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Honesty is the best policy under new CPD guidelines

The riba is getting tough on cpd, issuing new guidelines in the coming weeks requiring 35 hours' cpd per year and 100 'points', which architects will award themselves according to how useful they feel the sessions are.

The new mandatory system follows a four-month trial among 140 practices, which embraced a qualitative and quantitative approach. Architects must rate each hour of cpd from 1 to 4, according to what they get out it, and that rating is multiplied by the number of hours undertaken. The target is 100 points, with half of this formal or course-based.

Joni Tyler, head of cpd at the riba, dismissed notions that architects would simply rate each course as a '4' in order to get the course over with more quickly. 'I'd have hoped they wouldn't and will instead be honest,' she said. 'We hope that this will help businesses and also the public perception of architecture.'

The courses can involve financial, legal, management or language skills, as well as technical, with distance learning an option via books and videos.

Adviser Michael Harris said he hoped that architects would avoid an ad hoc arrangement in favour of filling gaps in the practice's knowledge pool, and that they would be able to look back and say that cpd had improved the practice.

All corporate members of the riba, unless retired, should complete the 35 hours and amass 100 points, log the activity on a cpd record sheet and maintain a professional development plan. The institute will monitor 5 per cent of registered practices each year to ensure the new requirement is being met.

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