Welcome Malcolm Jones

19 September 2018

The ACA is delighted to announce the appointment of Malcolm Jones as President of the WA branch.

Malcolm Jones is the Managing Director of Perth-based firm Meyer Shircore and Associates (MSA), responsible for the overall management of the practice as well as acting as project architect, leading teams through documentation and construction. Malcolm has practised as a qualified architect for over 30 years, having joined MSA in 1994, including an 18-month break to work as the CEO of a property development company. Malcolm has amassed substantial experience in a broad range of projects including complex hospital additions, logistics and distribution centres for national and international companies, suburban offices and large format retail centres. He is also a Director of Subiaco Building Company, a small commercial builder, and Brightsparcs, a company focused on the launch of innovative building products and solutions. Malcolm has been a member of the ACA Committee for the last three years, supporting Kieran Wong in his role as Vice President of the WA Branch. On a personal note, he admits to being a tennis tragic, having been a member of Allen Park Tennis Club in Swanbourne for around 15 years and is currently one of the Club Captains.

We asked Malcolm to discuss his time with the ACA, the recent challenges facing architects in his state, and the WA branch’s plans for the future.

What attracted you to the ACA?

For a long time, I have considered that the profession didn’t pay sufficient heed to the business side of architecture. There was a significant gap in business information and support being provided which needed to be filled. After all, if you can’t operate your own business successfully, why should your client trust you to manage their $500,000 or $50 million project successfully? Architectural practices must be successful both operationally and financially. Otherwise, we can’t do what we all love. When I became familiar with the ACA and what they were doing, I was enthusiastic.

How has the ACA changed in recent times?

I have watched the ACA develop and grow over recent years. There has been a continuing effort to provide guidance and assistance on the day to day issues members face in the operational facet of their business. The ACA has also sought to ensure our services are relevant to all areas of architectural practice. For instance, a recent endeavour of the WA Branch has been our Business of Small Practice Forum. This event certainly verified a thirst in this sector for knowledge and information. With BoSP events, we assist the younger/small practices in setting up and growing a successful business.

We also continue to advocate with Government/regulatory authorities/client organisations to provide a contractual environment that is fair and equitable to our members.

What are the biggest challenges in the industry in WA?

The downturn of the construction industry in WA has had a large impact in the last couple of years, which filtered all the way from the largest firms to the smallest. This is certainly one of the broader issues facing WA at the moment. The effects have impacted companies’ ability to maintain a steady stream of project work. In saying that, there are signs of positive change, which is good to see.

I’m sure it’s the same in every state, in that architectural firms suffer from the perennial issues of red tape from a variety of authorities – local authorities, development authorities, government bodies. The number of hoops required to jump through to secure approvals seems to increase on an annual basis. There was an unsuccessful push by state government a couple of years ago to reduce and amalgamate the number of local authorities. We’ve had recent pushes to rationalise and standardise town planning schemes amongst various local authorities, and again it’s a long process… That’s something we deal with daily.

What is the role of the ACA when it comes to advocacy?

For a long time, the profession hasn’t had a strong voice to help shape and develop government policy. The views of the profession are often not considered. If we had as much clout as the AMA it would be a wonderful thing. The process of trying to change that is an important role of the ACA. Amplifying our voice and expressing our views on issues that impact on our businesses, such as government planning regulations and policies, is something the ACA continues to work on. We often work in consultation with the Institute and other industry bodies. It’s essential that we combine forces and work together to represent the interests of the profession. But we always have a lot more to do…

What are the key achievements of the branch in recent times?

Whilst the ACA provides important practical information on practice management, we also continue to host informal events which aim to foster a more collegiate relationship amongst our member practices. Our initial BoSP Forum was successful and further events will follow.

And then, of course, there are the really basic, practical tools and information that the ACA offers to members that are tremendously useful to practices – the Time/Cost Calculator, the Salary Calculator, information about contracts and the Architects Award. At times, these topics can appear to be a bit dry, but it’s really important and essential stuff when you’re running a business.

Who are the current members of the ACA – WA branch?

We have Michael Gay stepping up to take the role of the Vice President. Michael and Kate Fitzgerald have been involved in running the BoSP events. Both are Directors of their own relatively young practices, and provide balance to myself and our more established Committee members. Leigh Robinson and Janine Marsh both offer an enormous wealth of experience and knowledge of the profession in WA. Our newest Committee Member is Kukame McKenzie, Design Director from Gresley Abas. We are also pleased to say that Kieran Wong will stay on in the Committee, as will our Executive Officer Emma Brain. So, it is a diverse group, which is great, and we all hope that the work we do on the ACA Committee will continue to be beneficial to members.

We are planning to increase our Committee size in the near future, so if anyone is interested in playing a hands-on role in the future direction of the ACA and the wider industry, please get in touch with Emma Brain at wa@aca.org.au.

What are your future plans for the ACA – WA?

Ideally, my main objective would be to assist the ACA and the profession to have a stronger, more recognised and more respected voice in the policy debate around architecture. I think that’s crucial.