Executive summary

Systemic risks are risks that extend across a sector and that, if they materialise, can cause widespread harm as well as raise questions about the efficacy of the regulatory regime and the regulators that oversee it.

Systemic risks may be latent because the harm that can be produced by them has not yet materialised or is not yet obvious. Moreover, systemic risks can be difficult to identify in advance in the absence of good quality information and intelligence that could enable trends to be detected.

This report outlines the findings from the joint research project undertaken by the ARBV and NSW ARB to identify systemic risks affecting the Australian architecture sector. At the core of those findings is the observation that architects face a range of factors that could challenge the profession moving forward.

The market for architectural services and the way architects operate could dramatically change due to:

  • intense competition
  • adversarial relationships caused by certain procurement models
  • disruptive forces including climate change and technological advancements.

These factors, among others identified in this report, could also give rise to systemic risk.

Key systemic risks identified in this report concern the increased risk exposure of architects in the context of:

  • certain procurement models
  • challenges associated with compliance with the National Construction Code
  • challenges associated managing client-architect relationships
  • the preparedness of architects for disruptive change.

Notably, these risks are not insurmountable.

Compliance with the regulatory framework will help architects to navigate and overcome these challenges.

Moreover, regulatory compliance will provide a means by which architects can embrace the opportunities that current market conditions present, while ensuring that the interests of clients and end-users are also protected.

A summary of the main findings together with the associated implications and recommendations that will facilitate management of systemic risks in the Australian architecture sector are set out below followed by the detailed report.

Issues for further research that will help clarify some emerging systemic risks are also identified.