Getting the most out of your
Teamwork Collaboration Westfield Design Director Glen Pidgeon
one of the worldâ€™s best workplaces
Change management: Feel your way forward
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CONTENTS Protecting your business New Workplace Health Safety (WHS) guidance tools 50 Commonwealth Government review 51 AS4122 update
Additional visa options for employers: regional and state migration schemes 53 The importance of defining your business
Business Essentials In business, it pays to keep an eye on the competition
Teamwork Collaboration Westfield Design Director Glen Pidgeon
Corporate social responsibility
What’s on in our industry
What makes Google one of the best workplaces
How to get the best risk management outcomes on your project 62
Innovation and inclusion in Aboriginal setlement
Engineer and Army Reservist making a difference
What’s happening in Consult Australia From the President
From the CEO
BIM in Practice
Consult Australia wins better access to overseas-trained engieners 11 Senate enquiry gets our attention
Cross cultural exchange
Symposium Gala Dinner wrap-up
Cover: Photo courtesy of Westfield Sydney
Vulnerability in the Pacific
The untapped driver for business success
Good building, bad building: what decides?
A case for reform
Getting the most out of a newly-formed team
Delivering flexible and efficient working environments
Do fence me in
Teamwork and collaboration
Gender Diversity from the ground up 74
Real leaders look for the best in people
The mental health and profit correlation
Structural change in national curriculum to resolve the shortage of engineers
Progress on engineering registration 76
Change management feel your way forward
Profiting from flexible working arrangements
Organisational culture the do’s and don’ts
The essential reason to invest in deep technical development 77
Targeting carbon neutrality
Be a great employer its definately worth it
QLD FutureNet Essay Winner
Getting the most out of your workforce
What’s my purpose?
Industry updates NEW APPOINTMENTS
AECOM announces changes to its Australia New Zealand C-Suite AECOM has named Michael Batchelor as the new ANZ Chief Executive. Following three years as Managing Director Transportation ANZ, Chris Tatam (top) has been appointed as the new Chief Operating Officer as of 1 October 2012.
Daniel Grollo set to be new GBCA Chair
Photo by Igor Meijer courtesy of AECOM
Subject to approval of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Board, Daniel Grollo will be the new Chair after Tony Arnel steps down at the annual general meeting in November 2012. Mr Grollo is Chief Executive Officer of Grocon, a former national president of the Property Council of Australia, a nonexecutive director on the BlueScope Steel board, and has been a board director of the GBCA since its inception.
AECOM engineer wins Olympic bronze
NDY chosen as 2012 World Green Building Week green event winners
ERM appoints Asia Pacific CEO Keryn James has been appointed as Asia Pacific CEO for Environmental Resources Management (ERM). Commencing with ERM in 1993, Keryn has built a diverse international consulting career. Immediately prior to this promotion, Keryn was the Managing Partner for UK and Ireland.
WorleyParsons announces Chief Executive Officer succession The Board of WorleyParsons has appointed Andrew Wood as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, effective as at the conclusion of the company’s 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 23 October 2012. Andrew will also join the WorleyParsons Board.
Karsten Forsterling, a senior structural engineer at AECOM in Melbourne has, together with his teammates, won a bronze medal for Australia in the 2012 Olympic men’s quad sculls rowing event. Karsten has been working at AECOM since 2003 and says he was grateful for the confidence his boss had in him to make a meaningful contribution to AECOM while pursuing rowing.
URS appoints new Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand URS has named Jim Mantle as its new Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, taking over from the retiring David Williamson. Dr Mantle was previously Managing Director of Parsons Brinckerhoff for Asia and Australia-Pacific.
Norman Disney & Young has been chosen as 2012’s World Green Building Week Green Event winners. The firm launched a series of sustainability videos to coincide with World Green Building Week and hosted the inaugural NDY Open Mic Night inviting the industry to share green knowledge and sustainable ideas.
Australia Award for Urban Design (AAUD) Mark Dimmock joins Parsons Brinckerhoff Mark Dimmock has been named Managing Director of the Australia-Pacific operations of Parsons Brinckerhoff and will be responsible for setting the direction and positioning the business for future growth in the AustraliaPacific region.
The Australia Award for Urban Design Awards event was held at the 2012 BEMP Summit in June 2012. Winning projects included: the Darling Quarter; River Quay; the Future of Penrith, Penrith of the Future; and Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy. As a BEMP partner, Consult Australia extends congratulations to all of the winners, highly commended projects and entrants.
Gavin Lume from Hyder collects Young Designer Award at Steel Design Awards One of Hyder Consulting’s young engineers, Gavin Lume, has been merited with the Young Designer Award at this year’s NSW ASI Steel Design Awards. His efforts as project and on-site engineer for the Skoda Stadium project helped distinguish Gavin from the competition.
INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTORS Shannon Stephenson – Google Australia Ben Mason – Norman Disney & Young Joanne Nugent – Parsons Brinckerhoff Glen Pidgeon – Westfield Sydney Avril Henry – Author Graeme Cowan – Author
SMEC’s Engineering News Record (ENR) rankings SMEC has significantly improved rankings its rankings in Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine’s annual design lists. SMEC was ranked at number 74 in ENR’s ‘Top 150 Global Design Firms’ list and number 58 in the ‘Top 200 International Design Firms’.
Stuart Kelly & Lindsay Hutter – Hill + Knowlton Daniel Samson – University of Melbourne Isabelle Phillips – Mackerel Sky Jerome Parisse-Brassens & Diana Coelho – Arup Darren Pavic – BRIC Tara Hill & Sean Neale - Deloitte Private
KBR awarded project management contract for Diamantina Power Station, Mt Isa
Mark Griffiths - Hinds Blunden
KBR has been awarded a project management services contract for the construction of the Diamantina Power Station, a 242 MW gas-fired power station in northwest Queensland. The station will provide power to Xstrata’s MIM copper mine and will be a secure long-term energy supplier to the region.
Dr Peter Gehrke - SMEC
Gateway Upgrade Project wins at Queensland Engineers Australia Awards The Gateway Upgrade Project received the Excellence Award for Queensland for the project infrastructure category $50M+ as well as the overall R. W. Hawken Award. The Gateway was constructed by the Leighton Abigroup Joint Venture, with the AECOMSMEC Joint Venture as civil designers and Coffey Geotechnics as the geotechnical and pavement designers. The project also received a gold award at the Consult Australia 2011 Awards for Excellence.
