The ACA brings you the latest information and advice on running an architectural practice, with writing from experts in the field on everything from contracts, insurance and risk management, to client engagement and communication.

ACA members can also access two pertinent advisory services: the ACA Business Advisory Service, which provides advice via email from Management For Design; and the ACA Legal Advisory Service, which provides one annual 20-minute consultation with Moray & Agnew.


Confidentiality in Practice

9 November 2021

Confidentiality agreements are common in practice, but how do you manage them? Cordilia Thomas, Risk Manager from Planned Cover, takes us through the basics and offers tips on managing your confidentiality obligations.

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The Value of Architecture

1 September 2021

Rachael Bernstone of Sounds like Design connects the wellbeing of architects with fee-setting and communicating the value of architecture.

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Designing Practice

13 July 2021

Emma Williamson’s recent presentation for the ACA’s annual Business of Design lunch in Adelaide took the audience through the strategies she and partner Kieran Wong have used in building and rebuilding their business over the last 25 years.

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That’s a RAP!

9 June 2021

On 3 June, the ACA hosted a webinar with TheFulcrum.Agency on the importance of Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs). Emma Brain provides a recap.

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PI Insurance – Past, Present & Future

12 May 2021

Planned Cover National Business Manager Cos Cirocco reflects on the evolution of PI Insurance in the building industry, the impacts of the NSW D&BP Act on the insurance market, and future changes and complexities in the industry.

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Best Practices in Document Management

6 May 2021

Efficient document management assists practices in being more profitable and reducing risk. Deltek’s Linda Dininger offers her tips on streamlining processes and freeing up your time for the more enjoyable aspects of practice.

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Proportionate Liability & Contributory Negligence

11 April 2021

Proportionate liability and contributory negligence can be powerful legal protections in the event of an alleged claim made against you, but how can you best manage your risk? Felicity Dixon offers some timely advice.

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Streamlining Your Resource Planning

9 April 2021

Resource management is crucial for architecture practices, but few have an effective planning structure in place. Deltek offers three recommendations for getting it right.

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Negotiating Government Tenders

28 February 2021

Architects must collectively resolve to stop accepting unfair or uninsurable contract terms, argues Laura Harding from Hills Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects.

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Enhancing Workplace Communication

20 February 2021

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.

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Management for Design FAQs

29 November 2020

Management for Design responds to some frequently asked questions for ACA members, covering everything from strategic plans and building a team, to resource and project management, profitability and financial control, and the critical ingredients to successful leadership.

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2020 in Review and Beyond

29 November 2020

Cos Cirocco and Karen Meiklejohn from Planned Cover review the year that was, offering a snapshot of the state of the professional indemnity market and projecting forward to future trends.

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Communicating the Value of Design Development

27 October 2020

How do we advocate for the value of this critical part of the design process? Jennifer Crawford provides a clear, concise explainer on why DD matters.

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Collaboration, profitability & technology

30 September 2020

Technology is an enabler for A&E firms. But how does it impact collaboration and profitability? In an interview with ACA CEO Angelina Pillai, Deltek explores the issues surrounding their recently published Clarity A&E Industry Report.

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Demystifying Cyber Protection Insurance

28 September 2020

Planned Cover demystifies cyber protection insurance, offering an explainer on terminology and what it all means for your business.

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The Value of Good Communication

6 August 2020

UK-based communications professional Celeste Bolte argues that architects need to become better storytellers, to engage the public, and assert their relevance through simple and meaningful communication.

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Cyber Crime in the Age of COVID-19

11 June 2020

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.

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Elevation Architecture’s Digital Transformation

7 June 2020

Rachel Tilleyshort of Elevation Architecture takes us through her firm’s digital transformation, with substantial profitability and productivity gains since implementing Deltek Project Information Management (PIM).

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Running a Practice in Lockdown

1 June 2020

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.

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Making Marketing Gold From Your Award Entries

21 April 2020

Rachael Bernstone, journalist and comms consultant, offers some tips on how to increase your return-on-investment for awards entries.

