ACA - Qld/NT Events Recap

17 September 2018

The ACA – Qld/NT branch has been busy, with events on contract negotiations, joint ventures and alliances, and a Brisbane Broncos site tour.

Joint Ventures and Alliances

Increasingly, the scale and complexity of projects are compelling practices to work jointly, pooling their resources to deliver the expertise that the client requires. On Friday, 24 August 2018, Steven Huntingford (Director of Jackman Gooden Architects, NT) facilitated a panel discussion on joint ventures with Laurence Taylor (Director of PDT Architects) and Lawrence Toeldo (Managing Director of Congrad Gargett).

The panel addressed: how a partnership takes place and why you would partner; contractual relationships; unincorporated joint ventures versus incorporated joint ventures; case studies offering how practices team; important elements to consider before undertaking a joint venture; and lessons learned.

The panel considered what was necessary to create a great joint venture. They suggested that there needs to be a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities (who makes the decisions?), a clear financial agreement (scope, fee, variations), regular leadership meetings for a pulse check, team dynamics, an understanding of IT issues (connectivity, platforms), an understanding of insurance issues (trying to achieve common insurer), and confirm attribution details and strategy.

Brisbane Broncos tour

On 4 September 2018, members attended an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Brisbane Broncos new Clive Berghofer Centre and Clive Berghofer Field.

1 - Brisbane Broncos group shot

Warrick Chalmers from Populous and Michael White from Hutchinson Builders provided an overview of the project, before leading the group through the three-level facility, which includes state-of-the-art training and rehabilitation areas for the Broncos’ player group, coaching staff offices and player meeting and lounge areas, a community education centre, a retail store, administration offices and a dining space.

3 - Speakers Brisbane Broncos

ACA Committee member David Brian with Warrick Chalmers (Populous) and Michael White (Hutchinson Builders).

Contract Negotiations forum

At a lunch forum in late July, Justin O’Neill (O’Neill Architecture) and Louise Cutler (Phillips Smith Conwell) presented a number of case studies based on particular clauses contained in common industry engagement contracts. Discussion followed on clauses relating to set-offs, indemnities, fit for purpose, IP and novation, and included suggestions of how to minimise risk for these clauses. 

The following key insights were outlined:

  • Persistence and patience pays off.
  • Set out on negotiations with overarching goals. Don’t accept clauses that are financial penalties (e.g. set off or liquidated damages) and pursue their removal. Don’t accept clauses that will limit your access to Professional Indemnity Insurance. This is generally accepted by our contract partners. If you can’t access PII, then there will be little joy for the claimant in the event of a significant failure.
  • Expand the Planned Cover table to include all issues with the contract (commercial / housekeeping / insurance issues), providing a column for the other party’s response. It can go back and forward for a while, with both parties giving some concessions along the way. In the meantime, chip away at the key elements you want to change.
  • Having a schedule makes it easy to see the status of issues and how they are progressing.
  • Chip away until there are a handful of stubborn issues. Then call your lawyer.
  • If you have fewer than 20 staff, you can call on the unfair contracting legislation, which we understand gets results.
  • Typically, it’ll be you pushing the negotiation with the other party withholding fees. In that scenario, make noises around coercion and an unfair contract. This does apply pressure and at worst helps speed up the process.
  • Good cop / Bad cop? It may be helpful to have someone not directly involved in the project to push the key issues along. Maintaining good relationships through the process is important.
  • Though it’s a case by case consideration, consider taking the risk on elements of the contract that you can control (e.g. onerous clauses relating to deliverables and / or managing sub-consultants). 

Welcome New Members

We would also like to welcome new members who have joined the ACA – Qld/NT Branch since July 2018: 

  • Small Architectural Studio
  • Bloc Design Queensland Consulting Group Pty Ltd T/A Bloc Design
  • Honu Design Studio
  • Stitchell Architects Pty Ltd
  • Luga Architecture
  • AEQ Architects
  • Quirk Architecture Pty Ltd