ACA NEC meeting, Adelaide 2017

Kieran Wong , 21 August 2017

The National Executive Committee met recently in Adelaide. It was an opportunity to reflect on the activity of the past five years, and to chart a path for the next five. ACA National President Kieran Wong reports.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ACA met in Adelaide on 13 and 14 of August for one of two face-to-face meetings held each year. At this NEC, we celebrated a number of milestones, including the ACA’s 30th birthday. This NEC was a special one for me, as my first as National President, and for Steve Kennedy, as the first NEC he hasn’t chaired in almost five years.

Although the ACA is now 30 years old, many of our members and industry practitioners recognise the ACA from our more recent stage, emerging from the 2011 NEC in Adelaide where it was agreed to both expand and enhance the Association, to better benefit and support architectural practice in the Business of Architecture.

In 2012 the ACA launched its Strategic Plan (2012 – 2017), which set out a revitalised vision and mission, and outlined a series of key elements to drive that vision and mission forward. Central to our strategic plan was the requirement that all work placed our members at the centre of our decision making, and to ensure that the ACA branches retained autonomy, both financially and operationally.

Five years on, the NEC reviewed the 2012 – 2017 plan in a facilitated session. In the period from 2012 we have achieved many of our goals – increasing our membership, concentrating on our core mission of the ‘Business of Architecture’, delivering member-focused tools and resources via our website, and advocating for better business and practice legislation across the country. Our Strategic Plan has kept our efforts tightly focused on what the local branches can do to support our members, and what the national group can do to support all branches across Australia.

Key to our organisation is representing architectural practices at the Fair Work Commission, and interpreting and giving advice to members on industrial relations. As the peak body representing architectural business in Australia, our role has never wavered from providing robust and accurate industrial relation advice, and advocating for the best interests of our members and industry at the commission.

We have grown membership in each state, and each branch has maintained a solid and growing financial base. We have developed a wide range of free and subsidised tools, templates and resources for our members’ direct benefit, while enhancing national ACA functions through dedicated webinars, sponsorship, projects and communications staff.

Our Executive Officers connect regularly to share ideas and develop opportunities for better provision of member’s needs. Our Committees have also grown in representation and connection with allied associations and organisations. Our branches retain financial and operational independence, allowing them to both manage their finances effectively while providing agility to respond to local issues with meaningful advice.

The NEC has committed to keeping the ACA agile, responsive and relevant, with local and autonomous branches delivering direct member benefits.

We are here to ensure a fair and equitable business environment, in which our members can sustain their practices, be more efficient and profitable, and support diverse and highly skilled professionals able to enhance the quality of our built environments.

We understand our influence and capability comes from our member engagement, coupled with a collegiate and supportive network of peers with immense practice experience. We recognise that this engagement and the sharing of our collective experience will be driven by our developing member engagement strategy, targeting both scales and stages of practice in appropriate and relevant mediums.

A key project for the NEC over the coming six months is to evaluate our digital strategy, and ensure that it engages and supports our membership. We realise that our members are diverse, from small to large, from emerging to established. But one factor binds them all – they are all employers and business owners, and our offer is focused on supporting them in this regard.

We will soon update and publish our new Strategic Plan for the next five years. It is immensely satisfying to be able to refine the document, as opposed to start anew in search of a clear pathway forward. Our vision and mission is unchanged and unwavering.

I look forward to connecting with each branch and our members in the coming six months, and ensuring that as a national organisation representing the Business of Architecture we do whatever we can to support our members, provide up-to-date advice, continue to provide practice tools and resources, and respond to the changing landscape of architectural practice.

Kieran Wong is ACA National President and a Director of Cox Architecture.