VIC/TAS Update 2020
The VIC/TAS branch looks back on a challenging but productive year, when member resources, industrial relations and advocacy were at the forefront.
2020 has been a challenging year for both our members and the wider industry. However, there have been some positives that have resulted from the great amount of work done to address the issues of the pandemic. The VIC/TAS Committee were dedicated to taking a lead early in the pandemic, particularly during the second wave restrictions in Victoria, when we worked hard to keep our members informed of the implications for practice. We also actively engaged with other industry bodies and advocated for the profession with both national and state governments. We are pleased to have achieved a positive difference for our members, while also strengthening existing and establishing new relationships for ongoing cooperation with other industry bodies for the benefit of our profession, in particular with the VBA, ARBV and AIA.
The ACA Victoria / Tasmania Committee would like to thank all of our members for staying with us during the trials of 2020. We’d also like to welcome our new members joining us for the first time this year. Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to our national Pulse Check and VicPulse surveys during the year to help us demonstrate the effect of COVID-19 on architectural practice and implications for the built environment sector.
In May the Committee pushed through an early release of the ACA Resource Sharing System to help in the collegiate sharing of resources between practices to assist with retaining of staff and managing resources. With the limitations imposed by JobKeeper requirements, this proved too early a start for the system to be used effectively. The system will be relaunched in line with JobKeeper being retracted.
The third version of our ACA Architects’ Time Cost Calculator Guide (TCCG) was also launched in May to enable the opportunity to value Innovation and Commercial Risk within the Office Variables. The Calculator provides a fundamental knowledge base of real, historical data, for practices to use in the development of fee proposals and fee negotiations, based in the specifics of their practice and a broad range of building types. It can be used by practices of all sizes and accommodates a range of service levels and procurement types.
The long awaited changes to the Architects Award and other Modern Awards relevant to architectural employers resulted in an enormous amount of proactive and painstaking work by our IR committee led by VIC/TAS Branch Secretary, David Wagner. Along with ACA National Executive Officer, Michelle Eades, the team has provided advice regarding implications of the changes and responded to member queries. Thank you to David for his tireless dedication to this process and to Michelle for her work monitoring changes, fielding queries and supporting updates across the relevant resources for our members. Thanks also go to our ACA editor Susie Ashworth and CEO Angelina Pillai for their close involvement in this task.
This year has seen a change of the guard with the appointment of Fair Work Lawyers as our IR Consultants, with partner Tom Earls providing principal advisory services and working closely with our IR Committee and communications team. We extend our thanks to Michael Corrigan and Platinum Employee Relations for their many years of service to the ACA.
Events and Groups
The transition to all things online this year provided some benefits, despite missing the face to face interaction. The extended engagement and reach this created for our architecture community across all regions provided the opportunity to participate in a great range of events and increased accessibility to engage in a number of forums and meetings. Events for ACA – VIC/TAS, like committee meetings and all things “work”, became online-only but we look forward to transitioning back to face to face events next year while maintaining an online element for increased accessibility.
For the first time, ACA – VIC/TAS and the Architecture Administration and Accounting Group (AAAG) established a formal agreement to work together to support the group and their members to continue their long history and to open up to members of the AIA practice managers forum for the Victorian Chapter.
With absolute pleasure we launched the Victoria/Tasmania arm of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum Australia. Through necessity, it has operated as an online group, growing to over 20 members participating in monthly meetings and sharing of information.
We engaged in the successful lobbying of the Minister for Jobs and Local Industry for the requirement for architects to attend site for the purposes of inspections; and lobbied the Department of Education and Victorian School Boards Authority for communication of the timing for new projects to alleviate general industry concerns regarding projects being put on hold.
The committee has also worked closely with the VBA-led Construction Industry Forum, playing a role in influencing government decision makers, representing and clarifying the needs of architects, strengthening relationships across organisations in the industry and supporting effective information flow. ACA – VIC/TAS has recommended that documentation quality across the building industry becomes a new focus for the group in the coming year.
The year to come
With upcoming elections we hope that some of our members consider joining the ACA – Victoria / Tasmania Committee to help support and direct our work in the Business of Architecture and to ensure representation for the diversity of our members across practice size, business stage and location, and individuals’ gender, origins and all levels of experience as architecture professionals.
We acknowledge the adversity of the year that was, along with the great efforts of all our member practice leaders and their staff in meeting this challenge. Thanks to all our committee members for your dedication and volunteering your time so generously. Thanks also to Executive Officer Katherine Ygosse for her tireless efforts. Finally, on behalf of the committee, thank you to our members. We greatly look forward to working with you all next year and continuing to support your needs.