To practise architecture in Singapore, is registration required by law for indigenous and foreign persons?
Yes, statutory legislation under the Architects Act requires registration by both indigenous and foreign persons.
In order to call oneself an architect, is registration required?
Yes. No person shall use verbally or otherwise the word “architect” or any of its derivatives in connection with any business designation that will lead to the belief that the person is an architect unless the person is registered with the Board of Architects in Singapore.
What agency in Singapore is responsible for registration of architects?
The Board of Architects is the statutory authority established in Singapore to administer the Architects Act which sets out the general qualifications and requirements for registration. The Board is responsible for evaluation of applications for admission to the Register of Architects.
What is the educational qualification legally required for the initial registration of indigenous and foreign architects?
An approved academic qualification in architecture from a recognised university. To meet the academic requirement for registration, applicants must possess the following qualification required under Section 15(1) of the Architects Act. The following categories apply.
Degree of Bachelor of Architecture from the National University of Singapore or the Degree of Masters of Architecture from the National University of Singapore or the Singapore University of Technology and Design;
other degree, diploma or qualification which the Minister may, after consultation with the Board and by notification in the Gazette, approve for the purpose of entitling the holder thereof to be registered under this Act; or
other proper and recognised training in architecture that satisfies the Board and the passing of oral or written examinations prescribed by the Board.
What is the practical training required after obtaining the approved academic qualification?
After obtaining the approved academic qualification, the applicant must also acquire the following practical experience in architectural work under Section 15(2):
At least two years of practical experience in architectural work, includig a continuous period of at least 12 months of architectural work in Singapore and to pass the professional practice examination prescribed or approved by the Board [under Section 15(2)(a)]; or
At least five years of practical experience in architectural work. This must include at least two years of prescribed practical experience in architectural work in Singapore, with a continuous period of at least 12 months gained within the five years immediately before the date of application for registration and to pass the oral or written examination prescribed by the Board [under Section 15(2)(b)].
Applicants who have acquired or done the following may also apply for registration under Section 15(2)(c):
Gained at least 10 years of practical experience in architectural work recognised by the Board;
Received commendation or award at any international architectural event or from any professional body whose architectural degree or qualification is recognised by the Board; and
Passed oral or written examination prescribed by the Board.
What is the examination requirements required for the registration of indigenous and foreign architects?
Category (a) - Graduates with two years of practical experience may sit for the professional practice examination under section 15(2)(a) of the Act. This consists of two written papers and one oral examination. Candidates are required to submit log book and case study.
Category (b) - Graduates with five years of practical experience may sit for the professional interview under section 15(2)(b) of the Act. This consists of an oral examination. Candidates are required to submit log book and case study.
Category (c) - Interview. Applicants applying for registration under this category are required to submit a portfolio including details of the list of completed buildings designed by him or under his direction.
Full details can be obtained from the Board’s office and must be adhered to.
How do I apply?
If you satisfy the Board the registration requirements as set out above, you may obtain the necessary forms for Examination or Registration here. It is important that you complete the forms accurately and return it the Board’s office together with all the required supporting documents and registration fee.
Please note that original degree, diploma must be produced for verification by the Board’s staff when you submit your application as required by the Board.
Does the Act prohibit architectural practice without registration. If so, at what point in the process of designing a project does your law deem the architect to be engaged in the practice of architecture and therefore, require registration?
Yes, the Act prohibits the supply of architectural services without registration and the holding of a valid practising certificate. Under the Act, no person shall draw or prepare any architectural plan, drawing, tracing, design, specification or other document intended to govern the construction, enlargement or alteration of any building or part thereof in Singapore unless at the time of doing the person is a registered architects who has in force a practising certificate or is under the direction or supervision of a registered architect who has in force a practising certificate.
What is the professional architectural organisation within Singapore?
Singapore Institute of Architects.
What relation does the professional architectural organisation have to the licensing agency?
None, other than that two Board members of the Board of Architects who are appointed based on the list of three architects nominated by the Singapore Institute of Architects required under the Architects Act 1991.
In order to practise in Singapore, must a foreign firm have a local representative?
Yes. However, architects registered with the Board of Architects do not require a local representative. The local representative must be a registered architect in Singapore and must hold a valid practising certificate. A foreigner can practise in Singapore provided he or she is registered with the Board of Architects and have a valid place of practice within the country. Architectural firms can either be sole proprietorships, partnerships, licensed partnerships or licensed corporations (limited or unlimited).
What are the requirements, if any, for establishing local representation within an architectural firm in Singapore?
If a person is not registered with the Board of Architects, he or she can only hold one-third of the share in a licensed limited corporate practise. No other participation or representation to supply architectural services is allowed.
To what extent must local participation be involved in any contract with a foreign architectural firm?
There are no specific local content requirements.
When architectural construction documents (example: blueprints) for a project are prepared outside the country, is a tax levied when the documents are brought into the country? What is the tax rate, and how is the value of the documents determined?
There is no tax on import of documents. However, only registered architects holding a valid practising certificate are allowed to sign and submit plans to the building authority.
Is there any discrimination practised against foreign architectural firms?
There is no discrimination against foreign architectural firms. All foreign firms must comply with the registration process for persons or firms intending to practise in Singapore.
What are the official and commercial languages?
The official languages are English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The commercial language used in the practice of architecture is English.
What system of weights and measures is used?