Whether it’s building quality, procurement and the future of architecture, or broader issues around mental wellbeing, bushfire response and climate change, the ACA tackles the topics that really matter to the architecture profession and the wider community.
A Guide for Mental Wellbeing
The Australian AMWF has adapted the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit (UK), with local resources and simple practical advice to individuals and practices on coping with the stresses of an increasingly pressured profession. Available for download today!
Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in Australia
The ACA is delighted to take the lead on the development of an Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum (AMWF) in Australia, which will build on the great work being done by AMWF in the UK. Forums were established in Victoria, Queensland and NSW in 2020, with SA and WA groups up and running in early 2021.
There are plenty of great resources out there with advice and information on transitioning to flexible work. Here are a few of our favourite informative and thought-provoking articles, podcasts and websites.
How to create an effective flex policy
An open and transparent flexible work policy is critical to fostering an effective, collaborative and healthy workplace, where people feel supported if they choose to work flexibly and where meaningful and rewarding career opportunities are available. The following article includes practical advice on developing and implementing a flex policy in practice.
What is flexibility & why does it matter?
Modern workplace culture expectations have been strong drivers for flexible working for some time, but the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 has accelerated the transition for many. So, how does flexibility work in practice, what are the benefits and challenges, what is its impact on equity, what is the business case for change and what are some of the types of flexible working?
Flexibility case study – Woods Bagot
Woods Bagot explains the process of committing to increased flexibility and outlines some of the benefits and challenges as they move forward into the ‘new normal’.
Flexibility case study – BVN
BVN outlines some of the initiatives that have worked for them in their transition to the All Roles Flex model and now a Hybrid Working Model.
Flexibility case study – COX
COX Architecture identified some key takeaways from the implementation process of the All Roles Flex policy.
Join the ACA, Parlour and the Champions of Change Architecture Group for an online discussion with John Prentice of Woods Bagot, Dave Tordoff of Hayball and Emily Wombwell of SJB about the what, why and how of flexibility – with CPD.
Listening and Learning – How it works
Monica Edwards summarises the process, objectives and outcomes of the Listening and Learning sessions, developed by the Champions of Change Coalition.
Listening, Learning and Leading
Listening and Learning is fundamental to the Champions of Change Coalition approach. Monica Edwards outlines the four-step process, describing it in relation to design processes.
Listening, Learning & Leadership
Watch the video recording of the first event in the Stepping Up series on Listening, Learning & Leadership. We start at the top – what are the roles and obligations of practice leaders? What does it mean to step up on equity?
Architects Champions of Change
Monica Edwards and Shaun Carter were instrumental in getting the Champions of Change Architecture Group going and remain highly involved. They discuss the Champions’ origins, achievements and challenges, and plans for the future.
The ACA is delighted to partner with Parlour and the Architecture Group of the Champions of Change on Stepping Up, a new event and editorial series that will run throughout 2022.
Communication & Quality IT
Silver Thomas Hanley Business Manager and ACA VIC/TAS Committee member Matthew Tence says good communication and significant IT investment have helped navigate and overcome the challenges of the last two years.
Putting People First
QLD/NT Committee member Denis Waring shares his pandemic experiences as Principal of PW Architecture, and the need to prioritise people through challenging times.
COVID-19 & the Workplace – IR Update
As the Omicron strain continues to wreak havoc across the country, Emma Avey from Fair Work Lawyers provides timely advice on workplace issues, including WHS consultation with employees, Rapid Antigen Testing, and managing leave entitlements.
COVID Resource Roundup
Creating a COVID safe workplace and keeping on top of rapidly changing restrictions, while also keeping projects on track, is a constant challenge. The following is a list of useful links providing up-to-date Coronavirus advice and information.
Work-related Wellbeing – Initial Findings
Monash University Professor of Architecture Naomi Stead provides an update on the three-year, Australian Research Council–funded research project about the wellbeing of practitioners and students in architecture, with an emphasis on some early findings of the recent practitioner survey.
Fostering Connection & Offering Support
Conrad Gargett HR Manager and AMWF member Brooke Tranberg outlines some of the practice’s wellbeing initiatives, including in-house Social and Wellbeing Committees, a well-promoted EAP, open conversations about mental health, and a pre-COVID all-company Archi-Tour to foster connection.
