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From the Vic Chapter President

17 September 2019

Hello All. So, this is the time of the year when we all suddenly realise that it is almost Christmas. Sigh. Deep breath…


In April this year, we conducted our nation-wide Novation Survey, spearheaded by the Victorian Chapter through the Large Practice Forum. The survey sought input from members on both the pitfalls and positive outcomes of this procurement model.

The results of our Victorian-based analysis have just been released, the first of our comprehensive series which will provide dedicated analysis for each jurisdiction where novation is a frequent practice. Our national policy team is now working on the release of the full suite of reports to be rolled out across the country before the end of the year.

Based on results from 158 Victorian projects delivered between 2009 and 2019, the survey found that the growing prevalence of novation as a procurement model for how buildings are constructed is a contributing factor to deteriorating construction outcomes, with flow on impacts to the community and consumers.

Follow the link here to the survey report.


The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects in partnership with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), held a Novation Forum at Brickworks on 21 August.

The discussion centred around the survey results and highlighted the benefits of novation and some of the issues that are being raised in procurement that are affecting the safety and quality of our built environment.

A lively and long discussion unfolded supporting the importance of a transparent process and the need for reform.

The forum included a panel discussion between:

  • Client Representative – Peter Lochert, Secretary, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament of Victoria;
  • OVGA – Jill Garner, Government Architect;
  • Architect – Tim Leslie, Studio Director Bates Smart;
  • Legal Representation – Jeanette Barbaro, Partner MinterEllison; and
  • Contractor – Ben Brown, Head of Design and Project Management Lend Lease

We were joined by Australian Institute of Architects CEO Julia Cambage, Planning Institute of Australia Victorian President Laura Murray, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Victorian President Heath Gledhill, Wendy Poulton from Planned Cover and Bronwyn Weir co-author of the Shergold Weir Report. 

Thank you to Brickworks for their generous support.


The survey results revealed that this is not simply speaking to a procurement method but rather highlighting the risks associated with unfair and inequitable contractual arrangements.

Work is currently being undertaken at a national level to understand what these contractual arrangements are and to highlight the detrimental impacts they are having on the effective procurement of our built environment.

The survey also highlighted the overwhelming support for a Code of Novation with 83 per cent of respondents requesting its introduction.

To define what form this might take, work has commenced with the ARBV, Planned Cover and the Large Practice Forum.

PIA, AILA and the Institute are meeting with Minister Wynne on 6 November to present a Code of Novation working document and to discuss our research into unfair and inequitable contractual arrangements.


  • The Victorian Chief Engineer Collette Burke, OPV;
  • The State Building Surveyor Andrew Cialini, VBA;
  • DELWP;
  • ACA;
  • ARBV;
  • Planned Cover;
  • OVGA; and
  • PIA and AILA


The Australian Institute of Architects through the joint national collaboration with EmAGN (Emerging Architects and Graduates Network) announced the launch of the Hearing Architecture podcast series. The series is another means to showcase the variety of perspectives in the architecture profession,  advocate for improvements to the built environment and highlight how our work as architects is vitally important to Australia’s future development.

Congratulations to all involved and in particular to Daniel Moore from Open Creative Studio who has been leading the project and is the podcast’s presenter. Excellent work.

Follow the link here to access the current podcasts.


Federation Square has been added to the Victorian Heritage Register. The Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter welcomes the Heritage Council’s decision that recognises, values and upholds the significance of this iconic site.

The Heritage Council of Victoria found ‘Federation Square is of cultural heritage significance to the State of Victoria and should be included in the register for its historical, aesthetic, technological and social significance.’ The council said in its decision that ‘Federation Square is significant as a notable example of a public square. It is highly intact, and its size, civic prominence and design illustrate the principal characteristics of a public square’.

There have been a number of active members engaging with the issue of Federation Square, including representation from many varying voices and opinions; however, it is important to recognise the tireless efforts of members such as Tania Davidge for her passionate advocacy surrounding the significant role Federation Square plays within our public realm.

You can read the determination here.


On 29 August, representatives from DELWP Tim Westcott, Annie McIntyre and Stuart Grigg held a public consultation at the Institute on the Better Apartments in Neighbourhoods discussion paper, as a part of the Building Better Apartments project. 

Feedback is being sought on the proposed external amenity standards for apartment developments. We encourage constructive feedback and suggest where possible to provide photographic or drawn examples of unintended consequences based on current regulations. Submissions close Friday 27 September at 5.00pm. Have your say here.


