Architecture (ARCH) 645

Architectural Practice in Canada (Revision 2)

ARCH 645 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Graduate Diploma in Architecture program or referral from the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) for individuals with a professional degree in architecture from a university outside Canada.

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

Program: Graduate Diploma in Architecture

ARCH 645 is not available for challenge. Credit may be transferred for previous work considered equivalent.

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Note: For those students interested in pursuing a career as a registered architect, this course contributes to the RAIC Syllabus Diploma. Information about the RAIC Syllabus Diploma is available on the RAIC website.


The course is intended for students in the Graduate Diploma program in Architecture or for those international architecture graduates referred by the CACB. It examines both the theoretical and practical aspects of architectural practice in Canada.

The student will become familiar with the various stakeholders involved in the design and construction of buildings (such as builders, Authorities Having Jurisdiction, consultants, owners, and clients) and their relationship to the architect. The course includes the current context in which architects practice and the laws and regulations that govern that practice in Canada, and it also looks to the future and the position of the architect in society and around the globe.


  • Unit 1: The Legal Context, Part I
  • Unit 2: The Legal Context, Part II
  • Unit 3: The Ethical Context
  • Unit 4: Architects as Leaders in the Construction Industry
  • Unit 5: The Regulatory Context
  • Unit 6: The Architect and Sustainable Design
  • Unit 7: The Architect as Leader Beyond the Building Project
  • Unit 8: Architectural Practice Around the World
  • Unit 9: Forms of Architectural Practice in Canada
  • Unit 10: Architecture as a Career Path

Learning Objectives

After completing the course, you should be able to achieve the following learning objectives:

  • Describe the general purpose and content of the Architects Act and its regulations of the jurisdiction in which you work.
  • Apply Codes of Ethics in everyday practice.
  • Develop a personal conviction on the role of the architect in society.
  • Nurture appropriate professional relationships and administer the contractual role of the architect with others in the design and construction industry (e.g., clients, Authorities Having Jurisdiction, consultants, and building product manufacturers).
  • Apply building codes, standards, and other regulations to the design and construction of buildings.
  • Analyze how architectural practices may be organized and know the regulations governing the formation of a practice.
  • Discuss potential new leadership roles for architects.


You will be evaluated based on five assignments. In order to pass ARCH 645, you must complete all five assignments. Each assignment is worth 20% of your grade in the course. The minimum pass mark for the final project assignment is 50%. It should be noted that students who wish to be certified by the CACB must achieve and maintain a final grade point average of 2.3 or greater. This means that while a mark of 60% would constitute a pass in the course, marks of 67% or greater are required for students who wish to pursue registration or licensing in architecture.

The instructor will facilitate online activities and grade the assignments.

Course Materials

Architecture 645: Architectural Practice in Canada is taught using digital materials, online resources, and instructor support.

Hobbs, J. (Ed.). (2009). The Canadian Handbook of Practice for Architects (2nd ed., Vols. 1–2). Ottawa: The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. (online resource)

Note: Students are responsible for obtaining the following two documents:

  • The Building Code from the jurisdiction in which you work or where you intend to register as an intern architect
  • Internship in Architecture Program Manual, CACB, 3rd ed., 2012 (available from provincial/territorial association)

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

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Opened in Revision 2, July 9, 2019.