Zoom, EAPs & Lockdown Love
Popular wellbeing initiatives for Fulton Trotter have included Wellness Wednesday, a formal EAP, Zoom drinks, yoga and art classes, and a little ‘lockdown love’, says FT Director and Chair of the AMWF QLD/NT Justine Ebzery.
The Three Pillars of Wellbeing
BVN’s Head of People & Character Brian Clohessy describes the practice’s wellbeing initiatives, including inhouse Working Cultural Groups, which focus on the three pillars of physical, social and mental wellbeing.
Vaccinations – September Update
Our legal advisor, Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers, has provided a further timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccination for employers, with a focus on assessing risks and implementing control measures, third-party mandates, workplace discrimination laws, employee refusal and vaccine incentives.
Ventilation, Air Quality & the Need for a National Taskforce
Former Premier of Victoria and trained architect Ted Baillieu emphasises that ventilation in buildings is an urgent priority, deserving of a national taskforce to offer guidance and highlight the importance of air quality management.
Workplaces & COVID-19
Orla Hegarty, Assistant Professor at University College Dublin, has been advocating and educating on the important issue of ventilation in buildings for the last 18 months. Here she shares some clear, simple advice and watchpoints.
There are a number of organisations and experts providing insights and advice about the importance of natural and mechanical ventilation within buildings in relation to the COVID-19 response.
Resources for Wellbeing
Our Architects Mental Wellbeing Forums have been sharing podcasts, videos, TED Talks and lots of excellent ideas on how to get through lockdowns and difficult times during this pandemic. Here are a few of their recommendations.
Vaccinations & the Workplace
Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccinations and the workplace.
Architectural Work Cultures Survey Update
Great news! The recent Architects & Wellbeing survey had a huge response, doubling its target, with more than 2100 participants.
Mental Health First Aid Courses
With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness every year, and COVID amplifying the stresses of life even further, the need for education around mental health is more important than ever. Here we explore some of the options.
Physical Office Environment
The quality of the physical office environment in which you work, whether in practice or at home, can have a huge impact on wellbeing and productivity. Section five of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit offers tips on how to make positive adaptations to work spaces.
Championing an Active, Mindful Approach
Regular movement, physical exercise and mindful activities help to improve mental wellbeing during the work day but also productivity. The final section of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit offers useful reminders on prioritising group activities and exercise.
Promoting a Healthy Workplace
Adopting wellbeing initiatives in practice is important, but monitoring how these are going should also be a priority. Section seven of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit offers tips and resources around maintaining a healthy, positive and supportive workplace.
New technologies can help us complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, as well as offering us increased accessibility and convenience – but there is a downside. The sixth section of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit warns against us becoming slaves to new technology, with increased stress and information overload.
Contracts, Clients & Deadlines
Low fees, under-resourced projects and difficult clients can have an enormous impact on the wellbeing of all within practice. The fourth section of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit tackles these important issues.
Caring for Students, Interns & Graduates in Practice
The third section of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit emphasises the importance of structured development and a supportive environment to help make the work/study balance as easy as possible for students, interns, and graduates on the pathway to registration.
Support Systems & Education
How can support systems and workplace training opportunities help staff wellbeing? The second section of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit offers tips and resources on creating a mentally healthy workplace.
Employee Assistance Programs
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) aim to improve wellbeing among employees and their families, and to offer expert on-call assistance when needed. Early intervention can help alleviate stress and reduce the likelihood and severity of serious work-based and personal problems.
Office Culture & Overtime
Successfully managing stress levels within the workplace is an important component of long-term health for anyone. The first section of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit covers the importance of a good healthy office culture, effective time management and prioritising time away from work.
The Power of Vulnerability
Being vulnerable is challenging but it’s often necessary to make change happen. Modelling vulnerability is the action of a leader, writes Michael Lewarne.
Work-related Wellbeing Survey
Improving mental wellbeing in practice is fundamental to the future of the profession. The ACA is proud to support the major research project Architectural Work Cultures: professional identity, education and wellbeing, and encourages all to participate in this important survey on work-related wellbeing.
Ventilation and COVID-19
We’ve been slow to recognise that COVID-19 is airborne and poorly ventilated buildings are hazardous, particularly for vulnerable groups. Geoff Hanmer has been writing about the impacts of indoor air quality since early in the pandemic, and outlines some of his findings here.