Nicola Young - AECOM
Victoria Whitaker & Jack Boulter - GRI Luke van Heuzen - Parsons Brinckerhoff Alister Wilkinson - Professional Cadetships Australia Michael Myers - Re-Engineering Australia Foundation Rolfe Hartley - Engineers Australia Marianne Matin - SMEC Sukumar Pathmanandavel - Coffey David Parken - AIA Reanna Harper - Arup Adam Kilsby - Golder Associates Kirsty Kelly - Planning Institute of Australia
Editor Cathy Mitchell
Editorial Coordinator Gillian O’Young
President Jamie Shelton
Chief Executive Megan Motto
Chief Operating Officer Julia Lemercier
Director of Policy Jonathan Cartledge
Senior Policy Advisor Jonathan Russell
Senior Legal Policy Advisor Robin Schuck
Director of Marketing & Membership Cathy Mitchell
National Events Manager Alexandra Hopper
Designer Voltaire Corpuz
Marketing & Events Coordinator (Education & Training) Alexia Lidas
Finance Coordinator Violeta Sapteska
Executive Assistant Kerri Clifford
Operations Coordinator Sheena Nelson
Immigration Officer Sarah Gowing
Editorial Submissions email@example.com
Advertising Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Consulting Matters is produced by Consult Australia. Phone: (02) 9922 4711. Website: www.consultaustralia.com.au
What’s on in our industry Global
October 15-November 3, Tokyo Consult Australia Young Professional Exchange Program (YPEP) www.consultaustralia.com.au
October 30, Brisbane CEDA Resources Outlook: Sustaining Advantage www.ceda.com.au/events
November 1-3, Perth Consult Australia: Contracts for Consultants www.consultaustralia.com.au
November 1-3, Brisbane Consult Australia: Contracts for Consultants www.consultaustralia.com.au
October 30-November 1, India Green Building Congress www.greenbuildingcongress.com November 7-9, USA 2012 Growth & Ownership Strategies Conference www.rog-partners.com/conference March 7-8, Bangkok 2013 TCDPAP & FIDIC / ASPAC Conference www.tcdpap2013bangkok.com/
National November 12-16, nationwide National Telework Week www.telework.gov.au
November 27, Brisbane Site Tour – One One One Eagle Street www.gbca.org.au/events December 7, Brisbane 2012 Consult Australia Awards for Excellence www.consultaustralia.com.au
South Australia November 12, Adelaide CEDA Business Trends Luncheon www.ceda.com.au/events November 13-14, Adelaide Consult Australia: Safety in Design www.consultaustralia.com.au
New South Wales Victoria
November 12-14, Melbourne Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference 2012 www.thrivingneighbourhoods.org November 13-14, Melbourne 4th Annual VIC Major Projects Conference http://viconference.com.au November 15, Melbourne AIQS: Infinite Value Awards Gala Dinner www.infinitevalueawards.com November 22-23, Melbourne Consult Australia: Safety in Design www.consultaustralia.com.au
October 25-25, Sydney Consult Australia: Safety in Design www.consultaustralia.com.au November 8-9, Sydney NSW Transport Summit www.informa.com.au/conferences November 14, Sydney Australia’s Energy Options – Final Report Launch www.ceda.com.au/events December 5-6, Sydney Energy Efficiency Council 2012 National Conference www.eec.org.au March 6-7, Sydney Green Cities 2013 www.greencities.org.au
November 1, Perth 2012 National Architecture Awards www.architecture.com.au
Australian Capital Territory November 20, Canberra Australian Engineering Excellence Awards 2012 www.excellenceawards.org.au/ November 15-17, Canberra Consult Australia: Safety in Design www.consultaustralia.com.au
Letters to the editor Agree or disagree with something you’ve read in this edition of the Consulting Matters? Want your comment heard on the issue? Send a letter to our editor (max 200 words) at cathy@consultaustralia. com.au. Letters to Consulting Matters must carry the sender’s name and firm. We do not acknowledge the receipt of unpublished letters. When submitting your letter for publication you agree that we may edit it for legal, space or other reasons.
Industry comments What do you think is the most pressing issue our industry is today facing? Submit an industry comment to Consulting Matters by emailing our Editorial Coordinator at email@example.com. You can speak about any subject matter you wish. Write about issues you feel are important to the consulting industry - government policy, business issues, opinions on consulting related topics, changes you feel the industry should make or anything in between!
Not a member of Consult Australia? To find out more about how your firm can benefit from our: • Benchmarking; • Business support; • Staff development; • Business development; and • Policy Contact National Relationship Manager, Craig Spence on (02) 9922 4711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.consultaustralia.com.au
Create with Vision. Intelligent Model-Based Design with Autodesk BIM for Infrastructure. Autodesk® Building Information Modelling for Infrastructure provides civil engineers, designers, planners, surveyors, project managers, and owners with a comprehensive set of integrated tools to plan, design, build, and manage road and highway projects more predictably. See Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite software in action and hear first-hand from customers how they are able to create with more vision using Autodesk BIM solutions at www.autodesk.com.au/ca
Autodesk is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2012 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.
What’s happening at Consult Australia
From the President in our industry. With this alarming trend, we are losing some of the most promising talent in our industry. This gender imbalance in the upper levels of firms needs to be rectified - we are simply not benefiting from the talented individuals that could potentially make up 50 per cent of our workforce.
An engaged and productive workforce is an essential ingredient for the success of any business. This is particularly true for professional services firms. Employees are not simply a resource to be used in producing a product - they are the business. Whilst this is widely recognised, there are too few firms who truly understand how to get the most out of their workforce. To exhibit this, I point to our shortfalls in developing our female staff and ensuring we have quality professional development programs in place. Of the professionals working in the built and natural environment industry, it is women who progress rapidly to positions of responsibility in the early years of their career. In upper management and leadership on the other hand, the representation of women is very low
In looking to get the most out of our workforce, we need to ensure our employees receive ongoing professional development. It is not a cheap endeavour, and is one many forgo as they consider it wasteful in this era of transient employment. It is here that we need a paradigm shift. Employers must allocate sufficient funds for training and adopt a mindset of developing an industry workforce as opposed to training just those who work for us. A high-quality training and development program is one of the key areas that attracts employees to firms - particularly in younger generations. Without effective training and development programs in place, the industry will suffer – employers will experience increasing frustration with the diminishing pool of skilled staff and we risk our skilled workers moving onto other industries. The issue of getting the most out of our workforce is broad and complex. It requires an understanding of: changing demographics; the opportunities brought about by the digital age; society’s need for a more diverse and equal employment environment; employee expectations of a sound work-life balance; and an understanding of how to manage an increasingly mobile workforce. Our industry needs to adapt to these challenges and respond. In this day and age, there is most certainly a battle for talent. It’s a battle that goes on at a global scale and is one that cuts across
The issue of getting the most out of our workforce is broad and complex. It requires an understanding of: changing demographics; the opportunities brought about by the digital age; society’s need for a more diverse and equal employment environment; employee expectations of a sound work-life balance; and an understanding of how to manage an increasingly mobile workforce.
