CEO Report – November 2023

Angelina Pillai , 8 November 2023

Building quality has been at the forefront of the ACA’s agenda. The Building Confidence Report (BCR) issued back in 2018, called for better documentation and improved oversight, casting a keen eye on the competency and integrity of building practitioners. After the BCR was released, federal, state and territory governments committed to implementing all 24 recommendations; however, progress, visibility and transparency have not been clear or timely. That is, until now. The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), of which the ACA is a key stakeholder, has undertaken a landmark comprehensive review of the implementation of the Report’s recommendations across all states and jurisdictions. The ACA will be producing a summary of what this means for architects in due course, but in the meantime, you can head here to read the full Report.

As we have previously reported, the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia has released an updated National Standard of Competency for Architects 2021 (2021 NSCA). As a result, the ACA has made an application to the Fair Work Commission to amend the current Architects’ Award to reflect these changes. This is an important role that the ACA plays in ensuring the modern award meets its objective of providing “a fair and relevant minimum safety net of terms and conditions” for architectural employers.

It’s no secret that the ACA has been rigorously championing the campaign of mental wellbeing within the profession. To this end, I’m very pleased to report that we are extending this support to Consult Australia on an important project – the ‘End of Year Tender’ Initiative. The Christmas/New Year break has always been an opportunity for us to ‘down tools’ and take stock of our wellbeing, but often with governments issuing procurement tenders right in the middle of this critical time, this has placed enormous pressure and unnecessary stress. The Christmas Tender Campaign is an annual campaign which calls on government clients to prioritise mental health by putting a pause on all procurement tenders over the holiday period. You can read more about this in our Five Question interview with Consult Australia’s CEO, Jonathan Cartledge.

Digital transformation, innovation and technological advancements are key drivers for societal change. The architectural profession and the broader sector are under immense pressure to keep up with these exponential changes. There is currently limited research and data in this area, so we are delighted to be an industry partner on the vital work of the Australian Research Centre’s project for the Next-Gen’s Architectural Manufacturing.  Centre Director, Hank Haeusler takes us through the project’s goals, challenges, progress to date and future plans in his interview with Susie Ashworth. As he points out, the “primary long-term challenges lie in connecting this research to the broader sector and managing the rapid pace of digital development and digitalisation to achieve the net-zero goals by 2050 and fulfil our obligations under the COP21 Paris agreement”. We have a lot of work ahead of us, collectively.

In case you missed it, from today, Australia’s unfair contract terms regime is changing. The changes include expanding the unfair contract terms regime to ‘small businesses’ that have fewer than 100 employees or an annual turnover of less than $10 million. Don’t worry, the ACA has you covered. In this issue of our newsletter, we point to a couple of excellent explainers so you can keep on top of this issue. We are also currently reviewing our existing ACA contracts to ensure they are compliant with all new legislation.

All the best as you hit the home stretch for 2023 and I look forward to seeing you at our AGM on 27 November.