From the National President

Clare Cousins

 

23 July 2018

International Chapter Architecture Awards
On Friday night, we had the final chapter awards ceremony and I was honoured to be able to join our international members at their celebration in Singapore which was officiated by Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, Bruce Gosper. I would like to again congratulate all the winners from around the country and abroad on the fantastic work accomplished. You can read all about the winners for each chapter here.

The evening also celebrated Dr Liu Thai Ker who was awarded the William J Mitchell International Prize for his exemplary work in urban design and public housing. Considered the ‘architect of modern Singapore’, Dr Liu has remarkably co-delivered 500,000 affordable housing units throughout his career.

Alongside the awards, I joined the International Chapter’s annual two-day face-to-face meeting, providing a great opportunity to discuss with the committee the Institute’s international engagement strategy and seek their input on various membership projects we are currently undertaking. It was a notable occasion as this was the first time that International Chapter has met as an official chapter of the Institute.

International Chapter Council (L to R): Vui Choong (HKG), Annelise Tiller (UAE), Paul Logsdon (UAE – Chair), Grant Marani (USA), Bob Nation (HKG/AUS), Janine Campbell (UK), Hank Koning (USA), Justin Hill (SG), National President Clare Cousins, Fiona Nixon (SG), David Teh (MYS).

 

Building regulation – the Shergold-Weir Report
In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy in London we ramped up our longstanding calls for better regulation, compliance and enforcement in Australia’s building industry.

We have been the leading advocates across industry for changes that will better protect public safety and address the many challenges that have arisen over the years when architects’ expertise is not properly recognised and compliance by other building practitioners with the National Construction Code (NCC) is poor.

Our advocacy shaped a very important Senate Committee report and we are continuing our efforts on this critically important issue.

That’s why we welcomed the Shergold-Weir report on compliance systems for the building and construction industry presented to the Building Ministers’ Forum, comprising the relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers with responsibility for the NCC, in April this year. Their report, Building Confidence includes 24 recommendations, all of which the Institute supports.

We are developing a submission in response to the report that goes into further detail around each recommendation including, for example, reiterating our staunch support for recommendation 2 which would prescribe consistent requirements for the registration of building practitioners.

The Shergold-Weir report is a comprehensive, independent assessment of the industry that further validates the many concerns we have raised over a long period and the implications on consumer safety.

Ahead of the next forum on 10 August, we will be calling on the Building Ministers to implement the recommendations, in collaboration with industry, without delay. There are some recommendations that we would like to see refined or altered, particularly the classification of architects by building type (ie domestic or commercial) as part of the registration of building practitioners however, the overall benefit of implementing a registration/licensing mandate necessitates urgency in getting the wheels in motion while these details are resolved.

Stay tuned for a copy of our submission which we will be sharing with members in coming weeks.

 

Venice Biennale
Finally, for those that haven’t been able to experience firsthand Australia’s exhibition at the 2018 Venice Biennale (there’s still time, it’s on until 25 Nov) you can view the video of the official opening and tour of the installation here.

 

Clare Cousins
National President