SA Advocacy Update

18 December 2017

As the year draws to a close, ACA – SA continues to fight for the rights of architects, and the importance of procurement processes that support quality outcomes for the community.

Lerwin Nursing Home Tender

ACA – SA and the SA Chapter of the Institute have been made aware of a current Local Goverment tender that asks for architects to provide concept designs as part of the submission. A response has been provided to the organisation calling the tender, advising that we do not support the request for free design services on the grounds that:

  • This is a request for a significant amount of intellectual property and attracts liability whether the architect is paid or not.
  • The provision of free design services limits the benefit that can be provided by an architect by constraining their access to briefing information and the client/users.

We have offered to assist them in developing a more suitable methodology for procuring architectural services.

Provision of free design services in a bid to win a project devalues the profession. Architects’ ability to generate highly resolved, unique responses to specific criteria is the essence of what we do. It is also what adds value to projects. In addition to this, provision of free services may be in contravention of Registration requirements.

The decision as to whether to respond to requests for free design services is ultimately one for each practice to determine. However, when making this decision we ask that members consider whether undertaking a project for a client who clearly does not value or understand what we do as architects is going to result in a commercially successful or professionally rewarding relationship.

The wider impact on the viability and standing of the profession also needs to be considered.

Building Better Schools issues

We have been in discussions with DECD on various issues related to this program. Our members were certainly surprised to find the quoted fee included GST, and we have also discussed the fact that interim December accounts are not being permitted for the work.

Also causing discussion is the nature and number of the ‘artist’s impressions’ required for this phase, with a minimum of three colour sketches stipulated in the draft report.

Comments are sought from members about this or any other issues raised by the BBS program so we can provide coordinated feedback to DECD.

Contact John Held or Nicolette DiLernia at the Institute with comments.

We have received responses to some of the issues  from DECD, as follows:

Thank you for your feedback regarding the Building Better Schools (BBS) program.  In response to your questions, I can provide the following detail.

In determining the fee (ie $6,000 or $8,000 depending on the overall project value), the department took into account the likely number of hours required for the work, the applicable hourly rate for an architect and consideration of associated on-costs such as GST.

Further guidance included Treasurer’s Instructions 8, which state “any reference to a monetary sum is inclusive of GST” and similarly a range of DPTI documents including the Summary of Government Policies for Procurement also state that values are GST inclusive.  In hindsight this should have been stated at the Industry Briefing.

Under Treasurer’s Instruction 11, please note DECD cannot facilitate progress payments for Phase One of the BBS program, as there has not been significant set up cost for suppliers and no prior agreement was made between parties. Architects are advised to provide a tax compliant invoice to the department at the conclusion of the work (ie post 29 January 2018).

DECD would most certainly appreciate your feedback from your members and see the benefit in producing standardised responses to anything they feel has arisen. Please send these through and we will work to provide follow up advice.

I am more than happy to meet with you to discuss drawings. We can then develop a communications strategy around this process.

Yours sincerely


John Fulbrook
Policy and Communications Coordinator, Building Better Schools