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The opportunities start today see more

The Victorian Minister for Planning has issued the following statement to the AIA, following a meeting representatives from the ministry, AIA, and ACA last Wednesday. The AIA had asked for “further clarification on the reasons for the ARBV inclusion in the reforms and the process for consultation that the Minister is proposing to undertake.”

Reform of Regulatory Arrangements

“A strong and buoyant building sector is vital to support Victoria’s continued growth – our economic growth, our population growth and the growth of our cities and towns. The Coalition government was elected with a commitment to foster change and growth in a manner that respects the built form. One of Victoria’s greatest assets is the built form of our cities and towns.

In delivering on this commitment, the Government has announced a major reform to the regulation of the building industry. The new Victorian Building Authority will integrate the regulatory functions of Architects, Building Practitioners and Plumbing practitioners.

This change is important to support the building industry overall and consultation has commenced with all of the regulatory bodies that have a role to play in the delivery of our built form outcomes.

The Government wants to ensure that the new Authority delivers on best practice regulatory outcomes from day one. This means that we need to be very clear about how this organisation should be structured. It is important that we get all the details right.

An independent consultant will advise on the proposed structure and arrangements.

Detailed consultation with the AIA and the ARBV on the new structural arrangements of the new Victorian Building Authority will take place late January, early February 2013. This will ensure that the changes to the regulatory process of the State’s building system are holistic and cognisant of all relevant matters.

The key functions of the ARBV such as determining qualifications and experience required for registration, regulating examinations and accrediting courses in architecture will continue. Working with architects on continuing professional development and in developing mutual recognition models will also continue.

The ARBV will continue to operate as usual until the structure of the new Authority is finalised and the Victorian Building Authority is established which is expected to be in the third quarter of 2013.

Being part of a larger integrated Industry regulator brings exciting opportunities for all elements of Victoria’s building sectors. The opportunities start today.”

Okaaay. Once the spin is spun out of that statement, what are we left with that we didn’t already know?

In terms of reasons, this is about it..

  • “This change is important to support the building industry overall.”

In terms of proposed consultations

  • consultation has commenced
  • detailed consultation with AIA and ARBV to occur late January, early February 2013.
  • The VBA launch has been pushed back to 3rd quarter 2013.

The retention of ARBV functions in the VBA
The Minister lists the “key functions” of the ARBV that will continue, presumably as architecture-specific entities within the new authority. Oddly the ARBV’s disciplinary role is not listed, and neither is its role in the investigation of title breaches. In fact everything post-registration has gone other than CPD and mutual recognition talks. Either they forgot, or these roles are “non key” and will be dropped, or they will be rolled into into the main functions of the VBA.

The Architects Act
No word what’s happening to this, but it looks like any future act will be rather lightweight and concentrate on education and CPD.

New South Wales
It looks like we’re being left in the dark here, with an opportunity to comment that comes a little bit late in the process to be of any use. Compare this situation with its parallel in New South Wales. There, the government’s Red Tape Review has put its anti-regulatory cards on the table very early in the process, and is calling for community input prior to making any decisions. [ NSWARB ]

The NSW Red Tape Review wants to cut $750M from administrative expenses by 2015. It applies to all types of licence authorities. In addition to cost-saving, that state government is quite plain about its views:

“Licences… also act as a barrier to new businesses entering a market, thereby stifling competition, potential efficiency gains and economic activity.
bq. The costs of licences are unnecessary if they are greater than those needed to achieve the regulatory objective or the objective is now redundant.

In NSW, stakeholder submissions and licence holder surveys end on Wednesday. In late February there will be a “public roundtable”, followed by a draft report in March with a six week response period, and a final report to government in mid 2013.

The Victorian government has skipped all bases and bounded straight to an announcement on legislative changes, that it initially hoped to pass within a few months. Vive la différence.

(The Minister for Planning’s statement above was sourced from the AIA’s Vmail service today)

10.12.12 in authorities 


page listing related:   in  Australia   Victoria  

Registration board death knell part 2 see more

Well, Mr Guy did issue his press release, which read a lot like the Fairfax article discussed yesterday. It makes the same points, and avoids any discussion of the architectural profession other than implying that its registration board is one of an ad-hoc band of cowboy building industry entities that befuddle the consumer.

Guy does say though, that there will be industry consultation next month, ahead of the introduction of legislation in the first half of next year. Better too late than never. This is all the result of a report ( PDF ) which was also released yesterday. It’s fresh and green in design, and is called, “A fresh start for building industry regulation: Reforming Victoria’s building system.” It’ll be good for us, like a Granny Smith.

