World Architecture Day, SAIA Gives Full Support

Obert Chakarisa (2)

Obert Chakarisa
Chief Executive Officer,
The South African Institute of Architects


Every first Monday of every October has been set aside as the World Architecture Day, wherein the International Union of Architects (UIA) calls for the world population to be reminded of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat. South African professional architects are represented on the UIA through the membership of the South African Institute of Architects, a body of architects whose membership exceeds 2,500.


This year’s World Architecture Day will be celebrated on Monday, 2nd October 2017 and the selected theme is “Climate Change Action!”. The tone of the theme itself demonstrates the urgency in which our collective efforts must be galvanized towards ensuring that responsible and sustainable design of all our habitat is cognisance of the negative impact such designs could have on the environment (climate).


The developments pertaining to the various initiatives that emanated following the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to combat the impact of climate change on the environment and humanity need to be reflected upon on this important architectural day. The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) fully supports all the efforts currently being mobilized globally in implementing the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.


SAIA would like to take the opportunity to call upon general members of the public, all three levels of government and the built environment at large to insist on engaging professional architects for all building projects so that they can “tap” into the expertise of the crème of the architectural profession.


Over the years, SAIA has noted with regret the unfortunate tendency where the critical role professional architects play in the built environment is not understood and in fact undermined. As we celebrate the World Architecture Day on the 2nd October 2017, let’s take the time to look around our environment, marvel at the work of professional architects and contemplate on initiatives that will assist in being mindful of the climate change agenda.


Architects and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Llewellyn van Wyk

Llewellyn van Wyk
Principal Researcher, CSIR
Thursday, 14 September 2017

Introduction and Background

Climate change is projected to impact drastically in southern African during the 21st century under low mitigation futures.1 African temperatures are projected to rise rapidly, at 1.5 to 2 times the global rate of temperature increase.2 Moreover, the southern African region is projected to become generally drier under enhanced anthropogenic forcing.3 These changes will have a range of potential impacts on the South African environment and economy, including impacts on energy demand (in terms of achieving human comfort within buildings and factories), water security (through reduced rainfall and enhanced evapotranspiration) and agriculture (in terms of changes in crop yield).4

Climate change impacts will however not only manifest through changes in average temperature and rainfall patterns, but also through changes in the attributes of extreme weather events. For the southern African region, generally drier conditions and the more frequent occurrence of dry spells are plausible over most of the interior.5 Tropical cyclone tracks are projected to shift northward, bringing more flood events to northern Mozambique and fewer to the Limpopo province in South Africa.6 Cut-off low related flood events are also projected to occur less frequently over South Africa in response to a poleward displacement of the westerly wind regime.7 Intense thunderstorms are plausible to occur more frequently over South Africa in a generally warmer climate.8

On the basis of the above projections, architects should take the following steps.

Land Use and Ecology

Site selection

Analyze the risks associated with the particular site and if at all possible, avoid development in the following areas:

  • Steep slopes may be subject to slip
  • Clay soils will be subject to extensive heave and shrinkage
  • Coastal properties will be subject to sea level rise and/or sea surge
  • Flood plains will change, i.e., 1:100-year occurrence could become a 1:50 occurrence, and 1:50 a 1:20, and so on. Floor heights above natural ground level should be adjusted accordingly.
  • Sites adjacent to open veld will be subject to more intense and frequent veld fires.
  • Wind speeds are likely to increase so additional precautions are required in areas with existing high wind speeds.

Ecological value of the site

Climate change influences local biodiversity: as climate changes plant species migrate in response. The anticipated pattern is for specie to generally migrate in a south easterly direction except for the eastern coast where the anticipated migration is in a south westerly direction. Look in these directions to establish what plant species to cultivate on the site.

Establish an ecological baseline of the site and use the development to enhance the value.

Avoid introducing species that are not indigenous to that area, even if they are indigenous to South Africa. Remove existing species that are not indigenous to the location.

Protect and retain all features of ecological value, particularly where these features are connected to a larger ecological system or designated system including forest, wetland, water courses, grassland, or any other habitats considered to have ecological value.

Minimise disruption to the site in all forms but specifically bulk excavations, cut-and-fill, and terracing. Restrict the construction area of the site to a minimum, and protect those areas that fall outside of the construction area.

Take steps to reduce the impact of future extreme events on the site particularly flooding, sea surge and fire. For example, avoid concentrated stormwater discharge points that typically results from downpipes and stormwater channels. A range of Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) components are available to deal with different conditions.

Plant as many trees on the site as is appropriate to the location: this will stabilize the soil, provide shade and shelter to the building, and reduce the heat island effect.

Use permeable pavement throughout to reduce runoff characteristics and to allow ground infiltration of rainwater.

Building Envelope

Building envelopes will need to be responsive to higher temperatures: these responses should be based on passive approaches rather than active (mechanically supported) approaches.

