NSW/ACT – Advocacy & Education, Events & Plans

Jennifer Crawford , 27 June 2021

The NSW D&BP Act has been a key focus for the NSW/ACT Committee in the first half of 2021, with ongoing advocacy and a suite of seminars to assist members in understanding the implications of the new legislation, writes Jennifer Crawford.

2021 is proving to be challenging for many members in different ways from 2020. A strong renovation and building market means that many members are busier than they have been for quite a while. This high demand for services brings its own challenges in terms of managing workflow and client expectations.

One of the biggest changes on the horizon for NSW members is the introduction of the Design & Building Practitioners Act (D&BP) that comes into effect on 1 July 2021. The ACA – NSW/ACT Committee has been working hard putting together events to assist architects in understanding the implications of this act for them and their businesses.


President Agi Sterling is part of the D&BP industry consultative group. This group meets online fortnightly with the purpose to provide a coordinated and collaborative information sharing and problem solving environment. This is to ensure that the government is aware of gaps in industry understanding and to engage with industry to fix any unintended consequences of the act’s implementation.

Resource Development

The ACA will also be working with the NSW Architects Registration Board and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to prepare further CPD events and courses relating to the D&BP Act specifically for architects.


Over the last few months we have been fortunate enough to be able to run many of our events in person again. Many of these have also been recorded and live-streamed for the benefit of members who can’t make it on the night. We look forward to continuing this service.

A tailored series of five seminars was developed for members to assist in the clarification of issues arising from the D&BP Act.

  1. Legal counsel Christopher Larcos addressed possible legal issues arising from the Act.
  2. Matt Press and Eleanor Naughton from the Building Commissioner’s Office presented how the new Act will regain consumer confidence. This was followed with a lively Q&A session.
  3. Paul Viney, Vic/Tas Branch President and ACA National Secretary, presented the Time Cost Calculator to assist members with calculating fees in the new legislative environment.
  4. Simon Gray and Carina Bogaard from Planned Cover covered how the Act will affect PI Insurance, though the recent COVID outbreak in Sydney meant that this needed to be moved online at the last minute.
  5. We have plans (COVID permitting) for Joel Clough from Ardex to talk about waterproofing, which is the source of approximately 80% of problems in Class 2 buildings.

Another standout event was the presentation by our own committee member Michael Lewarne on Ideas for a Better Architecture Profession. Presented at the inspiring Caroma showroom in Alexandria, the presentation looked at alternative ways that architects may look at their practice and how they operate – applying design thinking not only to buildings but to their businesses as well. Michael spoke about the need for more collaboration rather than the traditional competitive nature of architecture, and posed whether the best solution is actually a building at all. So much food for thought!

  • Eleanor Naughton, Agi Sterling, Ivana Simkovic and Matt Press
  • Behind the scenes


Our membership has increased by almost 8% since the end of 2020 and the branch now represents 1227 technical staff. Existing and new members both see the benefits of ACA membership.

ACA – NSW/ACT Committee

The current committee consists of President Agi Sterling, with Ivana Simkovic from dwp as Vice President, Gregg Isaacs as Secretary and Harry Hamor as Treasurer with Marie Frost as Executive Officer. Other committee members include David Springett, Steve Pearse, Fabrizio Siqueira, Justine Money, Jennifer Crawford and Michael Lewarne as an associate member. The entire committee undertook the required governance training in March to ensure that the necessary high standards of governance are continued for an organisation such as the ACA.

We are looking forward to some of the NSW committee members visiting the ACT again in August to meet the lively crew there and hopefully encourage even more new members.

Plans for the remainder of the year

We are keen to keep building the ACA community through a series of face to face events whenever possible and COVID permitting. The branch continues to serve its members and provide them with information and resources to help them run their practices as successful businesses. We welcome feedback and suggestions from members on how we can continue to improve this service (get in touch with Marie Frost at nsw@aca.org.au).