South Australia Update 2020

6 December 2020

The SA Committee provides a 2020 recap on advocacy, events, roundtable discussions and regular Zoom check-ins, and outlines plans for the year ahead.


ACA have been busy with advocacy work in SA in 2020, with ongoing discussions relating to Government procurement policy in particular.

Key initiatives include involvement in industry meetings with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) together with engineers and quantity surveyors. Meetings related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on consultants and their businesses. Issues discussed include the potential for faster payment to improve critical cash flow, risks to consultants and project objectives associated with novation contracts in the current climate, and the potential for further stimulus works in the construction industry. The ACA has initiated discussion around the benefits of cascading engagement of sub consultants in smaller projects, with has resulted in a pilot project being run by DIT and the potential for a working group to be established to further finetune a working model for broader implementation.

A new incarnation of the Construction Industry Forum is being planned for 2021 with representatives from the MBA, subcontractors, ACA, AIA, Consult Australia and AILA.

Committee & Sponsors

We would like to thank Adrian Evans from JPE Design Studio for his six years of service on the SA Committee. We welcome Matthew Thomas from JPE Design Studio to the committee. Matthew is a Director at JPE and a chartered accountant.

We would also like to thank Anna Roussos Recruitment + Advisory for their support of the South Australian branch over the 2019/2020 financial year. We look forward to working with you again in the future!


When COVID-19 hit earlier this year, we had to find new ways of connecting with our members about the immediate issues at hand – working from home, staff wellbeing, the business of being an architect. The ACA – SA committee members stepped up and worked with small groups of members fortnightly via Zoom. It gave our members a chance to connect with like-minded practices, talk through how they were handling the downturn in workload, staffing concerns, and working from home challenges. They proved to be very successful and ran for a number of months. Slowly things went back to normal here in SA and we were able to get back to the business of architecture.


The ACA – SA Committee kicked off the year in style with a delicious breakfast spread at the President’s Welcome Breakfast on 13 February. We were joined by the Small Business Commissioner, John Chapman, who discussed the role of his office in alternative dispute resolution and also the proposed changes to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 which are currently out for consultation.

ACA – SA Branch and National President John Held welcomed 38 members to the newly opened Luigi Delicatessen in the U City building on Franklin Street in the city. Thanks and recognition was given to our state sponsor for 2019/2020, Anna Roussos Recruitment + Advisory and longtime national sponsor, Planned Cover.

John Held updated members on the recent national meeting and the ACA’s priorities in South Australia for 2021 including BoSP (Business of Small Practice), the Business of Design lunch series and the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum.

Just before South Australia ceased all face to face events, members had the opportunity to hear from industry specialists APAC South and Lenovo. They shared their knowledge and expertise on future trends in Technology and Design Innovation to help drive practices to deliver the very best results for clients, with ease and efficiency.

The ACA has continued to liaise with the SA Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, and Nicolette DiLernia often joined our meeting to ensure coordination between the two organisations.

On 29 October, the ACA – SA had its first face to face event in over six months. We assembled a panel of industry leaders across business, planning, recruitment, investment, workplace fitout and commercial property to discuss their observations from different sectors and thoughts about a post-pandemic recovery. Just under 40 people gathered to hear the panel discussion and then engage in a facilitated question and answer format. Wellbeing, localism and optimism summarised the discussion. See Mario Dreosti’s event recap for more details.

Plans for 2021

We are planning to start the year with the SA launch of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum. There is no doubt that mental wellbeing is a serious workplace issue, and the ACA has been watching the development and success of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in the UK with great interest. The ACA announced earlier this year that we will be taking the lead on the development of an Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum (AMWF) in Australia.

Thanks to the continuing work of the SA Committee and especially our Executive Officer, Sascha Byrne.