AIBS Board Communique December 2017

Wishing You A Merry Christmas & A Happy, Safe & Successful New Year

19 December 2017

The year of 2017 was one of challenges for AIBS and our profession and, at the same time, these challenges brought with them opportunities.

As an example, the Senate Inquiry into non-conforming products and external cladding provided AIBS with a public forum to set the record straight about the role of building surveying which had been constantly under attack, initially after the 2014 Docklands fire, and then again with greater intensity following the Grenfell fire.

While the AIBS Policy – Building Regulatory Reform in Australia was not a direct outcome of the Grenfell fire (as work commenced on this in early 2017), the subsequent debate on Australia’s building regulations presented another opportunity for us to provide a constructive and informed view of what changes are required for a safer future for the building industry.  As a result, AIBS has been acknowledged as leading the way and being pro-active in providing a whole of industry solution to the issues raised.

In recognition of our leadership, AIBS Vice President Wayne Liddy was invited to present at the inaugural Australian Cladding & Building Standards Summit held in Melbourne on 7 & 8 December 2017 on “Addressing NCBP through Changes to the Building Regulatory System.’’  This was yet another opportunity for AIBS to continue to promote our regulatory reform policy to delegates from government and industry and to highlight that AIBS is the only industry organisation actively putting forward solutions to improve the building regulatory system.

A copy of Wayne’s presentation can be found here on the AIBS website.

As this will be my final message to members for the year, I would like to update you on the outcomes from our most recent Board meeting and the AGM held in Hobart in November 2017, along with some important recent developments.  

ABCB Updates
At the November meeting, the Board appointed National Technical Manager Jeremy Turner as the AIBS representative to the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Building Codes Committee, effective 1 January 2018.  Jeremy will replace valued member Geoff Mitchell who has served in this role for over 14 years.  

AIBS is deeply appreciative of Geoff’s contribution as a member and AIBS representative on this important committee which has been a significant commitment in time and energy.  The many hundreds if not thousands of hours that Geoff has provided during his time representing AIBS on this committee has established a strong platform from which AIBS can build.   Thank you, Geoff. 

Over the past months, AIBS has worked with the ABCB to co-author two guidance documents that are now published by the ABCB with the contribution by AIBS acknowledged via our name and logo.  These two documents are intended to guide those who know little about the performance assessment process and members may find them useful in helping clients/customers to understand the benefits of utilising a performance approach.  

The documents are to be read in conjunction with the Performance Guidance Document produced by ABCB and all can be accessed via the following links:

National Award Winners
This year, AIBS introduced national awards to recognise winners in each of our Chapter in the categories of building surveyor, emerging building surveyor and building surveying teams.

I am pleased to advise that the Board has chosen the winners in each of the categories and these will be announced in the summer edition of the Australian Building Surveyor magazine due out in February.

Following the success of the initial national awards, we have further developed these awards into the “AIBS Recognition of Professional Excellence.’’  Nominations are now open for all Chapters in the same categories as this year’s awards and can be found here. Nominations will close in each Chapter eight weeks prior to the respective Chapter Conference and Awards Dinner. I encourage you to support these awards which recognise the outstanding efforts of our colleagues. 

AIBS Annual General Meeting

The AIBS AGM was held in Hobart on Friday 10 November. The 2017 Annual Report can be found here.

I am pleased to report AIBS continues to be in a healthy financial position with another surplus, $190,000 for the current year. It is not the intention of the Board to continue to oversee large surpluses but it is important to maintain a healthy level of reserves in order to counter any unexpected downturns or loss of income in future years. 

We are now approaching the level of reserves held four years ago, prior to the significant loss that was the catalyst for the organisational restructure. Once reserves are at a satisfactory level, the Board will invest profits into the future growth and development of AIBS and the profession.

For more information on how AIBS has performed and represented you as a member, you can read the annual report here.

Specialist Advisory Groups
Special Advisory Groups consist of members with expertise in special areas and they have a key role in advising the Board on a range of matters.  