industries and through both the public and private sectors. It will be an ongoing battle requiring a sustained effort. The unsuccessful players will be playing a never-ending catch-up game with a disparate and unstable workforce and an arsenal that consists of little more than financial rewards. The winners will prosper through having a talented, diverse and engaged workforce focused on their strategic objectives. The challenge of attracting, developing and retaining a highly-skilled and productive workforce within the built and natural environment industry will be difficult. But it is a challenge that we must overcome: for our employees; our industry; our firm’s bottomline; and for Australia’s future prosperity.
Jamie Shelton Consult Australia
2012 Awards for Excellence Friday 7 December 2012 - Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, QLD
Join us for one of the industryâ€™s biggest nights of the year When:
Friday, 7 December 2012
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
What time: 6:30pm til late Dress code: Black tie
MC Paul McDermott
Entertainment Darren Percival
Book your ticket or table today www.consultaustralia.com.au/2012awards/register.aspx
et k c f ti o er b um n ted i Lim
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Whatâ€™s happening at Consult Australia
From the CEO Much of the debate has focussed on workplace relations reform as the primary driver of productivity gains (mistakenly in my opinion, as both evidentiary analysis and anecdote point to more complex issues at play). There are certainly significant gains to be made by increasing productivity across the built environment industries.
The last few months have seen an increasing focus by government and other stakeholders on the productivity agenda. Much of the debate has centred around workplace relations reform as the primary driver of productivity gains (mistakenly in my opinion, as both evidentiary analysis and anecdote point to more complex issues at play). There are certainly significant gains to be made by increasing productivity across the built environment industries. The cost of wastage in the building and construction sector is significant. A range of reports going back at least a decade cite wastage to be somewhere between 20 and 30 per cent of capital costs. A Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation report found that disputation alone costs the industry in the vicinity of $6 billion dollars per annum. In a time of reduced finance and skills against a backdrop of growing infrastructure deficits and urban renewal need, this is a problem that canâ€™t be ignored. Recognising this, we must ask ourselves, what is needed to kick-start a new era of productivity gains through better design and delivery of the built environment? The answers, like the questions are complex and multi-faceted. The use of more sophisticated procurement and delivery models such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and modern technological tools such as Building
Information Modelling (BIM) will be enablers for industry efficiency gains, and greater certainty for project outcomes. The advantages of embracing these key levers of productivity are evident in the reduction of delays; elimination of variations; improved delivery scheduling; and more effective construction management. In this vein, we have just finalised a collaborative effort with the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) to deliver a suite of BIM tools for industry. We are an industry plagued by a shortage of good data with which we can measure ourselves by. Data-sets for buildings collected by organisations such as the Property Council and the Green Building Council of Australia have improved immensely, but thin out for infrastructure and then become almost non-existent for broader communities and cities. This is an area which if improved, could vastly assist the better design and delivery of the built environment. Speaking of good data, in collaboration with Deloitte Private, Consult Australia is re-launching our Practice Performance Benchmarking Survey (PPS). This new, automated tool will have enhanced functionality in terms of de-aggregating to more meaningful data comparisons, as well as providing more timely and functional reports that can be pro-actively used to drive better business profitability. Finally, improving our own professional services businesses will be paramount as the Australian economy continues to transform to one based on knowledge services. Improving the quality and capability of leadership and management is critical to success. In an industry where individuals become highly skilled in their technical fields, and are promoted into management positions as a result, it is imperative that we continue to develop the vital interpersonal, strategic
thinking and team leadership skills of our ranks. With this in mind, Consult Australia is pleased to be launching our first Executive Leadership Program, geared at equipping aspiring leaders with the self awareness and emotional intelligence capabilities they will need to take the top jobs and improve the productivity of the industry for future decades. We recognise that supporting and developing our leaders, and ensuring the quality of the tools and resources made available to them, will allow them to effectively lead and support employees and get the most out of our workforces. Let us kick-start this new era of productivity together.
Megan Motto Consult Australia
Improving Profit and Performance with Benchmarking In today’s challenging business environment, it’s important that business owners understand their businesses and where opportunities exist. Deloitte Private and Consult Australia are providing a secure, straightforward and cost effective Practice Performance Survey (PPS) tool, specifically for the engineering industry. Subscribers can benchmark against industry peers whilst developing a better understanding of their data, monitoring cost and revenue performance, and improving business strategy. For more information about our introductory offers, please contact: Tara Hill Partner - Deloitte Private Tel: +61 2 9322 3691 email: email@example.com
Sean Neale Director - Deloitte Private Tel: +61 2 9322 5540 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/au/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.
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Consulting Matters What’s happening at Consult Australia
Consult Australia staff appointments National Relationship Manager
Consult Australia is proud to have partnered with the Australian Institute of Architects to deliver the first comprehensive range of cross-disciplinary practice documents for Building Information Modelling (BIM), entitled ‘BIM in Practice’. It has been widely reported that the construction industry both in Australia and overseas, wastes over 30 per cent of its efforts. If that wasted effort were to be reduced by just one third, it would lift Australian construction output by more than $10 billion annually. The use of more sophisticated procurement and delivery models, such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), and modern technological tools such as BIM, will be enablers for industry efficiency gains, and greater certainty for project outcomes. The advantages of embracing these key levers of productivity are obvious: reduction of delays; elimination of variations; improved delivery scheduling; and more effective construction management. True IPD can only be achieved in a collaborative environment, where all team members are encouraged to contribute to problem solving, and those contributions are respected. BIM provides all partners with a tool to work towards true collaborative contracting. The adoption of BIM in particular has not been without its challenges, but if we as an industry are to step up to the productivity challenge, then we must collectively see a way through these obstacles to be able to truly embrace this game changing capability. The range of practice documents produced by the Consult Australia/ Australian Institute of Architects joint BIM/ IPD Steering Group and working groups will provide industry practitioners with pertinent information about how to incorporate BIM into their practice and addresses areas for caution, such as insurance and contractual issues. Megan Motto Consult Australia
Bringing with him more than 15 years experience in sales management, Craig Spence has recently joined Consult Australia in the newly created role of National Relationship Manager. Craig has cross-sectional industry experience working with multi-national organisations in a sales leadership capacity.He has an extensive track record of creating positive outcomes, building on the foundations of the organisations he contributes to. Craig is also a Founding Director of World Kindness Australia – a not-profit-organisation challenging bullying in schools and the workplace. Craig can be contacted on (02) 9922 4711 or via email to email@example.com.
