NSW/ACT Update – June 2023

28 June 2023

It’s been a busy six months for the NSW/ACT branch committee, who have been working hard to deliver informative and relevant CPD presentations and networking opportunities as well as discounted webinars and resources, and advocacy for its members. A recent highlight was the first Business of Small Practice (BoSP) event in Sydney.


Our first Business of Small Practice (BoSP) Event – The Engine of Growth – was on 15 June 2023 with Warwick Mihaly as the first speaker. Sandra Furtado from Furtado Sullivan, Lee Hillam from Dunn & Hillam Architects and Steve Kennedy from Kennedy Associates Architects joined for a panel discussion with some knowledge sharing of the growth journeys of their practices. A great discussion and Q&A session ensued with Lee discussing the practice principles and rules acting as bumpers in a game of 10 pin bowling so that you know what to say no to in order to keep on the path that works best for you.

Both Steve and Sandra talked about the idea of trust with clients and how important that was in maintaining client relationships, successful projects and repeat projects. Steve also mentioned the need to treat people the way in which you’d like to be treated. Steve also had a slightly different take on saying no in that some projects come from surprising sources and could potentially provide that life-changing moment.

To wrap up the night, what would our panel do if they had to start all over again? Lee would employ a great admin person very early on to handle a lot of that work that isn’t the best use of a designer’s time. Warwick would like less ad hoc growth in his business and Steve still thrives on the risk.

For this event we want to send special thanks to Sascha Byrne for her great organisation of the event and Michael Lewarne and Jennifer Crawford (NSW/ACT committee members) for running the event on the day.


The NSW/ACT branch continues to organise and present relevant CPD events for our members. On 11 May, the NSW/ACT branch organised a formal CPD presentation on the NCC, an online event with Luke Sheehy and Usama Masood from Design Confidence, who provided a concise and detailed update on the most recent changes to the NCC. The webinar was well-attended by architects around the country, with 308 tickets sold. It is also available as a CPD On Demand presentation for the next six months.

The committee also organised a special ACA member discount for access to Practicing on Country, an online-self-paced seminar providing 1.5 hours of CPD, with Dr. Michael Mossman and Elle Davidson, in collaboration with Sydney University.

This covered two of the three compulsory CPD presentations introduced as mandatory for all registered architects.

On 18 April, the branch hosted An Update – NSW Design & Practitioners Act with David Bannerman from Bannermans Lawyers. The talk covered the qualifications and responsibilities of Design Practitioners and essential aspects of Regulated Design and Design Compliance Declarations. Attendees gained valuable insights to review compliance and ensure their designs meet the necessary standards. Bannerman’s presentation provided an essential update for architects in navigating the legal landscape effectively.


The NSW/ACT Committee hosted ACA CEO Angelina Pillai and ACA National President John Held on 22 May. Thanks to all committee members that could attend. There were a number of items discussed, including architectural fees and the possibility to do some market research; public relations, and how the ACA is tackling this issue; the value of architecture; and international connections.


Our membership is steadily growing. As of 1 June 2023, the NSW/ACT branch has 282 member firms with 2048 technical staff. We thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to your involvement in the year ahead.


In the second half of the year, we will host a face-to-face presentation by Tom Simmat on Daycare NCC and Council Requirements (date and location to be advised); a webinar on Mental Wellbeing with Michael Lewarne; a series of updates on the DBP Act; and a presentation by Alicia Lycroft on The Great Re-Invention. The branch is also keen to visit one of our regional centres for a face-to-face presentation and networking opportunity.

The successful BoSP (Business of Small Practice) program made its way to Sydney in mid-June, with the first BoSP event featuring Warwick Mihaly and a stellar panel of small practice owners. We are committed to have our second BoSP by the end of the year and planning is already underway.

Our visit to the ACT is scheduled for mid-October with a social function with cocktails and food, and a Sustainability theme. Jenny Edwards will present on smaller scale retrofit work and how simple things can make a massive difference to comfort, health and energy efficiency when renovating existing homes. Date and location to be confirmed.

The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (DBP Act) and Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (RAB Act) will apply to construction work on new class 3 and 9c builds from 3 July 2023.  An update seminar was organised by the Commissioner’s office and was shared on ACA’s networks. Additional webinars will be organised by the NSW/ACT committee in the second half of the year, focusing on:

  • Design Audit process
  • Remediation Work – emergency remediation
  • EV design – retrofit and new design
  • Class 9 and 3c updates


The NSW/ACT branch committee will continue to work with the NSW and ACT chapters of the Australian Institute of Architects on legislation issues and updates in order to support our industry.

Practice management Awards

The ACA was invited to the Western Sydney University Dean’s Awards Ceremony on 20 July 2023 to present two Awards – the Association of Consulting Architects Undergraduate Award, and the Association of Consulting Architects Postgraduate Award. The Awards will go to recipients for the 2022 Academic Year in Parramatta South Campus. The awards will be presented to students that had the highest marks in the practice management courses.

ARC Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing

Angelina Pillai, Greg Isaac and Ivana Simkovic met with UNSW and Swinburne University representatives in relation to the ARC Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing program. The aim is to transform the national architectural profession to meet Australia’s immediate strategic needs in terms of productivity and climate goals. The centre will harness digital processes, workflows and tools to deliver sustainable productivity and efficiency improvements in the Australian Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector.

The Centre will recruit 21 PhD researchers spread across three topics: Synthesis of creative operational processes and practices in design; Management of business processes and commercial models; and Analytics unlocking the potential of historic project data.

This new developed knowledge will be communicated via research education standards developed with institutional partners, such as the ACA, the Institute, the  AACA, and the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists to facilitate adoption, exploration and innovation in training in architectural manufacturing.

The ACA is committed to contribute to the program in attending: annual presentations, annual half and full day workshops, one-on-one meetings with PhD candidates and any additional correspondence. The location of workshops is likely to be spread between Sydney and Melbourne.

Building tools app

Members of the NSW/ACT branch have been negotiating with the founders of the new buildingtools.co app that seeks to improve building practices by summarising the NCC and Australian Standards as well as best practice construction methods into simple, interactive graphics. The app will become available to NSW/ACT members by the end of July.