2020: A Year in Review

4 December 2020

This year will certainly be one to remember! But in amongst the chaos and crisis, 2020 will also be the year that has created opportunities, and here at the ACA we have seized the moment to grow and continue our charter in supporting the business of architecture.

Our final newsletter for the year will share stories from across the nation, with each branch updating you on their advocacy, events and plans for 2021. I invite you to take a moment to read each of these updates and see the huge amount of hard work, energy and initiative the branch committees have shown this year.


On behalf of the ACA I would like to thank you – our members, for continuing to support us throughout a tough year. We have hit our highest membership retention rate, with 94% of practices renewing their engagement with the ACA. Membership has also strengthened, with an increase of 25% from this time last year as we represent almost 620 practices. A very warm welcome to our new members.

We made a firm commitment that the ACA is here for you and I assure you of our ongoing support. Our pulse check surveys (four national and one specific to Victoria) gave us invaluable data to help guide our activities and advocacy. This meant the provision of timely information, expert advice, improved tools, relevant online events and creating platforms for communities to share and learn from each other. The survey results also equipped us with tangible feedback on the Government’s initiatives during the pandemic, which helped us advocate more effectively on our profession’s behalf. Through strategic partnerships with the Australian Institute of Architects and ArchiTeam, our collective voiced strengthened our messages to the Government.


I am also delighted to share our news on a revamped website. Thank you to our website project team for pulling this off amongst all the other priorities! As one of the most important interfaces between the ACA and the rest of the world, we have migrated our website to a new and improved platform providing enhanced functionality, making it more intuitive for users to navigate and explore. You may not notice anything vastly different, but here’s a sneak peek into some of the exciting features to investigate once you land on our homepage:

  • Members Only – a dedicated space to access all our great member benefits, from the time cost calculation guide, salary calculator, employment contracts, HR policy templates, specialist advice and much much more.
  • Industrial Relations – we encourage all architectural employers to familiarise themselves with the award and their obligations under it and other workplace law. The detailed information in this section helps members to meet these obligations.
  • ACA Advisory – provides members with access to specialist employment, legal and business management advice from our expert partners at no additional cost.
  • Community – we support a range of platforms and groups to help facilitate connection and build community, through targeted forums, member events and via a series of published profiles and case studies.
  • Knowledge Hub – explore expert advice, thought leadership and informed opinion on current issues, running a practice and developing a strong and productive workplace culture.
  • ACA Branches – the ACA is made up of diverse branches across the country. This section is your one-stop location for a glimpse into what’s happening outside your state. No border restrictions here, so make sure you visit!
  • Architects Wellbeing – the ACA is leading the development of an Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum (AMWF) in Australia, which builds on the great work being done by AMWF in the UK. We also publish a range of resources and stories to support wellbeing.
  • Advocacy – We provide advice to governments at local, state and federal level, make submissions to relevant inquiries, and speak up on the matters that mean the most to the profession.


2020 is an election year. By now you would have all received an email pack from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Whether you have a specific interest in advocating to government, informing the development of tools and resources, contributing to thought leadership, or getting creative with online events, then this is the chance for you to secure your seat at the ACA table. And together we will help shape the profession for the future.

We would love to welcome you to a branch near you!

Plans for 2021

On the horizon, our plans are to focus on delivering more value to our members. We will continue our representation at the Fair Work Commission on industrial matters, expand the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forums, extend the Business of Small Practice (BoSP) program nationally, engage with larger practices, and advocate strongly to government on critical issues facing the profession. We will also facilitate dialogue on issues such as our climate and mentoring, whilst dedicating more focus on research topics such as procurement, fees and the impact of unfair contract terms for architects. Let’s hope we have an unremarkable start to 2021, so we can concentrate our efforts on these exciting plans!

National Principal Partners

Much of the work the ACA does is supported by our national principal partners. A huge thank you to Planned Cover, Deltek and Armstrong Flooring for your continuing support. This year we were delighted to welcome three new national partners – NexSys IT, informed Lawyers and Ardex Australia. The ACA is looking forward to building on the great contribution that each one of you make to our industry and our communities. The ACA would also like to thank NATSPEC for their ongoing contribution in supporting us during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you.

Thank you, team ACA!

As we prepare to toast the end of 2020, I would like to thank the small but enthusiastic team that makes it all happen. To our supportive national executive, led by president John Held, the dynamic branch committees, a dedicated administration team and editors that ensure we tell our stories with purpose and integrity – thank you for sticking by the ACA!

ACA wishes everyone a safe and happy festive season. See you in the new year!