SA Update – June 2023

25 June 2023

In 2023, the SA branch committee has focused on advocacy, mental wellbeing and events, with a welcome return of BoSP, a waterproofing presentation and a well-attended Sustainability roundtable.


The ACA SA Committee would like to thank the organisations who have supported us during the first half of 2023.

ROUSSOS Recruitment are once again supporting the ACA SA in 2023. We would like to thank the team for their continued support and enthusiasm for the architecture profession and look forward to working with together for the remainder of the year.

Chris Tan Consulting has been sponsoring the Keith Neighbour Study Group Program for the past seven years and we would like to thank Chris for his involvement and support of this unique and valuable program.


Welcome Breakfast

We started the year with a breakfast at our favourite spot, Luigi’s. Members feasted on Luigi’s breakfast bar while taking the opportunity to catchup face to face. John Held, ACA SA Branch and National President spoke about the SA Branch plans for the year including upcoming events and the launch of the ACA EAP Trial. He then introduced Nicole Turtur, Manager Regulation and Advice, Office of the South Australian Small Business Commissioner. Nicole spoke about the role of the office and how they can assist small businesses in South Australia.

Sustainability Roundtable

In March the ACA SA Committee hosted a roundtable discussion on sustainability. We were joined by Joe Karten from Built, Paul Davy from dsquared Consulting, Ken Long from Lend Lease and Yaara Plaves from Hames Sharley. The roundtable started with a presentation by Joe Karten around carbon reduction strategies, regenerative design, circular economy, and social and wellbeing outcomes.

This presentation was the catalyst for the rest of the afternoon’s discussions around sustainability. As much as reduction in operational carbon is still an important focus and leading to a migration to renewable supplied electrical infrastructure and equipment, Joe highlighted the increasing focus on reduction of embodied carbon, which leads to decisions about materials, construction methodologies and extent of redevelopment.

Key messages reinforced the value of what architects and designers bring through fundamentals of considering design for disassembly and longevity, and the value of adaptive re-use as critical decisions before sustainable technologies are applied to compensate for inherent waste of embodied energy, carbon and value.

The significant impact that sustainable and social impact funding streams can have on development decisions was highlighted. Understanding this new line of development wealth explained that while many initiatives may seem to target or favour the ‘big end of town’ the ability to leverage these finance avenues to lead and develop industry capability, is leading to the development of industry capacity and the normalising of new technologies which can then be applied effectively and competitively to all projects.

Business of Small Practice (BoSP) with Dave Sharp

On Thursday 18 May, the ACA Committee came together at Light to listen to Dave Sharp from Office D.SHARP. Dave delivered a thought-provoking talk on the significance of branding in architecture, emphasising the value of qualitative marketing strategies, effective budget allocation, and distribution channels. He offered valuable insights for architects seeking to elevate their brand presence. In today’s competitive architectural landscape, building a strong brand has become paramount for success. Architects who invest in branding not only attract clients who appreciate their work but also create lasting impressions and charge premium prices.


In June we met at JPE Design Studio to talk about Waterproofing. Paul Ratcliff’s detailed presentation was a wake-up call for the profession on a topic which accounts for 80% of the litigation on building defects by someone who you probably wouldn’t want as your opponent’s expert witness. It was interesting to hear that the NSW Design Practitioners Registration has put much of the responsibility for proper detailing back on the architect, while at the same time ensuring through chain of custody rules on changes during construction that these details can’t be changed without approval in the name of “value management”. The MBA documents he referred to are available here.

Thanks also to Joel Clough and Adam McGlone from Ardex Australia for their insights and involvement in the evening’s discussion. Joel can be contacted at for any queries you may have.


Join us on Thursday 6 July for a lunchtime briefing session on Reconciliation Action Plans.

ACA SA’s Business of Design Lunch returns in August – a unique opportunity to hear prominent designers talking about their business. This year we welcome Andrew Maynard from Austin Maynard Architects. Recently named Architecture Studio of the Year by Dezeen, Austin Maynard Architects create resilient, highly sustainable, beautiful, robust and long-lasting architecture. Architecture designed to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. Austin Maynard Architects are recipients of the prestigious Canberra Medallion.



In the ACA SA Committee, members are passionate and committed to representing the business of architecture and being a voice for practices in their state. Here, Justin Cucchiarelli offers a glimpse of recent advocacy work in South Australia.

Planning System Implementation Review submission

In November 2022, the ACA participated in the South Australian government’s independent review of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and the Planning and Design Code. An expert panel prepared discussion and summary papers, and invited the ACA and other peak bodies to respond. The papers sought feedback on character and heritage including elevation of character areas and updating of character area statements. They also invited comment on Accredited Professionals, Local Heritage, Deemed Consents, Assessment of Design Quality, Amendments to Design, Tree Canopy, and the Planning E-Portal. Following the written submission, fellow ACA SA Committee member Mario Dreosti and I presented the paper at a deputation to the Planning Reform Review Panel.

Advocacy with DIT

Simon Thomson led advocacy with DIT for the ACA SA Committee for many years, and recently retired from the Committee. We thank him for his commitment and hard work. In May I attended my first DIT Commercial Industry Forum Meeting with John Held. Discussion revolved around general industry issues with DIT, and advocacy groups from the professions, contractors and trades. Some points of discussion included rise and fall contracts as well as the upcoming State Government Environmental Guidelines.

Quarterly engagement and collaboration

The ACA has continued representation at an informal quarterly engagement convened by the Government Architect, Kirsteen Mackay, with the Architects Board, ODASA and AIA sharing industry knowledge and points for discussion. Current topics include local implementation of the Building Confidence Report, changes to the Architectural Practice Exams, mutual recognition, and registration and CPD issues. It is a valuable opportunity for all the organisations involved with the architectural profession in SA to share their views and concerns.


The KNSG continues to roll on and gain momentum, with at least 40 regular attendees at the first round of 2023, including eight from one practice. It continues to be a vital part of the younger cohort’s growth and knowledge sharing as they work towards their registration. Particularly valuable for those with limited exposure and opportunity in the wider world of architectural practice, it remains the envy of other States. The next round starts in early August 2023 with a great group of facilitators stepping up to lead the conversations.