A fresh start

Inside, Matthew Guy introduces the report by talking about the need for building permit reform. He refers to the Victorian Auditor General’s report into building permits. He doesn’t mention that the current system which privatised building surveyors was introduced by the previous Coalition government in the ’90s. Because of recent PR problems at the Building Commission, where people were doing what they weren’t supposed to, Guy has decided that it needs to be closed down and a new building industry-wide authority needs to take its place. That decision just happens to sweep away the ARBV.

As a commenter to the previous post pointed out, deregulation of the profession has been on the creep for decades. Odd that an earlier spurt of deregulation by the Kennett government set up the environment for the current difficulties with the building permit system that have prompted this reform. Wheels and roundabouts.

In New Zealand, after some disastrous problems with shonky building work, the building permit system was renationalised. Guy isn’t opting for that here. Instead the Building Commission becomes the Building Authority and advances deregulation by sweeping the plumbers and architects into the new system, for reasons of competitiveness, transparency, soundness, and safety.

Architectural bodies are quite out of the picture. Next month’s consultations are described thus:

Throughout December 2012, meetings will be held with key industry stakeholders including the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Association Victoria, Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and the Property Council of Australia.

In addition, existing government advisory forums such as the Building Advisory Council, the Plumbing Industry Advisory Council and the Building Regulations Advisory Committee will be used to provide industry with information about the proposed changes and seek members’ views on transitional and implementation issues.

Then, having spoken a lot about building permits, but without mentioning architects, architecture, or architectural registration, the report introduces the new authority.

The new VBA will integrate the functions of the Building Commission, Plumbing Industry Commission and the Architects Registration Board of Victoria to provide a single point of governance for building and plumbing practitioners and architects.

The reports other points, abridged.

  • The VBA will streamline processes and reduce duplication of effort.
  • The VBA will contribute to reduction in regulatory burden for industry and consumers. This means that resources can be targeted to areas of greatest
    need with an increased focus on risk-based approaches.
  • The VBA will be more proactive in the identification of issues and address them before they become significant issues of non-compliance.

While there are pages and pages referring to the practice of building surveying, there is no reference to the practice of architecture. The ARBV’s functions are some distance from building permits. It appears to have been scooped up in the rush.

There are about 606 building surveyors in Victoria. There are 112 registered architects with surnames beginning with ‘A’ (sorry my patience ran out). There are a lot more architects than there are building surveyors, yet the entire registration and educational accreditation system is about to be upended for no stated reason, on the back of building surveyor reforms. As a young person might say, “WTF?!”

/ ~ /

Updated 1/12/12
Reading this on the ARBV’s website today, I wonder if anyone in the profession was aware of the proposal…

“Victorian Building Authority

The announcement of the Victorian Building Authority and the inclusion of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria in it, has come as a surprise to the Board which has a long history of excellent work dating back to 1923.

We will try to keep people informed during the promised consultation period.

If you wish to have your views noted, please email registrar [at] arbv.vic.gov.au…

/ ~ /
Updated 3/12/12
Turns out now that even the Institute was not aware of the government’s proposal to kill off the ARBV. LINK

29.11.12 in authorities 

comments closed

To quote from the recommendations of the 1999 Review of Architects and Building Legislation

“Chapter 7: integration of the architects legislation and the building legislation.
We find that there are potential net benefits to be obtained from integration of
the architect legislation and the building legislation. We take the view that
integration, subject to any appropriate transition period, should procure
administrative costs savings and should allow consistent application of
construction industry policies for all participants. The experience and apparent
effectiveness of the ARBV should assist an amalgamated ARBV and BPB to
achieve higher levels of compliance with the building legislation.”

On the face of it it seemed to suggest that the ARBV works, the Building Practitioners Board doesn’t so lets move architects into the BPB. Didn’t make sense then, still doesn’t.

At the time Matthew Guy was a a protege of Rob Mclellan who was the minister responsible for the report and was on Premier Geoff Kennet’s staff taking a keen interest in planning and building regulation. Mr Guy is certainly persistent.

You never know though, there may be some benefit to the architectural profession and the public of their being inside the building regulation structure rather than outside. Perhaps mandatory endorsement of documents as in USA or Spain. Maybe architects could certify compliance of their designs with planning schemes? Now that would speed things up.

by David White on 30 November 12 ·#

tony arnell is an architect.

by info on 30 November 12 ·#

I’m not an architect, I’m an engineer – we don’t even get a mention in Mr Guy’s press release.

by Ross on 5 December 12 ·#

I don’t see what the problem is. As long as i can keep my title as Architect and practice on an unlimited range of buildings thats fine. Draftees can practice as long as they make the public aware of their limited qualifications and require certification from Architects on more complex buildings.