Roof insulation values should be appropriate to the future forecast temperatures of the location. Since the majority of radiation in South Africa is vertical, the roof design forms the most effective barrier to thermal gains. Avoid roof glazing: where this is not possible, roof glazing should be capable of being completely closed off from heat transfer.

Heat reflecting surfaces should be introduced on all horizontal surfaces to reduce heat transfer and the heat island effect.

Adjustable ventilated attics are an effective way of dealing with higher temperatures.

All external wall openings should be protected. Over and above shading, adjustable shutters that increase the thermal resistance of external wall openings should be used.

The thermal resistance of walls should be appropriate to the future forecast temperatures of the location.

Ventilation rates should be increased beyond the minimum requirements of the NBR. The appropriate level of ventilation will be determined by the future forecast temperatures for the location. Displacement ventilation should be used to increase air exchange rates. Take particular note of prevailing wind conditions to ‘drive’ displacement ventilation.


Services should be positioned in accordance with risk analysis for the location. In areas of flooding, services should be elevated wherever possible. In areas of fire risk or high wind velocities services should be buried.

Target a zero dependent building, i.e., net zero water, energy, waste, sanitation, and ecological loss. For services this will require significant reductions in demand (improved efficiencies through higher performance specifications) in order to meet off-grid supply capabilities.


Water resources are and will continue to become increasingly scarce. Use water efficient fittings throughout the development. Design to use renewable water (rainwater, stormwater, greywater, blackwater, and condensate water). Preferably design a twin-pipe system where rainwater, stormwater and greywater can be recycled. A number of SuDS components can be used to facilitate this on site. In addition, there are a number of technologies that support closed-loop water and sanitation systems: the use of these technologies is encouraged.

In line with the requirements listed in site ecology, planting that requires regular watering, such as lawns, should be avoided.


Materials will be exposed to harsher environmental conditions including solar radiation. Subject all material choices to a life cycle assessment relevant to the future climate projections for the location.

Appropriate material choices are required in areas of high fire risk, bearing in mind that veld fire events will be both more frequent and intense.

Architects have a significant role to play in adapting the built environment to climate change impacts. Lessons from Houston and Florida floods have confirmed that the built environment is more resilient where strategic interventions have been put in place.

1 Niang I, Ruppel OC, Abdrabo M, Essel A, Lennard C, Padgham J, Urquhart P, Adelekan I, Archibald S, Barkhordarian A, Battersby J, Balinga M, Bilir E, Burke M, Chahed M, Chatterjee M, Chidiezie CT, Descheemaeker K, Djoudi H, Ebi KL, Fall PD, Fuentes R, Garland R, Gaye F, Hilmi K, Gbobaniyi E, Gonzalez P, Harvey B, Hayden M, Hemp A, Jobbins G, Johnson J, Lobell D, Locatelli B, Ludi E, Otto Naess L, Ndebele-Murisa MR, Ndiaye A, Newsham A, Njai S, Nkem, Olwoch JM, Pauw P, Pramova E, Rakotondrafara M-L, Raleigh C, Roberts D, Roncoli C, Sarr AT, Schleyer MH, Schulte-Uebbing L, Schulze R, Seid H, Shackleton S, Shongwe M, Stone D, Thomas D, Ugochukwu O, Victor D, Vincent K, Warner K, Yaffa S (2014). IPCC WGII AR5. Chapter 22 pp 1-115 2014

2 James, R. and Washington, R. 2013. “Changes in African temperature and precipitation associated with degrees of global warming.” Climatic Change 117 859-872. DOI 10.1007/s10584-012-0581-7; Engelbrecht, F., Adegoke, J., Bopape, MM., Naidoo, M., Garland, R., Thatcher, M., McGregor, J., Katzfey, J., Werner, M., Ichoku, C. and Gatebe, C. 2015. “Projections of rapidly rising surface temperatures over Africa under low mitigation.” Environmental Research Letters.

3 Christensen, J., Hewitson, B., Busuioc, A., Chen, A., Gao, X., Held, I., Jones, R., Kolli, R., Kwon, W-T., Laprise, R., Magana Rueda, V., Mearns, L., Menendez, C., Raisanen J, Rinke A, Sarr A, Whetton P (2007). Regional climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt, AB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds). Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Niang et al, 2014; James and Washington 2013; Engelbrecht et al, 2015)

4 Engelbrecht et al, 2015.

5 Christensen et al 2007; Engelbrecht, F., McGregor, J. and Engelbrecht, C. 2009. “Dynamics of the conformal-cubic atmospheric model projected climate-change signal over southern Africa.” Int J Climatol 29 1013-1033.

6 Malherbe, J., Engelbrecht, F. and Landman, W. 2013. “Projected changes in tropical cyclone climatology and landfall in the Southwest Indian Ocean region under enhanced anthropogenic forcing.” Clim Dyn 40 2867-2886.

