The ACA in 2014
Steve Kennedy, ACA National President and ACA – NSW/ACT President, gives an overview of the year.
The last year has been a very positive one for the ACA at both branch and national level.
As you know, last year we implemented a Strategic Plan aimed at expanding the role and activity of the ACA from its primary industrial focus, to providing a broad and comprehensive approach to the ‘business of architecture’.
We have focussed on delivering this over the past year and, while there is still much to be done, we have made significant advances so far.
This is reflected in the strength of activity and involvement at branch level, the number of state and national issues we are currently taking the lead in, the growing recognition by media, business and government of the ACA as the relevant peak organisation for business issues, the number of government panels and committees we are being asked to be part of, the strength of our collaboration with other peak organisations, the quality and depth of the information we have been providing members, the growing number of people visiting our website, reading our newsletters and following us on twitter, the strong responses to our business surveys and, most significantly, by the steady growth in membership we have experienced over the last 12 months.
Despite what has been a very difficult few years for many of us within the architectural industry, the ACA has continued to attract new members representing both large and small practices. And, that is important to us.
The ACA believes that the architectural industry can only be considered genuinely strong and healthy when everyone participating in it is able to do so in a manner that provides both best practice and equality at all levels and that is what we are committed to achieving.
Our new website, launched in March, has been at the heart of the ACA’s work over the last year.
This website – combined with our monthly newsletters, regular business alerts and weekly twitter feeds – is at the core of our strategy to ensure that our membership is properly equipped to address the ever-changing business and professional landscape. It also draws the attention of the wider community to the importance and value of the architectural industry to the Australian economy.
The website has received universal praise for it quality and content and has been quoted as being:
“One of the best in the construction industry.”
The past year has been an equally positive and successful one for the NSW/ACT Branch.
Over the last twelve months the NSW/ACT Branch has continued to see strong growth in membership and the Branch Committee has strengthened around new committee members and office holders, following the retirement of several key members last year.
Model Conditions of Contract
In addition to our normal activities, the Branch has continued its work with the NSW Department of Finance and Services on developing a model set of Conditions of Contract for the NSW Government. This work, which was initiated by the ACA and is nearing completion, is seen by everyone involved as having significant value in NSW and nationally. This has led to a number of other initiatives, including the ACA being invited to be a member of another important government advisory body addressing procurement and contractor engagement on a broader level.
Advocacy and relationships
In fact, at this point in time, all the ACA branches across Australia are currently engaged with their respective governments in trying to bring fairness and consistency to the process of government procurement.
The work the ACA is doing in this sphere has also enabled us to grow and strengthen our relationships with our sibling organisations, the Australian Institute of Architects and Consult Australia. I am pleased to say we now have a strong, open and collaborative relationship with both organisations at both NEC and Branch level, which can only be to the long-term benefit of the architectural industry as a whole.
Introducing the NSW/ACT roundtable webinar series was potentially the most important work the Branch undertook last year. This series, based on providing regular business related lunchtime webinars, has proven successful and valuable and each event attracts not only more participants but also new members to the ACA.
To date we have run five webinars. These have focussed on safety, business management, business planning and insurance. The last two webinars, held in May and June, which addressed different aspects of PI Insurance, delivered probably the most comprehensive, unbiased and informative suite of data on this topic ever given in Australia. It was two hours of pure gold.
One of the great merits of the webinar series is that, in addition to providing members in urban areas a great opportunity to meet, participate, learn and discuss through the lunchtime roundtable approach, it also offers members in remote areas an equally easy and valuable mechanism to obtain exactly the same quality of information their urban colleagues are getting. Every member of the ACA, wherever they are located, is equally well catered for.
The Branch Committee is currently working on a program of webinars for 2014/2015, scheduled to commence in the second quarter of the year.
Thank you, again, for your support of the ACA.
I look forward to working with you in the coming year.
Steve Kennedy is National President of the ACA and ACA – NSW/ACT President.