From the Executive Director – NT Chapter

Well 2021 is on its last legs and with all the outside issues with covid that haven’t really affected us we have been busy in the back ground. We have our end of year event coming up which is a ‘Cheers and Chat’ networking celebration. We are just in the process of securing an awesome guest speaker so watch this space.

Our end of year event is a ‘Cheers and Chat’ end of year celebration and our partners are Engineers Australia, Design Institute of Australia, UDIA, Planning Institute of Australia, Consult Australia, NAWIC,  Australian Water Association the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Now that’s a mouthful. We have some exciting news coming up soon so have a save the date for this. Friday the 26th of November 2021.

Over the last few months we have been working on many advocacy and policy issues as well as meeting with appropriate ministers and government departments these include: 

  • Implementation of Section J of the National Construction Code (NCC) for non-residential buildings in the NT Building Energy Efficiency in New Commercial buildings in the Northern Territory Energy efficiency for all NT buildings.
  • NT Community housing growth strategy meeting with the Minister for Urban Housing and Minister for Remote Housing to discuss the NT Chapter remote housing working group directions.
  • Revising the Remote community housing schedules, the housing ancillary specifications and the remote community housing – design guidelines.
  • The changes to the Act which are currently sitting with Minister Fyles (Minister for Licensing who oversees the Architects registration and legislation) for inclusion into the Architects ACT.
    • Continuing professional development
    • Compulsory PI insurance
    • Code of conduct for registered Architects 
  • Monthly catch-up meetings with the Department of Housing
  • Quarterly catch-up meetings with the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.
  • Ongoing advocacy issues
    • ‘Outside building controls’ across the NT to ensure that building meet the NCC and the NT planning scheme. After stakeholder meetings in remote and regional NT we have full support in pushing to remove the ‘Outside building controls’ and have the planning act implemented across the NT and not just in designated ‘urban’ areas. Examples include one side of a street is inside the legislation under the Act and the other side is not.
    • Government Architect ongoing advocacy. This position is crucial to ensure that the NT is moving in the right direction with consistent growth and new developments. 
  • Continusing to work with CDU on the Architecture course as well as advocating for the reintroduction of the Drafting course.
  • We have met with the Industry Skills Advisory Council NT (ISACNT) to have Architecture and Drafting as key skills needed for the NT so that there is support to recruit key personal across the industry. This also means that skilled migration can come directly to the NT to cover the short falls.
  • Executive Director is part of the NT Business council


  • Office tours of two practices one a locally owned firm and the other a larger national firm. The tours included talks around practice management as well a discussing significant project happening in the NT.
  • Upscale was run in the NT however the numbers were lower due to covid with small class sizes at CDU.
  • Planning for 2022 photography competition for SONA members


  • Membership fees discussion for graduates, specifically that they are unaffordable for new graduates
  • Casual networking evening – Aalto is a documentary film journey into the life and work of one of the greatest modern architects, Alvar Aalto.
  • Mentoring SONA students

Awards, Recognition and Promotion

  • Preparation of the 2022 NT awards is underway.
  • Recruitment for the 2022 Jury is also underway
  • Miriam Wallace was a guest on the ABC drive program talking about being an architect and working in Alice Springs
  • Radio ABC interview on cooling the city from a resident and visitors perspective.

Professional Leadership:

  • Jenny Culgan (NT Chapter President & AIANT representative) on the Building Advisory Committee BAC
  • Sarah Williamson Architects Board (Chapter Council member and AIANT representative) is the Chair of the Northern Territory Architects Board
  • Adam Walker Architects Board (AIANT representative)
  • Rebecca Adams is on the National Practice Committee
  • David Bridgman is on the National Heritage Committee
  • Rossi Kourounis is on the National Education Committee

Networking and Community:  

  • Annual Architects vs Engineers Quiz night (Architects won) money raised for Kindness Shake which was started by Architecture students for Engineering and Architecture students to provide food and support during covid when students could not work and had no income. This has continued for students who are still struggling. $1224.90 was raised. 

In 2022 we are heading into the 60th Anniversary of the NT chapter and we will be working to celebrate excellence of these 60 years in a public forum so if you are interested in being part of this please let me know.

These last couple of years have been challenging, to say the least, and Karen and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support and we want to recognise the volunteering you do for the profession. It is a real pleasure for us to work and support the industry everyday.

Raquel Nicholls-Skene B.Bus B.Arts GCert Bus
Executive Director – Northern Territory