Red Wine to Scotch to Penfold 389 -From the SA Chapter President


Dear Diary,

Monday 23 March 2020: 6.00am and the emails start coming in… how is the Institute helping the Industry, have we written to the Government, is there a stimulus package… have we… Directors meeting, zoom into Melbourne studio, organise the studio for the week, what work will go ahead, how long can we keep going, how are our staff, is remote working, Clients want to meet, social distancing, zoom, skype, phones ringing, deadlines… staff meeting… 100ish emails in regard to COVID19 protocol… corporate lawyers must be busy… HR recruiters are advertising candidates… must have been some layoffs last week… PAYG is due… It’s pay week… Chapter Council zoom meeting, share experiences, how are we all going… ACA “go to a meeting” meeting… Zoom training for staff. red wine

Tuesday 24: In studio early, zoom, zoom into meeting, feed into national initiative response, agree to host first “Lean In” session for tomorrow, observing Institute advocacy to PM, Premiers and Ministers in regard to stimulus… anxious… submissions need to go, zoom into project meeting, mostly first-timers, a bit comical… at least some laughter, not laughing when deadlines reduced for submission, keyboard warriors working from home in regard to Approvals… opportunist client wants reduction in fees because another will do it for that price… morals and ethics from our own Industry. two red wines

Wednesday 25: In even earlier today, get some work done, speak to Nicolette, observe Fran and Azmina take first Uni Studio V zoom presentations, new world, catch up with staff individually, reality, share the pain, option to work from home, deadlines, will we go into lockdown, turn TV news off in studio – COVID 19 overload, watch cooking shows instead – now we are all hungry… face to face meetings…? Yes/No… Directors meeting, long day… letter to Govt / construction as an essential service / delay NCC implementation / relax liquidated damages and EOT / buy local / implement panel contracts / agreed fee scales / fast track planning approvals.  single malt scotch or two

Thursday 26: Directors catch up… financial health check… remote testing, zoom AIA “Lean In” session, 100 join the national conversation, great start, human face to crisis, studios sharing and helping… outcomes… talk to people / mental health / software and internet speed issues / projects coming on hold / cash flow / 6-8 weeks most… State Government Industry Response Council announced… gender imbalance / 1 female in group of 14 / no architectural representation / no social housing / housing reps… Client catch up. Penfold 389

Friday 27: Restless night… Fran’s road bike peloton of four gets hit by a kangaroo, Gary’s remoting the computers, strange calm feeling this morning… deadlines met… social distanced pizza, beer and lunch red wine… ScoMo address… studio in eerie silence… went home 3.00pm… went to sleep… WTF happened?!

Ok, the above is a bit light-hearted and if you haven’t guessed, it’s been a scary and challenging week. Responses and advocacy from the Institute has been on multiple fronts refer to the Institute website, which is being constantly updated. Not something that happens instantly but a lot of late nights by everybody involved in primarily a volunteer organisation while we are still trying to run a Practice and look after our supportive staff.

Governments can only do so much, and their first priority is, should and will always be in keeping everybody safe and protecting our fantastic frontline health workers.

We must also be reliant on ourselves to support each other and do the right thing, now is not the time to undermine each other in regard to fees and ethical moral behaviour.

To the Development Approving Authorities  -fast-tracking of Approvals should be a priority within the common sense intent of Development Plans. Please do not expose the ever-present procrastination of decision-making we have been experiencing for the last few years in trying to activate any well-meaning stimulus package. For that to happen some of the niceties may have to drop including constant prolonged reviews, delays to the Planning and Design Codes implementation… and in turn recognise and entrust us that as a profession we are in a position to make appropriate responsible design decisions.

Look after yourselves and stay safe with your families.

Tony Giannone 
SA Chapter President