About 1200 architects responded to the RAIA’s latest membership attitude survey, posted out last November. Here are key results from that 16% sample.
Employment Ninety percent of respondents work in architecture, including 82% full-time and 8% part-time. Most of that group are either directors/partners of a practice (34%) or sole practitioners (30%). Seventeen percent are on salaries in the private sector.
Of those not working in architecture, most women gave family reasons and most men mentioned career or lifestyle changes, or retrenchment.
Practice Size Small practices dominate the profession. Most respondents (51%) work in offices of five or fewer people, with 21% working by themselves. The median staff level is between two and five people.
Income Median gross annual incomes are $50-59,000 for men and $30-39,000 for women.
Overseas Work Sixteen percent were involved in architectural projects overseas, mostly in Asia.
Arranging Work On average, members obtain 49% of their work through existing clients and referrals with negotiated fees. However, 53% said most of their work comes from submissions including fee proposals, and 32% obtain most work through tendering.
Contracts One in 10 members never use contracts. Of those who use contracts, 64% said ‘sometimes or often’ and 21% said ‘always’.
Time Sheets Sixty-three percent said they always keep time sheets to record their professional activities; 31% said they use time sheets as a basis for client billing.
Professional Indemnity Forty-eight percent are covered by corporate professional indemnity insurance and 22% have individual cover. Another 23% do not have any PI insurance.
The Environment More than 90% of respondents agreed that architects have a responsibility, through the buildings they create, to protect the environment. (This result contradicts the point that almost all buildings are outcomes of processes which inevitably cause ecological damage.) Architects are interested in obtaining more information on selecting sustainable building materials; designing without heating, ventilation or air-conditioning; and energy-efficiency in both domestic and commercial buildings.
Education Members generally believe their universities prepared them well for design (53%); but less well for documentation (24%) and technical systems (20%). However the schools were thought not to have prepared members at all for CAD/computers (84%), project management (69%), practice management (53%) and environmental issues (45%).
Built Environment Education Members said the BEE program for educating schoolchildren about architecture should focus first on the architect’s role, then the design process and environmental issues.
Almost one-third of members said they were interested in donating $21 to $30 to a trust fund to support the BEE program.
Professional Development Forty-three percent agreed that PD should be compulsory for RAIA members and 34% disagreed. Sixty three percent said they have reasonable access to PD events, but 17% said they don’t.
The PD courses of most interest to members are on the business and practice of architecture. Least interesting are courses on time management and project cost control.
Technology Over 50% of members are in offices using Windows 95. Other systems used in offices are DOS (22%), Macintosh (22%) and Windows 3 (19%). Five percent of respondents said there are no computers at their workplaces.
About 20% don’t use a computer at work. Among those who do, the usual time spent at the screen each day is between two and four hours.
The most common computer applications used by members are word processing (70%); spreadsheets (48%), CAD (44%) and email (38%).
Internet Fifty-three percent have access to the Internet at work (a change from the last survey, when only 11% of members had tried the Internet). Another 31% now have Internet access at home.
RAIA Services Members believe that the Advisory Notes (88%) and representing members interests (87%) are the most important RAIA services. Other important services are community awareness programs (93%), RAIA building contracts (83%), representation to governments (about 78%), and media statements (78%). The services rated least important are Chapter social events, member discounts on products and services, and national conferences.
RAIA Performance The Institute’s star service is the Advisory Notes: 75% rate them as good or excellent. Other services that members said are performing well include RAIA building contracts (65%), Architecture Australia (48%) and the Awards (46%). The RAIA was thought to perform poorly on community awareness programs (56%), media statements (53%) and representations to government (about 41%). In questions on the Senior Counsellor service, 41% of members said they were not aware of the service and 17% said they had used it. Most of those who had used the service said they were satisfied with the advice and response time, and would recommend it to their colleagues. RAIA Publications Members wanted to see more information on design (44%), environmental issues (36%) and practice management (29%).
RAIA Priorities Most members want the Institute to focus more strongly on community awareness of architects and architecture, and on raising the profile and status of architects within the community.
Royal Connections Forty seven percent agreed that the RAIA should remove the word ‘Royal’ from its name; 26% were indifferent and 27% disagreed. National Council is promoting non-Royal revisions.