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Boundaries in Blueprints: Examining the Role of Architects and Project Management

Laura King
Laura King November 3, 2023

Is your Project Management overstepping the mark?

Architects in Queensland often wonder about their legal obligations and exemptions under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act ). This article provides an in-depth exploration of the legislative framework, particularly focusing on the Architects Exemption, and offers practical advice for architects engaging in project management to ensure compliance with the law.

With many architects now taking on the additional role of Project Manager to ensure that blueprints come to life, this article walks you through your obligations and how this additional role sits within the Queensland regulatory landscape.

Legislative Framework

Understanding the legislative framework is crucial for architects operating in Queensland.

As a starting point, section 42 of the QBCC Act requires a person to hold a contractor’s licence to carry out building work. If a person is in breach of section 42 there are heavy sanctions associated.

Architects involved in project management services need to be aware of the ‘builder – project management services’ licence as defined in the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulation 2018QBCC Regulation ).

Whilst architects are largely regulated by the Architects Act 2002 (Qld), there is arguably some scope for regulation of architects carrying out certain project management work under the QBCC Act.

The Architects Exemption

The Architects Exemption is a critical concept for architects. To be exempt from holding a QBCC licence, architects must meet two criteria:

  1. The work must be within their professional practice; and
  2. The work must be considered ‘building work’.

Within the Architect’s Professional Practice

Architects must ensure that their work aligns with their professional practice. This is governed by the Board of Architects of Queensland (BOAQ). The BOAQ’s Code of Practice sets standards for professional conduct and competence.

Exempt from ‘Building Work’, not ‘Building Work Services’

Architects should be mindful of the distinction between ‘building work’ and ‘building work services’. The Architects Exemption primarily covers ‘building work’ and does not extend to ‘building work services’. This distinction is essential in determining the scope of work architects can perform without a licence.

Company on the Contract

For architectural companies, it’s important to note that only individuals can be registered as architects in Queensland. A company must rely on a registered architect within its employ to perform architectural services. This arrangement ensures compliance with the Architects Exemption.

Practical Advice

To ensure compliance and future-proof their work, architects should avoid undertaking tasks that could be considered ‘building work services’, such as the coordination, management or development of systems for the supervision of work or personal supervision of the work.

The infographic below provides some practical examples to assist architects to ‘stay in their lane’ and avoid sanction by the QBCC.

Under the usual contractual arrangements, it is unlikely that architects need a Project Management licence. However, if an architect enters a construction management contract or expands their services into ‘building work services’, obtaining the necessary licences and appointing a suitable nominee is recommended. Helix is here to guide you through this process if this does apply to you as an architect.


This article clarifies the regulatory landscape for architects operating in Queensland. By understanding the Architects Exemption and adhering to the professional standards set by the BOAQ, architects can confidently navigate the legal requirements, ensuring compliance and the successful execution of their projects while staying within their professional practice.

If you are unsure about your scope of work and whether this requires a licence or should you require any other related advice, please contact us on (07) 4426 1970. Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.

Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.
Laura King
Laura King November 3, 2023

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