Professional title protection
The professional titles “architect”, “interior designer”, “landscape architect” and “urban planner” are protected in the Federal Republic of Germany by the laws of the individual federal states concerning architects. In Lower Saxony, the version of the Lower Saxony Architects Act (Niedersächsisches Architektengesetz (NArchtG)) of 2017.
Pursuant to that act, these professional titles can only be used by persons who are entered under the relevant profession on the List of Architects of the State of Lower Saxony or in the corresponding register of another federal state. This ensures, for the purpose of protecting consumers, that only sufficiently qualified architects practice the profession and that they comply with certain professional rules. It is also a privilege for the profession itself, one that few other professional groups enjoy. However, this professional title protection means that the Chamber of Architects must require that registration applicants provide proof of their high-level qualifications.
In order to benefit from membership in the Chamber of Architects, you must fulfil the following requirements:
Requirements for registration
a) Architecture / interior design / landscape architecture
The requirements for registration include a successfully completed course of study in the subject of architecture consisting of at least eight semesters or in the subjects of interior design / landscape architecture consisting of at least six semesters of regular study time. Six-semester bachelor courses in architecture do not qualify a person to register with the chamber.
b) Urban planning
The requirements for registration include a successfully completed course of study in the subject of urban planning, spatial planning or architecture, the latter with a focus on urban development or urban planning, or equivalent education qualifying the individual in question to perform the tasks expected of a professional in that area. Proof must be provided that the course of study consisted of at least six semesters.
At least two years of practical work
Proof must also be provided that the individual in question performed practical professional work for at least two years on a full-time basis (or for an appropriately longer period on a part-time basis). The work must involve performing the key tasks in the discipline in question. The relevant performance profiles from the Schedule of Services and Fees for Architects and Engineers (HOAI) can also be used as a guide for this. References from employers, clients, authorities, associations or building contractors must be submitted as proof in this respect.
Periods of work experience abroad may also be recognised (see the information material: Returning to Germany after studies abroad – recognition of periods of work experience abroad for entry on the List of Architects for Lower Saxony).
Participation in further training courses
Alongside your practical professional work you must have attended at least eight one-day further training courses. The courses completed by you must be in the following subject areas:
- the public law foundations and procedure of planning and construction,
- the civil law foundations of planning and construction,
- planning and construction practice, and
- the economics of planning and construction.
For registration in the “architecture” category, you must provide proof of your attendance of two courses per subject area. For registration in the other categories, you must provide proof of your attendance of one course per subject area and four other courses from any of the subject areas.
The purpose of the further training is to make it easier for you to enter the profession. You will find detailed information on the specific requirements on our website dedicated to the further training of graduates at: www.fortbilder.de
Submission of own work
a) Architecture / interior design / landscape architecture:
At least two plans each for three building structures (draft plans – e.g. on a scale of 1 : 100) and for one building structure at least one detailed design (on a scale of 1 : 50 or 1 : 20) and one detailed drawing or, in the area of landscape architecture, landscape management plans, landscape and green space plans or landscape structure plans.
b) Urban planning:
For example zoning plans, development plans, structural plans, outline plans or overall urban development plans, and as a possible supplementary submission also landscape management plans, landscape and green space plans or landscape structure plans.
Professional liability insurance
If you wish to be registered in the “freelance” employment category, as a requirement for registration you must provide proof of sufficient professional liability insurance in the form of an annual insurance policy for the work in your professional field. You can be exempted from this requirement at your request if you currently do not practice your profession for personal reasons, particularly due to sickness or parental leave. The first time you register as a freelance member, you can be exempted from the insurance requirement at your request if you do not yet perform independent work for other persons (business start-up). Such an exemption will be granted for a maximum of one year.
A further requirement for registration is that you have a place of residence or office in the State of Lower Saxony or practice your profession entirely or partially in Lower Saxony.
The application form for entry on the List of Architects and clarifications on the charges for registration and membership are available here for downloading or can be requested by telephone from the Office of the Registration Committee of the Chamber of Architects for Lower Saxony (tel. 0511/28096-17), kerstin.karper(at)aknds.de.
Professional pension scheme
Registration in the Chamber of Architects for Lower Saxony leads to the establishment of your own retirement pension scheme within the framework of the Bavarian Architects Pension Scheme (Bayerische Architektenversorgung). You can obtain more detailed information from Bayerische Versorgungskammer, Bayerische Architektenversorgung, 81921 Munich, http://www.versorgungskammer.de/, tel. (089) 9235-7350 (hotline).