ACA Pulse Check 5 – findings
ACA’s first Pulse Check for the year – the fifth since the pandemic began – gives a fairly positive account of the rebound from COVID. Here we outline the key findings, including stats on levels of work and work pipeline, the impact of JobKeeper, changes to employment and workplace arrangements, mental wellbeing, and the future outlook.
Enhancing Management and Leadership
Parlour’s Work & Wellbeing survey increases understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on Australian architecture. What are the opportunities to improve and change leadership and management in the profession? What might that mean for practices? Anwyn Hocking unpacks the answers to the open questions.
The Many Faces of Social Housing
Social housing is part of the lives of a surprising number of Australians. On any one night in Australia, just over 4% of households rent social housing. Yet it has housed many more people than this for brief, and sometimes repeated, periods.
Enhancing Workplace Communication
Parlour’s comprehensive Work & Wellbeing survey increases understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on Australian architecture. The answers to the open questions, in particular, contain a wealth of advice and reflection, and reiterate the need for improved communication. Anwyn Hocking identifies the core themes and assembles key advice.
Mandatory Vaccines – What Employers Need to Know
The COVID crisis continues to pose many challenges for employers, often involving areas of the laws that were largely unexplored until the pandemic. The next such challenge relates to employers mandating vaccines. Tom Earls explores the issues for ACA members.
Architects Declare Update
Since its establishment in July 2019, Architects Declare Australia has continued to advocate and educate, with a guide to going carbon neutral and a number of webinars on topics related to biodiversity and sustainability.
Clerks Award Flexibility Extended
The temporary Schedule I in the Clerks Award, which allows for additional flexibility to assist employers and employees during the pandemic, has been extended to 30 June 2021.
Urgent Stimulus Required for Construction Industry
The ACA is calling for Government to fund and bring forward construction projects, prioritising strategically planned, well-timed projects, supported by effective procurement processes and equitable contract terms.
Mental Wellbeing Resources - An Update
The following updated resource roundup highlights the work of a number of key organisations, who have worked hard during the pandemic to support people at this difficult time and develop useful toolkits, online forums and other avenues of support.
ACA Pulse Check 4 - Preliminary Findings
Announcing the preliminary results of Pulse Check no. 4
ACA Response to National Registration Framework
The ACA, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Architects, has responded to the ABCB’s discussion paper on the proposed national registration framework, pointing out the problematic lack of distinction made between a registered architect and building designer.
Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in Australia
The ACA is delighted to take the lead on the development of an Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum (AMWF) in Australia, which will build on the great work being done by AMWF in the UK. Forums were established in Victoria, Queensland and NSW in 2020, with SA and WA groups up and running in early 2021.
The ACA – Vic/Tas has released the results of the first VicPulse survey. Top level findings reveal worrying levels of work cancelled or on hold. On the other hand, the survey responses are quite positive in terms of wellbeing and many practices have been able to keep staff on due to the support of JobKeeper.
On 1 September, the parliament passed legislation amending JobKeeper provisions as part of its JobKeeper 2.0 announcement. These changes will come into effect on 28 September. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers unpacks the detail.
Stage 3 and 4 Restrictions in Victoria
One week into Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions in Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, key information and resources for individuals and business continues to be rolled out. The following is a summary of useful information and links.
JobKeeper Package - Update
The JobKeeper Package was announced on 30 March 2020 by the Federal Government, assisting a significant proportion of architectural practices with the retention of staff. On 21 June, the JobKeeper payment was extended until 28 March 2021, albeit at a reduced rate. On 7 August, further changes were announced regarding eligibility.
Architecture’s Gig Economy, COVID-19 & Building Resilience
As the global pandemic hits architects hard, Peter Raisbeck proposes a few ideas about how to build professional resilience.
Clarification of Stage 4 Restrictions
The ACA – Victoria/Tasmania provides further clarification of COVID-19 Stage 4 restrictions, with advice on construction site access, worker permits, COVID Safe Plans and ongoing advocacy.
COVID-19 Stage 4 Restrictions
On Monday 3 August, the Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews announced Stage 4 Restrictions, which apply to the Melbourne area and do impact architectural practices.
