June has been an incredibly busy month with engagement on many policy issues of relevance to our members. Thank you to all those who attended our NSW Building Reforms event with NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler, particularly our Building Reforms Working Group for their feedback and advice in the lead up to the event. Thanks also to Craig Burns for being our member representative on the Q&A panel. We will continue to provide opportunities for our members to directly engage with the Building Commissioner and senior executive leaders as the NSW Building Reforms continue being implemented.
We are aware there will be upcoming changes to the Compliance Declaration Form and Design Practitioner Handbook and have been working with the Fair Trading team to provide input on the workability of these changes for our members. We will ensure any new information is available to all members once it is released.
Powerhouse Museum Ultimo
A DA is currently on public exhibition for the renewal of the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo. The DA aims to secure a ‘loose fit envelope’ covering the aspects of the site not currently heritage-listed. This would leave the door open for the Sulman Award-winning 1988 Wran Building to be demolished as part of the design competition process. The DA is on public exhibition until 21 July 2022. See the application here.
We are currently working with the Heritage Committee, and other members on a submission detailing the importance of retaining award-winning buildings such as the Wran building, which add so much to the architectural diversity of NSW and are an important part of the history of Sydney.
NSW Treasury Infrastructure Advisory Standard Commercial Framework
The NSW Treasury is currently seeking to cap daily rates for architectural services for all NSW government contracts using a benchmark rate which we believe is not representative of the current market, and which we do not believe is based on fair and robust data. The capped rates being proposed are, we understand, below the cost rates of many practices. This would leave these practices unable to continue government work, a sector which, for some practices, is a core revenue source. Our letter to Treasurer Matt Keane can be found here.
We collaborated with Engineers Australia and the Institute of Quantity Surveyors to bring this important issue to the attention of the public. See the article in the Sydney Morning Herald here.
We have also contacted the Small Business Commissioner and the Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading, and will continue to lobby on behalf of our profession to have these capped rates removed.
NSW Heritage Act Review
Our feedback on the Heritage Act Review has been finalised and submitted to the NSW government for consideration. A big thank you to the NSW Chapter Heritage Committee, and particularly Jennifer Preston and Hector Abrahams for their advice and expertise. Read our submission here.
Home Building Compensation Reform: Discussion Paper
The NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is seeking feedback on a range of reforms. See the link here for details on how to provide feedback, or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to provide feedback to the NSW Chapter for submission by the Institute.
Minister Stokes’ Planning Principles and Design & Place SEPP
We continue to lobby the NSW government that the important research evident in many aspects of Minister Stokes’ Planning Principles and the Design & Place SEPP not be lost permanently. See our statement in The Guardian here.
MLC Building 105-153 Miller St North Sydney
The MLC building is once again at great risk of demolition. A court has overturned former Minister Harwin’s direction to list the building on the State Heritage Register. We will continue to strenuously lobby for this building to be listed and retained and will advise our members of the outcome and continuing process. See the SMH article here.
Policy & Advocacy Manager NSW