Finance Coordinator Violeta Sapteska recently joined the Consult Australia team as the new Finance Coordinator. Violeta has worked in finance for the past 11 years in both the public and private sectors, most recently working as the Cash Manager at the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra. To contact Violeta, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 9922 4711.
Marketing & Events Coordinator (Education & Training) Consult Australia is pleased to welcome Alexia Lidas to the role of Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Education Unit. Alexia will focus on building the profile of the unit and growing our existing offering in the education and training space. Alexia has recently relocated to Sydney from Brisbane, where she worked as Media and Marketing Manager for an Australian social media website. She has a strong background in media and marketing and has previously worked within membership and advocacy based associations. Alexia can be contacted via email to email@example.com or by calling (02) 9922 4711.
What’s happening at Consult Australia Consulting Matters
Consult Australia wins better access to overseas-trained engineers Through Consult Australia’s ongoing advocacy, employers will now have better access to the world’s young engineers under reforms for visa subclass 476. The visa subclass 476 allows people who have completed an engineering degree in the two years prior to application to live in Australia for 18 months, with no restrictions on the work they can perform. The 18-month timeframe provides opportunity for the individual to prove their value to potential employers and for organisations to consider transition to sponsorship under visas such as the subclass 457.
The key eligibility criterion for the visa subclass 476 is that applicants must have completed an engineering degree at a ‘recognised overseas institution’ in the past two years. under the Washington Accord* will be ‘recognised overseas institutions’ for the purposes of the 476 visa. This is a huge increase, with the quality of graduates underwritten by Engineers Australia and its partners around the world.
The key eligibility criterion for the visa subclass 476 is that applicants must have completed an engineering degree at a ‘recognised overseas institution’ in the past two years. With just 108 included, the list of recognised institutions was extremely limited and left out hundreds of universities around the world that produce quality engineers.
The Washington Accord is an international agreement among bodies, including Engineers Australia, which is responsible for accrediting engineering degree programs. It recognises that there is substantial equivalency between the degrees accredited by each of the participating bodies, and recommends that the graduates of such programs be recognised by all other member bodies. There are 15 signatories to the Accord, including the bodies representing engineers in Britain and Ireland, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Japan, Singapore and Korea.
For example, just 10 of a potential 115 British institutions were recognised by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for the 476 visa, and just 16 of over 380 institutions in the USA. Two years of lobbying by Consult Australia has resulted in significant changes. From 1 October 2012, all institutions accredited
The Washington Accord
DIAC reports that 76 per cent of all holders of the visa subclass 476 are later granted a permanent visa, which is a very high rate of conversion. This suggests that the calibre of applicant utilising the visa subclass 476 is very high and welcomed by industry. Furthermore, for regionally-based firms, the 476 visa presents a great opportunity to recruit high quality graduates who are excited about relocating and see Australia as a blank canvas of opportunity, with no ties to state capitals. More information For more information, visit the DIAC website at: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/generalskilled-migration/476. Learn more about the Washington Accord at: www.ieagreements.org. Jonathan Russell Consult Australia
Value of overseas graduates Employment outcome statistics for 476 visa holders demonstrate their value.
NEED INDUSTRY SKILLED MIGRATION ADVICE? Consult Australia members have exclusive access to a Department of Immigration and Citizenship Industry Outreach Officer. The officer provides free advice on: • Visa options and case management • Immigration processes and changes to migration policy • E-lodgement of visa applications For more information, contact DIAC Industry Outreach Officer Sarah Gowing by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on on 0466 150 022.
Consulting Matters What’s happening at Consult Australia
Senate inquiry gets our attention A FEDERAL SENATE COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE SHORTAGE OF ENGINEERING AND RELATED EMPLOYMENT SKILLS HAS MADE 12 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE. THE REPORT WAS DELIVERED TO PARLIAMENT IN JULY. The inquiry was a welcome addition to the ongoing debate on what to do about the ‘engineering skills shortage’. It is often presented in overly simplistic terms but the inquiry report and its 12 recommendations have given the issue some depth and perhaps most importantly, much-needed political attention. Consult Australia was instrumental in the formation of the Committee inquiry, and provided a formal submission as well as giving evidence at a public hearing in March. Consult Australia sought reform to the government procurement system in order to: promote private sector investment in training; boost the engineering capabilities within government; and enhance the promotion of engineering in schools. One area where the committee recognised a need for change was in-house engineering expertise for government agencies. Recommendation six was for the government
to ‘consider creating senior technical engineering roles in the Australian Public Service’. The committee also made recommendation seven, ‘that the Department of Finance and Deregulation reviews the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to ensure that the government is an informed purchaser of engineering infrastructure’. Action on these two recommendations would increase the quality of government procurement; improve the design development process; and reduce the need for variations that affect delivery times. Action would also reduce overall project costs and reduce the time that engineers spend on each project. The improved political profile that has come from the inquiry report was exhibited when the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans held a meeting with Consult
Australia and other industry leaders to learn more about what he can do to meet the recommendations made in the inquiry report. The engineering skills shortage needs action from several government ministers, not least the ministers responsible for infrastructure, school education and finance. Minister Evans understood the role that he can play and took action to explore the development of an industry development council specific to the needs of engineers. Reform to government procurement systems to promote private sector investment in training will take time. Consult Australia is working with industry partners including the Australian Constructors Association and the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA) to reach more political leaders who can effect real change. Jonathan Russell Consult Australia
The committee made 12 recommendations in its report: Recommendation 1: that the government seeks recommendations from the Chief Scientist about how it can best continue to support the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses. Recommendation 2: that the government works through the Council of Australian Governments to promote science, technology, engineering and maths ability in states and territories. Recommendation 3: that the government requests the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, or a similar body, to investigate the reason why attrition rates for Vocational Education and Training courses in engineering trades are so high. Based on the findings of this study, the committee recommends that the government work with Vocational Education and Training providers and the states and territories to improve completion rates. Recommendation 4: that the government considers extending funding for government supported places to all domestic students accepted into public higher education Engineering Technology programs accredited by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. Recommendation 5: that the industry committees advising universities take an active role in ensuring engineering courses are suited to industry requirements. To ensure their effectiveness, committees should include representatives with direct experience supervising and working with engineering graduates. Recommendation 6: that the government consider creating senior technical engineering roles in the Australian Public Service. This measure would ensure that highly qualified technical engineers may continue to build upon specialist knowledge while enjoying career progression in the public sector.