The final leg of the Emerging Architect Prize was held on 5 September at 41X. 2018 national prize recipient, Monique Woodward shared her experiences through her talk ‘More front than Myer’. The prize celebrates emerging architects who are making exemplary contributions to architecture and the profession. As part of the prize, AWS provide the opportunity to create a “Perspective” video. You can see Monique’s video here.

Thank you to AWS for their significant contribution to the prize and for collaborating to host yet another great event.


This is an important one. Voting has opened for the ARBV board positions and we encourage all members to be engaged with the process.

As we are all aware, this is an incredibly important time to have strong representation within our industry and therefore these roles are integral in assisting with supporting considered guidance for change.

The Australian Electoral Commission will send voting instructions and password advice which will contain a link to the voting website. Voting will close on at 4pm (AEST) Wednesday 2 October 2019. You can find out more here.

Thank you to all of the members that are contributing their time to the many issues that our industry is currently faced with.

Strength in numbers. A collective voice.

Amy Muir

Victorian President

From the Tas Chapter President

26 August 2019


Shamus Mulcahy

Image: Jessica Lindsay


Cascade or Boags? 

Which is the tastiest? It is the tricky question that I am pondering in advance because in just over one week’s time I will be in the north of our state for Open House Launceston (assuming whilst working feverishly for the Institute I happen to find a moment’s respite and this coincidentally occurs whilst inside a licensed premise!).

Open House Launceston, on September 7, is soon upon us and the Institute team have been feverishly working towards making this great event happen.

There are 36 buildings open and nine other exciting events planned over the whole weekend. Open House Launceston is a collaboration with Junction Arts Festival, so it will be a packed weekend of activities and interesting opportunities for everyone, whether architecture-nuts or not. Check out the program for Open House Launceston as well as the Junction Arts Festival via the following links:

Open House Launceston here and events here, and Junction Arts Festival here.

Hobart will be hosting its annual ‘Festival of Sleep’ that weekend(!), so I would strongly encourage any Hobart-based members looking for something to do to come north in swathes and join in, if only just for a day. Likewise, I really look forward to seeing many of our northern members out on the day whether with family and friends participating in Open House Launceston or importantly as volunteers making the day a success. If anyone needs information on how to get involved and volunteer please contact Katie Katos at the Institute on 03 6214 1500 or

I’m always conscious that we are a state-wide organisation and it is a massive treat to be able take part in Institute activities with our northern membership. 

It is also salient as the Institute, on behalf of our members, have been working closely with Burnie City Council recently regarding a number of procurement issues. It has been a great opportunity to assist this council with their procurement process regarding some important city shaping projects. It has set up a longer-term discussion and opportunities for engaging with a number of regional councils in this part of our state in regard to their procurement protocols and systems.

It is important for the Institute to support and assist these often stretched organisations when procuring so that the best architectural results can be achieved for these important community projects.

This type of advocacy is a tough job to always do from Hobart, so with Chapter Council elections coming up at the end of the year, I would really encourage any interested members from the north and north west to think about putting their hands up. NOW is the time to think about this! If you’re unsure, please contact us, and either Jennifer Nichols or I would be happy to chat about what’s involved and assist you in your candidacy.

If Chapter Council is not for you – fine! But then why not join one of our committees or get involved with the already enthusiastic SONA and EmAGN groups which are doing great things in both the north and the south? The Chapter is only as strong as its membership and a diverse membership embedded in its communities ensures and strengthens the Institute’s relevance throughout the state. 

If anyone can help with my initial question, please assist by posting replies to

Shamus Mulcahy RAIA

President, Tasmanian Chapter,
Australian Institute of Architect

From the SA Chapter President – August

26 August 2019

It’s fair to say it’s been a hectic overture of events for the first half of the year from the Architecture Awards to FAD 2019. Most of these events have been celebratory, inward looking, mostly social and promoting our collective.

It’s time to change the mode a little.

Outside of our bubble and following on from FAD 2019 and the focus on home, having resolved to join the conversation in contributing to the strategy and vision for housing, there are some serious issues affecting our society which I believe we are well-positioned to assist. Unfortunately, we are still seen as working in the privileged architectural world.

A few weeks ago, Homelessness Week tackled awareness of this social plight. Across Australia, homelessness, whether through affordability or social misfortune, has grown by 14% in the past five years. So while we keep talking, attending forums, another review, another report, another strategic plan, as a collective have we lost sight of the real urgency.

