Taking the Pulse of Architecture: The RAIA Polls Members Attitudes
Who would deny an occasional indulgence in bagging the RAIA? Any eavesdropper at Institute gatherings is familiar with the litany of its assumed inadequacies … irredeemably ineffectual, terminably elitist and sexist, totally out-of-touch with its members and the modern world. Dare one suggest that, like most organisations governed by elected councillors, the RAIA could also be read as a barometer of the foibles and anomalies of a complex, flawed culture? Perhaps these complaints are symptoms of democracys incurable malady: humanity cannot consummate perfection.
Thats no excuse, of course, for the RAIA to lose steam in tidying up its act and it has recognised that a good start is to regularly gauge what architects really think, want and need. Results of its 1995 Membership Attitude Surveypolling 1800 membersoffer a valuable precis of practitioners circumstances and perceptions. Here are the key conclusions. Order the full report ($10) from National Research Manager James Carino at RAIA Practice Services in Melbourne: ph (03) 9650 2477; fax (03) 9650 3364Davina Jackson.
- Age: 40-49 years34%; 30-39 years24%; 50-59 years21%; over 60 years11%; under 29 years10%.
- Gender: male87%; female13%.
- Place of residence: NSW35%; Victoria25%; Queensland17%; WA7%; SA6%; overseas4%.
- Location of practice: City48%; suburban42%; country10%.
- In full-time architectural work78%.
- In part-time architectural work9%.
- Seeking full-time work2%.
- Why not working full-time: Family36% women, 4% men; lifestyle change26%; career change25%; retrenched15%.
- Use time sheets for billing clients? Often34%; sometimes29%; never3%.
- Methods of appointment? Client selection and fee negotiation77% use this system for 52% of their projects; fee bidding48%/16%; part of a design/construct bid team30%/8%.
- Project procurement systems: Architect administered contracts74% use on 48% of projects; design and construct34%/11%; project management41%/15%.
- Dont use a computer29%.
- Use a computer for more than four hours a day20%.
- Type of computer used: IBM70%; Mac24%; both6%.
- Have a computer with CD-ROM44%.
- Use computers for CAD58%.
- Use a mobile phone50% (mostly analogue).
- Providing architectural services overseas? No77%; 10-80% of work is on overseas projects18%; most or all work is overseas5%.
- Locations of overseas projects: Asia/Pacific70%; Europe6%; North America12%; not stated14%.
- Members believe the RAIA service of most importance to them is Practice Notesand they seem remarkably pleased with the current delivery of that service.
- The RAIA is thought to be performing poorly in two areas also considered very importantlobbying government on architectural issues and public awareness (through media statements and community education programmes) of architects services, achievements and opinions on urban issues.
- RAIA publications are considered to be of average importance to membersyet are thought to be performing well; with Architecture Australia currently rated second-best of the RAIAs services.
- Members think that research is an important RAIA priority but delivery is so-so.
- Not considered important, but being delivered well, are Chapter social events and the RAIA Architecture Awards.
- Members are interested in seeing publications on: design46%, environmental issues33%; practice management31%; marketing24%; law and liability22%; business and financial management22%; new technology20%; individual architects and firms20%; construction16%; new products and services15%; project management15%; details12%; theory and history12%; building types11%; CAD10%.
- Support an RAIA professional development program78%.
- Have good access to professional development67%. (Less agreement from members outside Australia or capital cities.)
- Interested in unconventional forms of PD: videos32%; self-paced learning31%; study tours26%; distance learning17%; audio tapes12%.
- Only a few members (5%) intend not to access professional development. This is a notable reduction from the 18% who chose no to PD in the last survey.