Targeted funding & thinking long term
Justine Ebzery reflects on the need for targeted funding for new public housing, public schools and community health infrastructure, with adequate resources for design and planning.
JobKeeper, HomeBuilder & going solo
Jennifer Crawford highlights the eligibility issues of JobKeeper and HomeBuilder, and describes her recent move back to the life of a sole practitioner.
Infrastructure of long-term benefit
ACA – WA President Malcolm Jones reflects on JobKeeper, the flexible workplace, and the need for more resources for infrastructure of long-term benefit.
COVID-19 Building Industry Guidelines for Victoria
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has issued an update of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Victorian building and construction industry, incorporating recent changes to restrictions and government subsidies.
Pulse Checks & the Construction Outlook
If architecture is the canary in the coalmine, the outlook for construction is appalling, writes Geoff Hanmer.
Unpaid Pandemic Leave & Annual Leave at Half Pay
The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay for many awards to 30 June 2022.
Cyber Crime in the Age of COVID-19
As we all try to adapt to a changed world, cyber criminals are taking advantage of changes to our physical working conditions and day-to-day processes. Planned Cover takes a look at the issues around cybersecurity and offers tips on protecting your practice.
Pulse Check No. 3 - Preliminary Findings
The preliminary findings of the ACA Pulse Check No. 3 are out now. Concerns about workflow continue, but some projects have restarted and JobKeeper payments have enabled many practices to keep staff on. Mental wellbeing results are positive overall, with some toll on senior management. Practices are returning to the office and considering necessary changes.
COVID-19 & Industrial Manslaughter
By 1 July 2020, Victoria will introduce industrial manslaughter laws for the first time. At the same time, Australia continues its efforts to contain COVID-19, including significant restrictions on work and workplaces. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers explores the issues for ACA members.
Running a Practice in Lockdown
Warwick Mihaly shares the challenges of trying to run a small practice in lockdown while supervising remote learning with small children and keeping his business afloat.
How COVID-19 Will Change the Traditional Workplace
What will be the impact of COVID-19 on the traditional workplace and what can we learn from this giant workplace experiment, writes Hames Sharley Principal and Workplace Portfolio Leader Stephen Moorcroft.
COVID-19 Guidelines for the Victorian Building and Construction Industry
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has released the latest version of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the building and construction industry in Victoria.
Remote Working Advice
Working remotely can be challenging and disruptive, and requires realistic expectations and a flexible approach, says Charmaine Kai of Brisbane-based practice 8i Architects.
Innovation, Resilience & Relationship Building
COVID-19 disruption has been all-encompassing, but there are signs of innovation, community resilience and relationship building emerging all around us, observes Kate Fitzgerald of Fremantle-based Whispering Smith.
Investment in Digital Design
Existing investment in new digital platforms has meant that dwp|design worldwide partnership was well placed to switch to working mode when the COVID-19 crisis arose.
The JobKeeper Package Unpacked
From Monday 20 April 2020, businesses can enrol for the JobKeeper scheme to help retain staff during the downturn caused by COVID-19. The following update provides answers to frequently asked questions for architectural practices.
Planning for Health, Wellbeing & Financial Sustainability
As Queensland prepared for lockdown, Cairns-based practice People Oriented Design worked on strategies with health, wellbeing and the long-term financial sustainability of the practice firmly in mind.
ACA Pulse Check Advice on Mental Wellbeing
The ACA Pulse Check No 2 survey invited participants to answer questions about the mental wellbeing of their practice and people. Susie Ashworth unpacks the results and highlights the best tips and advice for looking after the mental wellbeing of all within practice.
Culture and Wellbeing Presentation
The full video presentation of the Architects Leadership Series Culture + Wellbeing breakfast event is now available online.
Temporary COVID-19 Leave Variations Announced for Modern Awards
The Fair Work Commission has made changes to a wide variety of modern awards, including the Architects Award, to include unpaid pandemic leave and the capacity to take annual leave at half pay.
New Challenges & Modes of Working
Hayball has explored varied modes of working and learning over many years, but the rapid shift to remote, distributed workplaces in the era of COVID-19 is a new challenge.
Building on Existing Flex Systems
For BVN, the transition to all staff working from home has been ‘seamless’. The ease of the move is an outcome of already having robust flex systems in place, a commitment to open honest communication, and a focus on health and wellbeing.
