The No. 1 Mistake Architects Make With Design Fees
Design fee consultant Ian Motley explains how architects can increase architectural fees and profit margins with a simple change to their pricing strategy.
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.
State of the Insurance Market
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.
Tips for Time Management
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.
How to Hire, Fire & Manage Employees
Recruiting the right people and then managing them well is essential to the success of your practice. Merilyn Speiser offers a guide to getting the HR fundamentals right.
Partnership Protection Insurance
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.
ACA Salary Calculator
The ACA Salary Calculator provides architectural practices with a clear methodology for determining the appropriate award-compliant salaries. Now updated to 2019–20 rates.
How to Achieve Pay Equity
Compare and contrast pay rates and don’t misread confidence for competence, advises Cassandra Keller.
Implementing a New HR Policy
How do you build a strong HR policy without impacting on the culture of your practice? Merilyn Speiser provides a brief guide on implementing change as seamlessly as possible.
Avoiding Cyber Attacks
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.
Deloitte Private Principal Adam Russell explores how cloud computing and balanced strategic decision making can drive performance and growth.
Deloitte Private Principal Adam Russell explores how cloud computing and balanced strategic decision making can drive performance and growth.
Special Conditions for ABIC BW 2018 C
Special conditions allow the ABIC Commercial Basic Works Contract to be adapted for use on small residential projects in New South Wales.
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.
Novation - A Guide for Architects
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.
Risk Management - A Refresher
Risk Manager Felicity Dixon takes us through the fundamentals of risk management, advising on how best to identify, manage and allocate risk.
Managing Risk 101
Risk management is crucial to effective practice management. Robert Peake outlines the key issues, from business structures and insurances to fee agreements and negotiation.
Building Skills in Practice
Informal learning, partnered with formal training and development, are of enormous benefit to practices as well as individuals. ACA partner Cbus identifies some of the ways you can amplify learning in your practice.
A Matter of Privacy
Are you doing enough to protect your employees’ personal information? ACA partner Cbus explores the issues, identifying resources to assist in the protection of your employees and your practice.
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.
Building Industry Fairness
The Queensland government recently issued a series of reforms to improve security of payment for subcontractors. Risk Manager Cordilia Thomas looks at the detail.
BoSP2: Organisational Structure
The ACA – WA recently held its second Business of Small Practice event, talking shares, trusts, asset protection and employee ownership.
Survey Results Available!
The second independent survey of business and practice management systems has uncovered some interesting findings.
Non-compliant Cladding and Insurance Exclusions
Insurance specialist Laurence Gottlieb explores the issue of non-compliant cladding and other materials, warning of the changes afoot in the insurance industry.
The Architects Award
Download the current awards here, and understand your obligations under the Architects Award and how the ACA can help.
A Quick Look at Anchoring
How can architects benefit from the subtle nudge of an anchor? Ian Motley takes another look at the psychology of negotiation.
Challenging the Banks’ Discrimination Against ABIC
Warwick Mihaly outlines the findings of the recent survey on the banks and ABIC contracts. The worrying results provided the foundation for the joint submission to the Banking Royal Commission by the ACA, ArchiTeam and the Institute of Architects.
Submission to the Banking Royal Commission
The ACA has joined forces with the Institute and ArchiTeam to condemn the unfair treatment of industry-standard construction contracts by banks in a submission to the Banking Royal Commission.
New BIM Ready Report Released
The Queensland BIM Taskforce has released its findings from its recent BIM Survey.
HR Policy Templates
Comprehensive and written in plain English, the HR Policy Templates can be readily tailored to suit the needs of specific practices.
Short Form Architect Client Agreement
Just three pages and a cover letter, the ACA Short Form Architect Client Agreement is a fair and balanced model contract for use on small to medium sized projects. Edition 2 out now!
New Business Models
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.
Have you have been involved in a project that has been impacted by the banks’ resistance to loan against ABIC or AS contracts? Tell us all about it!
Addressing Architecture’s Wicked Problems through Affordances
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.
Is Regulation the Answer to Fee Madness?
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.
Fee Redemption: A mutually assured future
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.