While I don’t pretend that I understand or have the social panacea for this, far from it, there are many brilliant and humble people who provide this service, I would like to think that we can add a very small contribution to assist in this, the basic provision of shelter.

The current South Australia Housing, Homelessness and Support Strategy taskforce instigated by the Government contains not one member from an architectural background.

Is this an oversight or acknowledgment that architects are not considered to be able to contribute to the strategy of this social issue? It is an indictment of where we stand as a profession that we are not recognised to be able to assist in the delivery of innovative models in a whole of State review.

We have seen in other parts of the world the value of design contributing to the provision of affordable and emergency housing invariably starting from a social value. As usual, we seem to be starting with an economic rather than a cultural value system.

Many have put forward ideas from adapting empty buildings, relaxing some of the guideline expectations in size and acknowledging differing requirements for the notion of the temporary and transitional which are not hindered by design guidelines as a way forward.

Many from our profession globally have significantly contributed and devoted their time as a philanthropic voice to the issues affecting some real issues that affect society. Rather than facilitating talkfests and forums and volumes of reports perhaps as a collective we may be able to instigate some practical solutions that look beyond bureaucratic screens.

We have begun advocating for a voice in the process and would welcome support for a response or contribution across all aspects of the design and construction process having regard to how we may contribute.

Tony Giannone
SA Chapter President
Director tectvs


New City of Hobart Planning Application Fees for Amended Planning Applications

The City of Hobart has introduced new fees to better account for the costs associated with assessing and re-advertising amended planning applications.

The City of Hobart has for some time allowed applicants to amend planning applications – under the same planning application number, rather than withdrawing the application and submitting a new one – after that application’s public advertising period and officer assessment. While this option will continue to be offered in 2019/20, new fees to better account for the costs associated with re-assessing and re-advertising such amended planning applications have been introduced.

For any planning application submitted after 1 July 2019, a re-assessment fee equivalent to 100% of the application’s original assessment fee will be charged for all amended/redesigned proposals submitted under the same planning application number.

Also, if the amended/redesigned proposal requires advertising under section 57 of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993, and representations were received when the application was originally advertised, re-advertising fees will be charged as outlined below to help account for the costs of advising representors:

Number of representations received during previous public advertising period and associated re-advertising fee:
1-10 $450
11-30 $600
31-100 $900
101 and over $1200

The City of Hobart’s Fees and Charges Booklet 2019/20 can be accessed via the following link to the City’s webpage:

For any queries regarding these fees, please call me on 6238 2179.


Rohan Probert
Manager Development Appraisal | Development Appraisal

Telephone (03) 6238 2179
16 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7000 |

From the Tas Executive Director

12 August 2019

Members have been extremely proactive coming forward and providing feedback on the Architects Services Brief for the North West Museum and Art Gallery. I am extremely grateful for this and those members who provided specific feedback on the document. The Institute has subsequently engaged in a constructive dialogue with Burnie City Council, sharing our Institute Guidelines – Expressions of interest and requests for tender for architectural services and has had the opportunity to provide feedback on the briefing document and the processes. Burnie City Council have been receptive to our feedback and have subsequently made a number of significant changes to both the document and the processes and procedures it outlines.

Burnie City Council has undertaken to make the following adjustments;

• Change the submission requirements to be very similar to the Institute Guidelines on EOI/RFT rather than the RFD process they initially outlined as they have come to appreciate that the previous brief was unfair for architects and risked compromising creative and quality outcomes for the project and for Council;
• Removed the requirement for submissions to include project specific creative images and they have committed to modifying the selection process and criteria weightings to suit;
• In consultation with their probity advisor, they have committed to design a tender evaluation tool and a probity plan to reflect the changes and in so doing proposed to short list three (3) submissions which may require an interview with Council’s Tender Panel (to include the Probity Advisor and Independent Architect advisor;
• The shortlisted submissions will be discussed at a Council workshop which will contribute to informing the evaluation (in accordance with the assessment criteria) by the tender panel;
• The formerly proposed the 25% weighting allocated to submit design and images is reallocated for the Architect to demonstrate a response to the site, design method, the skills and experience applied to meet the project objectives, design principles and parameters. Submissions shall only be asked to include text and examples of current or past works, including client references limited to 12 A4 pages.
• Price will remain at 25% weighting down from the initial 50% and there will be some minor adjustments to wording in the other selection criteria to reflect the proposed change;
• The evaluation will be a singular process where the fee is weighted with the qualitative criteria.