Recently, the Board appointed an Educational Specialist Advisory Group (EDSAG) consisting of:

  • Professor George Zillante (University of Adelaide)
  • Dr Kim Maund (University of Newcastle)
  • Dr Darryl O’Brien (Central Queensland University) 
  • Stephen Scimonello (Holmesglen University) 

The group will be responsible for the accreditation of building surveying courses at education institutions, undertaking the development and assessment of education qualification benchmarks for building surveyors, the establishment and management of a mentoring and work experience program for students and young building surveyors, the establishment and management of AIBS National Student Awards and working with the Board to promote and advance the profession to students and prospective building surveyors, allied professionals and current building surveyors.

AIBS is fortunate to have such a highly regarded and respected group providing advice on the development of the AIBS Education Program during a time of significant change for our profession.

We are also seeking expressions of interest for the Energy Efficiency Specialist Advisory Group (EESAG) and the Fire Engineering Specialist Advisory Group (FESSAG) and if you have a particular expertise in this area, more information can be found here.

Strategic Plan 2020 

Initial discussions on the development of strategic directions for AIBS and our profession took place at our recent Board meeting. The discussions focussed on how AIBS may look at the end of 2020 and what activities it will be undertaking to grow and develop our profession into the future. This will be crucial for both AIBS and the profession of building surveying. Governments, industry and the public will look to AIBS to help improve the building regulatory system and ensure higher professional standards for building surveyors. 

Further development of the strategic plan will be a focus of the next Board meeting in March 2018. 

QLD/NT Chapter Committee
Over the past year, a Queensland Specialist Advisory Group (QSAG), appointed by the Board, has represented the interests of QLD/NT members in the absence of a Chapter Committee.  During this time, AIBS has made significant progress in re-establishing the professional representation of building surveying to the QLD Government. In addition, a number of AIBS branches have been established throughout QLD and a Mini-Conference for Nth Qld members has been developed, scheduled for late 2018 in Townsville.

The Board decided that QSAG should continue in its current role in order to consolidate on the stability that has been achieved.  Notwithstanding this, the Board will continue to closely monitor and review developments in Queensland.  

Commencing in 2018, the AIBS team will be establishing a more formalised process to improve the communication/consultation between QSAG and the various branches throughout QLD to ensure the best representation of AIBS. This is the next ‘pilot’ stage in the development of an effective and connected branch network and will be led by Member Services Manager Karyn McGrigor. Karyn’s objective will be to ensure that our branches are playing a greater role in the representation of our members on key matters affecting building surveyors throughout Queensland.

AIBS Branches
It is especially pleasing that we now have a total of 14 affiliated branches throughout Australia since the release of our Branch Management Policy earlier this year. 

Branches affiliated with AIBS endorse a commitment to advancing the interests of the profession and collaboration as a professional group to ensure that building surveying not only survives but grows and prospers. Given the challenging times we are going through, the profession needs to be strong and united with a single powerful voice.   Branches provide a wonderful opportunity to achieve this.

The branch system will provide AIBS with a more formalised and valuable consultation process with members on matters regarding key issues and legislative changes in their respective jurisdictions. Branches can also make direct representation to AIBS on local matters. 

2017 Wrap up
As we approach the year’s end, I look back over the last 12 months at the significant challenges we have faced as a profession and, I believe, with some justifiable pride in how your team at AIBS has risen to deal with those challenges. As a result, I believe we are in a far better place at the end of 2017 than we were 12 months ago, ready to deal effectively with whatever 2018 may bring.

Nevertheless, we are still some way from where we would like to be. A Chinese philosopher once said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and this probably best describes the road ahead for us.

That said, nothing really worthwhile is ever gained without hard work and commitment and I can promise you that your team at AIBS is dedicated and right on board with us as we make this journey towards advancing the role of our profession while continuing to improve AIBS and its service to members.

But, most importantly, we are not going to get anywhere without the support and contribution made by all our members as we travel the road together.

I thank you most sincerely for your ongoing support. 

On behalf of everyone at AIBS, I wish you and your families a safe and enjoyable holiday season.  I hope you are able to take a break and enjoy time with your family and friends. 

All the very best

Tim Tuxford
National President