When Do You Require An Architect?

The Architects Act 2008 requires an Architect to Design and Prepare Construction Drawings for the Construction, Enlargement, and Alteration of All Buildings, except the following:

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  • A detached house, a semi-detached house, or a row house; with or without a subsidiary apartment;
  • Apartment buildings, motels, and other similar residential buildings having no more than 15 bedrooms in total and provided access into each dwelling unit is only from the outdoors (i.e. no common interior corridors);
  • A boarding house or a Bed & Breakfast having not more than 4 guest bedrooms;
  • A building containing an assembly occupancy1 (such as a bar, restaurant, or community hall) or an industrial occupancy1 (such as a warehouse or a workshop), provided the building’s total occupancy does not exceed 50 people2;
  • A building containing a mercantileor personal service occupancy1 (such as a retail store, bank, office, or salon), provided the area of all floors combined does not exceed 300 square metres / 3,228 ft2 (not including the basement), and provided the building does not contain more than one apartment;
  • Any type of building, which when renovated, is used for any of the purposes described above; and
  • Renovations to the interior of any building that is regulated by Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada3, provided none of the renovations change any part of (a) the building’s structure, (b) a fire safety system, (c) a fire wall1, (d) a fire separation1, (e) a public corridor1 through the building, (f) a main entrance, or (g) an exterior wall; or (h) changes the size of the usable floor area, or (i) increases the number of rooms intended to hold 50 or more people.2

The Architect’s stamp is required on every architectural document issued to regulatory agencies for their approval. These documents include: concept drawings, Land Use Assessment Reports documents issued for an approval-in-principle, documents issued to obtain accessibility and building permits, and all architectural documents issued for construction. Please notify the Architects Licensing Board if you come across unstamped documents being used for any of these purposes.

For the exact wording contained in the Architects Act 2008, go to www.gov.nl.ca and click on House of Assembly, then Legislation, then Table of Public Statues and download a copy of the Architects Act 2008.

For a list of Architects licensed to provide architectural services contact the Architects Licensing Board of Newfoundland and Labrador or the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Architects.

1 – Refer to the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) for detailed definitions.
2 – The Newfoundland and Labrador Fire and Life Safety Guidelines, as published by the Office of the Provincial Fire Commissioner’s Office contains the criteria for calculating building occupancy loads.
3 – Part 9 of the NBCC regulates the construction of buildings not more than 3 stories in height and not more than 600 square metres (6,456 ft
2) in floor area, but does not regulate buildings containing assembly, institutional, and some types of industrial occupancies2.