What a huge year 2019 has been and it’s not over yet! As we start to relax into the end of year break, I wanted to let you know about a significant and exciting win for our Queensland architects.
As you all know, I attend the bi-monthly Ministerial Construction Council (MCC) meetings on behalf of you all. This is a critical forum for the State’s built environment and construction industry and is represented by almost every peak body in the industry including professions, trades, contractors, unions, etc. It is chaired by the Minister for Housing and Public Works, the Hon. Mick de Brenni MP. The Chair and Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission also attends.
The last meeting was on the Gold Coast, on 3 Dec 2019. Philip Follent and I represented the architecture profession. At front of mind for me in these forums is the concerning issue of project managers’ oversight of construction projects and the urgent need to improve standards of leadership and governance in the construction industry.
An opportunity arose during the proceedings to stress to the Minister and Commissioner the high standards of leadership and competency expected of our profession, as reflected in our recent acceptance of changes to the Architects Act and Code of Conduct. As a profession, we are highly cognisant of the need for strict and abiding governance of our conduct to ensure public confidence in our work.
However, I also raised the issue that project managers are not subject to the same level of conduct oversight and governance that we are. While there are project managers whose conduct is exemplary, there are many others that lack the skills required to act in the industry. Their requirements under the QBCC are exceedingly low compared to what is required of our architectural profession.
I went on to say that registered project manager should have the same oversight as architects but with more stringent competency standards and a code of conduct that would provide public confidence in their dealings with contractual matters.
There was general discussion around the table followed by an agreement from the Minister to establish a subcommittee to review the situation and report back to the MCC. Alice-Anne McRobbie and I are meeting with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission this week to discuss and start the process of establishing this subcommittee.
The official communique issued from the meeting states:
Following a discussion on project management, the Council agreed to establish a subcommittee to progress recommendations relating to leadership and governance of all projects, including by licenced project managers. This work will additionally inform Queensland’s position in relation to the design, construction and certification of complex buildings in accordance with Building Confidence Report recommendations.
I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to spearhead this step-forward for our profession, especially as my term as your President is coming to an end. We know that there is still a battle ahead of us in terms of procurement, fees and project managers’ increasingly lead roles on projects but I know that this is a critical start to gaining ground in governance of projects.
Once again, I wish every one of you a safe and happy Christmas and a great start to 2020.
Queensland Chapter President