Recommendation 7: that the Department of Finance and Deregulation reviews the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines to ensure that the government is an informed purchaser of engineering infrastructure and that appropriate advice is provided in relation to procurement decisions that require specialist technical knowledge. Recommendation 8: that the government work with states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments to engage with engineering industry peak bodies with a view to developing measures to encourage the provision of practical, paid work experience to university students. Recommendation 9: that the government consider how it can encourage commonwealth contractors to provide graduate and cadetship programs through its procurement processes. Recommendation 10: that the government work with the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency and employers to develop targeted policies that encourage women to remain in, or return to, the engineering workforce. Recommendation 11: that the government work with Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency to continue to develop targeted policies that encourage mature engineers to remain in or return to the workforce. Recommendation 12: that the government continues to work with the states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments to make a national registration scheme for engineers a priority area for reform over the next decade.
Cross-cultural exchange AS YOU READ THIS, 11 YOUNG PROFESSIONALS FROM CONSULT AUSTRALIA MEMBER FIRMS ARE UNDERTAKING AN EXCHANGE IN JAPAN AS PART OF THE ANNUAL YOUNG PROFESSIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM (YPEP). Throughout the world there are diverse groups of individuals who have their own characteristic approach to business and distinctive mannerisms and styles of communication (both verbal and non-verbal). In the business world there are further corporate, industry and professional cultures and identities that must be navigated in occasions of cross-cultural communication. In previous years, these diverse groups of people were separated by geographic boundaries and the lack of simple mechanisms through which to communicate. This limited the incidence of cross-cultural communication and interaction to occasions where individuals met in face-to-face situations. Today, in an increasingly digital and globalised world, the importance of cross-cultural communication skills, a respect of culture and the ability to work with professionals with a different approach to business is paramount to success. To get the most out of one’s workforce, it is vital to make sure employees get the most out of their employment and can seize opportunities and new prospects when they are presented. When considering the
growing markets in Asia, our multicultural workforces and the increasing occurrence of projects that draw on the skills and knowledge from all corners of the earth, it makes social, cultural, business and economic sense to develop strong, healthy networks throughout the world. Giving staff the capability to interact with individuals from all cultures will help to drive business success. It is critical for the leaders of our firms to provide avenues and opportunities for their employees to experience and respect the business cultures of others. These opportunities will lead to friendships and it is often the friendships between individuals that foster cooperation between organisations. Professional exchange programs provide a genuine means for participants to have a cross-cultural experience, be trained in the technical and operational aspects of foreign firms, and have the opportunity to learn from and experience each other’s business and social cultures. By supporting young professionals through exchange programs, firms can develop and build long-term business relationships as well as create incentives that will assist with recruiting and retaining high performing staff.
The Young Professionals Exchange Program (YPEP) is an annual exchange run between Consult Australia and the Association of Japanese Consulting Engineers (AJCE). It began in 1996, as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Consult Australia (then known as the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia) and the AJCE in October 1995 to facilitate closer ties between the two associations. Participating young professionals undertake a three-week training program which includes technical, social and cultural activities. In 2012, 11 young engineers from Consult Australia member firms successfully applied to participate in the exchange. The young professionals specialised in: road; water; electrical; structural; and process engineering. Consult Australia thanks participating member firms: AECOM; Arup; Aurecon; BG&E; Brown Consulting; Beca; MWH Australia; URS; and Worley Parsons for supporting the next generation of leaders in this exchange. Knowledge, respect, engagement and friendship go a long way in bridging cultural divides and driving genuine business success. Gillian O’Young Consult Australia
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Symposium and Gala Dinner wrap-up We would like to take this opportunity to again thank those who joined us for our 2012 Symposium. The event featured high profile speakers, hand-picked to give attendees fresh ideas, techniques and perspectives. Over 130 people attended from sole-practitioners through to large firms, industry bodies and associations and government agencies. The feedback they provided was overwhelmingly positive. Gala Dinner Consult Australia, co-hosts Aurecon, Golder Associates and Opus and special event sponsor, Standards Australia, held a very special Gala Dinner on Thursday, 19 July to celebrate 60 years of the Association. The evening payed homage to our rich history and recognised the firms and individuals who have generously given their time and expertise to help shape Consult Australia into the influential body that it is today. Special presentations were made to Life Members and Past Presidents of Consult Australia before the evening was wrapped up with some fantastic entertainment.
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Life members (left to right): Dennis Sheehan; Graham Campbell; Wayne Costin; Jim Dunstan; Malcolm Lehmann; Richard Green; Roy Hardcastle; Peter Hein; John Mullen; John Laurie; Harold Richards; Dale McBean; Stephen Richmond; Barry Nielsen; David Singleton; Michael Thomas; and John Miles.
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Past Presidents (left to right): Dennis Sheehan; David Singleton; Graham Campbell; Barry Nielsen; John Miles; Dale McBean; Roy Hardcastle; John Laurie; Harold Richards; and Peter Hein with Consult Australia CEO, Megan Motto.
60th Anniversary Gala Dinner co-hosts
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Amy Lowe State Manager – NSW & ACT Phone: (02) 9922 4711 Adrress: Level 6, 50 Clarence Street Sydney NSW 2000 Email: email@example.com
NSW POLICY UPDATE
ACT POLICY UPDATE
Realising a Better Sydney 2051: Consult Australia recently partnered with Regional Development Australia (RDA) to hold a workshop to help industry prepare a 40-year plan for Sydney. With the help of a specialist futurist facilitator, discussions were held around three potential broad scenarios for Sydney’s future: a compact city; business as usual; and a decentralised city extending to outer regions. The workshop was well attended by senior industry professionals. A paper will be produced detailing the outcome of the workshop.
ActewAGL – reduction in water supply: The ACT Buildings committee are currently discussing the issue of reduced water supply by ActewAGL, a discussion which covers issues around fire and life safety systems within buildings. The committee is currently preparing an issue paper for submission on this issue.