COVID-19 Fallout - Contract Questions
As COVID-19 disruption hits projects, supply chains and timelines, Wendy Poulton, Principal of informed Lawyers Pty Ltd, looks at some popular contract questions.
How to Retain Staff During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The response to COVID-19 is unprecedented and evolving daily. As government decisions directly and indirectly impact on businesses, employers are looking at ways to continue operating in the face of enormous challenges. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers briefly describes the options available to architecture practices.
The JobKeeper Package, announced on 30 March 2020 by the Federal Government, offers desperately needed relief to businesses to enable them to retain employees. This will assist a significant proportion of architectural practices with the retention of staff.
Clerks Award Flexibility
The Clerks Award has been temporarily amended to enable more flexibility during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Force Majeure - Special Conditions for ABIC Contracts
Special conditions for the ABIC SW and ABIC MW contracts introduce the concept of Force Majeure, including pandemics.
Government Support and What Employers Can Do
As we face a crisis of unknown proportions, Rob Peake, Principal of Management for Design, outlines what is needed from the Federal Government, and what architectural practices can do to weather the storm.
Practice Management and COVID-19
Building on knowledge gleaned from the recent ACA Pulse Check Survey No.1, Fiona Martin outlines the key areas practices should be working on, and answers some FAQs about leave under various circumstances.
COVID-19 and Construction Contracts
What does COVID-19 mean for architects administering ABIC contracts? Christopher Larcos and Shanna Beaton of Moray and Agnew Lawyers outline key considerations.
ACA President’s Comment – March 2020
As architectural practices face uncertain futures in the time of COVID-19, ACA National President John Held discusses the importance of sharing stories, ideas, and love and consideration for each other.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
As we face unprecedented challenges and stress with the COVID-19 health crisis and inevitable economic effects, it’s critical that we maintain and protect our mental wellbeing and that of our colleagues, employees and families. The following resource round-up points to useful tips, reminders and strategies to help maintain positive mental health during this difficult time.
How are You Responding to COVID-19?
Online support is more important than ever. The ACA invites architectural practices across Australia to share practice experiences, knowledge and strategies.
Communication, Autonomy and Initiative
Brown Falconer is in the process of transitioning all staff to remote working. Mario Dreosti emphasises the importance of open communication and sharing both the knowns and the unknowns as essential to building trust, autonomy and initiative.
Policy, Process and Restricted Contact
Thomson Rossi’s approach to managing the practice in the context of the novel coronavirus is guided by a COVID-19 Policy Statement, which establishes clear boundaries and habits. Simon Thomson explains that the intent is to keep the office open as long as possible.
Tight Financial Management and Open Communication
TheFulcrum.Agency partner Emma Williamson explains how the consultancy is responding to COVID-19 and offers advice about how to proactively manage through a crisis while maintaining the cultural integrity of your practice.
Clear Communication and Patience
Justine Ebzery outlines the steps Fulton Trotter has taken in response to COVID-19 so far, including clear, regular communication to clients and employees, transitioning to more work from home arrangements, and a focus on patience and kindness.
Government Support for Business
The Federal Government and all state and territory governments in Australia have now responded to the COVID-19 outbreak with announcements of economic stimulus and assistance packages.
Coronavirus: Stand Down Considerations
Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide an update on key considerations for employers when circumstances force them to stand down parts of their workforce.
Trialling Remote Working
Taylor Robinson Chaney Broderick (TRCB) has been trialling staff working from home for a number of weeks. Leigh Robinson generously shares details about how this is working, lessons learned, and the guidelines the practice has developed.
ACA Pulse Check no. 1 - Preliminary Findings
The ACA has released the preliminary results of the ACA Pulse Check no. 1. We are now analysing these further.
IT Advice for Working Remotely
As many practices start shifting employees to working from home arrangements, Peter Johns offers comprehensive advice on all things tech, from computers, software, internet and email to useful apps and file storage solutions. He also offers some terrific tips on ergonomics, team morale and using that downtime productively.
AACA National Examination Paper Postponed
Given the evolving Coronavirus situation across Australia, the AACA has postponed the APE National Examination Paper currently scheduled for 21 April until 18 August.
Coronavirus: Implications for Employers
With COVID-19 threatening to have significant impacts on businesses and workplaces around Australia in the coming weeks and months, Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide insights into the complex and often competing legal concepts relating to employment.
