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“If local councils require the employment of an engineer, they should, as a simple matter of equity, make employment of an architect a condition”
—Neville Leybourne-Ward, Batehaven, NSW.
Why Require An Engineer?
Local government in New South Wales seems to have a biased attitude to the nature of structural design in relation to construction certificates under the environmental planning and assessment legislation in force at 1 July 1998.
One example from recent experience: At the end of 1998 I submitted to the Eurobodalla Shire Council (Moruya) a detail drawing showing the concrete footings for a two-storey house (mine) designed exactly in accordance with the council’s building guidelines item which specifies sizes and reinforcement required. It was rejected with the comment that a condition of development consent be complied with, being “appropriate having regard to the design and siting conditions” and, further, requiring certification by a “practising structural engineer”.
My reactions were (1) why ask for such a certificate when the design complied with council’s directions and (2) why denigrate the competence of a qualified and experienced chartered architect (NSW).
In that case, the development consent stated that “a construction certificate cannot be issued until (you) have provided council with details of the footings, slabs, structural steel, tie-down, bracing and retaining walls, prepared by a Professional Engineer (note Germanic capitals) who has appropriate experience and competence in the relevant field”.
Engineers are not defined in the EPA Act 1979, the EPA Regulation 1994 or the Local Government Act 1993 as they were in force on 1 July 1998.
If local councils make the employment of an engineer a condition, then as a simple matter of equity, they should make the employment of an architect a condition, otherwise the matter becomes one of discrimination.
Further, there is no flexibility in administration; Eurobodally Shire Council refuses to budge from its dogmatic position. This could well be illegal. Discrimination does exist.
Neville Leybourne-Ward, Batehaven, NSW

Railway Square Realities
It was exciting to see the great spread you gave the photograph of the artwork in the Devonshire Street tunnel in ‘Sydney Afresh’ (AA Sep/Oct 99). The reproduction was fabulous.
I was very interested to see images of the artworks in the Sculpture Walk in the same article and I noticed that each artwork has its title and the name of the artist in the caption. I was disappointed that my name and title were not included in the caption for the light box artwork, which is entitled Material World.
The light boxes, with their photographic images, conceptual intent and optical effects, are an artwork rather than a design element. I am the author of the work, which was commissioned by the City of Sydney.
My involvement above ground at Railway Square was different in that I was required to provide a design element to the interior space of the light towers, which had already been designed, and I also provided images to the bus shelters. I had minimal control over the outcome of this aspect of my involvement in the project. I was not involved in the overall project design.
Merilyn Fairskye, Sydney

Illuminating Sydney
Thank you and Helen Lochhead for an accurate an illuminating article (AA Sep/Oct 99) on the public space initiatives undertaken by City Projects on behalf of the City of Sydney.
The significant role of Terry Daly needs to be acknowledged alongside that [crediting] given to Christopher Procter and myself.
Bill Tsakalos (City Projects), Sydney.
Not the Head
On page 53 of the May/June issue of Architecture Australia, there is a promotion for the DuPont Antron Design Awards.
Professor John Andrews is claimed to be Head of the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University.
Professor Andrews has not and never has been head of this school.
Associate-Professor Peter Downton, Head of the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT, University, Melbourne.

For various reasons, we haven’t published a Letters page in the past two issues, so there’s a backlog of errors to correct.
• In our May/June Radar Headlines item on World Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic (10 volumes from the UIA), we wrongly described the Australian contributors as ‘editors’ (Jennifer Taylor was the only Australian editor), and falsely credited Philip Drew, instead of Philip Goad, as one of the writers.
Hassell has noted that SACON’s heritage unit and Adelaide conservation practice McDougall & Vines were collaborators on the Ohel Leah Synagogue (Radar Projects, May/June), which recently won an award from the Hong Kong Institute of Architects.
• Our May/June Radar Projects item on Sydney’s proposed R3DEPO waste recycling facility incorrectly spelled the name of Arena Design’s principal, Colin M. Brown, who has asked that Jorsten Fiedler also be credited for the scheme.
David Waldren, chief executive of arm-rpvht pty’ ltd in Canberra, has complained to the RAIA that AA has twice incorrectly attributed the National Museum of Australia design to Ashton Raggatt McDougall and not the joint venture between ARM and Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan. Our apologies.
• In Our September/October Olympics report, we incorrectly named the installation by Paul Carter, Ruark Lewis and Hargreaves Associates. Its correct title is Relay.
• In Radar Headlines September/October, we neglected to mention Buchanan Architects of Ipswich, Queensland, as joint venture partners with Arkhe Field on the Global Arts Link Regional Art Gallery at Ipswich.
• In our coverage of the RAIA State Awards in September/October, we incorrectly spelled the name of a winner, Con Bastiras, and wrongly communicated the idea that SA juries were mean in not giving named awards (SA doesn’t have named awards).
Thanks to the RAIA’s Sue Averay for correcting those errors.

We welcome your concise views on issues of interest to architects. Please provide contact details; we may need to edit. The RAIA’s CEO, Michael Peck, has right of reply to letters criticising the Institute. Address correspondence to Architecture Media at 4 Princes Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria 3207. Fax (03) 9646 4918. Or email us at



Published online: 1 Nov 1999


Architecture Australia, November 1999

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