The RAIA National Practice Committee (NPC) comes under the auspices of RAIA Knowledge Services whose broad aim is to promote and improve standards of service provided to the Australian community by RAIA members and other building design professionals.
NPC has representatives from each state and territory as well as a public sector representative and an ACAA representative. The RAIA’s Knowledge Services manager and Services general manager attend all meetings, with the national education manager providing updates on continuing professional development issues.
Senior representatives from other industry bodies are invited on a regular basis to promote better relationships and expand the knowledge base of the committee.
The NPC committee met four times in 2006; three times in Melbourne and once in Sydney. Each meeting extended over two days.
The main task of the NPC is to maintain and enhance the RAIA Advisory Notes. This highly respected publication is made up of Practice Notes, Cautionary Notes, Client Notes, Management Notes, Law Notes, Technical Notes and Reports. Each note deals with specific issues related to the practice of architecture.
All notes are reviewed on a regular basis and updated as necessary to reflect the changing nature of architectural practice in Australia. This task is time consuming and demanding given the acknowledged value placed on the notes by many in the construction industry. Architect registration boards throughout the country refer to them as a baseline of practical knowledge required for registration.
The committee also has a number of work groups that operate as subcommittees. These include:
•The National Access Work Group
•The National Occupational Health and Safety Work Group
•The Fees and Agreements Work Group
The main committee allied to NPC is the National Contracts Committee (NCC).
The NCC has been working with the Master Builders Association on the next issues of the ABIC MW, SW and BW building contracts which are due for release in 2007. A companion user guide will be published along with the new contracts. At the same time a version of MW with Bills of Quantities will also be released. After this the NCC will concentrate on ‘administration by owner’ type (Jointly Managed) and a ‘modified cost plus’ type (Provisional Allowances) contracts to complete the ABIC suite.
The NPC needs to embrace change. Changes in procurement methods, the pre-eminence of the project manager, increasing specialisation requirements, the impact of technology, increasing regulation and increasing speed of delivery requirements are recent changes, identified by the profession, that have seriously affected the provision of architectural services.
Designing for climate change, occupational health and safety issues in design, new technologies such as building information management systems (BIMS), designing for an ageing population, ongoing certification requirements and problems with availability/affordability of PII have been foreshadowed as future developments requiring further adaptation by the profession.
As with all change there is risk; however, there is also opportunity. Flexibility of service with commensurate risk management of proportional liability is a key factor.
Knowledge Services is committed to developing a suitable method of providing online publications based, for example, on the collective knowledge and risk management of the Advisory Notes with interactive possibilities that will facilitate rapid compilation of project specific documents and in some cases allow customisation of complex RAIA standard documents such as fee agreements and building contracts to suit the different requirements under which architects operate in Australia.
Through inspired alternative service delivery methods, architects can capitalise on the opportunities engendered by technological and societal change while managing the associated risks through judicious practice.
National Practice Committee
Tony Kemeny, NSW (Chair)
Steven Huntingford, NT (Deputy Chair)
Geoff Driscoll, ACT
Peter Quigley, Vic
Paul Viney, Vic
Ian Mitchell, Qld
Bruce Medek, Qld
Kees Wegman, Tas
Jim Jovanovic, SA
Chris Williams, WA
J Nicholls, Public Sector
A Synman, ACAA