2022 marks the end of the DfE Capital Works Program. With most of these projects completed we can reflect on the successes and challenges that this program presented. As part of this review the SA Chapter is holding a forum to bring representatives from as many of the projects as possible to consider the impact of project initiation, brief, budget, program, and other factors in the way each project unfolded. This will enable us to collect data that we can use in reporting back to government stakeholders, to review the broader impacts across the construction sector and as a reflection on how the profession managed this elevated workload.
It is important that we understand the opportunities and limitations presented by stimulus packages such as this, which are becoming a more common response to periods of economic stress. It is also important that the delivery of these stimulus programs does not become a new standard for business as usual.
To do this effectively we need a factual base to demonstrate why this level of activity is sustainable in contained bursts but not in the long term. Impacts on value for money, service delivery, resources and wellbeing are all evident after the past two years and continued operation at this level needs to be considered carefully and clearly articulated.
If this does not occur there is a real risk that the culture within the profession will suffer and that the already stretched staff resource will be further depleted by people becoming unwell or moving to other sectors. We are also considering this through the workshops that EmAGN is holding to consider practice experience, culture, and wellbeing from the perspective of graduates and early career architects. The second of these workshops was held last week and, again, the data collected will be shared to inform architectural practice, identify areas of strength and weakness and advocate for improved culture. It is important that we understand the experience of the EmAGN demographic, as they are the future of the profession.
These projects are part of the Construction Culture Initiative, which also allows us to view the findings within the broader context of the design and construction sector. The is architecture profession part of this broader ecosystem, and without action across the sector and improved understanding of client organisations, sustainable change will not be possible.
We look forward to working with members to share experiences and to using this information to build capacity within the profession and the wider construction sector. With the State election this year resulting in a raft of projects with an estimated value of $1billion dollars over the next five years and the federal election likely to generate further activity in the public sector, it is important that the Institute has a clear picture of the recent past and uses this effectively to advocate for an improved future.
Nicolette Di Lernia
SA Executive Director