Reflections from the ACA President

12 December 2018

ACA National President and SA branch President John Held reflects on the year’s achievements and the challenges ahead.

One of the most interesting discoveries for me over the past six years of being involved in the ACA nationally is that good design, good business practice, good procurement, social responsibility and exploration of new ways of practising architecture are not mutually exclusive. Whilst the ACA started as an employer organisation, it is much more, and it has grown to help fill the needs of all sizes and types of architectural practices in Australia. We have also been in contact with similar associations in Malaysia and the UK and with other professional organisations who are interested in utilising the resources we have developed.

There are huge challenges ahead, but on days where it all seems too hard I look around and see a group of practices who are willing to work together for the betterment of the profession; and also a wonderful array of architects doing really interesting and different things with their practices.

At the same time, the construction industry struggles to become modern, efficient and trusted. The Shergold Weir report on the industry is not called “Building Confidence” for nothing. Architects are often their own worst enemies, cutting fees and services and then wondering why they are criticised and sidelined. It is good to see architects increasingly speak up about issues of design, heritage and urban form; we also need to speak forcefully about business issues such as poor procurement choices. To do this we need evidence, based on proper research, on the profession itself and why we are valuable to clients and the wider community. Seeking funding for such projects must be an important priority.

Other priorities for the coming year include:

  • appointing a CEO to consolidate and increase our services to members
  • representing members in upcoming award hearings at the Fair Work Commission
  • finding ways to improve the construction industry as a whole through better procurement practices and an improved regulatory environment
  • providing resources to practices including time cost calculators, tendering guidelines, award advice and employment conditions

A special thanks to our National Sponsors, CBus and Planned Cover, the support of other organisations such as NATSPEC, our dedicated staff and the National Executive.

Thanks in particular to Kieran Wong and Mark Williams, who stepped down this year and a welcome to Robert Wesener and Malcolm Jones who joined the National Executive.