Stage 3 and 4 Restrictions in Victoria
One week into Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions in Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, key information and resources for individuals and business continues to be rolled out. The following is a summary of useful information and links.
JobKeeper Package - Update
The JobKeeper Package was announced on 30 March 2020 by the Federal Government, assisting a significant proportion of architectural practices with the retention of staff. On 21 June, the JobKeeper payment was extended until 28 March 2021, albeit at a reduced rate. On 7 August, further changes were announced regarding elibigibility.
Architecture’s Gig Economy, COVID-19 & Building Resilience
As the global pandemic hits architects hard, Peter Raisbeck proposes a few ideas about how to build professional resilience.
Clarification of Stage 4 Restrictions
The ACA – Victoria/Tasmania provides further clarification of COVID-19 Stage 4 restrictions, with advice on construction site access, worker permits, COVID Safe Plans and ongoing advocacy.
Infrastructure of long-term benefit
ACA – WA President Malcolm Jones reflects on JobKeeper, the flexible workplace, and the need for more resources for infrastructure of long-term benefit.
Targeted funding & thinking long term
Justine Ebzery reflects on the need for targeted funding for new public housing, public schools and community health infrastructure, with adequate resources for design and planning.
JobKeeper, HomeBuilder & going solo
Jennifer Crawford highlights the eligibility issues of JobKeeper and HomeBuilder, and describes her recent move back to the life of a sole practitioner.
COVID-19 Building Industry Guidelines for Victoria
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has issued an update of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Victorian building and construction industry, incorporating recent changes to restrictions and government subsidies.
Investment Needed in Civic Projects & Social Housing
ACA – Vic/Tas President and FFPV Director Paul Viney reflects on his experiences with past and present economic downturns, the need for more government investment in civic projects and social housing, and the challenges of COVID-19 and remote working.
ACA President’s Comment
ACA President John Held reflects on the need for a finer-grained approach to stimulus, and the importance of being active and assertive in creating a post-pandemic future.
Pulse Checks & the Construction Outlook
If architecture is the canary in the coalmine, the outlook for construction is appalling, writes Geoff Hanmer.
Unpaid Pandemic Leave & Annual Leave at Half Pay Extended
The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay to 30 September 2020.
Clerks Award Flexibility Extended
The temporary Schedule I in the Clerks Award, which allows for additional flexibility during the COVID-10 outbreak, has been amended and extended to 30 September 2020.
Pulse Check No. 3 - Preliminary Findings
The preliminary findings of the ACA Pulse Check No. 3 are out now. Concerns about workflow continue, but some projects have restarted and JobKeeper payments have enabled many practices to keep staff on. Mental wellbeing results are positive overall, with some toll on senior management. Practices are returning to the office and considering necessary changes.
COVID-19 & Industrial Manslaughter
By 1 July 2020, Victoria will introduce industrial manslaughter laws for the first time. At the same time, Australia continues its efforts to contain COVID-19, including significant restrictions on work and workplaces. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers explores the issues.
ACA Pulse Check No. 3
Please take the ACA Pulse Check no. 3 – help us to understand what you are facing and the outcomes we need to secure for the profession. We must all plan and advocate for the future before it is too late!
Leadership for Architects: 101
Peter Raisbeck explores how ethical leadership and decision making are crucial in these uncertain times.
Advice for Workplace Safety
As restrictions ease around the country and more people return to work, employers are now facing the challenge of ensuring their workplaces are safe and healthy for all. Safe Work Australia (SWA) has developed extensive resources, fact sheets and checklists to assist with health and safety in the workplace and we provide a summary here.
How COVID-19 Will Change the Traditional Workplace
What will be the impact of COVID-19 on the traditional workplace and what can we learn from this giant workplace experiment, writes Hames Sharley Principal and Workplace Portfolio Leader Stephen Moorcroft.
COVID-19 Guidelines for the Victorian Building and Construction Industry
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has released the latest version of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the building and construction industry in Victoria.
Remote Working Advice
Working remotely can be challenging and disruptive, and requires realistic expectations and a flexible approach, says Charmaine Kai of Brisbane-based practice 8i Architects.
Innovation, Resilience & Relationship Building
COVID-19 disruption has been all-encompassing, but there are signs of innovation, community resilience and relationship building emerging all around us, observes Kate Fitzgerald of Fremantle-based Whispering Smith.
Investment in Digital Design
Existing investment in new digital platforms has meant that dwp|design worldwide partnership was well placed to switch to working mode when the COVID-19 crisis arose.
The JobKeeper Package Unpacked
From Monday 20 April 2020, businesses can enrol for the JobKeeper scheme to help retain staff during the downturn caused by COVID-19. The following update provides answers to frequently asked questions for architectural practices.
Planning for Health, Wellbeing & Financial Sustainability
As Queensland prepared for lockdown, Cairns-based practice People Oriented Design worked on strategies with health, wellbeing and the long-term financial sustainability of the practice firmly in mind.
ACA Pulse Check Advice on Mental Wellbeing
The ACA Pulse Check No 2 survey invited participants to answer questions about the mental wellbeing of their practice and people. Susie Ashworth unpacks the results and highlights the best tips and advice for looking after the mental wellbeing of all within practice.
Temporary COVID-19 Leave Variations Announced for Modern Awards
The Fair Work Commission has made changes to a wide variety of modern awards, including the Architects Award, to include unpaid pandemic leave and the capacity to take annual leave at half pay.
