Vale Michael Ah Kow Chang (Mike Chang)
It is with deep sadness that AIBS notes the passing of Mr Mike Chang, Life Fellow (Retired) of AIBS. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Shirley and his children and extended family. His ever present smile and good nature will live with us all forever.
After graduating from the South Australian Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Technology – Building Technology in 1975, Mike spent 8 years in the construction sector before being granted registration as a building surveyor by the Local Government Qualifications Committee on 10 November 1984. Soon after Mike began his career in building surveying at the City of Tea Tree Gully, where in 14 years (1981 to 1995) he established himself in the building surveying profession through his dedication to learning, service, and ethics.
It was likely these qualities that, in September of 1995, supported him to step into a role at the City of Adelaide where he served the community as a professional building surveyor for the rest of his professional career, becoming widely known for his wise counsel, ethical decision making, and generosity of willingness to guide, as a mentor, and for the support he willingly gave to all he met. He spent much of that time in leadership roles and was gracious in handing over the leadership reins and continue to support the team as a team member in the later years of his career. He retired in March of 2016 as a distinguished veteran of building surveying in the service of the public.
In addition to his highly successful career, Mike served his community through various voluntary roles. He was a member of the Australian Services Union and took up a role as a worksite union representative in support of his colleagues in all manner of matters inclusive of negotiations around pay and conditions. He was engaged as a part time external lecturer by University of South Australia, TAFE SA, and the Master Builders Association of SA. He was even engaged in teaching Tai Chi to seniors in the rare moments of spare time that he was able to find.
Mike was a long standing member of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) becoming an associate member in August 1982 and achieving the grade of Member of AIBS in September 1985. Mike volunteered to assist the South Australian Chapter committee in 1988 and served continuously for more than 20 years. During this time, he volunteered in various roles, notably as a member of the South Australian Chapter Conference Organising Committee, and particularly as a member of the National Accreditation Committee (precursor to the current National Accreditation Panel). In this latter role, he was well known for his fair and balanced assessment of the credentials of those who sought to become accredited building surveyors with AIBS.
He was also instrumental in the delivery of AIBS’s training activities, supporting skills development of building surveyors throughout South Australia.
Mike was AIBS’s representative on the South Australian Branch of the AUBRRC services and equipment sub-committee, a precursor to the Australian Building Codes Board’s Building Codes Committee, and he chaired the South Australian Chapter Committee’s technical committee which coordinated member input into the development of technical standards, the building code of Australia and legislative changes. Mike also chaired the guidelines and practices committee which assisted members to understand key issues of professional practice.
Mike was elevated to the status of Fellow in 1993, having been nominated by R.T. (Bob) Taylor and I.M. Gordon, and was accredited at the highest level of building surveying in 1993. His membership was elevated to Life Fellow of AIBS in 2017 in recognition of his extensive and ongoing contributions to the profession of building surveying well and truly above and beyond the call of his peers.
AIBS notes and acknowledges words conveyed to us from his colleagues who have recalled the love and pride he had for his family, together with his passion for fishing. But his colleagues also noted that Mike had no greater love than the love he had for Mrs Shirley Chang, his devoted wife. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Mrs Chang and her family.
Mike’s colleagues also noted that Mike should be remembered as a true gentleman, a lovely human being, a great mentor, great colleague, a great friend, a gentle soul, as decent a man as ever was put on the planet, one of the nicest people ever met, a great building surveyor, small in stature with a big heart and an ethical brain, a person you could not avoid liking, reliable, a good leader, a good motivator of people, positive, and giving.
Importantly, as a professional building surveyor, Mike Chang was a cheerful advocate for anyone supporting his passion for his profession.