SA State Budget Stimulus Package

15 July 2016

The stimulus announced in the SA budget is an opportunity for architects to show leadership and work collaboratively to deliver outstanding educational facilities.

The South Australian 2016–17 Budget was announced on 7 July. As well as some measures to assist small businesses to hire new staff, it outlined a major stimulus package for the construction industry.

The budget includes $500 million to upgrade school facilities:

  • $250 million to refurbish and redevelop contemporary science, technology, engineering and mathematics facilities in 139 public schools: 77 primary schools; 44 high schools and 18 R12 and area schools
  • $250 million loan program for private schools to have access to a loan facility at government borrowing rates to fund infrastructure that improves school learning facilities

ACA – SA has been in contact with the DPTI regarding the way the government schools rollout might work; projects range in size from $1 million to $3.5 million and will mainly be refurbishment projects to provide STEM spaces. It is anticipated that $35 million will be spent this financial year.

The ACA has had some discussions already about procurement methods and we believe we have the opportunity to influence decisions about the process. The ACA has offered to assist where we can to help the orderly rollout of the program.

Given the pressure to show value for money and quick results, we believe we have assisted in some wins for the profession, including:

  • specifying minimum number of hours for the planning study to ensure there are clear expectations of the amount of work
  • Indicative Part 1 2 and 3 fees to be for architect only, with a provisional sum for subconsultants fees rather than full fees at this stage
  • Still discussing building procurement – wants a meeting with us and MBA
  • Some but not all works accelerated – we are in discussion about how this might best occur
  • We suggested that architects could put their hands up for the faster works or slower depending on their current workload
  • There will be a question around preferences for regional work.

There will be further discussions around construction procurement methods – we have argued strongly against Design and Construct models of procurement given the size of projects and the builders involved, and the fact most are refurbishments. The ACA Time/Cost Calculation Guide has been a valuable tool to demonstrate the hours required to satisfactorily complete these types of projects. We have suggested that due to the nature and number of projects our practices should work together and share information to get the best results for the schools. Let us know of any concerns over the coming months!

We understand there will be a briefing session for consultants the week beginning 18 July. These consultants will then go out to schools to determine their requirements. The allocation of architects to sites is being discussed at present.

ACA Committee members Ian Hore and David Kilpatrick have been already talking to Catholic Education SA and have approached Independent schools regarding work we are undertaking with DECD to define a common approach to feasibility studies and master-planning across the three sectors. We will approach those sectors with the same offer.

Michael Pilkington has been in contact with the Office of the Industry Advocate regarding a database of locally manufactured products, which we imagine will be a requirement of the packages.  More detail to follow.

We believe there are opportunities for architects to show leadership and for us to work collaboratively together and with the education community across different sites, sharing our knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible outcomes for students.