6 Sep, 2017
The Australian Institute of Architects fully supports all of the recommendations put forward by the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into non-conforming building products in their interim report on aluminium composite cladding tabled today.
National President Richard Kirk said the Institute shares the Committee’s view that the use of non-conforming and non-compliant building products represents a very real and present threat to the community.
‘Ensuring public safety in the built environment is the chief priority of the architectural profession,’ Kirk said.
‘We support the Committee’s call for further urgent action to address the danger to our community posed by the de-professionalisation of building procurement over many years now.
‘As our cities become increasingly dense, and our buildings more complex, it is essential that those within industry become more – not less – skilled and qualified and their work subject to appropriately stringent checks and certification.
‘Architects already have, and maintain, a level of qualification, expertise and conduct codes of practice, as well as continuing professional development requirements, that exceed those of other professions within the building sector.
‘We believe the bar should be raised across the board with increased transparency and accountability for all participants throughout the vast and complex supply and construction chains.
‘The built environment is an area where regulation is not only appropriate but necessary. Cutting red tape cannot and should not come at the expense of people’s safety.
‘We want to see compliance and enforcement mechanisms strengthened across jurisdictions to properly protect all Australians in their homes, workplaces and in our public spaces.
‘As we have said, and the Committee has recommended, non-compliance must be punished with substantial fines and other penalties.’
Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Cunich said the Senate Committee had considered the evidence and recommended solutions the Institute had put forward.
‘The recommendations, if implemented, will go a long way to addressing many of the issues that architects have identified over an extended period,’ Cunich said.
‘We have called for improved measures to manage the risks posed by non-conforming and non-complying building products now and into the future.
‘Unlike other building practitioners, an architect who is a member of the Institute is professionally qualified with a minimum of five years’ study of an accredited university program, mandatory practical experience and a registration exam, legally registered to practice by State Registration Boards and bound by a code of conduct established by Institute.
‘We welcome the Committee’s adoption of our recommendation to establish a national licensing scheme, with requirements for continued professional development for all building practitioners.
‘The Institute has been supportive of the various measures being taken by State and Territory governments, as well as the work being coordinated by the Commonwealth through the Building Ministers Forum, but equally we have highlighted that there are some gaps and inconsistencies in the actions being taken by various jurisdictions that must be addressed.’