Insurance and Sexual Harassment Claims
Special Counsel Sarah Wood outlines the insurance implications of sexual harassment claims, and suggests risk mitigation strategies for architectural practices.
Architects' Time/Cost Calculator
The ACA Architects’ Time/Cost Calculator helps practices assess the time and costs involved in providing an appropriate level of service for a broad range of building types.
Insurance for Architectural Practices
Planned Cover Manager of Projects and Compliance Vanessa Collins gives a full rundown of the different types of insurance and the protections they provide.
The Ultimate Return to Work
Providing support and easing the transition for an employee returning to work makes good business sense, argues Jennekin Dicks.
Common Claims and How to Avoid Them
Experienced Claims Manager Kerrie McLeish discusses the most common claims she sees and gives valuable advice on how to avoid them.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Is the limit on your professional indemnity insurance policy enough? Planned Cover’s Kerrie McLeish explores the issues.
Keeping on Top of Tech
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.
New BIM Taskforce
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.
Stopping Harassment in its Tracks
How does your practice address sexual harassment at work? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants offers a 10-step approach to keep your business harassment-free.
Should You Merge Your Firm? Probably!
Merging your firm can make good business sense. Robert Peake outlines the many benefits that a company merge can have for small practice owners.
Three Keys to Creating a Valuable Social Media Presence
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.
We Need to Talk about Money
Peter Raisbeck provides a snappy outline of the ten profit drivers of small architectural practice.
Business Systems Survey Results
Do you know where to start when choosing a new business management system for your practice?
Construction contracts - avoiding the pitfalls
Do your construction project contracts reflect your appetite for risk? Mark Glynn explores the issues.
Managing your way to profitability
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.
Join the SA Practice Admin Group!
The ACA – SA Practice Administrators Group meets regularly to share knowledge, views and experiences. New members welcome.
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.
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.
6 Business Tips for Architects
How do you increase the value of your business and put your clients front and centre? Lindy Johnson shares six helpful tips.
Negotiation tactics: Preconditioned to succeed
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.
Social media in practice - a case study
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.
Who Takes the Risk?
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.
Go Hard or Go Home!
Lee Hillam reflects on the long-hours culture in architecture.
Part of the Territory? A response from the ACA
Poor workplace cultures and conditions are bad for everyone – employee, employer and the wider profession. David Wagner responds to one recent account.
Do Your Contracts Contain ‘Unfair Terms’?
What will the new Unfair Contract Terms law mean for architects? Planned Cover and Jackson Macdonald take a look.
What Do Clients Think of Architects?
Outcomes of the RIBA survey on client attitudes are mostly positive, with most clients pleased with their projects overall and rating architects' design skills highly. Less positively, architects work in managing the process was less well rated and contractors were less satisfied than other clients. The report includes a discussion of implications and opportunities, which will provide useful reading for architects in Australia also.Link
Negotiation - Beware the Nibble
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.
Research in Architectural Practice - 6 ways for architects to create upstream knowledge
How can your practice amplify its research capability? Peter Raisback suggests six strategies.
Ensuring Australia's future in BIM
It's essential that Australia has a consistent approach towards BIM implementation, ensuring its future growth can support international opportunities, argues Rebecca De Cicco.
Architecture and Design Fees: Why Hourly Rates?
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.
Guide Employment Agreements
The ACA Employment Agreements provide member practices with guides that they can review and adjust to suit their particular practice.
Safe Design Proformas
The ACA's Safe Design Proformas help architects to meet their obligations under the Model Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and state-specific regulations.
Practice Administrators Group
The ACA – SA Practice Administrators Group meets informally to discuss matters of common interest.
Roof Access Checklist
ACA – SA has developed a model checklist for roof access on site inspections.
Becoming a B Corp: Using business for the power of good
Lee Hillam outlines the process of becoming a B Corp and the benefits that flow from it.
A Cautionary Note on Software Cost Structures
Software costs structures are changing; this could have significant impact on your business’s long-term profitability. ACA – WA outlines the issues.
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.
Managing for Happiness
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.
How to Improve Productivity with Design Thinking
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.
What is productivity and how should we measure it? Robert Peake reports on recent survey findings and suggests strategies for architectural practices.