Burnie City Council has advised that these changes reflect the intent and guidance as set out in the Institutes recommended process for EOI and RFT as outlined in the Guidelines – Expressions of interest and requests for tender for architectural service.

As part of this process, Burnie City Council is calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified architects to be an independent technical advisor to Council’s Tender Panel to assess and evaluate the successful firm for the above project. Please click here for further details.


Burnie City Council have thanked the Institute for its support and critique throughout this process and I am extremely grateful for the manner in which they heard our concerns and we have productively work together toward positive change. We will continue to work alongside Burnie City Council throughout the process, these things are works in progress and we sincerely appreciate their willingness to engage in constructive dialogue on this matter. I strongly believe the changes will benefit all stakeholders and result in a significantly better built outcome for the both community and Burnie City Council alike.

Jennifer Nichols

Executive Director, Tasmanian Chapter
Australian Institute of Architects

North West Museum and Art Gallery Architect Services Brief 194 – Independent Technical Advisor

Burnie City Council is calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified architects to be an independent Technical Advisor to Council’s Tender Panel to assess and evaluate the successful firm for the above project.

The project is significant to Council in terms of overall cost at $13M, and its stature as an iconic arts building for the Burnie community and the region. The project is outlined in the briefing documents linked below and includes a $1.5M allocation for design and installation of cultural heritage exhibitions and space for exhibits of national touring standard.

The tender panel will comprise Council’s Project Control Group to include the General Manager, Director Community and Economic Development, Director Works and Services, Council Project Manager, and a consultant Probity Advisor. The person Council seeks will be able to demonstrate a depth of knowledge and experience consistent with the project objectives, and in particular with the design principles and parameters.

The person ideally, will have substantive exposure to and experience in the integration of arts/museum exhibit spaces with iconic buildings and tender assessments of architect services.

It is envisaged the successful person will be engaged by Council on a part time hourly rate basis as needed. It is intended that the person would, along with other members of the tender panel, review the tender evaluation tool to be developed by the probity advisor prior to the close of tenders on 20/9/19. The timeframe window for availability to assist Council and the tender panel is from Monday 09/9/19 to around Friday 18/10/19. The total time input required is estimated to be around 35 hours and would include at least one face to face meeting in Burnie.

Expressions of interest are requested, and should include a short statement of experience relevant to this role of no more than 300 words, CV and an hourly rate plus travel and disbursement costs, close on 30 August 2019. Please submit to Jennifer Nichols by email at

For briefing documents, see link below:

From the Tas Chapter President

29 July 2019

Shamus Mulcahy
Image: Jessica Lindsay

‘Procurement’. It’s the topic you bring up late in the evening when you finally wish to bore your guests into leaving. It is also one issue that arises every month of every president’s tenure and takes up a considerable discussion time at each and every Chapter Council meeting. I’m not game to count the hours of Institute staff time dedicated to it.

I was in Launceston last week for a practice forum. It was one of the hot topics of discussion with a range of various issues being encountered by our fellow practitioners. Last week I also had three calls from members and three meetings related to procurement and associated issues.

On a week-by-week basis, most issues relate to member concerns around procurement practices.

Generally, there are many ways we advocate for members in relation to these issues, but if appropriate, the Institute contacts the procurer directly to discuss the issue and we also generally follow up with a letter or written record. Often, depending on the discussions and issue, some follow up advocacy work is also undertaken.

This is something that we don’t expect will wane and ongoing time and effort will be always be dedicated to advocating on behalf of our members and the profession in regard to procurement related issues.

The Institute has recognised the significance of this issue by undertaking a research project resulting in the document entitled Guidelines – Expressions of interest and requests for tender for architectural services, which can be accessed via Acumen.

I would encourage all members to read this. I had another member ring me out of the blue to simply tell me that they had read the document and that, “it’s great, it’s really interesting.” 

Everyone should take this member’s lead and read this document, and more importantly, use it. 

One project the Institute is gradually undertaking is to progressively socialise this document with those in a position to procure architects services, such as state government departments, local councils, and large organisations and companies.

This project is one that needs to be undertaken by the whole membership. Each and every member when a chance arises, should take the opportunity to progressively introduce this document to their networks. 

We don’t expect every procurer to take the whole document on board, but step-by-step, if they take any of the guidelines up, this year, or next year, or beyond, then inch-by-inch, this makes improvements for our profession.