NSW RECENT EVENTS Professional Indemnity (PI) Pathway breakfast seminar: This breakfast seminar was facilitated by PI Pathway member, Bovill Risk & Insurance Consultants (BRIC). Broking Manager, Darren Pavic gave an informative presentation on professional indemnity insurance explaining the ins and outs of professional indemnity insurance, how important risk management is and how these things fit together. Attended by over 55 people, this was a great event and we received some very positive feedback.
NSW OTHER NEWS Smart Cities event series: The NSW Division will be holding a series of seminars throughout 2013 which will look at a range of aspects of our cities leading up to 2050 and beyond. We will tackle issues such as: roads and transport; waste; human resources; and sustainability to name a few. More details will be provided in due course. NSW DIVISION GOLD SPONSORS:
Inquiry into health and safety laws on Canberra building sites: Former Public Service Commissioner, Lynelle Briggs is leading a major inquiry into health and safety laws on Canberra’s building sites. The inquiry comes in the wake of the fourth workplace death in Canberra since December 2011. The ACT Division will be presenting a position paper to the inquiry panel, who will report its findings and recommendations to the AttorneyGeneral in November.
ACT RECENT EVENTS ACT Mini Symposium: This inaugural event was a huge success with approximately 80 people in attendance. The day commenced with a tendering and contracts seminar held by Bryan Ahern from East Cliff Capability, followed by streamed sessions on WHS harmonisation by WorkSafe ACT; and an outline of obligations under the new legislation which came into effect in January this year. A number of speakers also discussed the benefits of low carbon living and provided detailed information on how it benefits government and industry. Our keynote presenter for the day was Economic Development Directorate, Director-General and Land Development Agency CEO, Mr David Dawes. Due to the popularity and extremely positive feedback, this event will be held annually. We look forward to seeing you at the 2013 ACT Mini Symposium.
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QLD POLICY UPDATE Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR): The QLD Division met with TMR Senior Executives in June and the Quality of Documentation was once again discussed. Feedback has previously been provided by TMR and comments sought. This is an ongoing focus area for industry and we will seek to assist the department in developing methods for improvement in this area. We also met with Director-General, Michael Caltabiano in July. Consult Australia was encouraged to assist TMR in driving the Value For Money (VFM) agenda. Other recent TMR engagement includes: Consult Australia involvement in a Brownfield Design Guidelines working group; feedback from members on traffic engineering pre-qualification; and input into TMR’s Performance Reporting Guidelines. If you have any items to add to future TMR meeting agendas, please contact Consult Australia’s QLD State Manager, Stacey Rawlings. Department of Public Works (DPW): With a view to developing a stronger engagement with DPW, Consult Australia representatives Satyajit Datar (GHD) and Evelyn Storey (Aurecon) met with Minister Flegg’s Chief of Staff, Fraser Stephen. DPW are supportive of strong industry engagement and we will look to meet with senior executives of the department soon. DPW have written to Consult Australia to advise that a review of the State Procurement Policy (SPP) will be completed between September and November this year. Consultation for this review will commence soon and we will be seeking our members input into the feedback we provide. Other engagement: A meeting request has been sent to Brisbane City Council to discuss procurement. We encourage all Queensland members to continue to notify us of any concerns they have with procurement processes they have experienced around the state.
QLD RECENT EVENTS QLD Property Industry Outlook - government view and initiatives to stimulate the property sector: The property industry is one of the largest employers in the state and for consultants in the built and natural environment. Therefore the health of the sector impacts significantly on business success. The September QLD breakfast event explored Queensland’s property market and provided some insight to the future for the industry and what this might mean for the consulting industry. QLD industry breakfast with Transport and Main Roads Director-General: What will the 2012 Queensland budget mean for the state’s infrastructure? How will projects be delivered? Will the State Government job losses have an impact on delivery? What will be the onflow to the private sector? We were joined in October by Michael Caltabiano to discuss these and other questions.
Stacey Rawlings State Manager – QLD Phone: (07) 3020 3403
Address: Level 2, 143 Coronatin Drive Milton QLD 4064
QLD OTHER NEWS We are pleased to welcome St George Bank as a QLD Division sponsor. They join Autodesk and BST Global and we look forward to working with them over the next 12 months.
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TAS POLICY UPDATE Southern Water contracts: Consultants from member firms within Tasmania have raised concerns regarding Southern Water contracts. We have sent a letter outlining our concerns and will be addressing these issues via correspondence between Consult Australia’s Senior Legal Policy Advisor, Robin Shuck, VIC & TAS State Manager, Zeina Nehme and three representatives from our member firms: SKM; Pitt & Sherry; and GHD.
policies operate and the implications for professionals. He also provided strategies to minimise expenditure on professional indemnity insurance and at the same time reduce risk. Members had the opportunity to ask questions on changes in the professional indemnity insurance market and common gaps in insurance cover. Thank you to Pitt & Sherry for hosting this event. Zeina Nehme
TAS RECENT EVENTS Are you managing the risk in your practice? On Friday, 21 September, the TAS Division held a risk and professional indemnity insurance health check for its members. Darren Pavic from Bovill Risk and Insurance Consultants (BRIC) conducted a presentation to discuss the unique way in which professional indemnity
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State Manager – VIC & TAS Phone: (03) 8699 7700 Adrress: Level 6, 1 Southbank Boulevarde Soutbank VIC 3006
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VIC POLICY UPDATE Zeina Nehme State Manager – VIC & TAS Phone: (03) 8699 7700 Adrress: Level 6, 1 Southbank Boulevarde Soutbank VIC 3006 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting with Shadow Minister for Roads: The Victorian Division Committee recently met with Shadow Minister for Roads, Tim Pallas, to discuss the issues outlined in our submission to Victorian Labors’ call for feedback as part of the development of a Victorian jobs and investment plan. The development of this plan is an important step supporting long-term policy development for a more productive and sustainable Victoria, and led to a boardroom lunch held on Monday, 15 October with Tim and Consult Australia members to progress the issues. Development Deed Standard Conditions: A number of our members have raised concerns regarding the retail water agencies Development Deed Standard Conditions dating from 2009. We have written to seek further discussions with the relevant Melbourne water agencies about this Deed with a view to finding a mutually beneficial solution.
ways to get their brains on board’, Isabelle discussed five neuroscience insights to work smarter with your staff, your board and your external stakeholders.
VIC OTHER NEWS Bridge Building Competition: The VIC Division recently sponsored the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition at Scienceworks on 8 August. Hundreds of students from across Australia and New Zealand put their balsa wood, string, cardboard and glue-based bridge designs to the test. Against fierce competition from schools across Victoria, Kaniva College from Horsham secured first place in the Victorian leg of Aurecon’s international bridge building competition.