Preparing for COVID-19
The situation in relation to COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We encourage all ACA members to show leadership within their practice, to understand their obligations as employers and business owners, and to plan ahead for potential disruption as much as possible.
Green Light: The Rise of the Energy Efficient Building
Drawing on her research into sustainable building policy in five global cities, 2018 Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship winner Kate Nason reflects on the critical role architects can play in decarbonising our built environment.
Housing Displaced Residents
Peter Johns recalls the project to provide temporary housing at Kinglake following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and reflects on lessons learned and how the profession might be effectively involved in the current recovery.
Climate Change Consideration in Design
informed by Planned Cover Risk Manager Kathryn Budd offers advice on managing your risk and your professional obligations related to environmental standards and climate change. What is the role of construction industry professionals in making positive change?
Architects’ Potential for Community Recovery
As architects discuss how best to support recovery from the current bushfires, it is helpful to reflect on previous experiences and processes. What can we learn? Rob Stent’s examination of the recovery process after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires provides cautionary insight and suggestions for the future.
ACA President’s Comment – February 2020
As disaster strikes, John Held discusses the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences, and the broader role of the architect in society.
Working Closely with Bushfire-Affected Communities
BVN co-CEO Ninotschka Titchkosky revisits the rebuilding of the Narbethong Community Hall and offers some invaluable advice about bushfire recovery work.
Resources for the Bushfire Crisis
Unprecedented nationwide bushfire activity in 2019-2020 has had devastating and wide-ranging impacts, not just on those who have seen their homes and properties destroyed or damaged by the bushfires, but also businesses suffering financial hardship. This Resource Roundup includes updated information, resources and other pertinent links.
After the Fire: Be Patient, Considerate and Strategic
Kim Irons of Irons McDuff Architecture cautions patience to those keen to offer aid to those affected by the bushfires.
Bushfire Response: Information & Resources
The national bushfire crisis is devastating, and our hearts go out to all affected. The ACA offers the following information as a starting point, and will develop further resources and publish more in-depth information over time.
How to Prevent Burnout in the Lead-up to Christmas
The lead-up to Christmas may be a magical time of year for some. But for many of us, it’s much more about increased workloads, stress and trying to stay on top of it all. Merilyn Speiser explores what you can do to avoid suffering burnout in the Christmas busy period.
The Business of Design
Kerstin Thompson’s recent presentation for the ACA - SA was a thoughtful reflection on the business of design, busting some stubborn myths about architectural practice, and emphasising the need to balance design quality with business practice excellence, financial strength, thriving people and workplace health.
Fixing the Building Industry - A Wishlist
With defect-prone apartment buildings in the spotlight, it’s clear that Australia’s apartment procurement system needs a serious redesign. Michael Smith highlights the state of play in the building industry, and lays out his wishlist of reforms.
A Question of Standards
With the high cost of accessing Australian Standards, how can we expect high levels of compliance in the building industry? Easy access to clear, understandable Standards must be a priority, argues John Held.
How Can Architects Take Action?
As governments tackle systemic issues in the building industry, John Held outlines some of the ways that architects can make an impact.
Building Industry Needs Significant Cultural Change
Newly appointed Victorian State Building Surveyor Andrew Cialini says it’s time for the building industry to preference public safety and quality over cost, and to implement change for the good of overall outcomes rather than self-interest.
Hundreds of Australian architects have signed up to the Architects Declare movement, which aims to raise awareness of the climate crisis and the urgent need for action in the built environment.
ACA Response to BMF Decision
The BMF announcement to adopt a consistent national approach to reform in the Australian construction industry is welcome news.
Industry Groups Call for Australia-wide Action on Building Regulation
Five industry groups have issued a call for co-ordinated, nation-wide action on building regulation. The ACA supports this call, and is part of it through membership of the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).
Consumer Confidence in the Title ‘Architect’
ACA - WA Committee member Kate Fitzgerald discusses the growing trend for incorrect use of the title ‘Architect’ in an age of declining consumer confidence, and how the time is right to reclaim the title.
How to Solve the Building Practitioner Insurance Crisis in Australia
The PI insurance crisis is upon us - but how did it come to this? Senior Construction Lawyer Kim Lovegrove identifies the key challenges, and outlines his ideas for bringing the Australian building industry back from the brink.