All we would ask is that if members do get an opportunity to socialise this document with any bodies, please let the Institute staff know so that we can track it and avoid double-ups.

For any further information on this document, please contact Chapter staff.

Shamus Mulcahy RAIA
President, Tasmanian Chapter,
Australian Institute of Architect

From the Vic Chapter President

15 August 2019


Hello All. Well it has been a busy month.



The Australian Institute of Architects welcomed the Andrews Government’s announcement of a $600 million package to support cladding rectification works. We acknowledged that this is a very necessary and overdue step.

It is also acknowledged that this is only the beginning and that there are many other issues that are beginning to reveal themselves as the light is finally being shone on some of the unethical practices that are being undertaken by our construction industry to deliver projects.  

With the Institute’s recent National Novation Survey clearly indicating that we have an issue it has also revealed that there is clear support for the requirement of a Code of Novation. The survey also highlighted that there are fundamental issues resulting from non-standard contracts. This issue is therefore not only tied to the procurement method and contractual arrangements associated with novation but also to traditional procurement methods.

A call for fair and even contractual arrangements that support equitable working arrangements is being reiterated by many of our members. Yes, more regulation has its down sides but unfortunately we are now in a position where we can no longer accept unfair contractual conditions at the risk of public safety.



On the 18th of July our CEO Julia Cambage joined the Building Ministers Forum (BMF) held in Sydney. The meeting was held to discuss a range of issues facing the construction industry.

In 2018 the BMF engaged Professor Peter Shergold AC and Ms Bronwyn Weir to co-lead an assessment of the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry. Their report cited twenty-four recommendations. The Institute has continued to advocate our collective position to government supporting the implementation of these recommendations.

At the July 2019 forum it was agreed by the Federal Government that due to the significant issues that are beginning to unravel at a state, national and global level that a more holistic response needs to be adopted. It was agreed that a national best practice model for compliance and enforcement would be established taking on board the recommendations presented within the Shergold Weir Report.

You can read the Building Confidence: Building Ministers Forum Assessment here.



A meeting was held with co-author of the Shergold Weir Report, Bronwyn Weir along with CEO Julia Cambage, National President Helen Lochhead, Vanessa Bird, Clare Cousins, Leanne Hardwicke and myself. It provided a great opportunity to reflect on the outcomes from the Buildings Ministers Forum and to discuss where to from here.



This year’s forum focused on new trajectories in residential architecture, the problems we face and how best to address these issues through design.

The day featured a variety of local, national and international speakers including our very own Karen Alcock, Principal, MA Architects, Koos de Keijzer, Director, DKO Architecture, Alan Pert, Director, Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, Jill Garner, Victorian Government Architect and principal, Garner Davis Architect. Congratulations to Katelin Butler, Editorial Director, Architecture Media and the Architecture Media team for a wonderful event.



Following on from the Housing Futures Forum was the presentation of the 2019 Houses Awards. Many of our Victorian members were shortlisted with this year and with a special congratulation to Partners Hill for winning the Australian House of the Year and New House over 200m2 for Daylesford Longhouse. Congratulations also goes to the 2019 Emerging Architecture Practice Edition Office. 



Over the course of the weekend, 200 significant commercial and civic buildings, private homes, infrastructure and landscape projects, including 41X, opened for the 2019 Open House Melbourne program. Open House Melbourne has proven to become one of the city’s most popular events with the statistics looking a little something like this:

95,000 visitors

across 200 Buildings

1,200 special building tours

45 special events

700 volunteers

2,300 building managers, staff and volunteers

45 partners and supporters

100 OHM members supported in making the 2019 program possible

Thank you to all involved and a huge congratulations to Open House for another successful program that in its very nature advocates for the important and varied role that architecture plays in our everyday lives.



And it has been launched. Woohoo!

This has been a very large and involved project and regarded as a significant priority in order for us to be able to clearly define who we are, what we are doing and for resource material to be easily accessed. Branding agency Studio Round have developed a clear and articulate design and interface with Stage 2 works underway as the website continues to be populated with information.

Thank you in particular to the Digital Transformation Steering Group – Chair Vanessa Bird, Independent Board Director Giselle Collins and members Clare Cousins, Kent Lyon and Ksenia Totoeva – who were instrumental in bringing this website to life. Thanks to our Institute staff both in the National office and through all Chapters, led by Caroline Baxter, Alexandra Nesbitt, Adam Katsonis, James Tappenden and Akshat Khatri, Link to website here.