Want to be More Profitable? Here's How.
How can small architectural practices be more profitable? Rena Klein outlines the issues to consider, and some strategies for getting started.
Splitting the difference
Is 'splitting the difference' really fair? Ian Motley explains how to respond to suggestions in fee negotiations.
Using the Security of Payment Act - Q&A
Robert Macindoe has successfully used the Security of Payment Act to recover outstanding fees. He answers key questions about the process.
A Seven-Step Guide to using the Security of Payment Act
Robert Macindoe offers a guide to using the Secuity of Payments Act, based in firsthand experience.
ACA + AusSearch
‘AusSearch for ACA Members’ is an online service that enables fast and efficient searching for the documents you need for site analysis and property services.
When to Keep Silent in a Fee Negotiation
Ian Motley discusses body language, the power of silence and how architects can turn these tactics to their advantage.
BIM - the Architects' Trojan Horse
Peter Barda argues that BIM offers a way for architects to regain their role as trusted advisor.
Cyber Attacks and Insurance
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.
Are you the Good Cop or the Bad Cop?
Ian Motley provides advice on how to respond when potential clients use the 'good cop / bad cop' tactic during fee negotiations.
Growth, Ownership & Exit Strategies Conference
The Growth, Ownership and Exit Strategies conference will exploreinternal and external options for transitioning ownership in professional services firms of all kinds.
Unfair Contract Terms
The Federal Treasury has committed to extending unfair contract protections to small businesses. Mario Dreosti provides an overview.
Are You Negotiating Against Yourself?
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.
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.
Successful Leadership Succession
How do you develop a clear, effective process for succession in your practice? Robert Peake outlines the key issues and strategies, and warns of problems you may encounter.
BIM and Insurance
What are the insurance implications of BIM for architects? Alex Conlon of BJS Insurance Brokers considers the issues in this emerging field.
Professional Services Subcontract
A new Professional Services Subcontract is available for members to use when a back-to-back agreement is required with the Lead Consultant.
Launching the ACA Architects' Time/Cost Calculation Guide
The ACA is delighted to announce the launch of the Architects' Time/Cost Calculation Guide.
Ten Challenges / Ten Actions
Leone Lorrimer outlines ten challenges facing architecture and ten actions we can take to turn these challenges into opportunities.
Is Everyone Experiencing This Right Now?
Design fees, scope creep, government projects: Alexandra Howieson reflects on the state of the nation.
Trust, Fees and Experience
Richard Choy argues that the profession needs to clearly value professional skills and expertise, and to invest in the young.
Fee Structures and Productivity Output
How do we improve practice profitability? Job-by-job, day-by-day. Greg Wines reports on the discussion at the ACA – Qld/NT’s November event.
Making Strategy Happen
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.
To BIM or not to BIM? What a Question!
How might the industry encourage clients to take up BIM?
Fee Structures and Productivity Output
The next ACA – Qld / NT event is a panel discussion on fees and productivity.
Presenting to Government
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.
Navigating planning systems
Planning lawyer Paul Vergotis offers a set of tips to help manoeuvre an architectural project through planning systems from proposal to success.
The Art and Science of Increasing Profits
Ian Motley argues that the profession needs to radically rethink the overall approach to fees and pricing work.
No More 'Best and Final Offer' in Qld!
The Queensland Government has removed ‘Best and Final Offer’ processes from all tendering procedures.
Architectural Fees: what, how and where to...
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.
New Fixed Fee Scale from Victoria's Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Good news on architects fees from Victoria.
Price is positively correlated with the value perceived by clients
“In times when every practitioner is struggling with price-down pressures, these research findings are as vital as life blood itself.”
This blog post by professional services consultant George Beaton draws on his company's research about profesional services in general, but architects should find it useful in the current tight fee environment.Link
The Technology Paradox
“For architects, technology isn’t about productivity. Keeping up with technology is a way for firms stay competitive in the marketplace.”
Interesting article by Daniel Davis on The Architect, which argues that standard measures of productivity are not very helpful when considering architectural work and output. Instead Davis suggests that “we should reconsider what it means to be productive in the construction industry as well as the benefits that technology affords our practices, our clients, and society as a whole”.Link
Into the Abyss
Does excessive fee-cutting mean the profession is presiding over its own demise? George Zillante outlines the issues.
