SA Branch Update – December 2023

5 December 2023

Advocacy, reconciliation, recruitment and registration have been a strong focus for the SA branch committee in 2023, with highlights including the annual Business of Design Lunch, a panel discussion on Reconciliation Action Plans, and a practice managers lunch on recruiting top talent.

ACA SA committee members are passionate and committed to representing the business of architecture and being a voice for practices in the state. We would like to thank our committee for dedicating their time and being so passionate about the profession:

  • John Held, President (Russell & Yelland)
  • Mario Dreosti, Vice President, Events/Govt Liaison (Brown Falconer)
  • Matthew Thomas, Treasurer, Practice Managers (JPE Design Studio)
  • Catherine Startari, Secretary, CPD/Sponsorship (GHD Design)
  • Simon Frost, AMWF/KNGSP (Greenway Architects)
  • Justin Cucchiarelli, Advocacy/Membership (Studio Nine Architects)
  • Susan Phillips, Parlour/Architeam (Phillips/Pilkington Architects)
  • Michael Hegarty, RAP working group (dwp Australia)
  • Kirsty Hewitt, Events (Khab Architects)
  • David Kilpatrick, Newsletter (Kilpatrick Architecture)
  • Kat Dujmovic, Events (Katherine Anne Architect)
  • Mark Berlangieri, Architecture Schools (Walter Brooke & Associates)
  • Sascha Byrne, Executive Officer

The Committee values input and feedback and encourages all ACA members in South Australia to take our 2024 Survey.

Take our quick five-minute 2024 Advocacy & Event Planning survey today!



We would like to thank ROUSSOS Recruitment for once again supporting the ACA SA in 2023. Thanks to the team for their continued support and enthusiasm for the architecture profession and we look forward to working together in the future.

Chris Tan Consulting has been supporting the Keith Neighbour Study Group Program for the past seven years and will continue to sponsor this important program in 2024. We would like to thank Chris and his team for their involvement and support of this unique and valuable program for our graduates.


Face to face events form an important part of our program for our members and this year we have delivered some exciting events on important topics.

Reconciliation Action Plans

On Thursday 6 July, members gathered to listen to three incredible women discussing the process of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and the positive impact it can have on a business. Emma Brain (ACA and The Fulcrum Agency), Rosina Di Maria (Woods Bagot) and Jess Davies-Huynh (Kaurna woman and reconciliation advocate) shared their knowledge and experience with us.

“It was a privilege to discuss my involvement with the RAP program to our members in Adelaide. I spoke about the experience of writing three RAPs – two for The Fulcrum Agency and one for the ACA – two very different organisations, but both committed to embedding reconciliation at the heart of businesses. Our RAP journey at the ACA has just begun and we look forward to taking our members with us as we build our knowledge of First Nations history and relationship to Country and the built environment.” — Emma Brain

Kirsty Hewitt, Khab Architects, attended the presentation and shared her thoughts:

“As a director of a small practice who does not yet have a RAP, it was both interesting and very informative to hear the varied ways that both The Fulcrum Agency and Woods Bagot have been delivering on their RAPs. For both practices who are quite different in their size and approach, the RAP has been integrated in their approach to office culture and projects. It was interesting to hear from Jess Davies-Huynh about her reconciliation advocacy work, and to know that she is accessible to those of us who may need guidance. The passion and commitment to reconciliation and to the development and delivery of RAPs by these three women was inspiring.”

Business of Design

On 22 August we hosted our fifth annual Business of Design lunch with guest speaker, Andrew Maynard from Austin Maynard Architects. We drew a record crowd of over 100 people, our biggest event to date. Read reflections from the lunch here.

We are delighted to announce our Business of Design guest speaker for 2024 – another fantastic speaker, Clare Cousins from Clare Cousins Architects.

Save the date for 2024 – Wednesday 21 August, 12.00pm.

Practice Managers Lunch

On 28 September, Anna Roussos from ROUSSOS Recruitment gave an insightful presentation at the Practice Managers Lunch on Understanding Today’s Top Talent: What They Seek & the Future of Architecture Jobs in 2023. The industry is currently experiencing a talent shortage and although the market is a little quieter than it was 12 months ago, the profession is still feeling the pressure of finding the right talent. Read more about Anna’s insights here.


The ACA Committee represents SA architects on a variety of working parties, industry forums and with government and industry bodies. Here, Justin Cucchiarelli and Mario Dreosti offer a glimpse of recent advocacy work in South Australia.

Minister Roundtable with Tom Koutsantonis MP

In early November, Justin Cucchiarelli attended a roundtable at DIT to hear about the current state of construction infrastructure and social infrastructure projects. The meeting was for consultants from the DIT Commercial Construction Industry Forum (DCCIF), which have representatives from Consult Australia (Consulting engineers), AILA, AIQS, the ACA and AIA.

The discussion was generally around larger infrastructure projects and the status of larger projects that have Commonwealth funding. The Federal government was conducting a 90-day review at the time of the roundtable. It has subsequently announced changes to its infrastructure projects in response to the 90-day review of Australia’s Infrastructure Investment Program. It will seek to create partnerships with state governments by establishing a default 50-50 funding arrangement for all future projects in lieu of the current 80-20 model. Funding will be withdrawn for 50 projects while $7 billion in savings will be re-allocated to cost over-runs on the remaining projects.

Minister Koutsantonis noted the North/South corridor is exempt and currently the nation’s largest infrastructure project. Social infrastructure projects such as schools and hospitals are all state funded and will not go on hold. More new housing is required, and this will be developed at Angle Vale and Mt Barker. New housing will also require associated infrastructure and public transport.

DIT Commercial Construction Industry Forum

With many consultant-specific queries, we have recently formed a DIT Commercial Construction Industry Forum Meeting (DCCIF) Consultant Working Group, which includes advocacy groups from the professions, contractors and trades. We have been working closely with the AIA and Consult Australia on issues including commercial terms, cascading consultancies, and back-to-back insurance requirements, particularly with Building Certifiers and Fire Engineers. At the standing DCCIF meeting, points of discussion included payment terms and the Bank Guarantee Process.


The KNSG had its biggest year ever, with almost 50 attendees in the second round of 2023 and 40 in the first round. From data collected during the second round of the APE exams, the exam success rate of candidates was noticeably higher for those who’d attended the KNSG than the average, which is very encouraging.

We should support all young members of the profession who are thinking of going for their registration to take advantage of this valuable program, noting that it is also open, not only to member practices of the ACA, but all younger members of the profession. We have secured sponsorship of the program from Chris Tan Consulting for 2024 and are looking forward to assisting the next two rounds of candidates in their journey next year.

Photos: Bash_image