA remains commercially sound and the value proposition it offers through the delivery of these programs, other services and value-adding new initiatives a decision has been made to increase fees to return the EPA and OQA to a sound financial footing.

Why are the fee increases so high?

The extended period during which these programs have operated at a loss has meant some streams will need a larger step up in price to return to a feasible basis.

Is the assessment process changing?

Both the Experienced Practitioner and Overseas Qualifications Assessments  will be updated to align with the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects (2021 NSCA)

The 2021 NSCA has introduced First Nations performance criteria,  and extended Sustainability performance criteria, AACA have created Explanatory Notes to assist the profession understand the expectations.

To conform to the federal government Skilled Migration Assessment requirements, from the 1st March, the Overseas Qualifications Assessments will need to be applied as the combined OQA Stage 1 + Stage 2. OQA Stage 1 will no longer be suitable for Migration.

What are the benefits of Experienced Practitioner Assessment?

The (EPA) is a fast track path to registration suitable for persons with 7 years post graduate experience at an executive level on complex projects. Local or Overseas qualified individuals can apply (as long as your qualification would lead to registration in the Country you studied).

Successful completion of this program allows applicants to bypass the Architectural Practice Examination and apply directly for registration as an architect with their state or territory architects registration board.

How long does the OQA take?

Applications are generally finalised within 15 weeks, depending on a submission as per guidelines and the applicant’s availability for the Stage 2 interview.

How long does the EPA take?

Applications are generally finalised within 15 weeks. Timeframes are dependent upon the submission of all necessary documentation and the interview availability (if applicable).

 

Further information

AACA staff are very happy to answer any questions practitioners may have and provide further information as required. Please contact us [email protected]

Previous Applications for 2022 National Program of Assessment (NPrA) close on 31 January
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Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Gadigal Country
Suite 3, Level 5, 75 Castlereagh Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000

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.