round up for the first quarter of 2022
Victorian Inquiry into Apartment Design Standards
The Victorian Chapter has continued to progress its advocacy to the Victorian Parliament through the process of the Legislative Assembly’s Environment and Planning Committee Inquiry into Apartment Design Standards.
The submission made in November 2021 can be viewed here: www.parliament.vic.gov.au
Three Institute members, Sarah Buckeridge FRAIA, James Legge FRAIA and Victorian Chapter President, Bill Krotiris FRAIA ) together with Victorian State Manager Tim Leslie FRAIA and National Policy and Advocacy Manager Paul Zanatta attended as witnesses to a hearing of the Inquiry on Wednesday 16th February 2022. The transcript of this is available here, and the presentation provided as part of this can be downloaded here.
At the request of the members of the Planning and Environment Committee, On Friday, 1st April the same Institute members and Institute staff also took six of the Committee members on a tour of apartments across Melbourne. The purpose was to assist these parliamentary members to gain a first hand understanding of the many issues they have heard, including those raised by the Institute, by seeing actual apartments and developments sited in their neighbourhoods and precincts. The site visits also involved visiting individual apartments, and indoor and outdoor communal spaces. The Institute was provided with a perfect advocacy opportunity to help the Victorian Government appreciate how much good design matters and adds value. With the accompanying explanations from expert Institute members and staff, the day was positively received by these members of Parliament from both sides of the house. We additionally thank Peter Miglis RAIA for also being available for one of the sites.
Increase in ARBV fees
Victorian Chapter President, Bill Krotiris recently wrote to ARBV CEO Glenice Fox in response to proposed increases in ARBV fees to be effective for 2022-23. The proposed fee increases range from 13% to 30%, across different categories of fee, including 20% for a practising Architect’s annual renewal. The explanation that the ARBV has provided for the fee increases are specific cost recovery issues associated with the Board’s operational costs. These including specific initiatives as required to perform several of its regulatory activities and the ARBV’s desire for operations to be delivered in such a way as to meet the performance targets set out in the Minister’s Statement of Expectations 2021-2023.
The Institute had discussed this increase informally with its Practice Forums in the first instance. This was acknowledged by the Forums with no specific feedback for the ARBV. The Institute’s Policy and Advocacy Unit also examined the public financial reports of the Board regarding its overall annual revenue, expenses and net financial results to assist the preparation of the response. The Victorian Chapter President subsequently advised the ARBV that the Institute does not oppose the proposed fee increases.
There are some details of further adjustments that the Institute will advise its Victorian members, through its member communications, including direct email, in due course.
Victorian Building Reform
The Stage 1 report of the Building Reform is still a cabinet in confidence document and, therefore, it has not yet been released. The Victorian Chapter has been privately briefed by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance and the Expert Panel for Building Reform. We have been advised that the Stage 2 consultation (with a discussion paper awaiting release) will consider options for statutory duties of care to be established for a number of parties. The Stage 2 consultation cannot commence until the Stage 1 report with its recommendations has been released. At a further group briefing in early April the Institute heard further from the Expert Panel’s chair and Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna Cronin, that the Victorian Government has accepted all of the recommendations that have been made by the Expert Panel in their Stage 1 report. We have been most recently advised that the Stage 1 report and Stage 2 consultation discussion paper is should be released in April.
Local Government Procurement
Members of Chapter Council and the Victorian State Manager have been reaching out to various local government authorities (LGAs) to build alignment with Institute policies on matters of procurement including Expressions of Interest, Requests for Tender and Design Competitions.
A recent example it the institute calling and writing a letter on 4th March 2022 to Benalla Council requesting the removal of their request for a unique design concept as part of their request for tender (RFT) for the Benalla Art Gallery project. We also provided the council a link to the EOI and RFT documents produced by the Institute which allow for LGA to procure work without the need for design work.
Victorian State Budget
A copy of the Institute’s Victorian Chapter State Budget priorities can be downloaded here.
Recommendations have been made for state budget investment initiatives in respect of the following themes:
- Design expertise to inform planning decisions
- Establishing a regulatory authority for apartments
- Flexible long term precinct structure plans and neighbourhood character studies.
- Removing gas from general use in buildings
- Strengthening heritage and sustainability together
In addition, the paper has positioned more generally for the State Government to establish regulatory and policy settings to:
- achieve a high standard of regulation for all building practitioners
- ensure the best outcomes from Local Government procurement
Victorian State Election
The Institute is commencing its Federal Election Campaign and will imminently release its Federal Elections Priorities paper. Following the Federal Election the Victorian Chapter will commence a conversation with members to formulate a set of priorities with the Victorian State Elections to take place in November.