A. Scope

15. This report concerns systemic risks in the architecture sector across Australia. However, the report is particularly focused on the situation in Victoria and NSW and the role that the ARBV and NSW ARB can play to address systemic risks arising in their respective jurisdictions.

16. The lens for analysis of the systemic risks facing the Australian architecture profession is on issues that are, could be or should be within the regulatory remit of the ARBV and NSW ARB. More specifically, the report focuses principally on issues that concern the regulation of architects in Victoria and NSW.  Nonetheless, broader issues affecting the architecture sector are also considered for context and to ensure that systemic risks can be addressed in a holistic, comprehensive manner.

B. Approach

17. A desktop review was undertaken of the following Australian and global sources of information, primarily for the last 5 to 10 years:

  • reports and other information published by regulatory and other relevant institutional bodies concerning the regulation of the architecture profession
  • reports published by government bodies, private sector bodies and NGOs that have considered the Australian construction and architecture sectors
  • academic literature on the regulation of architects and the provision of architectural services
  • tribunal and judicial cases from Australia and other relevant foreign jurisdictions that relate to architects and the provision of architectural services.

18. The desktop review included consideration of detailed surveys and studies of the construction and architecture sectors. The main surveys and studies of relevance to the Australian architecture sector that were relied upon in this report have been identified in the Appendix, together with a summary of the scope and methodology employed in each case.

19. The desktop review was used to identify high-level issues that could give rise to systemic risks for the Australian architecture sector. These issues were the focus of two in-depth workshops with the working group to consider and discuss those issues, particularly to:

  • determine the relevance of those issues for the regulation of architects and the architecture sector in Australia, particularly in Victoria and in NSW
  • consider the existence of complaints data and other anecdotal evidence available to the ARBV and NSW ARB that validated or disaffirmed the observations and findings from the desktop review
  • identify possible regulatory responses that could be employed by the ARBV and NSW ARB, especially in the context of their proactive regulatory activities to pre-empt harm that could otherwise occur.

C. Qualifications

20. Analysis for this report revealed a lack of comprehensive data relevant to the identification of systemic risks affecting the Australian architecture sector. Accordingly, this report uses the information, data and evidence identified in this report to draw reasonable inferences about systemic risks in the sector.  Ideally, the results of this report will be used to direct further research, particularly to gather more data about systemic risks affecting the sector.

D. Structure

21. The subsequent chapters of this report are structured around each context that was found to have the potential for producing systemic risks in the Australian architecture sector, namely:

  • the market for architectural services
  • procurement models
  • client-architect relationships and agreements
  • building defects, professional standards and compliance culture
  • risk, liability and insurance
  • climate change, sustainability and the transition to net zero
  • automation, digitalisation and innovation
  • education, training and continuing professional development.

22. Key issues for the regulation of architects have been identified and analysed for these contexts. Each chapter concludes with implications, recommendations and areas for further research.