Joint Statement - Implementing the Building Confidence Report
The government must act now to ensure the design and construction of safe, well-constructed buildings and to restore public trust in Australia’s built environment.
Builders and Architects Have Their Say
Architects and builders talked novation at a recent roundtable discussion in South Australia, agreeing that early, meaningful collaboration and communication can only lead to better outcomes. Mario Dreosti recaps the main points of the discussion.
Resources for Mental Health
There are a number of excellent organisations providing a range of initiatives and services to support Australians living with mental illness.
Designing Support in the Modern World
Katie Vivian from the UK-based Architects Benevolent Society introduces us to the charity’s history, the modernisation of its support services and its current AnxietyArch campaign.
Running and directing an architecture practice is often gruelling, and can take a real toll on your mental health. Peter Raisbeck identifies the stress factors and offers some basic tips on self care.
Is Architectural Practice Making Architects Sick?
Professor Naomi Stead, Head of Architecture at Monash University, is one of the champions of a proposed new research project currently under development, Mental Wellbeing of Architects and Architecture Students: Culture, Education and the Workplace, which aims to examine links between architectural culture and identity and mental wellbeing. Here, Naomi takes a quick look at the issues.
Collective Action on Mental Health
Ben Channon is an Associate and Mental Wellbeing Ambassador at Assael Architecture, and chair of the Architects' Mental Wellbeing Forum in the UK. Ben talks us through the forum's origins and ambitions.
A Guide to Architecture and Wellbeing
Ben Channon's new book Happy by Design: A Guide to Architecture and Wellbeing explores the ways that buildings and spaces can impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
WA Cladding Update
ACA - WA President Malcolm Jones gives an overview of the WA cladding audit, issues around ACP compliance, and some early next steps.
Shergold Weir Report Implementation
The Building Confidence Report Implementation Plan has now been released. What does it mean for the architecture profession? Where are the opportunities and what are the challenges? How is the ACA working on a response? We present a summary of the plan and ACA commentary for each state and territory.
ACA President's Comment – April 2019
In light of the release of the Building Confidence Implementation Plan, ACA National President John Held revisits the recent history of regulation in the Australian construction industry and the challenge of timely reform and coordination between all states and territories.
Forget Design Quality, it’s all about Design Risk!
Thinking about design risk in strategic terms is imperative for the profession, but it is often sidelined in practice, and is barely mentioned in architecture schools. Peter Raisbeck explores the concept of design risk.
Quality Outcomes and a Culture Shift
Architects and building certifiers found much common ground at a recent roundtable discussion in South Australia. Mario Dreosti reviews the main points, including the current appetite for increased speed and reduced cost over quality, and the importance of professional culture in effecting change.
Not Just a Matter of Good Design
As architects, we should be selling our ability to realise a well-constructed, quality, safe building rather than focusing solely on design, argues Michael Lewarne.
Current fragmented systems for procuring and delivering complex building projects are compromising the built outcome, to the detriment of the consumer, the public and the built environment professions. Stephen Pearse argues that the building procurement process needs a complete defrag.
Building Commissioner Auditing Not Enough
The NSW Government announcement of a new Building Commissioner to audit building design and construction does not go far enough. Government needs to investigate the construction contracting methods, relationships and behaviours that affect building quality and safety.
Key Findings from Non-conforming Building Products Inquiry
The final report of the inquiry into non-conforming building products was tabled by the Senate Economics References Committee in December 2018. Subtitled “the need for a coherent and robust regulatory regime”, it aims to strengthen accountability and compliance in relation to building products.
Welcome to 2019
The year has begun with a focus on quality - and the lack of it. ACA President John Held considers what architects and the ACA can do to improve the quality of the built environment.
Bring Back the Clerk of Works
In the wake of the Opal Tower debacle, Michael Hegarty explores the role of the Clerk of Works, and the need to return this key project role to Australian construction sites.
The State of the Profession Q&A with Flora Samuel
Michael Smith interviews Flora Samuel about the state of the profession, future challenges, and whether we need more or less architects.
Rethinking Culture, Communication and Boundaries
Michael Lewarne offers prognostications and provocations about cultural change and leadership in the architecture profession.