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How to Lead a Remote Workforce

6 April 2020

Robert Peake, principal of Management for Design, offers his top tips for effective leadership with remote teams, including setting clear expectations and following through, giving trust freely, and managing achievement, not time.

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COVID-19 Fallout - Contract Questions

1 April 2020

As COVID-19 disruption hits projects, supply chains and timelines, Wendy Poulton, Principal of informed Lawyers Pty Ltd, looks at some popular contract questions.

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IT Advice for Working Remotely

17 March 2020

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.

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Housing Displaced Residents

27 February 2020

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.

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Climate Change Consideration in Design

21 February 2020

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?

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Tips for Pro Bono Work

10 February 2020

Dunn and Hillam Director Lee Hillam shares her experiences and tips about incorporating pro bono work into practice in a sustainable way.

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A Review of the 2019 Insurance Market

4 December 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, Planned Cover's Cos Cirocco and Adele Monaco take a look back, reviewing the insurance market and claims landscape of the past 12 months and advising on how best to navigate it in the immediate future.

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Internet Chat in Practice

25 November 2019

As online chat gains popularity, and boundaries between home and work become blurred, how do we take advantage of quick, easy communication without compromising our work or our mental health? Sarah Hobday-North explores the issues.

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The No. 1 Mistake Architects Make With Design Fees

21 October 2019

Design fee consultant Ian Motley explains how architects can increase architectural fees and profit margins with a simple change to their pricing strategy.

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The Business of Design

5 October 2019

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.

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The Benefits of Giving Back

4 September 2019

Improving the built environment of communities in need does not have to be an all or nothing proposition, says Leeanne Marshall, who presents a variety of ways to make an impact, both big and small.

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State of the Insurance Market

3 September 2019

The world of insurance has changed rapidly over the last 12 to 18 months. Planned Cover Victorian State Manager Laurence Gottlieb gives us an overview of a toughening market.

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The Social Conscience of Architecture

30 August 2019

Robert Goodliffe recently spoke at an ACA – Vic/Tas event on the importance of social responsibility in architecture, revealing how a holistic approach can build culture internally and provide a resilient business model.

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Tips for Time Management

26 August 2019

Running a practice can be unrelenting, changeable and extremely demanding. How do you manage your time in such an unpredictable environment? Rena M. Klein offers some tips.

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Partnership Protection Insurance

27 July 2019

Do you have partners in your business? Have you got a safety net in place in case disaster strikes? Planned Cover’s Sherren Hepburn explores the benefits of partnership protection insurance.

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How to Solve the Building Practitioner Insurance Crisis in Australia

2 July 2019

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.

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Putting People in the Picture

8 June 2019

Why are people largely absent from our architectural imagery? As a profession that designs and builds spaces for people, perhaps we need to be more conscious of including people in our floorplans and models, writes Fiona Young.

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Avoiding Cyber Attacks

29 May 2019

What are the crown jewels of your practice? Where are they stored and how secure are they? Sherren Hepburn from Planned Cover takes a look at the issues around cybersecurity and offers tips on protecting your precious assets.

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Cloud Computing

8 May 2019

Deloitte Private Principal Adam Russell explores how cloud computing and balanced strategic decision making can drive performance and growth.

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Novation - A Guide for Architects

17 April 2019

Novation can create confusion for architects and builders alike. Christopher Larcos offers a legal primer to the contractual rights and obligations of a novated project.

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Forget Design Quality, it’s all about Design Risk!

17 April 2019

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.

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Risk Management - A Refresher

13 April 2019

Risk Manager Felicity Dixon takes us through the fundamentals of risk management, advising on how best to identify, manage and allocate risk.

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Managing Risk 101

21 March 2019

Risk management is crucial to effective practice management. Robert Peake outlines the key issues, from business structures and insurances to fee agreements and negotiation.

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Embracing Collaboration

4 March 2019

It’s time to ditch the idea of the architectural rock star, embrace a more collaborative approach, and communicate far and wide, argues Jennifer Crawford.

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Copyright Infringement

1 February 2019

What difficulties can ensue if client and architect fall out? Christopher Larcos has prepared a fascinating case note on a recent court decision that could affect architects who take over mid-project.