Just like the Building Surveying profession has two categories. Unlimited for those University educated. And Limited for those who have diplomas from TAFE.

by Anti-Narcissist on 7 December 12 ·#

If you’re not an Architect you must be called a Designing Drafts person not anything else .

by Anti-Narcissist on 7 December 12 ·#

page listing related:   in  Australia   Victoria  

ARBV RIP? see more open website in same window

The Age newspaper this morning revealed that Victorian Minister for Planning Matthew Guy will at any moment announce the disbanding of the Building Commission, the Plumbing Industry Commission, and the Architects Registration Board of Victoria. They are to be replaced, says The Age, by a new building authority.

The ARBV , in existence since 1923, is at the core of the Architects Act . The Act governs how architects are educated and registered, and how complaints against them are handled. The Age quotes Matthew Guy as saying, “The establishment of the Victorian Building Authority in conjunction with these other reforms is a critical step in ensuring the ad hoc approach to industry regulation over the past decade is brought to an end.”

It’s very early days, but if Mr Guy is serious about this there are many aspects that will affect the profession in Victoria. Here are a few to perhaps keep an eye on.

  • The future status of the Architects Act.
  • The watering down or altering of offences in the Architects Act. For instance, will a building industry authority be particularly interested in protecting of expressions such as “architectural design” if it is also the authority for building designers.
  • Whether the Architects Tribunal is also to be disbanded and folded into the larger authority, which the article suggests may rely on an expanded VCAT.
  • What the problem is with the ARBV as it currently is. The Age ties this revamp to the recent and heavily publicised problems at the Building Commission, but doesn’t mention any at the ARBV.
  • The effects on the long-proposed Australia-wide registration system if Victorian architectural registrations are integrated into a new state building authority.
  • The fate of the four staff members at the ARBV, and architect-elected board members.
  • The effect on the accreditation of architectural courses.
  • Changes to the architect-governed registration examination.
  • Fee increases, as happened when the old NZ board was replaced by the NZRAB.
  • Mandatory CPD governance.
  • Alterations to the roles of the AIA and ACA-Victoria, to cover ARBV roles lost in the transition.

If the disbanding of the ARBV goes ahead, it’s going to be messy, and I suspect will leave many wondering what the point of it all was. Apparently it’s all about consistency and transparency. Hopefully Mr Guy will let us know a bit more than that.

29.11.12 in authorities 


This was all done and dusted in 1998. Heres a link to my summary of the process presented to the Productivity Commission in 2000.


by David White on 29 November 12 ·#

Thanks David. I am working through this and your forum post now. I did not see this ‘reform’ as being a continuation of the recommendations of the PC report but I guess it is. Haven’t read it for years. I wonder if Mr Guy has read it.

by peter on 29 November 12 ·#

Not an architect see more open website in same window

I remember being told or taught somewhere along the line that one way to justify my fees as an architect was to suggest to the client that a house designed by an architect would attract a premium of 10% at resale. That is, the extra time and cost would be paid back later several times over as the house could be marketed as “architect-designed”. I don’t think I have ever used this angle on a hesitant client – it seems a last ditch way to justify architectural services. It is also a bit hard to tell, when a house is sold as “architect-designed”, what it might have sold for had it been “architectural designer-designed”.

In a first, the Real Estate Authority in New Zealand has rapped the knuckles (PDF link) of a real estate agent for advertising a house as “architect-designed” when it was not. The New Zealand Registered Architects Board approached the REAA after requesting that the real estate agent forward to them the name of the architect involved.

The real estate agent responded that the architect was Noel Jessop, of Noel Jessop Architecture. He said, “[the] inquiry was not based around whether or not the buiding had been designed by a registered architect or not – he wanted to know, and I quote “who was the architect”… I maintain that the building was designed by an architect, and I quote Webster’s Concise English Dictionary, “a person who designs buildings and supervises their erection.”

The NZRAB (and now the REAA) feel that the word ‘architect ‘is too often used to prop the price of houses up by implying that they are, “very well designed and of a higher than average quality, or desirability…”

The NZRAB’s Warwick Bell notes: “For architects, this problem is especially galling because when the public sees mediocre house designs and is told they are ‘architect-designed,’ the public incorrectly concludes that architects don’t add value to the built environment.”

So architectural designers’ work is always of less quality than architects’ work? But it can often be galling to look at work by architects. Noel Jessop’s work looks better than the output of many registered architects. That he was educated in a polytechnic rather than a university doesn’t seem to have harmed him. He is apparently acting legally using the word “architecture” within his practice name, as that word is unrestricted in New Zealand. It’s unsurprising that the real estate agent assumed that architecture would have been created by an architect. But no longer forgivable – in New Zealand at least.

25.09.10 in authorities 


“Noel Jessop’s work LOOKS (?) better than the output of many registered architects.” , ergo it must BE better (?). It’s this kind of trite comment which further entrenches superficial perceptions of architecture. You know BETTER than this.

by James on 25 September 10 ·#

LOOKS because I have only photos to go on – I don’t live in the Waikato. LOOKS is a qualifier. You ergo(ed) it.

