QLD President’s Message 2021

For me, the last two years seem to have converged into one. In February I will step back from this role and I will look to support Chapter Council, a new Chapter President and our National Councillor(s) from the position of Past President. It is appropriate then to review the work of both Chapter Council and the Institute these past two years, if nothing else to keep you informed of what we have been working on. (Knowing that keeping you all informed is something I have not done as well as I would have hoped).

Since undertaking the role together with the support of Chapter Council, the various (tireless) Committee’s, and the staff we have:
 
Advocated to government at all levels in support of architects and architecture, including;
    • the provision of more opportunities and more support for architects during the pandemic
    • more public housing and more education work (at a higher standard) both as part of a response to Covid and as a broader need
    • better procurement practices (ongoing!)
    • Media for all of the above including newspapers and radio
Two people talking at an event, other people
  • The provision of a comprehensive response to the draft of the proposed changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) to better protect the public interest by properly recognising and enshrining the role of the architect (through the Australian Building Construction Board (ABCB) as well as state and federal governments) including proposing significant amendments to the proposed National Registration Framework (NRF) and proposing upgrades to the Sustainability and Energy provisions of the NCC.
  • Provision of a comprehensive response to the proposed major update of the competency standards for Architects via the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA)
  • Advocated on behalf of students, the architectural community and staff during the restructure of the University of Queensland’s Architecture department.
  • Advocated for the Equitable Access for Housing Standards.
  • Advocated to retain and enhance the Office of the Queensland Government Architect.
  • Advocated to retain the role of the Gold Coast City Architect
  • Advocated for regional cities to consider a City Architect position and/or better support architects within their own structures. (Specifically Townsville and Toowoomba with correspondence and discussions in other regions)
  • Advocated for changes to the Building Industry Fairness legislation (specifically intrusive measures such as seizing an architects assets in disputes)
  • Worked with the Ministerial Construction Council (Hon. Mick de Brenni MP) on issues such as; registering Project Managers, providing clarity around the architects ability to ‘project manage’ (as of right) under the QBCC and the provision of membership of the proposed review committee looking at the roles and responsibilities of ‘developers’
  • Advocated for sustainability issues including the reinstatement of natural ventilation requirements to Class 2 buildings as a simple but dramatic benefit to residents and the city in both health and well-being and sustainability. Special mention to Russell Hall here. (Refer also our Olympic initiatives, as this issue presents an opportunity for Queensland and the Olympics to provide national leadership.
  • Started the process of setting up an “Olympic” subcommittee within the Chapter to provide ideas and advice into Government and the private realm for better outcomes on the Olympic investment
  • Assisted in driving the initiative to reinstate the concept of a Services Guide (previously the ‘fee guide’) to ensure the public, clients and practitioners understand what is required to support the delivery of safe, quality work in the public interest. The revised approach to the guide will apply time allocations and appropriate levels of experience to various project types and scales, proven by historical survey. This initiative will address directly the concerns raised in reports like Shergold Weir whilst also assisting the long term security of the profession.
  • Successfully supported heritage listings of significant post war buildings (an ongoing issue for the Chapter and the community) Noteworthy work by individual members has also been occurring in this space.
Internally we have;
  • Held successful face to face events including our nationally recognised awards programme. (Thank you to Richard Coulson (2020), Eloise Atkinson (2021), Shy Tay (2022) our State Jury Chairs, as well as all our state and regional jurors)
  • Worked towards finding a new permanent home for the Chapter (ongoing)
  • Worked to rebuild Chapter staff levels so as to better serve the members
  • Found a new Chapter manager (from within! Congratulations Anna Svensdotter)
  • Celebrated the National Presidency of Alice Hampson and worked with her on the many initiatives she has brought to the table (This is a separate list of some note which belongs to Alice)
  • Celebrated the first Regional Queensland member on National Council (Brian Hooper)
Culturally we have;
  • Seen major honours and awards announced recognising the achievements of Queenslanders on the national stage including; the AIA Gold Medal awarded to Dr Don Watson, Paul Memmott’s Officer of the Order of Australia, the AIA Neville Quarry Architectural Education Prize (Prof John Macarthur) and the Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture (Alvin Zhu).
  • Celebrated 10 years of commitment and leadership as Malcolm Middleton stepped down from the role of Queensland Government Architect . . . and equally
  • Applauded as Leah Lang took up the role of the Queensland Government Architect
  • Mourned as we lost some of our best, brightest and committed. (The list of the ‘great and the good’ is too numerous to provide here)
  • Seen a new cohort of young members, registrants, fellows and life fellows emerge. (With Queensland showing national leadership in EmAGN and SONA membership)
The list above is a sample of highlights, with much of it also representing ongoing work. There are, of course, many other issues that the staff, Chapter Council, the committee’s, the regions and you as individual members have been working on in parallel. Whilst we have those issues which will carry over and which need ongoing attention, we also have the opportunities presented by the emerging challenges which include advising back to government on the Olympics opportunity and the change in context this brings to procurement, housing and education, just to name a few.
 