7 Engelbrecht 2013

8 Ibid


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NEWS@SAIA – Facts and Opinions. April 2016

CEO’s Comment

In today’s turbulent economy and ever changing Legislative environment, it is critical that employers understand the difference between Employment Contracts and Independent Contracts. This matter is elucidated in this newsletter in a manner which is particularly relevant to architects.

Obert Chakarisa
Chief Executive Officer, The South African Institute of Architects

An Introduction

In the Architecture profession we are inevitably confronted with the legal side of things, herewith is a brief look at certain legislation within the profession that deal with the Architect as employer. The inclusion of the Occupational Health and Safety is for the purposes of the Architect as employer and not under the Construction regulations.

  • LABOUR – There are no specific requirements related to the hire of construction sector employees. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (BCEA) prohibits employment of any child under 15 years of age or who is under the minimum school leaving age. For foreign nationals who have not been granted permanent resident status in South Africa, they must obtain work permits under the Immigration Act 13 of 2002. It is an offence to employ a foreign person in violation of the Immigration Act.
  • SAFETY – The OH&S Act and the Construction Regulations (as well as various other regulations promulgated under the OH&S Act) regulate the health and safety of all persons (subject to certain minor exceptions) involved in construction work, other than construction work which is regulated under the Mine Health and Safety Act 29 of 1996. The Construction Regulations impose obligations on employers (owners), contractors and designers. The obligations relate principally to the management of health and safety by the employer and designer through the design and procurement phase of the project, and by all parties on the construction site itself. The management of health and safety on the construction site must be undertaken under pre-formulated and agreed health and safety plans, setting out specific minimum safety requirements for various construction activities (Construction Regulations).
  • COPYRIGHT – If the Employer wishes to own the copyright it should expect to pay for it as the previous owner would no longer be entitled to exploit it. Whether taking ‘assignment’ (i.e. becoming the owner) of the copyright or only licensing it, the Employer should ensure that it contracts with the copyright owner. If no such agreement is expressly entered into, and an architect is engaged to draw plans only, the client would probably have an implied licence to erect a building from those plans on the intended site. Although the purchaser of a drawing may become the owner of the (physical) drawing upon its delivery to him, without a formal assignment of copyright he would not become the owner of the (intangible) copyright therein as ownership and copyright are separate and distinct rights. The Copyright Act explains one’s rights and remedies.
  • CERTIFICATES – In Shelagatha Property Investments cc v Kellywood Homes (Pty) Ltd 1995 (3) SA 187 (A) the court found that in the event of a contract being cancelled due to the Employer’s breach there was, in general, no reason why the prior interim certificate should not be enforced. The court therefore found that the Contractor’s right to payment under the interim certificates was independent of the executory part of the contract and that it accordingly survived the cancellation of the contract and should be paid.

 Other questions to elaborate on are:

  • Who normally bears the risk of unforeseen ground conditions?
  • Who bears the risk of a change in law affecting the completion of the works?

“Employers” who intend on making use of a person’s skills and expertise, must most
importantly, determine the nature/purpose of the employment relationship as it will help
guide the employer to enter into the correct type of contract, i.e. whether the agreement
should be a contract of employment or an independent contractor contract for the provision
of work.

There is copious confusion about when someone should be contracted as an independent contractor, or rather an employee. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) makes no differentiation of the following terms and just refers to “employees”:

  • Temporary employees, part-time employees, fixed term contract employees, flexitime
    employees or any other terms which are sometimes used to describe the
    services editors render to a producer or production company.

There are two exceptions though, namely the “independent contractor” and “senior
managerial employee”. The latter is defined by the BCEA as a person who has the authority
to hire, discipline and dismiss employees, and to represent the employer internally and
externally. The independent contractor contract can be defined as “the letting/hiring of piece
work is a reciprocal contract between an employer and an independent contractor in terms of
which the latter undertakes to build, manufacture, repair or alter a corporeal thing within a
certain period and the employer undertakes to pay the contractor a reward in return

Only persons defined as “employees” are protected by legislation and have recourse to the
dispute resolution provisions of the LRA, therefore it is necessary to establish whether a
person is an employee or not. The courts have formulated a dominant impression test =.
See Smit v Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner 1979 (1) SA 51 (A) at 61 A – H and
SABC v McKenzie (1999) which summarises six main differences between the employment
contract and independent contractor contract:

