Acumen July 2020 update

Learning. Engaging. Knowing. Our Acumen notes continue to provide knowledge and engagement to all levels of the profession, from students to experienced practitioners. In this quarterly update, view some of our new content such as the highly awaited Safety in design guidance, special conditions for bushfire or pro bono work and the new resource guide Sustainability framework for practice. We also highlight some topical notes to revisit from our comprehensive database.

If you have missed an update, recent new and significantly updated content can be found via the Acumen home page where you can also view our most popular notes. We welcome your feedback.

Acumen is an included benefit for A+, Member level 1, Affiliate Level 1, Graduate and Student members.

New notes

Safety in design

These new guidance notes – informed by the National Practice Committee – define safe design, outline the legal requirements for designers and present key elements of safe design alongside actions to assist you, as the designer, to practice safe design. A downloadable risk register template is included with the guidance.


Our new notepack brings together new and related COVID-19 Acumen material, including the most recent note ‘Site inspection considerations’. You can also visit our dedicated webpage for additional resources and up-to-date information to support you or your practice at this time.

Other new notes

Updated notes

Acumen notes are regularly reviewed and updated. The following updated notes include new material or resources. ‘Employee private commissions and liability’ now includes a sample clause for an employment agreement, ‘Substitutions’ introduces a three-step guide to product substitution and ‘Liability for manufactured products’ makes reference to the Lacrosse Decision as a case study.

Highlighted content

Marketing your work. As the chapter awards program comes to a wrap, our Marketing and communications suite of notes provide tips on social media, publicity and marketing – a go to for promoting award-winning work or your practice!

….marketing is the way in which you position yourself in the marketplace.

Low fees. In difficult economic times, a timely reminder that reducing fees can have detrimental consequences to your practice and its ongoing viability – as well as the industry as a whole. See Low fees – implication for practices.

To provide a professional level of service, the architect should be adequately remunerated and, while there are no mandatory or minimum fee scales, architects should assert their right to fair and reasonable compensation.

Green roofs. With June 6 marking the inaugural World Green Roof Day, revisit the note Green roofs for energy efficiency – a simulation study in Australian climates. This note presents a simulation study assessing the influence of green roofs on an office building’s energy consumption for different Australian climates.

Light pollution. On Sunday 21 June the Australian Dark Sky Alliance enlisted the help of citizen scientists to record their local night sky conditions, highlighting the issue of light pollution. Learn about the contributions that designers can make in solving the issue in our note Light pollution.

…defined as excess artificial light, in the wrong place at the wrong time…the problem is solved by ensuring that just the right amount of light is provided.

Acumen Content Review Panel (ACRP) news

We welcome new member Tristrim Cummings (Vic), who brings enthusiasm and large practice expertise to the ACRP, and farewell outgoing member Jo Rees (NT). We thank Jo for her valued contribution and lively input over the past two years.