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From the NT Executive Director

The first 3 months of 2021 have certainly been busy. Follow on from 2020 we had a 31% growth in membership last year which is great start for 2021. This year we welcomed two new members to the Chapter Council, Adam Prentice from Hames Sharley and Samir Raut from NBC Consultants. We would also like to thank Henry Power from Bennett Designs and Randal Ashford from Ashford Architects for the work they did over the last couple of years on Chapter Council. Your contribution is of value and we look forward to working with you in other projects across the chapter.

We have been addressing a few advocacy points already this year. Firstly, the Shergold Weir Building Confidence recommendations and the National Registration Framework (NRF) are critical issues that we continue to raise. We have recently written to the Ministers again about these issues and they will be addressed in our meeting with the Department. We have also highlighted that AIANT recommendations to change the Architects Act to reflect best practice has outstanding issues particularly, compulsory CPD, Insurance and a code of conduct all recommendations in the Building Confidence report however these have been outstanding since 2018.

The current Building reform consultation https://dipl.nt.gov.au/projects/building-reform-consultation is looking at some of these areas from above; 1. third party review of complex buildings; 2. continuing professional development (CPD) for building practitioners and 3. practitioner registration for commercial builders. Compulsory CPD should include the whole built environment, Architects, engineers etc and should be expanded and not just be the builders. These are only the tip of the iceberg with these reforms which I expect to roll out over the year.

Section J and Energy Efficiency is an ongoing advocacy issue.  The NT Chapter is part of the investigation into the implications of adopting Section J of the National Construction Code (NCC) for non-residential buildings in the NT. This includes building Energy Efficiency in New Commercial buildings in the Northern Territory.

Outside building controls is another issue which we have been flagging to ensure that buildings meet the NCC and are recognised as part of the NT planning scheme. We meet with stakeholders in remote and regional NT who fully support this initiative as we strive for excellence everywhere not just in urban areas.

The NT Chapter is setting up a remote housing project to work with the aboriginal housing peak body. We are keen to have a bigger discussion around design and standards in line with the NRF and Building confidence report. We met with key stakeholders at the beginning of March and we look at developing this into a meaningful actionable piece of work that improves the lives of people living in remote communities.

We are also working with the planning commission on stage two of the Designing better consultation with the Planning Commission  https://planningcommission.nt.gov.au/projects/designing-better. We made submissions as part of stage one and we will finalise our component over the next couple of weeks.  

Earlier this year we held the Ministerial brief over dinner with Minister Lawler. It was a great opportunity to discuss the NTG directions and the Minister has committed to working with us on key issues that are important to Architects in the NT.

We have had a good start to the year for SONA and EmAGN. The SONA rep will be a shared role and we welcome Jenny Jan and Swetha Bhupathi. The EmAGN crew have a great committee and we are looking forward to working with them. Vaughan is continuing with being the representative with Bek Kerr sharing the role with him. Paul Bartsch who is part of the EmAGN committee is the mentoring link working directly with SONA as part of his role. Congratulations to all of you and we are really excited about what we can do this year so watch this space.

Over the next few weeks we have several events firstly the Gold Medal tour has been confirmed as Wednesday the 21st of April. There will be a SONA and EmAGN meet and greet with John Wardle the gold medal winner from 4.30-5.30 with the general presentation from 5.30 pm.

Super Studio is also coming up for SONA members from the 8th of May with the reading of the brief to the week of mentoring. On Saturday the 15th of May, the students will be the presentations and we invite you all to attend. We will send the details our in April. If you would like to volunteer to be a mentor please contact us to arrange.

On Tuesday the 25th of May the Emerging Architect Prize (EAP) presentation is being held. Once we finalise this we will update you and send out details to register. This EAP is the 2020 winner which due to Covid the event could not be held last year.

The 2021 NT Chapter Awards season has started with the NT Chapter ending up with nine quality entrants. We have selected the Jury which is;

  • Chair – Annabel Lahz – Lahznimmo Architects
  • NT Architect – Steve Huntingford, Huntingford Architects
  • Lay Juror – Geoff Cornish

Jury visits start on the week starting 12th April with a People’s Choice Cocktail party in Alice Springs hosted by Mayor Damien Ryan on the evening of the 12th. The Top End people’s choice presentation is still to be confirmed and we will update as soon as this is finalised.

The Awards are being held on Friday the 25th of June at the Darwin Aviation Museum. On our premier night we celebrate both the Awards and the Institute’s 90th birthday. So in line with this the evening will be a throwback to the golden age of aviation as a 1950’s inspired celebration.

This year we have been requested to directly populate the calendar of members for events. We will start doing this and will put the link to register for the event to make it easier. We look forward to an exciting year. Please feel free to contact us in the office for any queries.

Raquel Nicholls-Skene

Executive Director – Northern Territory

Gold Medal – REGISTER HERE

Peoples Choice event Alice Springs REGISTER HERE