Employment contract Independent Contractor
1 Object is rendering of personal service by the employee to the employer. Object is the performance of a certain specified work, or the production of a certain specified result.
2 The employee is at the beck and call of the employer to render his personal services at the behest of the latter. The independent contractor is not obliged to perform the work himself, or to produce the result himself (unless the parties agree otherwise). He may avail himself of the labour or services of other workmen as assistants or employees to perform the work, or to assist him in the performance of his obligations.
3 The employee’s services are at the disposal of the employer who may in his own discretion decide whether or not he wants to have them rendered. The independent contractor is bound to perform a certain specified work or produce a certain result within the time fixed by the contract of work, or within a reasonable time, where no time has been specified.
4 The employee is subordinate to the will of the employer and is obliged to obey the lawful commands, orders, or instructions of his employer, who is he has to do it. The independent contractor is on a footing of equality with the locator operis. The former is bound by his contract of work, not by the orders of the latter. He is neither under supervision or control of the locator operis nor of the locator operis in regard to the manner in which the work is to be performed.
5 The contract is terminated by the death of the employee. The death of either party to a contract of work does not necessarily terminate it.
6 The contract terminates on expiration of the period of service entered into. The contract terminates on the completion of the specified work, or on the production of the specified result.

Another guideline to take into consideration is section 83 A of the BCEA which states that: A person who works for, or renders services to, another person, is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be an employee, regardless of the form of the contract, if any one or more of the following factors is present:

  1. The manner in which the person works is subject to the control or direction of another person;
  2. the person’s hours of work are subject to the control or direction of another person;
  3. in the case of a person who works for an organisation, the person is a part of that organisation;
  4. the person has worked for that other person for an average of at least 40 hours per month over the last three months;
  5. the person is economically dependent on the other person for whom that person works or renders services;
  6. the person is provided with tools of trade or work equipment by the other person;
  7. or the person only works for or renders services to one person.

So if an employment relationship exists, the dispute will fall under the jurisdiction of the CCMA (or Bargaining Council etc). If not, then the applicant is not an employee for the purposes of the Act, and the CCMA does not have jurisdiction to conciliate or arbitrate the matter. The applicant could then sue civilly for breach of contract, damages, and so on. Take note though that the onus falls on the “employer” to lead evidence to prove that the applicant is not an employee and that the relationship is in fact one of independent contracting.

As has been noted, the majority of cases which usually arise from such instance generally are resolved through arbitration as opposed to court.

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Corobrik SAIA Awards Pre-in Loco Inspections off to a Fine Start


Speakers from left: Musa Shangase, Sponsor Representative; Professor Paul Kotze, Academic Architect; Mokena Makeka, Eminent Architect, Sumien Brink, Eminent Layperson; Obert Chakarisa, Chief Executice, the South African Institute of Architects; Kevin Bingham, Convenor of the Corobrik SAIA Awards Adjudication panel.

Experts speak on the challenges facing architecture at Corobrik SAIA Awards poster exhibition and lectures

The pre-in loco meeting for the Corobrik SAIA Awards of Merit and Excellence were kicked off at a special event hosted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) at the University of the Witwatersrand on
10 February 2016.

This took the form of an afternoon lecture series providing a snapshot of the shaping of architecture – past, present and future – by the award adjudicators, and marked the end of the first day of a three-day exhibition featuring posters of the projects submitted for the awards.

The five awards judges, all experts in their field, were welcomed by Obert Chakarisa, the Chief Executive Officer of SAIA. Mr Chakarisa applauded the fact that a record 66 entries had been entered into this years’ Award programme, which bears testimony to the importance of architecture in South Africa today.

Eminent architect, Mokena Makeka quoted data from the World Economic Forum in his talk entitled ‘Architecture and the Future of Cities’, highlighting the pressure that fast-growing populations are placing on cities globally.

“In 1800 only 3% of people lived in a city of 1 million or more; by the year 2000, it was 47%,” Makeka said. “In 1950 there were only 83 cities worldwide with populations over 1 million; by 2007 there were 468, with over 52 in Africa alone as of 2014. In April 2008 the world passed the 50% urbanization mark.”

“Cities have evolved into a more complex space inter-linked by a number of systems and planners generally have failed to read the ‘Urban Progression’ and thus cities have failed significantly in terms of the ‘Quality of Life’ of the urbanites,” Makeka said.

He quoted statistics showing that among the fastest growing megacities are Mexico City, New York, New Delhi and Tokyo. It is expected that Mexico City’s population will grow from 20 million in 2011 to 25 million in 2025, a 25% increase in 14 years. In the same period, the population of New Delhi will increase from 23 million to 33 million, a growth rate of 43%. Tokyo’s population is expected to reach 39 million by 2025.

He went on to reveal that, as the rate of urbanization increases a “key feature of this future will be the melding together of mega-cities and their coalescence into mega-regions reaching population concentrations of more than 100 million people – called the ‘never-ending’ city. Hong Kong together with Shenzhen and Guangzhou may soon become the largest city-conglomeration on the planet with 120 million inhabitants.”

Referring to Africa, Makeka said that the continent’s city-dwellers were expected to rise from 400 million people in 2010 to 1.26 billion people in 2050 – roughly triple.