SONA held their annual national SuperStudio competition with over 200 students registered across Australia. Within each state teams of architecture students competed against each other to go into the running to win $3000. The Victorian competition took place at the Deakin University Geelong Waterfront Campus. Thank you to all the mentors and jurors that assisted the students throughout the weekend. Thank you also to SONA’s local university representatives who have worked tirelessly to put this event together.

And congratulations to the following VIC SuperStudio winning teams:

1st Place: Futurch including Carmen McDonald, Danielle Pozzebon and Jasmine Choucair

2nd Place: Common Ground including Johnson Ho and Edwin Low

3rd Place: Sit Down and See including Jeremy Bonwick, Girven Tenggono and Andrew Kurniawan

Carmen, Jasmine and Danielle now go into the National competition (with the other state winners) vying for a $3,000.00 cash prize. National SuperStudio winners are expected to be announced by the 30 August 2019.



On Tuesday 6 August, representatives from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) presented to Chapter Council Phase 2 of the Better Apartments Design Standards. There are three main components to the program. Phase One focused on the internal aspects and was conducted in 2017. Phase Two will focus on the external aspects.

The Institute and DELWP will be holding a public consultation at 41X on 29 August at 12.30pm. Register here. You can access the current discussion paper here and submissions to DEWLP are now open. We encourage all members to put forward their thoughts in order for a comprehensive response to be given to government. Submissions can be made online via the online submission form, or by uploading your completed submission form here. Submissions close on 20 September 2019.



Last Wednesday Socrates Capouleas, Director of PLP Building Surveyors and Consultants presented to the Large Practice Forum the key amendments to the BCA 2019. This framed an important discussion around some of the topical issues that our collective industries are currently facing and the impact that these issues are having on the safety and quality of built outcomes. Thank you to our speaker, Socrates Capouleas and Woods Bagot for hosting the event.



The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects in partnership with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and the Planning Institute of Australia are pleased to invite you to the upcoming Novation Forum. The Novation Forum is in response to the Australian Institute of Architects recent National Novation Survey. As one of the most prominent procurement models being adopted, the benefits and challenges of novation are being felt by many within the construction industry.

We will be discussing the good, the bad, the ugly and the successful. We will highlight the benefits of novation, what works well and some of the issues that are being raised in procurement that are affecting the safety and quality of our built environment and identify solutions.

The forum will include a panel discussion between:

Client Representative – Peter Lochert, Secretary, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament of Victoria

OVGA – Jill Garner, Government Architect

Architect – Tim Leslie, Studio Director, Bates Smart

Legal Representation – Jeanette Barbaro, Partner, MinterEllison

Contractor – Andrew Martin, Senior Design Manager, Lend Lease

This important discussion will be facilitated by Victorian President Amy Muir who will be joined by Australian Institute of Architects CEO Julia Cambage, Planning Institute of Architects Victorian President Laura Murray and representatives from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Planned Cover and Arup. 

Places are limited and registrations are essential. Register here.

Have a wonderful month.


Amy Muir

Victorian President


From the SA Chapter President – July

ARCHITECTURE BY DESIGN PROTOCOLS …………………………………or algorithms

There was an interesting discussion coming out of the National Conference last month in regard to the stifling of design freedom resulting from design protocols affecting the vibrancy and life of the City, in particular to the ground and street realm.

As a profession, let’s consider:

Are design protocols:

  • stifling the quality of architecture….?
  • delivering better urban spaces….?
  • devoid of an emotional response, place, and that beautiful spontaneity of design….?
  • purely risk-averse….?

Have we lost that inherent freedom to conceptualise an idea by structuring design envelopes adhering to design protocols….?

How many design protocols are too many….

  • in conjuring economic realisation of projects and affordability in housing
  • to inhibit creativity….?

Are our design standards becoming “too high” and too restrictive to deliver affordable and social housing….?

Are there too many statutory and subjective planning overlays written by Planners and not enough referencing design by architects….?

Is the inherent token gesture to reference design an excuse to not formally acknowledge the profession… is “design” now so often used in design guidelines that it has lost much of its significance… designed by who….?… why is it that there is a reluctance to take the final step and acknowledge architects as part of the process… or are we just feeding our knowledge to others to design the built environment on our behalf….?

Are design protocols feeding the eventual delivery of design by algorithm….?

