SA President's Report

John Held , 1 December 2013

John Held, ACA – SA President, provides an overview of activities in 2013.   

This year has been tough for many South Australian practices, and we hear of staff layoffs, cancelled or deferred projects, and little activity in many sectors apart from the large flagship projects around Adelaide. 

ACA – SA has represented members at a number of levels, both in outlining to the wider industry and government our concerns around fees, contract conditions, and industrial and employment issues. Last year we met with Minister Conlon about these issues and next month we will be part of a group meeting with Minister Koutsantonis about construction industry issues.

As the designated Employer Organisation under Fair Work Australia for the Architects Award, we have been able to offer the following useful resources:

  • Wages and awards
  • Conditions of employment
  • Pro-forma employment contracts
  • Representation of members in industrial matters
  • Concise and current information on important issues

Our continuing alliance with Platinum Employment Relations enables members to discuss employment-related issues one-on-one when required.

In the last twelve months, we have undertaken the following activities:


Our series of Roundtables has been well-received and has generated interesting discussions and actions to follow up.

  • In May we met with engineers to discuss common concerns and ways in which we can work together more effectively.
  • The June Roundtable addressed education and the new National Architectural Competency Standards.
  • In July we met with a group of builders on the future of construction over the next five to ten years in these testing times. We learnt that collaboration isn’t about agreeing but about respecting each other’s views and that there is value in early engagement of contractors in the process.
  • The September Roundtable was about the strategic and detailed management of the business of architecture and the all-important profitability.

Work Health and Safety: Safety in Design

After our successful joint seminar with the Australian Institute of Architects on the new Work Health and Safety legislation, a small working group was formed by ACA – SA to rationalise the information presented and provide information to architects. It consists of Ric D’Andrea (Hardy Milazzo), Thanh Tran (Thomson Rossi), Peter Morris (Swanbury Penglase) and Ian Hore (Walter Brooke) with John Held as convenor. To date, the work has entailed the following:

  • Client hazard analyses and checklists – formulating a standard approach to obtaining the information we legally need to obtain from clients.
  • Additions to briefing guidelines to incorporate WHS issues.
  • Risk analysis tools for designers to comply with the Safe Design Code.
  • Specification clauses to ensure that the information in the Residual Risk register is formally transferred on to the Contractor.

We have been working closely with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) on this to try to ensure a uniform approach to the legislation whether the client is government or private, and are almost at the stage where the draft documentation can be circulated for comment and trial on actual projects.   

Liaison with Government

We continue to liaise with Government, and in particular with DPTI Building Management. With the demise, at least for the present, of BEDP in South Australia, DPTI invited all the professional groups to be represented on a new Construction Professionals Forum in 2013. ACA represents the needs and concerns of its members at this group: your input is welcome.

Issues discussed at that group included Limited Liability for Consultants; the use of cascading appointments of secondary consultants after the appointment of Lead Professional Services Contractor; the introduction of Mandated BIM; and the DPTI implementation of safe design procedures and workflows.

Following DPTI’s proposal for a new Prequalification category for new architectural and cost consulting firms, we asked David Kilpatrick and John and Lindsey Williams to coordinate responses from smaller firms that are registered with DPTI for Category 3 work. The resultant Category 3M is still not perfect but a considerable improvement on earlier proposals.


We recently liaised closely with the University of Adelaide to ensure their proposal for an internship program complied with the provisions of the Fair Work Act. The issues raised are ongoing and are indicative of the wider debates about student work placements and practical experience.

Construction Industry Forum

We continue to represent architects on this forum, which allows us to keep up with issues in the construction sector.

Keith Neighbour Graduate Study Program

This program gives opportunities for graduates who are studying for registration the chance to form study groups with guidance from recently registered architects. It has been very successful, with two groups having now sat their exams and a third group being organised, with new mentors coming from previous study groups.

Strategic Plan

An interested group of ACA members and non-members gathered in September to meet ACA National President Steve Kennedy for the launch of the new ACA strategic plan. Steve gave an eloquent presentation of ACA’s focus on the business of architecture and the state of the architecture industry. His concentration on key issues relating to getting it right on day one of a project stimulated a great deal of discussion. He also talked about the ACA’s new Briefing Guidelines and the development of similar documents to assist at the start of projects.

Future Activities

We want to ensure that we represent the needs of architectural practices in SA. We’d like to run further Roundtables of interest to members; we plan to run another WHS seminar in association with the AIA, and we hope to start an informal Practice Managers’ group. More ideas are welcome!


I’d like to thank our committee for the time and energy they have given to the ACA – SA.

President: John Held
Vice-President: Simon Thomson
Secretary: Graham Hardy
Treasurer: Ian Hore
Committee: David Kilpatrick, David Bagshaw, Ashley Halliday, Chris Watkins, Thomas Masullo

John Held is ACA – SA President.