“Over a quarter of the 100 fastest-growing cities in the world are in Africa. The continent already has more than 25 cities with populations of 1 million people or more,” he said.

Another concerning factor was the growing world population of squatters – expected to increase from 1 billion out of 6 billion in 2003 to 2 billion out of 8.3 billion in 2031.

Makeka said that what was needed were affordable and inclusive new “adaptive” cities with smart grids and full access. The challenge for architects was to grasp the seven modalities of the 21st century city – governance, rising inequality, technology, sustainability, spatial economy and global value chains, with design at the centre.

“Waiting for the Right Architect” was the topic of a talk by Professor Paul Kotze, an academic architect. He said that the relationship between client and architect and, for that matter, the whole team of professionals and builders who work on a building project, was of the utmost importance.

“The history of architecture is, sadly, littered with negative examples of an adversarial relationship between architect and client, or within the larger team who are responsible for specific buildings,” he said.

“The other side of the coin – where a supportive and inspirational relationship exists between clients and architect that has a positive outcome on the building – is so often forgotten and not celebrated,” he said. “When the factors that make buildings ‘good and inspiring’ are unearthed, it is this very relationship that mostly underpins these perceptions of physical quality.”

Kotze cited examples of projects where inspired and knowledgeable individuals had a positive influence, such as the Khyber Rock House and Ubuntu Centre by Palo Alto based architect, Stan Field (now Field Architecture) and the Wits Art Museum by Cohen and Garson.

In his presentation entitled ‘Architecture: From Creativity to Painting by Numbers’, the Convenor of the Corobrik SAIA Awards adjudication, Kevin Bingham, questioned creativity in architecture and how the criteria for judging award-winning architecture may have changed over time.

He asked whether or not awards were suited to particular building types, more than others, and explored how design guidelines – a paint by numbers – have an impact on architectural design. His lecture was a tour from Vitruvius to 2016 and concluded with examples of his current work in medical architecture and associated research.

Sumien Brink, eminent layperson and editor-in-chief of Visi design, décor and architecture magazine, gave an insight into the past, present and future of the publication since its inception in 1999. She gave a visual run-though of the magazine’s covers over the past 17 years and of the Corobrik SAIA Award winners that Visi had featured. Stressing the importance of their digital offering, particularly the rapid upward trend of their website, Brink hinted that time would tell whether there would still be a Visi magazine in ten years’ time.

Musa Shangase, commercial director of Corobrik, the awards sponsor, delivered the final presentation of the afternoon, entitled ‘Affordable for Life’ in which he highlighted the benefits offered by clay brick masonry to the construction industry. “When we say that clay brick is affordable for life, we are talking about a very long lifespan – an average of 500 years according to a 2004 study by the University of Leeds,” he said.
“Throughout southern Africa, clay brick buildings shape our architectural heritage, with the oldest surviving building in the country being the Castle of Good Hope Bell Tower in Cape Town which was built between 1666 and 1684.”

Shangase said that, due to its extended lifespan, clay brick masonry was the most economical, low risk and practical building material available today, both during and after construction.

“Clay brick requires no power tools, can be stored and built in all weather, is of consistently high quality as it is manufactured to SABS standards, and is flexible because it is modular. It never rots, punctures, tears, dents, fades, decays, corrodes, tarnishes or becomes brittle.”

“Throughout its long life, clay brick provides safe, energy-efficient, healthy and low maintenance homes, offices, schools and social infrastructure – whilst maintaining its inherent natural beauty,” he said. “Clay masonry is uniquely suited to the African climate and lifestyle and there is a growing market for recycled bricks and pavers for repairing historic buildings or building new structures. All of this helps to offset its carbon footprint.”

Shangase concluded his talk by saying, “The architects we will be honouring in the Corobrik SAIA Awards will set new benchmarks in aesthetics, energy efficiency, safety and sustainability. This means that those of us in the business of supplying construction materials, need to continually improve to keep up with their ideas.”

The University of the Witwatersrand extended the poster display for an extra week because they found it of immense value to their students, fine testimony to entrants for this Award.

NEWSLETTER March 2016 – Business




Esther van Tonder
Executive Manager, Finance and Human Resources

Early Payment Helps Architecture Progress

To date we have received 73 per cent of our SAIA practice levies and 80 per cent of individual membership subscriptions. These funds are mainly used to further the interest of our members and architecture in general. In short, we cannot supply the services required from SAIA without sufficient funds and cannot effectively strategise and plan SAIA’s way forward without your subscriptions. A great big thank you to all those who made payment within the required time and to the SAIA practices who responded so positively to our November reminder.

Unfortunately, 27 per cent of the SAIA practices have not yet submitted their levies which makes it difficult for us to embark on certain projects. So, in the interests of helping SAIA make the impact you desire in the Built Environment, we encourage you to make payment as soon as possible.

