ACA Pulse Check no. 1 - Preliminary Findings

18 March 2020

The ACA has released the preliminary results of the ACA Pulse Check No. 1. Top line findings indicate many challenges and concerns.

  • Of the responding practices, 57% have either had projects cancelled or anticipate that projects will be cancelled.

  • There are concerns about both work and contract conditions. There is a clear need for advice and support about remote working.

  • The intensive nature of much of the hardware and software used by many practices, along with additional licensing costs, are challenges for setting up remote working quickly. Nonetheless, over half of the responding practices have the ability to support all staff working from home, while less than 10% cannot support any remote work.

Conducted between 15–17 March 2020, the ACA Pulse Check No. 1 builds better understanding of how architectural practices anticipate being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings help develop a clearer understanding of the preparedness of the profession and what is needed. This is informing the ACA as it works to support members. It will also inform ACIF discussions with government about impacts on the construction industry, and the ACA is also in conversations with other industry groups.

Access the preliminary results here.

The 1,341 responding practices employed a total of 12,167.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) ‘technical’ staff, and 1,721 FTE casual technical staff. Almost half of the practices are very small businesses – 692 practices employ five people or fewer. At the other end of the scale, 57 practices employ over 100 people.

Many of the responding practices have already started discussing the impact of COVID-19 with their staff – 73% have already done so, while a further 18% intend to soon (and may already have done so since they completed the survey). Over half the practices have the ability for all staff to work from home, while under 10% cannot accommodate any staff working from home.

Social distancing measures are anticipated to create challenges in managing the practice for 48% of respondents, while 30% are not sure yet.

For detailed information about anticipated challenges, see the full set of preliminary results (screen shots below).


1 - ACA Pulse Check no. 1 – challenges

2 - ACA Pulse Check no. 1 – technical challenges

How can the ACA help?

We asked survey respondents to suggest three ways the ACA could help. Many excellent suggestions came back.  We are working our way through these now. Many of them align with work already underway at the ACA. This means we have an excellent base to work from, and the infrastructure and contacts to support this work. It is, however, a big project. We are working as fast as we can, with a small but highly effective team, to get the information and support out.

What are practices asking for?
  • Keeping up a good flow of information
  • Providing expert advice and support on a wide range of matters, including remote working; employment, industrial relations and HR; legal and contract matters, and much more
  • Increasing the amount of online CPD
  • Sharing experience and advice from practices across Australia and helping to maintain a strong professional community
  • Systems to facilitate sharing of staff and other resources
  • Advocacy to government, clients and the public
What areas do practices need support in?
  • Working from home / remote working / cyber security
  • Communicating with clients
  • Contracts and other legal matters
  • Employment matters, IR information and HR support
  • Insurance
  • Support and information for small practice and regional practices
  • Information on government stimulus and lobbying in relation to financial impacts
  • Support and advice around supporting good workplace cultures, communicating the challenges with employees


The ACA is working to support members and the architectural profession in these difficult times – see our growing list of information here.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. Stay safe!