THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT – MONTH THAT WAS

14 May 2019

This has been a busy time for institute activities, our Chapters are well advanced on preparations for the various Professional Excellence Awards presentation events. In the last few weeks our AIB representation and promotion opportunities have seen a bit of travel for both the CEO and myself.

We have also looked at the opportunities to advance the work of the NBPR with building regulators; in raising the profile of the register we show and how this may assist each jurisdiction to better utilise an external reference point for licencing and renewal checks. We firmly believe the holders of any form of building licence should also belong to a professional body like the AIB and be committed to annual CPD as part of the licence renewal / retention requirements.

All jurisdictions however still operate silos of licence holders and the adoption of a National Licencing approach under the work of the Building Ministers Forum would go a significant way towards addressing recommendations 1, 2 and 3 of the Shergold – Weir report which has now been in circulation for 15 months.

Presidential duties in the last period has included:

  • involvement in an NBPR briefing with our National Chair – Tony Avsec FAIB;
  • review of the Constructing our World program and assisting our Conference Chair – Dr. Robyn Hardy FAIB with speaker material and content to finalise the line-up of presenters;
  • a visit to Perth for meetings with the Head of School at Curtin University;
  • meeting with the WA Building Regulators office to discuss Shergold-Weir and general industry issues for the local market;
  • attendance at the WA Chapter annual Industry Leaders Dinner:
  • attendance at the local WA Chapter committee meeting presentation on the WA perspective for AIB activities, and to provide some information and context for the National AIB activities to support the WA Chapter;
  • planning and teleconference meetings for the DesignBUILD conference which commenced today, 14 May – 16 May in Sydney. I am presenting on an industry panel on Wednesday 15th discussing Building Australia Together.

Personally work and home duties also make up a significant part of my time outside of AIB commitments. I happen to be moving house this week to downsize from a large family home. In the required cull of stored material, I came across a presentation I made as a representative of the building industry in 1987 (some 32 years ago) this month.

The event was a week-long Forum at Melbourne University that gathered 100 young leaders from around Australia to discuss the current issues facing Australia and the possibilities of solving them in the future.

The Forum was specifically developed to:

  • promote standards of excellence and achievement in education, training and development of young Australians in their chosen vocation, and to develop a sense of purpose among individuals,
  • involve young people in the life and welfare of the community by assisting them to render service where need, hardship and distress exist, thus increasing their sense of responsibility and their awareness of the interdependence between themselves and the community,
  • assist the funding of projects or activities of organisations which benefit young people, particularly those aimed at developing qualities of self-reliance, initiative and leadership

One of the QE II Trust’s projects is the “Future Perspectives” apolitical Forum for young Australians who are perceived to be the potential leaders of this country.

Objectives of the Forum included:

  • to draw together potential leaders in the 22 – 28 years age group from widely diverse working background;
  • to develop in these young Australians a better understanding of the complex issues facing Australia today and the possibilities of solving them in the future;
  • to encourage them to work for the future of Australia;
  • to develop in these potential leaders a sense of unity and understanding, which can be communicated to others.

My summation for the final session as the leader of Syndicate 2 included some hauntingly familiar observations taken from our group discussions about the times we were observing then in 1987. While time moves on, these are still lessons and comments that could be applied to the Building Industry today.

… The economy. Australia has historically had dependence on primary industry and we are now seeing a trend towards developing our service industries. This feature will become more important as our product Australia develops in the future. Our energy should be focused towards this industry to ensure we are skilled and this places us in an advantageous position in the market place.

… Our economy is on a gradual downward slide and we have experienced it before, and as a country we must tighten our belts, work more intelligently rather than harder and educate people on the workings of the economy, and why we are suffering economically.

… Militant unions should not be capable of holding businesses or the country to ransom, nor should they try to be capable of manipulating foreign policy by selective trade bans.

… In   conclusion, we believe that all major changes which need to be made in Australia are in the area of education and we are not talking about the education system and mechanics as such, but about the ongoing holistic process of community education beginning at birth and involving all aspects of society. We see a need for Australians to be educated to act and to think as a community, not just as individuals. We need to strive for a society made up of caring individuals who are aware of their important individual role as part of the community. We believe Australia should set an example to the rest of the world and we have been reassured this week by many speakers that Australia is one of the better societies of the world.

 

How do we communicate this message to those outside our professional network that an AIB member is a Chartered Building Professional who understands the need to deliver a consistent professional service to both the building industry and the end consumer. We see opportunities to work with designers, builders and other professions that can improve how they work together on projects that provide a better result for the end user – and are easier to deliver for everyone involved.

We believe all jurisdictions must recognise this significant National Opportunity is currently wasted as it continues to operate in a multiple regulatory framework, which was largely tailored on small scale circumstances historically. We have innovators utilising improved building materials and practices but regulation and historical attitudes are still focused on 1980’s methods of management and delivery; to a 21st century consumer who sees the better alternatives on the world market that he can now access.

Finally, a reminder that our Membership subscriptions are now due and I would encourage members to contact the National Office on 02 6253 1100 if you have not yet seen an email from us with your invoice attached. We have had several reports of payments being returned to members when the banks have not matched our account details to the BPay biller code 716597 as this was an older MYOB gateway provider used in previous years. If you have recently moved address or changed your contact details we would also ask that you update these by logging on using the website to check your current record. You can also pay directly by using the Pay Membership Fee link while you are logged in 

So I look forward to seeing you soon at an AIB event soon as we start our Professional Excellence Awards presentations this month in ACT and SA Chapters.

David Burnell FAIB

National President, Australian Institute of Building