Local Content

John Held , 22 September 2016

Specifying local content is important to South Australia's economy. A recent ACA – SA Round Table explored the issue and what architects can do with Industry Participation Advocate Ian Nightingale.

The South Australian Industry Participation Policy aims to “ensure that capable South Australian small and medium enterprises are given full, fairand reasonable opportunity to tender and participate in significantpublic and private sector projects”.

The Policy argues that achieving this objective provides additional benefits for South Australian business and the State’s economy. These benefits include:

  • Improved industry capability and capacity;
  • Employment creation and workforce development;
  • Additional value adding activities, innovation and supply chain development; and
  • Regional development.

The policy goes on to state that:

"Value for money remains the prime consideration in evaluating tender bids for South Australian Government contracts. However, when assessing value for money, the broader impact of the contract to South Australia on a whole of life basis, including the benefits to local industry, should also be considered. The policy supports this outcome."

What does this mean for architecture? Architects continually specify all products for built projects. Builders can sometimes offer substitutions. But what information is available to ensure that we effectivey specify local content? 

 The recent ACA – SA Round Table on Local Content canvassed this question in conversation with Industry Participation Advocate Ian Nightingale. 

Ian explained his role in maximising local economic benefit from all types of procurement. Part of the mechanism for this is the submission of Industry Participation Plans at time of tender. However, this does not capture the true value of design in both systems and product selection. He asked us to help him tailor procurement criteria to include the unique value that architects can bring to the process. A number of ACA members have volunteered to assist with that task.

Ian also talked about making more information available on how “local” products were – something we will continue to discuss with him.It would be particularly helpful to have a database of local-manufacture information. This would enable architects to use those products to ensure that local is being specified as much as possible.

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