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Building Industry Fairness

19 January 2019

The Queensland government recently issued a series of reforms to improve security of payment for subcontractors. Risk Manager Cordilia Thomas looks at the detail.

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Survey Results Available!

11 December 2018

The second independent survey of business and practice management systems has uncovered some interesting findings.

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Non-compliant Cladding and Insurance Exclusions

16 October 2018

Insurance specialist Laurence Gottlieb explores the issue of non-compliant cladding and other materials, warning of the changes afoot in the insurance industry.

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A Quick Look at Anchoring

11 October 2018

How can architects benefit from the subtle nudge of an anchor? Ian Motley takes another look at the psychology of negotiation.

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The Business of Small Practice

21 September 2018

The ACA - WA’s first Business of Small Practice forum focused on the importance of the ‘connected economy’, with networking and relationships at its core, writes Rachael Bernstone.

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New Business Models

24 June 2018

Jennifer Crawford argues that the question of fees is really a question of business models. Architects need to work out what their ‘super power’ is, and charge accordingly.

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Is Regulation the Answer to Fee Madness?

20 June 2018

Is reintroducing fee scales and further regulation the solution to fee slashing and ‘the race for the bottom’ among architects? Is this really feasible in a world of increasing globalisation and diversification of service providers? Ceilidh Higgins considers other options.

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Addressing Architecture’s Wicked Problems through Affordances

20 June 2018

Fiona Young argues that we need to understand briefing as a key part of the architect's role, develop a common understanding with clients to ensure the best outcome, and charge fees accordingly.

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Fee Redemption: A mutually assured future

19 June 2018

The conversation about fees is taking off across social media. John Held argues that many of the contemporary problems facing architects derive from unpriced risk, and that nationwide research and smarter business practices are part of the solution.

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Insurance and Sexual Harassment Claims

11 June 2018

Special Counsel Sarah Wood outlines the insurance implications of sexual harassment claims, and suggests risk mitigation strategies for architectural practices.

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Insurance for Architectural Practices

7 April 2018

Planned Cover Manager of Projects and Compliance Vanessa Collins gives a full rundown of the different types of insurance and the protections they provide.

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Common Claims and How to Avoid Them

13 March 2018

Experienced Claims Manager Kerrie McLeish discusses the most common claims she sees and gives valuable advice on how to avoid them.

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Keeping on Top of Tech

19 February 2018

Delegating your technology needs to your IT team is a mistake, argues Robert Peake. As a leader you need to understand and drive the IT strategy within your business.

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Professional Indemnity Insurance

19 February 2018

Is the limit on your professional indemnity insurance policy enough? Planned Cover’s Kerrie McLeish explores the issues.

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New BIM Taskforce

19 February 2018

ACA - Qld/NT and the Australian Institute of Architects Qld have joined forces to create a BIM Taskforce to help architects and practices become BIM capable.

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Should You Merge Your Firm? Probably!

15 December 2017

Merging your firm can make good business sense. Robert Peake outlines the many benefits that a company merge can have for small practice owners.

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Three Keys to Creating a Valuable Social Media Presence

12 November 2017

Social media should be an important part of the every architectural practice's communication program, but not all architects know how to proceed. Kate Potter explains how to get started.

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We Need to Talk about Money

15 October 2017

Peter Raisbeck provides a snappy outline of the ten profit drivers of small architectural practice.

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Business Systems Survey Results

14 October 2017

Do you know where to start when choosing a new business management system for your practice?

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Construction contracts - avoiding the pitfalls

15 September 2017

Do your construction project contracts reflect your appetite for risk? Mark Glynn explores the issues.

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Managing your way to profitability

12 September 2017

Dynamic leadership, talented employees, exciting projects and appreciative clients mean little if a firm is stressed and struggling with its bottom line, says Jennekin Dicks. Managing profitability well can make all the difference.

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6 Business Tips for Architects

6 June 2017

How do you increase the value of your business and put your clients front and centre? Lindy Johnson shares six helpful tips.

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Negotiation tactics: Preconditioned to succeed

10 May 2017

Preconditioning is a negotiation tactic with a friendly facade and a dangerous bite. Ian Motley from Blue Turtle Consulting shows us how to use the preconditioning tactic to our advantage.

