SACAP educates municipalities on how BCOs can avoid conflict of interest

Online since 11.10.2016 • Filed under Industry news
SACAP educates municipalities on how BCOs can avoid conflict of interest

Marella O’Reilly, the Registrar/CEO of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), together with her Legal and Compliance Unit, has embarked on a campaign to clarify historic misunderstandings of the law and to educate municipalities and their Building Control Officers (BCOs) on ways to avoid the conflict of interest that troubles the profession from time to time.  

Parliament has given SACAP the authority and duty to regulate and guide the architectural profession with the Architectural Profession Act (No 44 of 2000).

Some BCOs are engineers and others come from within the architectural profession itself; including Professional Architects, Senior Architectural Technologists, Architectural Technologists and Architectural Draughtspersons.

A steadily-growing number of BCOs and indeed all architectural professionals are placing themselves into good standing with the law by formally registering with SACAP and receiving their registration number.

Registrar O’Reilly says this is good news for keeping the built environment safe and the level of professionalism high. “To register and maintain their registration with SACAP, architectural professionals must complete Continuing Professional Development activities throughout their career to make sure they maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, skills and technical duties. 

The Registrar is educating municipalities, as well as home owners who use architectural professionals that BCOs are indeed entitled to draw plans themselves; however, municipalities need to ensure that all conflict of interest is avoided when these plans get submitted for local authority approval.  

“Any plans drawn by a BCO needs to get submitted for approval to a municipality outside of the jurisdiction of that BCO,” she says. “The very same BCO cannot draw plans and have them approved in the same municipal jurisdiction where they work because no BCO must be in a position to derive personal benefit from the actions or decisions they make in their official municipal capacity.”

In her educational campaign she highlights the fact that any home owners and commercial property owners who commission a SACAP-registered professionals and feels wronged by them can ask SACAP to investigate whether that professional has acted against SACAP’s Code of Conduct and needs disciplinary action. An online copy of the Code can be found on, saved under the “Who we are” section.

Anyone can verify the registration number of a SACAP registered persons by searching SACAP’s online directory: Anyone can also file a complaint or lodge an affidavit with SACAP by sending an email to: or calling: (+27) 011 479 5000.


Top tip for homeowners to remember BEFORE
hiring an architectural professional

Know the different levels of Architectural Professionals and what type of work they are competent to perform - before you hire one. An Architectural Professional is not necessarily a Professional Architect. The profession has different levels within it, each with a different title. And each capable and competent to perform different functions. In South Africa’s these are the levels:

Professional Architectural Draughtspersons (PAD)

Professional Architectural Technologist (PAT)

Professional Senior Architectural Technologist (PSAT)

Professional Architect (Pr Arch)

If you would like more information from SACAP, please email:


Share this

Renewables in Africa

Subscribe to our Digital Magazine (free)