Vic Roads: On Thursday, 20 September, the Victorian committee held a workshop with VIC Roads to engage in discussion and progress issues discussed at our previous meetings. The Division will be meeting with Vic Roads on a bi-monthly basis.
VIC RECENT EVENTS Are you managing the risk in your practice? On Tuesday, 21 August the VIC Division hosted a risk and professional indemnity insurance ‘health check’ for members. Speakers Laurence Gottlieb and Wendy Poulton from PI Pathway Partner, Planned Professional Risk Services provided practical tips for managing risk within practices. Members also had the opportunity to ask questions regarding changes in the professional indemnity insurance market and common gaps in insurance cover. Prospering in Challenging Times: Resilience expert, Michael Licenblat and Strategy Delivery Partners, John Houlihan presented to the VIC Division on Tuesday, 25 September, outlining how to become pressure-proof and accelerate your results in uncertain times, and also how to engage and deliver your people to deliver on commitments. The Neuroscience of Influence: On Wednesday, 17 October, Mackerel Sky Director, Isabelle Phillips, joined us for an interactive session on the Neuroscience of Influence. Focusing on topics such as ‘don’t just get your staff’s hearts and minds on board; learn the best
Chris Paxino (Hyder Consulting) with third prize winners of the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition The winning bridge at the Victorian competition withstood an incredible 135.7kg and was designed by Charlie Maddern, Mark Merrett and Anna Fay from Kaniva College in Western Victoria. The team were awarded $1,500 for their school. Yeshivah College students took second prize, with a bridge that held 77kg before collapsing, winning $100 each and $1,000 for their school. In third place was Gisborne Secondary College’s team, with a load of 56kg. Consult Australia sponsored the prize of $500 for their school and $50 for each team member. Thank you to Hyder Consulting Structural Engineer, Chris Paxino for taking part as a judge for the competition.
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WA POLICY UPDATE WALGA: Consult Australia WA Committee member, David Porter and Consult Australia’s Senior Legal Policy Advisor, Robin Schuck had a very positive meeting with Darren Turner from the WA Local Government Association (WALGA). We have agreed to keep working together to better promote AS4122 as opportunities arise and David has already reported back on some positive developments with specific council contracts he’s aware of, which is a great result. Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia: The PTA have just tendered for a panel of consultants using contractual terms that Consult Australia commented on. They have advised that their Agreement is non-negotiable at this time, but that Consult Australia will have a seat at the table for stakeholder feedback when they next review their standard Agreement. Contractual relationships: The WA Division has been approached by a number of members who would like us to include private sector contractual relationships for the resources sector and specifically oil and gas exploration clients, on the policy agenda. This will certainly be on our radar going forward. We are also asking members firms who are interested in joining the new Resource Committee to contact WA State Manager, Jo Howlett. BEDP meeting with Building Management and Works (BMW): Consult Australia representatives, Jose Granado from Wood & Grieve Engineers and Consult Australia’s Senior Legal Policy Advisor, Robin Schuck met to discuss a range of issues of concern to consultants, including the potentially damaging consequences where a risk may be uninsured. The issues discussed at the meeting included:
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• Contracting out of proportionate liability, as provided by the Civil Liability Act 2002 (addendum 2); • The use of indemnities (clause 28) and warranties (clause 37); and • There being no limitation on liability under the contract. In addressing these concerns, the representatives of BMW and State Solicitors explained that contracting out of proportionate liability is legal and has never been a problem in their experience. They also suggested that the effort to cap liability is substantial for them, and that they’re not aware of caps existing elsewhere. In response, representatives of the built environment industries, including representatives of the insurance broking industry, suggested that these changes to the contract may result in uninsurable risks, and also explained that their assertion that caps on liability do not exist elsewhere is incorrect. Consult Australia is working with BEDP through these issues, noting also that any changes to the advice from State Solicitors will impact on standard contracts issued by other Western Australian government agencies.
WA UPCOMING EVENTS Consult Australia boardroom luncheons: The WA Division is looking to engage with West Australia’s political leadership over boardroom lunches to be held quarterly at Jackson McDonald Lawyers. Further details will be made available in due course. WA DIVISION PLATINUM SPONSOR:
WA DIVISION STRATEGIC PARTNER:
Josephine Howlett State Manager – WA Phone: (08) 9324 3383
Address: Old Swan Brewery 173 Mounts Bay Road Perth WA 6000
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SA POLICY UPDATE
Jan Irvine State Manager – SA & NT Phone: (08) 8216 1177 Adrress: Level 3, 70 Light Square Adelaide SA 5000 Email: email@example.com
Meeting with Treasurer and the South Australian Government Financing Agency (SAFA): Consult Australia met with the Treasurer’s Chief of Staff and a representative of SAFA on Tuesday, 7 August regarding procurement policy, and particularly the Guidelines for the Limitation of Liability of Suppliers, Consultants and Contractors issued by Treasury. We acknowledged that there is already scope for liability to be limited, other than for the seven heads of liability that cannot be limited under the Guidelines and acknowledged that we accept and agree with five of these heads of liability being unlimited. However, we contested the inability to limit liability for loss of or damage to tangible property, or for any liability to a third party (heads two and four). We were pleased to note it was accepted by SAFA that the legal advice underpinning these two heads of liability is contested, and they may be reviewed when a subsequent version of these guidelines is drafted. Dialogue on this matter, together with risk assessment practices and our continued endorsement for the ongoing use of AS4122-2010 as the preferred contract for engaging consultants is expected to continue. Meeting with Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE): On Thursday, 5 July 2012 the Division met with DMITRE Deputy Chief Executive, Resources and Energy, Dr Paul Heithersay to discuss opportunities for Consult Australia and DMITRE to work together more closely. Discussions focused on improving delivery in terms of both capacity and process. Consult Australia indicated we would be pleased to assist the Department via a reference group or similar to improve, instigate quality and innovate better streamlining of government process practices to enable higher output and better outcomes. Discussions with DMITRE continue. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA): Consult Australia SA & NT State Manager, Jan Irvine, together with member firm representatives in the field met with the EPA on 16 August to clarify mechanisms around s.83A of the SA EPA Act - what is ‘reasonably practicable’, ‘vicinity of the site’ ‘reasonably practicable timeframe’. On voicing our concerns, we were advised new draft guidelines for reporting of site contamination will be released late in 2012. As a result of the meeting it was agreed Consult Australia is well placed to be included as an industry representative body, that notification of the release of the draft guidelines will be forwarded to us, and that we would be included in any industry reference group in regard to the new guidelines.