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Social media in practice - a case study

17 April 2017

Emma Brain outlines CODA's approach to social media, which has enabled the Fremantle-based practice to build a national profile and engage with clients and colleagues across the country.

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Who Takes the Risk?

4 April 2017

Wendy Poulton reflects on the changing landscape of risk in architectural practice, and offers a check list of ten things to look for in commercial consultancy agreements.

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Do Your Contracts Contain ‘Unfair Terms’?

16 February 2017

What will the new Unfair Contract Terms law mean for architects? Planned Cover and Jackson Macdonald take a look.

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Negotiation - Beware the Nibble

28 October 2016

One of the least ethical negotiation tactics clients can use is the nibble. Design fee consultant Ian Motley explains what it is and how to strategise to achieve a good outcome for all.

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Research in Architectural Practice - 6 ways for architects to create upstream knowledge

18 October 2016

How can your practice amplify its research capability? Peter Raisback suggests six strategies.

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Ensuring Australia's future in BIM

14 October 2016

It's essential that Australia has a consistent approach towards BIM implementation, ensuring its future growth can support international opportunities, argues Rebecca De Cicco.

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Architecture and Design Fees: Why Hourly Rates?

8 October 2016

The value of a company today is based on ideas rather than assets or staff numbers, so why do architects still charge by the hour? Ceilidh Higgins explores the possibilities for non-traditional fee structures.

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Becoming a B Corp: Using business for the power of good

8 August 2016

Lee Hillam outlines the process of becoming a B Corp and the benefits that flow from it.

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A Cautionary Note on Software Cost Structures

19 July 2016

Software costs structures are changing; this could have significant impact on your business’s long-term profitability. ACA - WA outlines the issues.

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Where to From Here: Embracing technological change

15 June 2016

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.

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Managing for Happiness

14 June 2016

Nurturing a company culture of opportunity and challenge, support and appreciation is not just about giving you a warm fuzzy feeling - it can increase your bottom line. Rena Klein makes the case.

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How to Improve Productivity with Design Thinking

19 April 2016

Your staff are the best people to work out how to improve the productivity of your practice. Rena Klein explains the benefits of an Operational Improvement Charette, and provides a guide to running one.

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Want to be More Profitable? Here's How.

11 March 2016

How can small architectural practices be more profitable? Rena Klein outlines the issues to consider, and some strategies for getting started.

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Splitting the difference

10 March 2016

Is 'splitting the difference' really fair? Ian Motley explains how to respond to suggestions in fee negotiations.

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Using the Security of Payment Act - Q&A

3 December 2015

Robert Macindoe has successfully used the Security of Payment Act to recover outstanding fees. He answers key questions about the process.

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A Seven-Step Guide to using the Security of Payment Act

3 December 2015

Robert Macindoe offers a guide to using the Security of Payments Act, based in firsthand experience.

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When to Keep Silent in a Fee Negotiation

4 November 2015

Ian Motley discusses body language, the power of silence and how architects can turn these tactics to their advantage.

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BIM - the Architects' Trojan Horse

17 September 2015

Peter Barda argues that BIM offers a way for architects to regain their role as trusted advisor.

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Cyber Attacks and Insurance

13 August 2015

What are the exposures of hacking and other cyber criminal activity to your business? Alex Conlon of BJS Insurance Brokers considers the issues in this emerging risk area.

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Are you the Good Cop or the Bad Cop?

7 August 2015

Ian Motley provides advice on how to respond when potential clients use the 'good cop / bad cop' tactic during fee negotiations.

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Unfair Contract Terms

10 May 2015

The Federal Treasury has committed to extending unfair contract protections to small businesses. Mario Dreosti provides an overview.

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Are You Negotiating Against Yourself?

12 April 2015

Ian Motley argues that fee erosion is often the result of standard negotiation tactics. He explains how to recognise when you are ‘negotiating against yourself’ and how to avoid it.

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BIM and Insurance

6 March 2015

What are the insurance implications of BIM for architects? Alex Conlon of BJS Insurance Brokers considers the issues in this emerging field.