Unfair Contracts Consultation Submission
The ACA’s submission to the Treasury consultation on Extending Unfair Contract Term Protections To Small Businesses.
John Pastorelli workshops
Step into the creative sandpit – two workshops in Tasmania with John Pastorelli.
10 Principles for Building an Architectural Business
How do you build an architectural business? Charles Justin offers 10 principles to guide a practice.
Unfair Contract Terms
The Australian Government is investigating the use of unfair terms in contracts, with the intent of providing better proteaction for small business. Have your say in the consultation phase.
Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice
The Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice aim to help Australian architecture move towards a more equitable profession; one that offers opportunity for all and is better positioned to meet contemporary challenges.
Head in the Cloud
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.
I've Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now ...
John Held considers the opportunities and costs of cloud computing in small practice.
Making Email Work
Useful tips from Prodonovich Advisory.
Professional Indemnity Insurance, Risk and AS 4122
Jack Birrell on the things to consider when choosing your insurance provider.
Is Cloud the Answer?
ACA Qld's April lunchtime forum offers members an opportunity to understand the main drivers behind cloud migration.
Is Your Head in the Cloud?
ACA – WA's first event for 2014 asks, What can cloud technology do for an architectural practice?
New Insurance Agreement re AS 4122
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.
Starting your architecture practice
Mihaly Slocombe has written a series on what you need to know to set up practice. Topics include: Chutzpah, Clients, Identity, The Law, The Studio, Electronics, Cashflow, Support Team, Community, and The Future. Their engaging blog, Panfilocastaldi, includes a range of posts about the business of architecture, as seen through the eyes of a newish, youngish practice.Link
The first rule of architectural fees is that you don't talk about architectural fees.
Interesting essay about fees in the US, the need for better business models and smarter approaches to compensation. From Architect magazine.Link
Contractors Employed in an Architect's Office
A Guide Employment Agreement for Contractors Employed in an Architect’s Office.
Getting Paid: Security of Payment
Peter Sarlos explains the Security of Payment Act and how architects might use it to their benefit.
More on Fees and PI Insurance
Damian Harrison, of BJS Insurance Brokers, responds to Peter Sarlos’s concerns about PI insurance precluding claims for fees.
Advice for members
The ACA assists members with formal and informal advice in a range of areas relating to the business of architecture.
What do Architects do in a Financial Crisis?
The Autumn 2013 issue of Architect Victoria canvases the question.Link
Architects & Social Media
How can architects use social media effectively for business and professional development?
Architecture & Marketing
A collection of articles to help you think about the role of marketing in your practice.
Internships - Legal Advice
An employer’s legal obligations, rights and responsibilities in relation to students, work experience participants and volunteers.
PI Insurance & AS 4122 - 2010
Does signing the AS 4122 – 2010 General Conditions of Contract put your PI insurance at risk? The ACA – WA is working to rectify this. Richard Young, ACA – WA President, outlines the issues and progress thus far.
AS4122-2010 General Conditions of Contract
The ACA recommends members use AS4122–2010, General Conditions of Contract for consultants.
ACIF Forecasts in Practice
John Held reflects on how the ACIF Forecasts are used at Russell and Yelland.
An Insurance Perspective on the Assumed Liability Exclusion in AS 4122-2010
Damian Harrison comments on recent concerns about the ‘assumed liability’ exclusion in AS 4122–2010.
Fees & Professional Indemnity Insurance
Does your PI insurance preclude claims for fees? Peter Sarlos outlines the issues.
Architectural Practice Board of SA Code of Conduct
The new Code of Conduct released by the Architectural Practice Board of South Australia requires extra material to be added to standard architect client agreements.
A Report into IT Pricing
Why are IT products more expensive in Australia and what is being done about it?
Fees - Being Able To Do What An Architect Should Do
Peter Sarlos on the challenges of calculating fees and conveying the value of an architect's work to clients.
WA Government Contracts
An update on ACA – WA's ongoing advocacy for better conditions of engagement in government contracts.