If you want to know more about anything we have been doing or if you would like to be engaged in these issues please do contact me.
 
On a personal level I would like to say that during my time in the role I have very much enjoyed spending time with and learning more about our sponsors and the wonderful individuals who represent these companies. These organisations (our sponsors) are national leaders in innovation and quality and the individuals who represent them to us are, for me, simply quality people.
 
There has also always been a particular joy in engaging with the regions. Queensland is the only state where half the population resides outside our capital city and this is reinforced by the fact that Queensland has the greatest number of cities in Australia’s top 20 cities, by population. If there is one thing that defines us it is our regions, where the diversity of climates and the diversity of work continues to delight and where there is a genuine collegiate sense of the whole. (Something our awards programme delves into and celebrates every year!)
 
To finish I would like to acknowledge those I have had the pleasure to work with. (hoping I don’t miss anyone).
 
In my time in the role the level of collegiate support across allied disciplines and organisations has been phenomenal. I want to thank the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Planning Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors amongst others for their support in this regard. Collegiality has been particularly strong amongst the various architectural organisations who represent, govern or work to support all architects. I am thinking particularly of The Board of Architects Queensland, The Association of Consulting Architects and The Office of the Queensland Government Architect.
 
From within the Institute I would like to specifically thank those who are finishing or have finished their time in leadership roles.
 
To Paul Trotter for his support and wisdom as outgoing Chapter president. In fact the collegiate bond between past Presidents (Chapter and National) has proven incredibly strong and the support of all I have spoken with, has been generous to a fault.
 
To Paul Worroll and Genevieve Vu (finishing 2021) and to Rosie Kennedy and Andrew Wilson (2020) thank you for your tireless work, your support and your service to members from Chapter Council and the various committees and groups you have worked with. Some of you over more than a decade. Indeed, thank you to the whole of Chapter Council (Both the 2020 and 2021 cohorts, especially those up for re-election) I have been privileged to see what most members cannot; your day in, day out, commitment to raising the profile of architects, to finding ways to show leadership for the profession back to the public realm and your passion for addressing members issues and concerns.
 
To Alice-Anne McRobbie our most recent Chapter Manager prior to Anna Svensdotter, for her good work and passion and to Anna herself for the quiet understated way of making things happen during even the most difficult times.
 
At a national level to both Alice Hampson (now outgoing National President) and Brian Hooper (National Councillor) who have not only represented the state with distinction, but for their leadership at the national level on behalf of all members. Alice in particular has worked tirelessly to ensure the highest level of leadership on both the national and international stages, including but not limited to areas such as; internal governance, advocacy (including her support for the new services guide), our own history (as an organisation), our heritage including the protection of heritage buildings, and community (making new connections and solidify existing ones (here I am thinking of initiatives like the local Life Fellows/Fellows lunch, the event held by the Governor of Queensland (the only one in the Country) celebrating 90 years of the (R)AIA and personally calling all of our 90 year old members and keeping notes on these interviews to form part of our celebration for 90 years of the AIA), amongst others.
 
Finally to you, the members (many of you I consider friends), everywhere I visited and everything I attended, when met by members I was warmly welcomed and supported.
 
Thank you to everyone involved. It has been a pleasure to work alongside you in the role and I look forward to continuing to contribute. In this regard I must also thank my business partners for their commitment to this endeavour and to my partner Justine for her patience, in reality we have done this together.
 
For now, best wishes for the holidays, for 2022 and beyond.
 
 
Regards as always,
 
Michael Lavery
 
 
 
Post Script
r.e. AIA Elections.
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