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Is Everyone Experiencing This Right Now?

15 December 2014

Design fees, scope creep, government projects: Alexandra Howieson reflects on the state of the profession.

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Making Strategy Happen

5 November 2014

Does your practice have an effective strategic plan? Robert Peake, of Management for Design, outlines the importance of strategy, and suggests some ways to get started.

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To BIM or not to BIM? What a Question!

4 November 2014

How might the industry encourage clients to take up BIM?

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Presenting to Government

15 October 2014

How architects present in government contexts can have a large impact on their chances of getting the job, or gaining support for a project. Jill Garner, Victorian Associate Government Architect, offers some tips.

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Navigating planning systems

5 October 2014

Planning lawyer Paul Vergotis offers a set of tips to help manoeuvre an architectural project through planning systems from proposal to success.

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The Art and Science of Increasing Profits

3 October 2014

Ian Motley argues that the profession needs to radically rethink the overall approach to fees and pricing work.

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Architectural Fees: what, how and where to...

2 September 2014

Antony Di Mase canvasses the complexities of setting fees and the valuing of architectural work, arguing that we need consensus on how fees are determined.

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Into the Abyss

4 August 2014

Does excessive fee-cutting mean the profession is presiding over its own demise? George Zillante outlines the issues.

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6 Qualities That Make Architects Ideally Suited to Lead Collaborative Integrated Teams

An essay by Randy Deutsch that argues that architects need to rethink and redefine their role if the profession is to survive.



Client Risk Management

17 July 2014

What potential risks might clients present? What are the warning signs? What strategies and structures can architects use to reduce risk?

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10 Principles for Building an Architectural Business

31 May 2014

How do you build an architectural business? Charles Justin offers 10 principles to guide a practice.

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Head in the Cloud

3 May 2014

Is it reassuring or not to be told there are many definitions for ‘the Cloud’? Dean Wood reports and reflects on a recent ACA - WA event.

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I've Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now ...

9 April 2014

John Held considers the opportunities and costs of cloud computing in small practice.

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Making Email Work

1 April 2014

Useful tips from Prodonovich Advisory.

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Professional Indemnity Insurance, Risk and AS 4122

28 March 2014

Jack Birrell on the things to consider when choosing your insurance provider.

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Changes to the Privacy Act

26 March 2014

An overview of changes to the Privacy Act from March 12.

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New Insurance Agreement re AS 4122

13 March 2014

A new agreement with Planned Cover means that architects insured with it after 17 March are automatically covered for the current version of AS 4122 - 2010.

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Getting Paid: Security of Payment

2 February 2014

Peter Sarlos explains the Security of Payment Act and how architects might use it to their benefit.

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More on Fees and PI Insurance

2 February 2014

Damian Harrison, of BJS Insurance Brokers, responds to Peter Sarlos’s concerns about PI insurance precluding claims for fees.

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Architects & Social Media

25 January 2014

How can architects use social media effectively for business and professional development?

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AS4122-2010 General Conditions of Contract

6 December 2013

The ACA recommends members use AS4122-2010, General Conditions of Contract for consultants.

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3 December 2013

Peter Sarlos on the challenges of calculating fees and conveying the value of an architect's work to clients.

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An Insurance Perspective on the Assumed Liability Exclusion in AS 4122-2010

3 December 2013

Damian Harrison comments on recent concerns about the ‘assumed liability’ exclusion in AS 4122-2010.

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Fees & Professional Indemnity Insurance

11 November 2013

Does your PI insurance preclude claims for fees? Peter Sarlos outlines the issues.

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Fees - Being Able To Do What An Architect Should Do

3 September 2013

Peter Sarlos on the challenges of calculating fees and conveying the value of an architect's work to clients.

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Safe Design - What You Need To Know

14 June 2013

Anna Piatkowksa provides an update on current safe design requirements and the ACA’s Safe Design Process.

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Releasing CAD Files to Clients

12 June 2013

Architects are increasingly being asked to release CAD files to clients. What are the implications of doing so? Damian Harrison of BJS Insurance Brokers gives an insurance perspective.

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The ACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters of Australia.