It has been a significant and productive year for policy and advocacy at the Institute of Architects NSW Chapter.

The year kicked off with our Affordable Housing forum giving our members the opportunity to hear from all major parties pre-election.

Our state-wide member survey identified the key policy areas of focus for our profession which culminated in the NSW Key Election Priorities paper which was released in February.

We have continued to meet with both Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully and Minister for Building, Better Regulation and Fair Trading Anoulack Chanthivong to discuss broad-ranging topics such as density done well, design-centred planning, sustainability initiatives and the Housing Accord. We will continue to work collaboratively with the Ministers as their new policy initiatives are realised.

A number of media statements and letters to government have been issued; these included our media statement on affordable housing, floodplain development, letter to Premier Chris Minns, and letter to Government Architect, Abbie Galvin.

A NSW Chapter submission on the draft Housing SEPP proposal issued by the NSW government addressed proposed changes to the State significant development process and provision of social and affordable housing.

The GANSW Missing Middle interactive map project which aims to publish an online interactive map, indicating projects which successfully respond to established criteria continues to take shape and we will remain involved as this project develops.

A number of key stakeholders gathered to discuss the potential NSW adoption of the NCC2022 Livable Housing standards at the Livable Housing Stakeholder Forum.

We will continue to advocate for NSW to lead the way on the adoption of these standards ensuring equitable access to housing for all NSW community members.

We heard from NSW Premier Chris Minns at the State of the State Property Council lunch and look forward to the upcoming policy announcements on housing targets due prior to Christmas.

At a national level the Institute’s policy and advocacy team came together to work on the National Housing and Homelessness Plan submission.

Our National President Stuart Tanner issued an important media release regarding the now-approved Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF).


This year a number of important changes and updates to the NSW Building Reforms took place. These included:

  • From 3 February 2023 the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Amendment (Construction Certificates) Regulation 2023 (Amending Regulation) took effect
  • From 6 March 2023 updated Compliance Declaration Forms
  • From 1 July 2023 the DBP Act & Regulation expanded to Class 3 and 9c

We were pleased to be invited to present the Declared Drawing Matrix, a tool to assist Design Practitioners-Architectural in navigating their declaration requirements under the DBP Act and Regulation at the recent ConstructNSW Townhall. This tool was developed by the NSW Chapter along with it’s expert members, Craig Burns, BVN and Rob Graham, Bates Smart.

Additionally, we prepared and issued a submission for the Building Bill 2023 – Licensing Proposals: A review of building licensing and registration in NSW.

The NSW government recently introduced the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 into Parliament.

The Bill focuses on addressing:

  • Building products safety
  • Decennial Liability Insurance (DLI)
  • Intentional phoenixing and insolvency
  • Proactive regulator powers in the class 1 building space
  • Immediate suspension of authorisations under the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 and Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 where a show cause notice is issued
  • Other minor amendments to support the new Building Commission to crack down on unlawful work in the NSW construction industry

Additional reform under the introduction of the Building Act is scheduled to take place in early 2024 and we will continue to engage with government as this draft legislation is released.

Our work supporting members with the NSW Building Reforms has been substantive and ongoing. We are currently working on further guidance tools around the process of declaration for facades and also for passive fire documentation along with assisting government and other stakeholders in updating the Design Practitioner’s Handbook. We continue to assist members of all practice sizes in navigating the reforms through phone calls, office visits, emails, events and meetings.


In an advocacy win, we were able to prevent the introduction of capped daily rates for architectural services on NSW government contracts, however, these ‘below market rates’ are still in place as ‘guidance only’. We remain concerned that there may be a future push for capped daily rates from NSW Treasury and we will continue to monitor this carefully.


Government sought our feedback on potential improvements that can be made to the CDC decision-making process in NSW to better support the delivery of new low-rise residential construction on already developed land. Thanks to NSW Chapter President Adam Haddow and Peter Smith for their work on this.


The higher BASIX standards came into effect when the Sustainable Buildings SEPP commenced on 1 October 2023.

The Department recently issued the following statement:

“BASIX has been in place since 2004 and in August 2023 it was updated to increase sustainability standards for residential development as part of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022. The Department allowed for a 14 month deferred commencement of the policy which became effective on 1 October 2023. A new tool has been integrated into the NSW Planning Portal which is vastly different to the previous BASIX tool. The Department is receiving and fielding a lot of enquiries regarding the new tool. Hypercare systems are currently in place.’’


Our submission on the NSW government’s initiative to develop a new arts, culture, and creative industries policy and the accompanying discussion paper, A New Look at Culture.

In heritage and conservation advocacy wins, we were thrilled with the news that the MLC Building, North Sydney will be protected from demolition. We continue to urge Minister for Heritage, Penny Sharpe to relist this building on the NSW State Register and ensure that the correct process is in place to ensure this finally occurs.

Additionally, we are pleased that the Sulman award-winning Wran Building at the Powerhouse, Sydney has been spared and will now be refurbished rather than demolished.


Both Callantha Brigham and Lisa King were asked to present a guest lecture at the University of Sydney for Masters students studying Ethical Architecture. It was a great opportunity to discuss with prospective graduates the many and varied aspects of our profession and how they can impact policy and advocacy.


The National Conference in Canberra was a terrific opportunity to come together as a professional community and share knowledge and experience. The program was diverse and interesting with many aspects of our profession addressed from keynote addresses by Stan Grant and Clover Moore to hands on vapour permeable waterproofing workshops. The Conference is our annual flagship event. In 2024, the Conference will be held between 10–11 May in Melbourne and is expected to be attended by around 1,000 delegates from across Australia. The two-day program will be an engaging forum for discussion, learning and networking, and will feature emerging and eminent architects from Australia and abroad.


We were pleased to work with Western Sydney University to review competition documents and provide our endorsement of the design competition for the Indigenous Centre of Excellence.


After a week of silence was observed following the Voice referendum, an important message from Cameron Bruhn CEO of the Australian Institute of Architects was issued to members. We will continue to work for equity and progress on this issue.


The results of the Australian Institute of Architects’ first national Diversity & Inclusion in the Architectural Profession survey & focus group report is now available for download, as presented at the recent national conference in Canberra.

The report presents profession-specific demographics, diversity and inclusion data not previously collected by the Institute. Where possible, the data collected has been benchmarked using Australian Bureau of Statistics Census/Survey data and membership record data.

It collates the benchmarked data collected from 1,673 survey respondents, summarises 612 open-ended comments and provides a thematic summary of six focus groups.

The results will help us develop the future Diversity and Inclusion policy, with the purpose of taking positive steps to lead the profession toward people-centred, evidence-based transformation. This work led by Institute Policy & Advocacy Manager, Beata Davey was an initiative of the National Committee for Gender Equity Committee, chaired by Marika Neustupny. The survey consultant was Survey Matters and the D&I consultant was Felicity Menzies, Include-Empower.

In the lead up to Christmas, we have and will continue to represent our members at a number of government events and forums. The Modern Methods of Construction Taskforce launched recently, and we also attended the Building Commission’s Co-regulation roundtable discussion, the Professional Indemnity Insurance roundtable and the NSW Heritage Strategy engagement workshop. The roundtable discussion on fire safety design and regulation framework and the final Planning and Peaks forum for the year will be held in the next week.

We update the Institute’s website regularly with recent submissions to keep our members up to date. Find our submissions page by clicking here.

Lisa King

Policy & Advocacy Manager NSW 


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