President’s message March 2015- Philip Griffiths

Thank you to members who supported my candidacy for State President for the next two years.  I think that my first term was a bit of a learning period, but we got some good work done with a re-tuned awards program, some new thinking around gender equity, including some extra women on Council.

We welcome Suzie Hunt, Lara Mackintosh, Kylee Schoonens and Luke Davey, with Mimi Cho representing MERGE. That hasn’t made us entirely gender balanced but it is certainly much better. Many thanks to retiring members Ralph Hoare, Kelly Rattigan, Elvin Chatergon, representing MERGE, and special thanks to Dean Wood and Brian Wright, who have and continue to support Chapter Council and committees. Brian has kindly taken on the role of chair of juries for the awards this year. Thank you also to members who have elected to remain on Council.

2015 looks to be challenging for a lot of practices and we will need to be thinking about new streams of practice, which may include the areas of certain classes of development approval and certifying design compliance. We are still pursing something akin to New South Wales’ SEPP 65 notion to mandate the use of architects on projects over a threshold that has yet to be determined. SEPP 65 seems to be well understood and accepted in New South Wales and to have survived a review. All issues that are worth looking at.

There is also a review of the Architects Act for us to respond to and later in the year there should be a Green Paper out for consultation for the new Heritage Act, which is long overdue and should make for a more workable and comprehensible act in plain English.

We are also endeavouring to gauge the level of use of design review panels and to look at how they are operating, benefits and the like, which may result in a push to have them more widely engaged. An alternative might lead to the prospect of more city architects assisting in maintaining and improving design quality.

There may be other issues that members would like to see examined and I would be happy to hear from you in that case and Michael Woodhams, State Manager can assist in the first instance.