Victorian Chapter Advocacy Update

The latest Victorian advocacy updates including the 2020 National Architecture Awards announcements, Federal Budget 2020 follow-up and relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

VICTORIAN PRACTICES CONTINUE TO MAKE A NATIONAL SPLASH

Congratulations to all our Victorian members who were recognised in the 2020 National Awards, held on Thursday 5 November. The strength of our Victorian architectural community, whether producing work within the State or interstate, is a credit to our members. We also note the successful partnerships with other architectural practices which have led to many of these rich outcomes. In total 17 different Victorian firms were awarded this year, and a number of them multiple times.

The following Victorian practices were awarded the:

National named awards (the highest accolade for each category):
Edition Office, John Wardle Architects (three named awards), Kerstin Thompson Architects,

National architecture awards were awarded to the Victorian practices;
Edition Office, Fieldwork, Freadman White, Lovell Chen, Lyons, Silver Thomas Hanley,

National commendations were awarded to these Victorian practices;
Archier, Architectus, Austin Maynard Architects, Cumulus, Denton Corker Marshall, Freadman White, Harrison and White, Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, Law Architects, NTF Architecture

With Law Architects winning the National COLORBOND Award for Steel Architecture.

We would also like to acknowledge those firms who were shortlisted to the National Awards, which in and of itself is a significant acknowledgement of the quality of your work and contribution to the profession.

Congratulations!

CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE IN VICTORIA

Whilst we celebrate the latest contribution of award-winning projects, our future heritage, it is worthwhile reflecting on the importance of protecting our 20th Century architectural heritage in this State.

The Victorian Heritage Committee recently undertook the monumental task of sifting through the Register of Twentieth Century Significant Buildings in Victoria to create an up to date list. The Committee took on the task of examining and updating the list, noting buildings which have now been demolished and adding buildings from Docomomo and suitable award-winning buildings.

The Register is now available for download on our website. While the Register has no statutory weight, it enjoys credibility and informal authority of judgement with local government as well as architects, heritage bodies and the general public as an information resource and adjudication of architectural merit.

The Register has been sorted by architect names. The demolished buildings have been left on the list and marked in red as this information is just as vital as the buildings that remain.

Thank you again to the Heritage Committee, past and present, for all their work on this.

Louise Honman – Heritage Council Victoria
Rowan Brown – Lai Cheong Brown
Anne-Marie Treweeke – Lovell Chen
Kim Irons – Irons McDuff
Ariani Anwar – John Wardle Architects
Jude Doyle – Peter Elliott Architecture + Design
Peter Johnson – Architect & Heritage Consultant
Vicki McLean – Heritage Victoria
Wendy Jacobs – Wendy Jacobs Architect

IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT RELAXATION OF COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Institute members looking to commence new work on renovations, extension and other  improvements projects at occupied premises, including private residences, will be pleased to hear that visits to people’s homes are now permitted for such purposes where undertaken according to their COVIDSafe plan. Members can now conduct a COVIDSafe visit to a new client’s occupied premises, to commence design works, prior to any construction project being commenced/underway.

The FAQ on the Victorian Government Coronavirus website.

Stated as follows:

Can staff attend clients’ homes or clients’ workplaces to carry out work that can’t be done from home?

“Victorians can leave home to go to work if the task or service cannot be carried out from home. They can also enter another person’s home or premises for work purposes, such as site inspections, real estate settlements involving exchange of keys and documents, or supporting clients with special needs.

However, they should ensure there are no other alternatives to offering this service, and they must ensure they always follow their COVIDSafe Plan as well as the six workplace COVIDSafe principles.”

NB This information remains correct as of 9 November 2020.

FEDERAL BUDGET 2020 FOLLOW-UP

The Institute had identified a national opportunity in the 2020 Federal Budget initiative to potentially subsidise wages of architecture students and graduates working in practices to attain registration similar to a program for apprentices and other trainees who undertake Vocational Education and Train (VET) qualifications such as trades qualifications.

The Victorian Chapter’s Medium Practice Forum Chair, David Wagner, and the Institute’s General Manager, Advocacy, Policy and Education, Leanne Hardwicke and Advocacy and Policy Manager, Paul Zanatta met with Mr. George Thiveos, First Assistant Secretary Apprenticeships and Workforce Skills Division, Skills and Training Group Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment on 4 November. The meeting heard interest from the Department in the idea put forward by the Institute, but without an immediately implementable solution. This is, in large part, due to the long-standing nature of the mechanisms for administering and regulating Apprentices and Trainees funding. However, the Department has requested further and more detailed information so that further consideration can be given to examination of the proposal put forward by the Institute.

VICTORIAN BUILDING SYSTEM REVIEW

The Victorian Government’s comprehensive review of the building system is underway. An Expert Panel was established earlier in 2020 to lead the review. As part of this review, there is an Evidence Improvement Project (EIP) that has been commissioned by the Expert Panel and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The EIP will develop an evidence base around consumer and practitioner issues and concerns by analysing various data points, including surveys and interviews with building practitioners. This will ensure baseline qualitative and quantitative data is readily available to inform the review. The Institute is attending an Industry briefing on 6 November which will provide further information.

Members may be invited to respond to a survey or participate in an interview. A short survey has been proposed to gain practitioner perspective on non-compliance and performance issues, specifically as they relate to competency, probity/accountability and skills shortages.

We look forward to supporting Chapter members to engaging energetically with the review process as well as representing a unified view of the profession in Victoria. In this way quality and Architect’s key role in ensuring quality will be strengthened in Victoria’s building sector.