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We’re One Big Happy Family

As SAIA approaches its ninetieth birthday, we know that many architects have loved and benefitted from SAIA’s work over the decades. As we value you as members, it would be like losing a family member if you were not to be a part of the SAIA family. However, families have guidelines and we have rules regarding those who belong to SAIA. Unfortunately, termination of a SAIA practice occurs under the following circumstances:

  • The principal member/s cease to be a member of SAIA.
  • Failure of a SAIA practice to pay the practice levy.
  • Please note that a member shall forfeit membership when a member’s practice shall cease to be a SAIA practice.

So, if you are one of the minority who have not paid your practice levy, don’t risk being left out in the cold. Contact us today to make arrangements regarding payment.


(as per the new adopted constitution of 1 July 2015)

  • A SAIA practice is a practice that consists of at least one principal who is a member of SAIA. Status as a SAIA Practice is mandatory. They must submit an annual declaration stating the architectural staff complement of the practice as at 1 July in order for SAIA to calculate the practice levy for the year. SAIA issues the relevant tax invoice.

A SAIA practice may use:

  • the designation: “SAIA Practice” or
  • the description: “A registered Practice of the South African Institute of Architects” and/or
  • the SAIA logo on any practice or marketing material,

but not in the name of the practice.

The following principles apply to SAIA practices. These are presented as the most frequently asked questions.

What is a practice?

  • Every architectural practice must be recorded with the SA Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) in compliance with the SACAP Code of Professional Conduct Rules (Rule 5 page 94 of the Government Gazette of 27 November 2009).
  • A person or persons who operate a practice in their own name or as a partnership, a cc, a company or the like, must submit details of the practice name, address, etc to SACAP within 30 days.
  • If, for business reasons, a person operates more than one firm or company from the same address, each practice must be recorded with SACAP.
  • If a firm or company has more than one office, each branch office must be recorded with SACAP.
  • Joint ventures set up by two or more practices for a specific venture do not necessarily constitute a practice, unless it is recorded with SACAP as a separate practice entity.
  • This listing of Architectural practices is updated on a continual basis by SACAP in accordance with the regulations. SAIA maintains a data base of SAIA practices from the information received.

What is a SAIA practice?

  • Every SACAP recorded practice and where at least one principal is a member of SAIA, deemed to be deemed to be a SAIA practice. (clause 9 of the SAIA constitution of 01‐07‐2015

What is an employee?

  • An employee is a person employed by the practice and includes persons on performance-based term contracts and half-day or part-time staff.
  • An employee is defined in the Income Tax Act (1962) and the Skills Development Levies Act in more detail, but simply put, it includes persons whose remuneration is subject to Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions,
  • Architectural staff are architects, technologists or draughtspersons, designers or CAD operators and includes the principals (shareholders) of the firm.
  • Administrative staff are non-technical and include accountants, bookkeepers, front line support, personal assistants, filing clerks, etc.
  • Support staff include cleaners, messengers, gardeners, etc.

What is the architectural staff complement?

  • For purposes of determining the size of each SAIA practice the term architectural staff complement/employee units is used.
  • The total number of employee units in a practice is determined by the total number of principals and architectural staff.
  • Half-day or part-time employees are calculated on a pro rata basis, e.g. 2 half-day employees = 1 employee unit.
  • Admin, technical and support staff is excluded from calculating the number of employee units in a practice.

How much will the annual subscriptions be and how will it be determined?
The subscriptions are due annually on 1 July.

  • Payment should reach SAIA no later than 31 August.
  • A levy per category plus the TOTAL number of Architectural employees are used to calculate the SAIA practice levy due by each SAIA Practice.
  • The levies (Vat Excl) per category are:
    Category Size of Practice Levy (Vat Excl)
    Micro 1 employee unit R800-00
    Small 2 – 3 employee units R2,000-00
    Medium 4 – 9 employee units R5,200-00
    Large 10 – 15 employee units R12,000-00
    Macro 16+ employee units R30,000-00
  • The rate per employee unit is R300-00 per employee.
  • How to calculate the SAIA Practice Levy:
    For Example:If the total number of Architectural employees declared equals 4, then the category will be “MEDIUM” .
    Levy for MEDIUM practice 5,200-00
    4 (Employees, incl principals) x R300-00 1,200-00
    Sub Total 6,400-00
    14% VAT 896-00
    Total amount of levies due to SAIA R7,296-00

How should one calculate the SAIA Practice Levy if one operates more than one practice?

  • It is recommended that the principal employer of the practice identifies each architectural staff member in its employ to calculate the total number of employee units of a specific practice.
  • Principals should be included in the calculation of each practice, but it is unlikely that staff will be employed by two practices at the same time.
  • We rely on members to reflect the practice realities in their annual declarations.

How should one calculate the subs of a practice which is formed during the year?

