News from SA

21 September 2018

The Roundtable with quantity surveyors, new school projects, and ongoing advocacy with government – John Held updates on all things ACA – SA. 

At our most recent Roundtable we invited a number of quantity surveyors to discuss issues of mutual concern. We asked about the challenges facing their respective professions over the next five years. In many ways the answers were similar – concerns regarding technology, fees, the loss of trusted advisor status, and concerns about the drift of talented young professionals away from SA. Interestingly, while architects often felt quantity surveyors were the first to discuss projects with the client, often it was a matter of reverse engineering the building to suit the client’s stated budget.

There was a recognition that fee pressures were leading to poor design and documentation outcomes, and that perhaps quantity surveyors needed to more forcefully advocate for more time and fee allocation at the start of the project to reduce risk and cost overruns. Concerns about overseas outsourcing of measurement mirrored the concerns about outsourcing of contract documentation, and how it was reducing the skills and experience of recent graduates. The ACA Architects’ Time / Cost Calculator was discussed as a way of benchmarking projects as an alternative to merely measuring market responses to fees due to the distorted nature of the architectural market. Most important was the need to value both the design and expertise of the architectural profession and the professional experience of quantity surveyors, and to work collaboratively to produce the best value outcomes rather than the cheapest initial price. For government work, set fees (as happens in Victorian education projects) may be a good start to better project outcomes.

Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion – one which should continue in the year ahead!

Construction Industry Forum

The new SA Government has provided a welcome opportunity for the construction industry to engage with DPTI through the re-establishment of engagement with the Construction Industry Forum.  haired by Chris Rankin (AMCA), the recent meeting was well attended by the industry, DPTI and included Ian Nightingale and Small Business Commissioner John Chapman. It is hoped that the former Construction Professionals Forum can be re-established as a subcommittee of this group to address issues specifically relating to architects, engineers and quantity surveyors.

Department For Education Capital Works Program

Simon Morony (DPTI) and Ross Treadwell (DfE) briefed the Construction Industry Forum recently on what was known as the BBS and is now referred to as their Capital Works program. The first round of projects is listed as the Future Tender Program – Sept 2018 on the DPTI website and these are now starting to be issued for tender to three to five firms with 34 Round 1 projects all to market before Christmas. These projects are due for completion before the start of the 2022 school year to accommodate the move of Year 7s to secondary campuses.

We hope the government has noted our concerns about current procurement issues, and we have been assured that most of the projects will be traditionally procured with 100% documentation. We have yet to see whether there are any changes to the AS4122 contract and note that there have been discussions between DPTI and Consult Australia about possible changes which we are following up.

As noted in the recent Australian Institute of Architects letter to firms, we need to be careful to examine exactly what’s asked for in each tender.

Whyalla Secondary School Lead PSC Tender

We have had calls from ACA members expressing their concern about this tender issued last Friday, and in particular the requirement for submission for an "Early Design Solution". We are following this up but would be pleased to hear any other comments from members.

John Held is ACA – SA President and ACA National President. He is a director of Russell & Yelland.