John Held provides an overview on recent discussions at the COAG Building Ministers Forum regarding the Shergold-Weir Report, Building Confidence.
Non-compliant Cladding - A Year in Review
Can Design Deliver Positive Economic Outcomes?
Broadening the procurement process to consider the value of good design brings economic benefits to the state, argues SA Industry Advocate Ian Nightingale.
Building Confidence: The Shergold-Weir Report and its Implications for Architects
The Shergold-Weir Report argues for better quality documentation and improved oversight. ACA - SA President John Held digs down to see what the recommendations might mean for architects.
Mental Health for Small Business Owners
Self-care is often not a top priority in the life of the small business owner, but it is the most fundamental - not only to your personal health and wellbeing but the success of your business.
Procurement in WA: Government as ‘model client’
A joint submission to the WA Commission of Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects.
Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
The topic of mental health is receiving increasing attention in architecture. So, how can you ensure that your practice is safe and healthy? ACA partner Cbus works with SuperFriend to provide knowledge and resources about mental health, some of which is shared below.
Five Tips for Successful Novation
For better or worse, it seems that novation is here to stay. So, how can consultants get the best outcomes on novated projects? Wendy Poulton of informed suggested five key factors that can lead to a better novation experience.
Knowledge Futures: Future Proofing the Architectural Firm.
Do we want a downstream future or an upstream one? The choice is ours, and the consequences are far-reaching. Peter Raisbeck outlines two scenarios.
Business Suits vs. Designers: Why architectural practice is going down the gurgler
Peter Raisbeck argues that the false opposition between design and business is crippling architecture. We need to bridge the divide to ensure the ongoing viability of the profession.
Where to From Here: Embracing technological change
Is architecture on the verge of the greatest change in centuries? Ceilidh Higgins looks to the future and predicts disruption of epic proportions. Part of the ACA's Where to From Here series.
Where to from here: A promising outlook
A rapidly changing profession brings fresh opportunities for flexibility and specialisation, says emerging architect Emily Chalk.
Where to From Here: Clients Drive Collaboration and Consolidation
Michael Hegarty reflects on the rise of the integrated architecture and engineering practice, arguing that we need to reframe design as process that is essential to client needs.
Architecture's State of Play: Where to Next
Michael Pilkington takes a close look at the ACA - SA State of the Profession research, and argues we must take a ‘let's make the cake bigger’ approach to both practice and the way serve the community, “because, simply, we can and we do live fundamentally for some kind of human-betterment”.
Where to From Here: It's Not Even Architecture
As young practitioners and thinkers deeply invested in our profession's future, Jenna Holder and Athanasios Lazarou consider the issues and make a strong call for collective action. Part of the ACA's Where to From Here series, which invites reflections on the recent ACA SA State of the Profession research.
Where to From Here? The View From an Emerging Practice
Sonia Sarangi and Michael Smith of Atelier Red and Black argue that we need to understand and 'own' the changes facing the profession, to help make them work for rather than against us.
Public Private Partnerships For Procurement
PPP projects do not always deliver all that is claimed - and architects rarely benefit. Ann Gorey reflects on the perceived advantages, claimed benefits and actual costs of this common procurement method.
The Gap Between Authority and Expertise - BIM and Government Procurement
John Held reflects on the importance of the educated government client and architects who have a sophisticated understanding of the client organisation.
A Changing Profession
All professions grow, mature and change - Susan Shannon draws on her extensive body of research to reflect on registration and the shifting shape of the profession.
Ten Challenges / Ten Actions
Leone Lorrimer outlines ten challenges facing architecture and ten actions we can take to turn these challenges into opportunities.
Wanted! Business-savvy archi-preneurs
Reflecting on the opportunities ahead, Jane Cameron argues that we need to explore different modes of practice and new ways to recognise competance, and to design new business models.
Deskilling and Reskilling
John Held reflects on deskilling and reskilling in the profession. Have architects lost the role of ‘trusted advisor’? What do low registration rates mean and what skills do we need to be effective in the future?
Do We Need a Construction Happiness Index?
John Held on happiness, mental health and the construction industry.
ACIF & APCC collaborations
ACIF and the APCC have a number of projects underway relating to procurement, project team integration and BIM.
Government as Smart Client & Procurement Case Studies
An excellent guide to procurement from the Office of the Victorian Government Architect.