My name is David Burnell and for those who don’t yet know me, in September 2018 I was privileged to be elected as National President of the Australian Institute of Building (AIB), in this our 67th year of operations.

The AIB is a professional member based organisation established to represent construction industry individuals from around Australia. We also support overseas construction professionals through both our Hong Kong and Overseas Chapters. The establishment of the Institute began at a time when ‘Builders’ were considered to be separate from ‘Architects and Engineers’ who qualified via a university degree to participate in the Building Industry. Buildings however were being constructed from ‘ideas on paper’ by a growing group of highly skilled constructors and managers, coordinating teams of highly skilled tradesmen.

In the early 1950’s our industry leaders at the time, sought to establish a more formal qualification in Building and Construction at the University level, to both extend the skill of trade entrants but also provide a management level pathway for our construction leaders. Our AIB founders include many household names associated with construction such as Sir Manuel Hornibrook and Sir Albert Jennings.

Today, the AIB encompasses professional representation across many more areas than just constructors. In today’s built environment, our buildings are created by teams of specialists who also manage contracts, programs, costs, design review, 3D modelling and clash detection, services equipment modelling, building life cycle assessment, sustainable construction methods, just in time site delivery, use of prefabricated building elements and traceable supply chains to better ensure use of compliant building products.

The AIB still has a significant role for all building professionals; to both maintain and grow the professional network between these specialist teams, so that they can offer the best outcome for all project stakeholders. Today’s ‘gig economy’ approach to employment means our senior industry specialists no-longer serve a full career of 40+ years with one employer. Our AIB pathway for young graduates connects them with future employers, or industry collaborators and provides a life-long passport within an industry where your role may now have four or five incarnations or specialty focused roles related to construction.

Equally, current building professionals with 10+ year’s construction experience are no longer company trainers and mentors working alongside the flow of graduates produced each year from University courses. Our AIB network is the platform that allows these industry leaders and specialists to share and mentor back to the wider industry through involvement with the Institute at a Chapter level around the country.

Continuing Professional Development is exactly what happens for all industry participants who plan to leave a legacy for those who follow a career in building.

The AIB has for over 50 years provided a consistent standard through membership entry that recognises individuals by academic achievement, practical industry experience and commitment to continuous learning. Sadly, while regulators around the country still can’t manage to agree an approach to licencing and standards that are universal for professional building practitioners in Australia.

Our AIB ‘Chartered Building Professionals’ were the original benchmark long before States recognised an important need for ‘licencing of builders.’ If you are not currently an AIB member, I would encourage you to strongly consider joining the AIB, as it provides you with professional recognition as an individual. Your AIB status then moves with you throughout your career, and defines your commitment to professional conduct and practice at whatever level you participate within our vibrant Building community.


David Burnell FAIB
National President