From the National President

Clare Cousins

 

25 June 2018

 

Help strengthen our advocacy outcomes

One of the most valuable benefits the Institute can provide members is strong advocacy.

Over the next fortnight members will have an opportunity to help strengthen the advocacy outcomes we can deliver by taking the time to complete two surveys.

Information on each of these is provided below and I would like to emphasise the considerable advocacy dividend that members can receive from sharing their data and input with the Institute.

We appreciate the many existing practice demands on members, but a small investment of your time on these projects has the potential to deliver a big benefit so I encourage you to please support the surveys if you can.

Construction contracts and bank lending

In response to growing member concern about the increasingly problematic lending conditions imposed by banks for domestic building work, particularly the unwillingness of some banks to approve construction loans where ABIC or Australian Standard contracts are used, the Institute is now taking a multi-pronged approach to this issue.

We will be speaking with the banks through the Australian Banking Association, talking to state and territory small business ministers, and putting together a submission to the Banking Royal Commission in the hope of educating the banks to improve their policies.

To do this successfully, we need information about the actual effects on architects, builders, our clients and projects. We want to know if you have been involved in a project that has been impacted by the banks’ resistance to loan against ABIC or AS contracts, whether that impact was large or small.

To this end, we, in conjunction with ArchiTeam and the Association of Consulting Architects (ACA), are asking you to undertake a 10 minute survey. This is essential research and I strongly encourage you to contribute. The survey will be open until 9am, Monday 2 July.

When the results are analysed and we have made our submission to the Banking Royal Commission, we will circulate it via the Institute, ArchiTeam and ACA communication channels.

A link to the survey was distributed last Thursday and you can also access it here

Fee calculator

The Institute is collaborating with the ACA to further develop their Fee Calculator tool.

The tool utilises historical data to estimate the time it takes to deliver a project based on its type, scale, location and scope. In order to strengthen the tool’s data the Institute will issue a survey in the coming weeks to capture member project data of all scales. I encourage practices with time management programs to enter as many projects as they can in the survey.

Not only do we see this tool as an asset to all practice scales, it has added potential benefit as a powerful client communication tool, by clearly and transparently demonstrating the time involved in delivering projects.

Procurement

I am also pleased to announce that a taskforce is being formed to oversee a research project on the procurement of architectural and design services, led by national councillor Adrian FitzGerald. The project involves research into best practice procurement methods with a view to producing a series of guidelines for purchasers of architectural and design services, advocacy points and an advocacy plan. Stay tuned for more information on this important work.

AIA conference

I have just returned from New York where I represented the Institute at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) annual convention. Hosted in New York for the first time in 30 years, the convention attracted over 25,000 delegates globally.

The visit provided an opportunity to have roundtable discussions with many national presidents and Institute CEOs from around the world about the common issues our profession is facing and exchanging ideas on our approaches to tackling them.

My strategic meeting with the Royal Institute of British Architects was particularly valuable and I look forward to continuing collaboration with them in coming months in particular regarding reciprocal recognition between us.

 

Clare Cousins
National President