  • Practices which are formed during the financial year must submit the particulars of the practice within 30 days to SACAP and SAIA and the practice will only be liable for a pro rata portion of the annual levies.
  • The subs due are calculated on a monthly basis from the first of the month in which the practice was formed.

If membership is voluntary, why can one not elect to join either as an individual or as a SAIA Practice?

  • Individual membership of a regional institute and therefore of SAIA is voluntary.
  • As per the new adopted constitution of 01-07-2015 the status as a SAIA Practice is mandatory when at least one principal is a member of SAIA
  • There is no provision in the constitution for independent SAIA practice membership.


  • Individual subscriptions are paid to the Regional institute in accordance with the regional account (including SAIA’s portion for individual membership). Individual members receive a SAIA membership certificate only once upon enrolment
  • Every practice or practice entity as described earlier completes an annual declaration with supporting schedules and submits this, together with the requisite payment to the SA Institute of Architects no later than 31 August. Please note that the responsible principal, duly authorised to do so, signs the declaration.
  • An extended period may in particular cases be allowed:
    • On receipt of a written application from the entity, on condition that the levy shall be paid within 6 months, that they experience financial hardship.
    • An arrangement, in writing, with SAIA that the levies will be paid in monthly instalments.
    • A request in writing to motivate for the practice levies to be waived for one year only, giving full particulars. The board may in its own discretion decide to waive/not to waive the levies.
  • An annual SAIA practice certificate will be issued to all the SAIA practices which are paid-up and in good standing.

A SAIA practice shall cease to be a SAIA practice when:

  • The principal member/s cease to be a member of SAIA.
  • Failure of a SAIA practice to pay the practice levy.
  • Please note that a member shall forfeit membership when a member’s practice shall cease to be a SAIA practice.

Marketing, Communication and Sponsorship


Debbie Kirk
Executive Manager: Marketing, Communication and Fundraising

Off to a Good Start

The new year started on a positive note with the Corobrik SAIA pre-in loco inspection being hosted at the University of the Witwatersrand. With the help of Professor Kotze a magnificent display of the 66 entries for this years’ Award programme was proudly on display.

On 12 February the adjudicators gave of their time and expertise during a lecture on areas of architecture that they hold dear. The lecture was well attended, comments about the event enthusiastic and positive PR flowed as a result for both SAIA and generous sponsor, Corobrik. Now the excitement builds to see which projects come out tops in this highly prestigious Award Programme which is growing in stature and importance year by year.


The count-down clock is ticking, with about a month before the AfriSam SAIA Awards for Sustainable Development close. Don’t miss out on this superb opportunity to show how visionary you are as an architect; able to design iconic buildings which are also sustainable and thus tangible proof of South African architects’ commitment to changing our country for the better through their Design.

New Look

We’ve re-freshed our Newsletters and Newsflashes and now look forward to enhancing other Marketing and Communications channels, so watch this space for further development.

There’s plenty more on the SAIA Marketing and Communications Schedule to share, but then there are also a number editions of News@SAIA to keep you in-touch and well-informed for you to look out for this year.

Debbie Kirk
Executive Manager, Marketing Communications and Sponsorship




Bryan Wallis
Executive Manager: Education


Developments in the Professional Environment

The closing months of 2015 and the first two months of 2016 have seen a flurry of activity which has the potential for significant impact on the professional environment in which architecture is practiced. The main issues can be summarised as follows.

Guideline Professional fees

Section 34(2) provides that SACAP shall, annually determine guideline professional fees and publish those fees in the Gazette. The Competition Commission has however, by way of a notice published on 11 February 2016, rejected applications for exemptions from provisions of the Competition Act relating to the publication of guideline professional fees.

Effectively this means that SACAP may not publish professional guideline fees in the future without the risk of incurring sanction by the Competition Commission. At the time of writing the full implications and ramifications of the Competition Commission’s decision are not clear. SACAP has indicated its intention of appealing this decision.

Identification of Work

Section 26(1) of the Architectural Profession Act 2000 (Act 44 of 2000) requires the SACAP must consult with various interested and affected parties regarding the identification of the type of architectural work which may be performed by persons registered in any of the categories referred to in section 18 of the act, including work which may fall within the scope of any other profession regulated by the professions’ acts referred to in the CBE Act of 2000.

Section 26(2) requires that SACAP must, after the consultation process, submit recommendations to the CBE regarding work identified for registered persons in the different categories and the CBE will, after consideration, identify such work in terms of section 20 of the CBE act of 2000 (Act 43 of 2000).

Section 26(3) prohibits persons who are not registered with SACAP from undertaking any work identified for registered persons, subject to the provisions of section 26(4).

After lengthy deliberation SACAP published in 2011 an Interim Policy on the Identification of Work for the Architectural Profession (Board Notice 154 of 2011).