“look – give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect; “She seems to be sleeping”..” Definition

by peter on 26 September 10 ·#

A few ok architects getting around have stopped calling what they do architecture. wonder why?

by info on 27 September 10 ·#


by Winne Wang on 17 October 10 ·#

from bd:

I am so thankful I started the slog pre-1998 before I had to pay ANY tuition fees! And thankfully, I told the authorities I had enrolled on a ‘six year sandwich course’ so the fees were paid right up to the end of Diploma Two. As a working class lad from a ‘deprived’ area who just did well at school and had a dream to be an Architect, I managed to realise it! There is no way I could afford to embark on the course now!

Nothwithstanding the above, it still took me 14 years to repay my student loans from taking the first one out in 1995.

Architecture is a VERY VERY expensive course! Students can pay far more than the £1000 quoted for their presentation work; I see many in Dip two these days preparing CGI videos (to rival the most professional of presentations!) and have laptops and projectors alongside their 12 A1 boards! – not to mention illuminated models etc. There is so much pressure to perform better than your peers and better than the year before! it is highly competitive – and this competition costs money in materials and IT etc. Then, to rub salt in the wounds, they are often denied the right to keep their own work as Universities say that the ‘intellectual property’ belongs to them. They can demand that they keep all your hard work that you have paid an absolute fortune for!

Then, at the end of all that, you might be one of the very lucky few fortunate enough to get a job that pays just above minimum wage. There is so much talent out there – especially from deprived and ethnic minority backgrounds (which the RIBA is keen to promote enter the profession!!!). Education should not be for the exclusive elite who have well off parents but available to all who have the ability, aptitude, and are not scared of a bit of hard work!

by Winnie Wang on 17 October 10 ·#

page listing related:   in  New Zealand  

NSW Government architect see more

lochhead and london

One of the more rivetting moments at the AIA 2010 conference, just finished, was the appearance of AIA NSW President Brian Zulaikha on stage during the last session about government architects. He had a short question for Assistant Government Architect Helen Lochhead – “why is the Government Architect’s Office in competition with the private sector”. Lochhead first responded that the GAO was “off-budget” and had to earn every cent of the $24M required every year to keep its 200-strong office open. When pressed further, she said, “I think that model myself is flawed”. She then reminded us of the things the GAO does that are (fairly) unique, namely The Indigenous Design Unit, an emergency engineers service, stone conservation, a water savings service, and electromedical engineering. A full list of the GAO’s services can be found here

Brian’s response to this? “We can’t afford with our fees to do our own work, let alone all that other stuff.”

Earlier, Victorian Government Architect Geoffrey London said that he thought the NSW office was in a, “complicated position”.

Watch this space?

25.04.10 in authorities 


is there a full transcript available of what Geofftey London had to say.

by hairdresser on 26 April 10 ·#

The NSW GAO’s only flaw is that it provides a public service without the full support of the public purse. It is a genuine GA office. What is the role of the Victorian GA – is it lobbyist for commerical interests?

by info on 26 April 10 ·#

BZ was happy enough to take his taxpayer funded training at the GA’s office – a tad hypocritical. And Murcutt jnr’s stab in the dark at facts reeked of silver spoon entitlement. Both don’t seem to realise there are a number of NSW private practices already benefiting from the public purse – with or without the GA. Even Candalepes was overheard after the session claiming the GA did not do any decent work (reckon they have more RAIA prizes than any other practice in NSW) – he was quickly told to f*k off … and did.

by luke on 28 April 10 ·#

@HD My notes on GL’s talk are a bit thin. I don’t think there are transcripts. He talked about the office and how it was located within government, how they are trying to qauntify the benefits of good design (adds value) and costs of bad design, referring to CABE in the UK and the pebble project. He talked about their god design publications, and their FTE staff levels (8, 2 funded by other departments). He then spoke of an upcoming book about small practice, their policy-making, and design workshops (Fed Sq East was an example). He then spoke about the problem of multi-res costing more than a single detached house, PPP, and briefly spoke about affordability forums and the bushfire homes service. Ther my notes end.

by peter on 29 April 10 ·#

God Design – Jungian Slip there Peter?

by hairdresser on 29 April 10 ·#

luve the f$ck off mr. artiface story luke.

by hairdresser on 29 April 10 ·#

Ha ha – Corrigan had a rambling story about god and design at the conference. But not London.

by peter on 29 April 10 ·#

VGA should have crossed his legs.

by luke on 5 May 10 ·#

SA to get government architect see more open website in same window

The South Australian Government is about to launch its Integrated Design Commission (IDC), and will soon appoint a government architect for SA. It was the last state not to have one. Hopefully, depending on what influence the GA and IDC will have, this might lower the number of wobbly planning decisions in SA. ( sample #1 & #2 ).

07.01.10 in authorities 


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