A notice from the Australian Institute of Architects calls for the construction industry to refocus on quality to regain consumer trust.
The notice comes after an investigation by ABC's Four Corners, which highlighted a range of issues currently plaguing the industry. Chief amongst these issues were insufficient regulation, a lack of proper oversight by independent, appropriately qualified professionals and a failure to put quality and safety above time and cost savings.
The Australian Institute of Architects has responded by demanding greater independent oversight of development and building processes. Not only will this ensure quality, financial security and personal safety for consumers, but it has the potential to shore up an industry struggling to keep afloat.
‘The Four Corners’ report clearly demonstrates the perils of inadequate documentation, non-conforming and unsafe product substitution, and the rise of design and construct contracts that either cut out or fundamentally compromise the ability of architects to oversee quality," says Professor Helen Lochhead, national president for the Australian Institute of Architects.
"What’s most distressing is the human impact of these regulatory, compliance and construction failures. Short term time and cost savings have had long term impacts on the end users. Peoples’ safety and fundamental security is under threat by poor quality buildings.
"The Institute has been calling out these issues for years. As part of our code of conduct, architects have a clearly defined duty of care to the community, not just the immediate client. It’s past time this was extended to all professionals in the building and construction industry."
The Institute's concerns echo those raised by Professor Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir in their Building Confidence report, which was released last year. In the report, the authors stated that "significant and concerning" problems existed in the compliance and enforcement systems in place in the industry throughout Australia.
Amongst their recommendations, the Institute has called for the introduction of a clerk of works or similar individual to be present on building sites to oversee the right materials are used, processes are being correctly followed and that no corners are cut.
"We want to see clear accountability assigned to every single person who works on a major construction project for their work."
The Australian Institute of Architects' full notice can be read here.
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