On 30 November 2015, SACAP published Board Notice 258 of 2015 withdrawing the Interim Policy on the Identification of Work for the Architectural Profession (Board Notice 154 of 2011). SACAP has also withdrawn the Architectural Compliance certificate which was required to be submitted to local authorities with applications for building plan approvals. Following the withdrawal of BN 154 of 2011, SACAP, on 3 February 2016, published Board Notice 10 of 2016, Interim Rule on the Identification of Work for the Architectural Profession.

In SAIA’s view this interim rule is inadequate and does not provide sufficient clarity on the question of what qualifications, competences and experience are required to practice architecture in the four categories of registration provided for in the Act.

On 4 February 2016, the Competition Commission rejected five of the six Built Environment councils’ application for exemptions from the provisions of the Competition Act relating to the identification of work for registered professionals. In its notice of 4 February 2016, the Competition Commission states that the application submitted by SACAP in this regard is still under consideration.

SACAP has drafted a proposal for a new policy on the Identification of Work for the Architectural Profession. This proposal is now the subject of consolation and public comment – see SACAP invitation to a Public and Stakeholder Engagement meeting to be held on 10 March 2016. At the time of writing the implications as regards requirements for building plan approvals are not clear and members are advised to consult with local authorities as to their specific requirements.

Renewal of Registration and CPD

SACAP has proposed a new policy on the renewal of professional registration and related CPD requirements. If adopted, the proposal would require that registered person must renew their professional registration annually. Further, there are proposals for amending the current CPD framework which would, inter alia, introduce what SAIA considers to be unrealistic and unnecessarily bureaucratic administrative practices into the CPD framework. SAIA has previously communicated its concerns in this regard to SACAP. The proposal will be a topic for discussion at the upcoming Public and Stakeholder Engagement meeting to be held on
10 March 2016.

SACAP Public and Stakeholder Engagement: 10 March 2016

SACAP will be holding a public and stakeholder engagement meeting on 10 March 2016.

The following issues will form the basis of the consultation:

  1. The role of Voluntary Associations (VA’s) within the Architectural Profession. Renewal of Voluntary Associations (VA’s) – requirements for Recognition and Maintenance of Recognition of a Voluntary Association in terms of section 25 read with section 14(d) of the Act – Draft Policy
  2.  Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
  3.  Identification of Work (IDoW)
  4.  Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
  5.  Professional Fees

SACAP proposals for items 1 to 4 above are downloadable via following link–Stakeholder-Public-Engagement-meeting–10-March-2016.htm

SAIA will be providing feedback as soon as possible.

Practice and Stakeholder Management


Ludwich Ackermann
Executive Manager: Practice and Stakeholder Management

Ludwich Ackermann, Takes the SAIA Practice and Stakeholder Engagement Helm

I have been fortunate to have experienced in a wide variety of practice environments ranging from small to large during my career.

My dealings with SAIA started gaining momentum when I started my own practice and I found their support a critical aspect of my professional development and would recommend any young architect to join. It is a privilege and an honour to join SAIA as Executive – Practice and Stakeholder Engagement as of February 2016. I already enjoy the challenge and opportunity of the role in engaging with the industry on all its levels in this role. I believe that I can benefit our embers by applying my specific skills to this role.

My Architectural alma mater is the University of Pretoria and I also hold a prior qualification from the University of Johannesburg. I enjoy the outdoors and I have recently set some goals in trail running that I also hope to accomplish this year.

T.L. Ackermann


SAIA and SACAP Collaborate to Promote Women Architects


(From left) Penelope Sebe – Manager: SAIA Transformation, Karuni Naidoo – Chairperson: WIASA (SACAP), Ruben Reddy – President: SAIA Kwa-Zulu Natal, Janine Hicks – KZN Commissioner for Gender Equality, Kevin Bingham – SAIA Vice – President

Since the launch of the SACAP WIASA Transformation Programme in August 2015 at the Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture, great engagements have recently transpired between the SAIA Transformation Committee and WIASA. SAIA has since resolved to support the SACAP Women in Architecture South Africa (WIASA) Programme.

Although, much of the SAIA Transformation Programme is focused on Education – bringing forth solutions such as a SAIA Bursary Fund to address some of the socio-economic challenges faced by architectural students or those that are interested in studying for an architectural qualification. SAIA has taken a position to integrate some of the WIASA initiatives in to its own Transformation Programme. This was done to strengthen efforts as the aim of the collaboration (to name a few) is to promote the profession; increase the number of architects entering into the profession; develop leadership amongst SAIA women architects; and increase opportunities and benefits for the SAIA Membership.

Our position as SAIA will always be to put our members first and see to that the membership benefits from all the programmes and initiatives that SAIA implements.

SAIA is looking forward to a great journey ahead with WIASA, which will bring great transformation for women in architecture as well as the profession.

Look out for the transformation initiatives taking place in SAIA and its regions.

Ms Penelope Sebe
Manager: Transformation