As we approach the release of the new Planning and Design Code in South Australia as the panacea for streamlining and offering clarity to the Development Approval Process, it is perhaps worthwhile to reflect on a few of these implications.

Just like we bemoan the takeover of many facets of the traditional architect procurement process to “managers”…………. then the last bastion we have is the concept and the idea, take that away, feed the design protocols into the programme, insert augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and presto…. approval by matrix…. without architects.

Farsighted, an over-reaction and bemoaning………………………………………. just asking?


NSW President says our construction industry needs nothing short of a revolution

20 July 2019

Kathlyn Loseby

The magnitude of the crisis currently facing Australia’s construction industry demands nothing short of a revolution, turning current building practice on its head to put quality and safety back on top where they belong.

As an architect with three decades’ experience working on all manner and complexity of projects in Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, I can’t overstate how serious and urgent the situation has become. It is a worldwide issue with construction failures such as the ‘leaky condo’ crises in Canada in the 90s, the ‘wet building syndrome’ in New Zealand in the 90s – early 2000, the Latvian supermarket roof collapse in 2013, and Grenfell fire in the UK in 2017. We are not alone in our concerns.

The issues are systemic and reach right around this wide brown land of ours. However, the issues have managed to unite industry, and now hopefully governments, on the need for reform and a consistent national approach to fix the mess.

This week’s agreement by the nation’s building ministers is a welcome step towards implementing solutions that can both address the legacy of defective buildings and prevent history from repeating as we move forward.

It is good news for consumers and has also created a sense of cautious optimism among building professionals.

But this national approach, encouraging as it is, doesn’t mean anyone is off the hook. There is an enormous amount of urgent work yet to be done, starting with the rectification of buildings that have already been identified as posing a risk from flammable cladding and other defects. Victoria has stepped up to the plate with a package enabling this work to
commence. We call on NSW and every other state and territory to follow suit. The sooner the better.

The Commonwealth must also play its part, together with industry. The safety of our built environment is a collective responsibility that needs collective action. At the Institute of Architects we are actively engaging with all stakeholders from developers, designers, engineers and builders through to strata owner consumers to foster an holistic approach focussed on finding effective, lasting solutions.

These solutions must address the root cause of the problem, namely a culture and practice that has put time and cost (or greed and speed to put it bluntly) above quality. That equation has seen quality lose out, jeopardising both people’s safety and their economic security. It’s an equation that must now be reversed.

At the same time, continuous, truly independent oversight by a properly registered and qualified professional must be reintroduced; this is the only way quality will be maintained.

People’s homes are, in most cases, their greatest asset. They are also a sanctuary, the secure base from which we live our lives. They must be protected. Stronger regulation and greater compliance are essential but on their own they are not enough, especially for complex projects. The only way to achieve the level of lasting change required is to embed quality into the construction process from start to finish and at all points in between.

This is at the heart of the Australian Institute of Architects’ concerns with the reform proposals put forward by the NSW Government. While the Building Stronger Foundations discussion paper, for which submissions are due next week, includes many meritorious measures, it also has some glaring gaps.

We, together with much of industry, wholeheartedly support the creation of a Building Commissioner, the introduction of a new building practitioners registration scheme and legislating a duty of care to building owners.

What’s missing, though, is the mechanism to ensure that as buildings are being constructed corners aren’t being cut, the specified and approved materials aren’t being substituted out for inferior products and that the best interests of the owners (current and future) are being served.

As part of a profession whose members have been regulated for almost a century now, I can attest both to the importance of registration but also to the fact that, in isolation, it’s no silver bullet. That’s why the February 2018 Shergold-Weir Building Confidence report put forward a suite of 24 recommendations, including the penultimate one that said they were to be treated as ‘a coherent package’. The authors stipulated a three-year timeframe for implementation. The clock is ticking.

While there have been many contributing factors to the current crisis, a significant part of the problem has been the rise of a method of procuring building services called the design and construct (D&C) contract. Essentially, D&C contracts see the developer hand over decision-making powers to the builder. Whereas previously other building professionals, such as architects, would have maintained a direct relationship with the developer, today that is no longer the case.

The consequences are that it is much harder to override, challenge or even effectively communicate concerns about decisions that can have an adverse impact on quality. And quality is what it all comes down to. Because without it the government and industry will never win back the public confidence that has been shaken and cracked just as surely as the physical structures.

This op-ed was published in the Sydney Morning Herald Sat 20 July 2019