New Challenges & Modes of Working
Hayball has explored varied modes of working and learning over many years, but the rapid shift to remote, distributed workplaces in the era of COVID-19 is a new challenge.
South Australian Snapshot
The ACA – SA committee has completed a survey and organised a series of three broader roundtable video conferences to gauge member practice responses and experiences in the pandemic conditions currently in play. Very consistent themes emerged across all practices large and small.
Building on Existing Flex Systems
For BVN, the transition to all staff working from home has been ‘seamless’. The ease of the move is an outcome of already having robust flex systems in place, a commitment to open honest communication, and a focus on health and wellbeing.
Pulse Check No. 2 - Preliminary Results
The ACA has released the preliminary results of the ACA Pulse Check No. 2. Top line findings reveal serious concerns about workflow, financial impact and employment, but the survey also shows that architectural practices are adapting quickly to the changed working environments.
COVID-19 Fallout - Contract Questions
As COVID-19 disruption hits projects, supply chains and timelines, Wendy Poulton, Principal of informed Lawyers Pty Ltd, looks at some popular contract questions.
How to Retain Staff During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The response to COVID-19 is unprecedented and evolving daily. As government decisions directly and indirectly impact on businesses, employers are looking at ways to continue operating in the face of enormous challenges. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers briefly describes the options available to architecture practices.
Clerks Award Flexibility
The Clerks Award has been temporarily amended to enable more flexibility during the Coronavirus outbreak.
ACA Pulse Check No. 2
A lot has changed over the last two weeks. Tracking the impacts of COVID-19 over time is essential to developing the most effective support. The second ACA Pulse Check Survey will help build a clear understanding of the experiences of Australian architectural practices so far, and identify the assistance needed.
Force Majeure - Special Conditions for ABIC SW 2018
Special conditions for the ABIC small works contracts introduce the concept of Force Majeure, including pandemics.
Government Support and What Employers Can Do
As we face a crisis of unknown proportions, Rob Peake, Principal of Management for Design, outlines what is needed from the Federal Government, and what architectural practices can do to weather the storm.
Practice Management and COVID-19
Building on knowledge gleaned from the recent ACA Pulse Check Survey No.1, Fiona Martin outlines the key areas practices should be working on, and answers some FAQs about leave under various circumstances.
COVID-19 and Construction Contracts
What does COVID-19 mean for architects administering ABIC contracts? Christopher Larcos and Shanna Beaton of Moray and Agnew Lawyers outline key considerations.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
As we face unprecedented challenges and stress with the COVID-19 health crisis and inevitable economic effects, it’s critical that we maintain and protect our mental wellbeing and that of our colleagues, employees and families. The following resource round-up points to useful tips, reminders and strategies to help maintain positive mental health during this difficult time.
How are You Responding to COVID-19?
Online support is more important than ever. The ACA invites architectural practices across Australia to share practice experiences, knowledge and strategies.
Communication, Autonomy and Initiative
Brown Falconer is in the process of transitioning all staff to remote working. Mario Dreosti emphasises the importance of open communication and sharing both the knowns and the unknowns as essential to building trust, autonomy and initiative.
ACA President's Comment
As architectural practices face uncertain futures in the time of COVID-19, ACA National President John Held discusses the importance of sharing stories, ideas, and love and consideration for each other.
Policy, Process and Restricted Contact
Thomson Rossi’s approach to managing the practice in the context of the novel coronavirus is guided by a COVID-19 Policy Statement, which establishes clear boundaries and habits. Simon Thomson explains that the intent is to keep the office open as long as possible.
Tight Financial Management and Open Communication
TheFulcrum.Agency partner Emma Williamson explains how the consultancy is responding to COVID-19 and offers advice about how to proactively manage through a crisis while maintaining the cultural integrity of your practice.
Clear Communication and Patience
Justine Ebzery outlines the steps Fulton Trotter has taken in response to COVID-19 so far, including clear, regular communication to clients and employees, transitioning to more work from home arrangements, and a focus on patience and kindness.
Government Support for Business
The Federal Government and all state and territory governments in Australia have now responded to the COVID-19 outbreak with announcements of economic stimulus and assistance packages.
Coronavirus: Stand Down Considerations
Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide an update on key considerations for employers when circumstances force them to stand down parts of their workforce.
Trialling Remote Working
Taylor Robinson Chaney Broderick (TRCB) has been trialling staff working from home for a number of weeks. Leigh Robinson generously shares details about how this is working, lessons learned, and the guidelines the practice has developed.
ACA Pulse Check no. 1 - Preliminary Findings
The ACA has released the preliminary results of the ACA Pulse Check no. 1. We are now analysing these further.
ACA Pulse Check no. 1 - COVID-19
The ACA’s quick ‘pulse check’ survey will help us better understand the impact of COVID-19 on Australian architectural practices. The Survey is now closed. We are analysing the results now.
Coronavirus: Implications for Employers
With COVID-19 threatening to have significant impacts on businesses and workplaces around Australia in the coming weeks and months, Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide insights into the complex and often competing legal concepts relating to employment.
Preparing for COVID-19
The situation in relation to COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We encourage all ACA members to show leadership within their practice, to understand their obligations as employers and business owners, and to plan ahead for potential disruption as much as possible.