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Community of Practice Roundtable 1
The Community of Practice Roundtable which was held on 11th June 2020 as a virtual event, was organised by the Centre for Smart Modern Construction (c4SMC) at Western Sydney University on behalf of the Office of NSW Building Commissioner (OBC), together with representatives from Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS), the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and Australian Institute of Project Managers (AIPM).
The objective of this Roundtable is to initiate a discourse on the current and future landscape of the NSW construction industry’s professional services, with the focus on the role of Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers. With over eighty participants, the roundtable had representation from industry, academia, and other professional organisations in NSW. The program was a combination of informative presentations and industry-academic consultations via group discussion.
Professor Kerry London, the Dean of the School of Built Environment (SoBE) started off the proceedings of the day with her welcome address. This was followed by a series of presentations from the OBC. NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler spoke about the recently passed Design and Building Practitioner’s Bill that will be a game changer in getting back confidence in the construction industry.
The key strategy is shifting focus to trustworthy buildings and project teams and moving away from one size fits all regulation strategies by using new risk tools
The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 No 7, establishes a registration scheme for designers that requires that designs for certain types of building work be certified for compliance with building regulations by registered Design Practitioners and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers). It enables the Building Commissioner to stop an occupation certificate from being issued in cases where serious defects are present. The Building Commissioner stressed on the new digital capabilities to support regulator and compliance including a Building Assurance Solution tool that has been tendered out. Matthew Press, Program Director at the OBC illustrated the Six Pillars of Construct NSW for implementing system-wide uplift.
Customer-focussed regulatory framework, rating systems to provide greater information transparency, lifting skills and capabilities, strengthening contracts and standards, using digital platforms to drive enhanced accountability and using data and research to deliver continual improvement
Vanessa Carmody, Program Manager, OBC elaborated on Pillar 3 – Lifting skills and capabilities. There is a need for greater focus on education in the building and construction sector to address skills gaps and ensure that the curriculum offerings reflect modern requirements.
The Building Commissioner will work with education institutions and the building industry to identify the skills and capabilities that are necessary to uplift performance across the entire supply chain (design, manufacture, build, certify, maintain)
Matthew Press further pointed out that opinions are leading conversations in the industry instead of hard evidence and quantitative data. The OBC therefore, through Pillar 6 will use data to deliver continual improvement of the NSW construction industry. Promoting strategic research in the construction sector is expected to provide an immediate and direct impact to inform an effective and efficient decision-making process.
Construct NSW will build up a deep lake of data for researchers to analyse, enhancing the existing regulatory dataset through a strong field presence
The forum was then addressed by Grant Warner, Chief Executive Officer, AIQS, Elizabeth Foley, Chief Executive Officer, AIPM and Chris Nicholl, Executive Director, RICS. The respective executives briefed on the current practices that each of the professional organisations undertake and how they may be influenced by the new legislation.
The plenary session concluded with an address from Professor Srinath Perera, Director of c4SMC. He explained the discussion points for the breakout session. Groups for the breakout session were formed based on the three professional bodies separately (AIQS, RICS, AIPM) and academic representatives from several universities across NSW(University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, University of Newcastle, and University of Western Sydney).
The breakout sessions discussed on the type and state of services offered by QS and PM professionals in NSW, the problems and deficiencies in QS / PM services, how these services can be improved by digitalisation and how they can have greater input in certification.
At the concluding plenary session, Associate Professor Mary Hardie summarised the proceedings of the day and the moderators of each discussion group summarised the breakout session discussion for the forum. The outcome of the group discussion will be formalised into a report in due course of time. Parallel to this event, an online survey was conducted to capture participants’ views on the state of the NSW construction industry in terms of QS/PM services, digitalization, certification, and expected status in the future. Findings of this survey from over sixty responses will be included in the summary report.
Finally, Associate Professor Xiaohua Jin, introduced the forum to the subsequent ‘Community of Practice Roundtables’ that will be conducted in due course of time. The next Roundtable will look at ‘Careers in the New Landscape’. Stay tuned for more updates!
Find the presentation slides of the event here
Find presentation videos below.