Pulse Check No. 2 - Preliminary Results

2 April 2020

The ACA has released the preliminary results of the ACA Pulse Check No. 2. Top line findings reveal serious concerns about workflow, financial impact and employment, but the survey also shows that architectural practices are adapting quickly to the changed working environments. 

Conducted between 29–31 March 2020. The ACA Pulse Check No. 2 aims to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on architectural practices so far, and what practices need. This will inform material the ACA develops to support members and the wider profession.

The survey was answered by 777 practices, employing over 7,740 full-time equivalent (FTE) ‘technical’ staff, and over 1,141 FTE casual technical staff. More than half of the practices (58%) are very small businesses, employing five people or fewer. The survey also has good representation from larger practices. Practices from New South Wales and Victoria comprise half the respondents, with good representation from the smaller states. 

Key findings

  • Of the responding practices, 89% have had projects cancelled or put on hold, or anticipate that projects will be cancelled.

  • The value of cancelled or delayed work for responding practices is over $5 billion. (Information provided by 333 practices)

  • A high proportion of practices are now working remotely. While there are challenges, many have found that staff have adapted quickly to the new conditions. Nonetheless, there is a need for support and information about managing remote workforces. 

  • A high proportion of practices are confident in the mental wellbeing of the practice and people. Of the responding practices, 40% have processes in place to support wellbeing, while another half are looking into it, or would like advice. Many respondents contributed ideas about how their practice is looking after people, with a focus on open communication and regular contact. 

  • Productivity is down in in most offices, but nearly half the practices expect to recover fairly or very quickly.

  • There are considerable impacts on employees. A very high proportion (78%) of responding practices are either currently negotiating changes to employment arrangements, or expect to need to do so. 

  • Most responding practices – 92% – hope that the government wage subsidy will enable them to keep people on.

The results

Access the results via the links below

Part 1: Demographics, working arrangements, productivity and mental wellbeing

Part 2: Employment, changing workplace arrangements and financial impacts