Foreword

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Firestorms%br% The recent firestorms which ravaged Canberra left an extraordinary ashen imprint 530 houses totally destroyed and a further 1000 partially damaged. With only 70% of the loss insured, and the majority underinsured due to the escalation in the cost of construction, hundreds of households are not only homeless, car-less and pet-less, but are unclear about what is involved in having a new home built.

And given that most homes lost were 20-40 years old, it is very unlikely that they would be reconstructed in the same way. This is one example where the Institute has been participating in recovery efforts at the highest level - providing advisory services, seminars and partnerships with other organizations to help people understand their options and way forward, and sourcing volunteers. The RAIA is also working with the principal insurer IAG (NRMA) to promote a more sustainable and secure replacement strategy or set of principles. Many of the help sheets incorporate the best advice generated by the members of the RAIA over the years.

%br%Insurance%br% The total ‘capacity’ available for professional Indemnity Insurance in Australia is shrinking and becoming increasingly more expensive.

The RAIA is concerned about the impacts this will have on the size of a viable architectural practice, given that mandatory PI insurance will be required under new legislation in most states and territories by the end of this year.

However, the prognosis is that small practice employers will join larger practices as employees (of a larger policy), and sole practitioners may need to specialise. We have held discussions with insurance companies, state and territory treasurers and the Prime Minister direct. To maintain a viable, healthy and regenerating design industry in Australia, insurance must be affordable by reducing the risks of claims. This involves better project management in offices [never release documents that are not thoroughly checked], never sign onerous agreements [i.e. with warranties or indemnities], make sure there is enough time and resources to service the project [i.e. say no to the next offer].

%br%Code of Conduct%br% Members of the RAIA are bound by the RAIA Code of Conduct (freely downloadable from the website architecture.com.au). Recently, seven codes including the UIA, RIBA, AIA, RAIA, and UKARB codes were independently reviewed by Dr Simon Longstaff, Director of the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney. He ranked the RAIA code as number one - in his view the clearest, best principled, and which clearly put the public interest first. We intend to work with the AACA to put forward a nationally applicable code of conduct which can be adopted by all states and territories to give affect to their Architect’s Acts.

%br%Conference%br% This year’s RAIA Conference co-located with Designbuild is a must. Keynote speakers include Rick Joy (Arizona), Waro Kishi (Kyoto), Inaki Abalos (Madrid) Marianne Burkhalter Switzerland), Dominique Perrault (Paris), Sean Godsell (Australia), Chris Kelly (NZ), plus others. The event which commences on Saturday 24 May 2003 at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre includes architecture tours, master classes, and open practice tours. Book through the RAIA website: www.architecture.com.au.

and finally, may I extend a warm welcome to new members, in particular, the first to join as affiliates. Experience the world’s best architecture at the conference in Sydney.

Graham Jahn FRAIA
RAIA National President


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