implementation of long term plans and achieve results in our city, (including funding models and procurement processes) also featured in the discussion. The lunch was fully subscribed and was a very successful event. September industry breakfast: At the September industry breakfast held on Thursday, 20 September the SA Division welcomed guest speaker Deputy Chair of the Economic Development Board of South Australia, Mr Kevin Osborn. In an ‘on the couch’ interview, attendees were given an update on the economic outlook for SA, not only for the immediate future but also the long term. Best business practice seminars: The second in this series of best practice seminars was held on Thursday, 4 October. Proactive Strategies for Prospering in Challenging Times covered strategies to focus on practising cost control, looking at cash flow issues and provided an update on the Security of Payment Act. The series is geared to deliver powerful business strategies to small and medium firms and mid-level management staff providing professional services. October industry breakfast: Risk allocation in contracts is a long standing issue for consultants and the 18 October industry breakfast provided an overview of Consult Australia’s key concerns in this area. It also promoted constructive discussion on the practical benefits of AS4122-2010 via a panel discussion with a representatives from the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI); Planned Professional Risk Services; BRS; Lynch Meyer Lawyers; and Consult Australia.
SA OTHER NEWS We would like to thank URS for their continued support and generosity in providing an office for Consult Australia in South Australia. SA DIVISION STRATEGIC PARTNER:
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SA RECENT EVENTS September boardroom lunch: A members-only boardroom lunch was held on Wednesday, 12 September with Attorney General, Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning, the Hon. John Rau to discuss the release of the Review of Capital Cities Strategic Planning Systems by the COAG Reform Council, and the positive findings against each criterion for Adelaide. Consult Australia’s recent report, Tomorrow’s Cities Today and the implications of its recommendations in regard to South Australia - how we can achieve better
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NT RECENT EVENT Department of Construction and Infrastructure: On a recent visit to Darwin, Consult Australia’s Director of Policy, Jonathan Cartledge and SA & NT State Manager, Jan Irvine, together with NT Chair, Jaswant Deo and NT Executive Committee member, Chris Lee met with Department of Construction and Infrastructure, Project Director Engineering Services, Adil Jamil. The meeting was held in order to plan a way forward for the Department and industry to collaborate on issues as wide ranging as procurement, skills shortages, training and education and managing project pipelines. It was agreed there was much in common and further discussion on ways to work together can now commence with the new Northern Territory Government and ministers. The Division will be contacting relevant ministers with a letter of introduction and congratulations.
Forecast for consultants in the built and natural environment
NT UPCOMING EVENT NT cocktail evening: The NT Division hosted a cocktail event on Wednesday, 25 July at the Crowne Plaza Darwin, with Consult Australia’s Director of Policy, Jonathan Cartledge and Clayton Utz Senior Associate, Romi Slaven as guest speakers. The sessions provided attendees with an outline of the recent changes to the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation and an overview of Consult Australia’s key concerns in the area of risk allocation as well as the practical benefits of AS4122 in addressing these concerns. A Q&A session followed, with many questions also fielded throughout the event by both speakers proving the relevancy and importance of each of these topics. Networking opportunities were taken advantage of over the canapés and drinks at the conclusion of the presentation. The event has been noted as one of the Division’s most successful, with attendees from various government departments, Consult Australia member firms, non-members and representatives from other industry bodies.
NT OTHER NEWS
Get the latest Economic Forecast for the built and natural environment
The NT Division committee will meet in the next few weeks to discuss strategies for engaging with the incoming government and developing a schedule of meetings with relevant ministers. Members will be advised of outcomes via an upcoming edition of the NT newsletter.
Consult Australia’s 2012 Economic Forecast (previously called Outlook) provides a detailed profile of the industry and an analysis of the market for consulting firms operating in the built and natural environment. The report is now available to purchase at a special members-only rate under the bookshop tab on the Consult Australia website.
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Written by former BHP Chief Economist, Geoffrey Bills, Forecast is considered one of the most valuable economic predictors and is used by many of Australia’s largest firms. To purchase the report visit the Bookshop section of the Consult Australia website or call (02) 9922 4711.
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NSW FUTURENET NEWS Newcastle FutureNet annual dinner: This social event was well received by everyone in attendance. The theme for the evening was in keeping with the urban myth surrounding Friday, 13 with the room draped in red and black for a scary atmosphere. Guests were entertained by guest speaker Terry O’keefe and a very talented band. Personal finance breakfast event: Held at Quay Grand in Circular Quay on 8 August, this Sydney FutureNet event provided attendees with insight into the complexity of the current economic and financial environment while providing practical advice on what young professionals can, and should be doing with their money to make the most of the opportunities available. Speakers for this session included: Macquarie Private Wealth Manager, Noel Yeates; and St George Bank CIO/Head of Advance Asset Management, Patrick Farrell. Learn to Lead: Two Perspectives on Leadership: Held on Thursday, 20 September at the URS offices, this Newcastle FutureNet event gave attendees the opportunity to find out more on what it takes to be a leader. URS Australia’s Director Environment NSW and Director Defence Services, John Roosen provided a candid presentation on leadership theories and factors that affect leadership styles. How to Succeed at Success: This Sydney FutureNet event held on Thursday, 27 September at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney was an informative and interactive event focused on achieving success in your career.
ACT FUTURENET RECENT EVENTS
ACT Mini Symposium: ACT FutureNet hosted a session at the recent ACT Symposium titled, ‘How to rescue a problem project’. The session offered techniques on how to resolve projects that have experienced issues such as: design problems with financial and time implications; broken down relationships; and the inaccurate transfer of information between teams. These are all issues that consultants may face during their career and this session provided advice on how to overcome them to ultimately achieve a good outcome from a potentially dire situation.
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NSW FUTURENET BUSINESS LEADERS COURSE After a highly successful NSW Business Leaders course, you are invited to attend the NSW Awards Dinner scheduled to be held on Thursday, 22 November at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Come and celebrate industry’s up-andcoming young professionals and those who have completed this year’s Business Leaders course. Sponsored by Thiess and Crawford Recruitment, this is an awards night not to be missed!
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SA FUTURENET NEWS Inaugural SA FutureNet Business Leaders Course: The FutureNet Business Leaders course is now in its sixth year in New South Wales, third year in Queensland, and second year in Victoria. FutureNet in South Australia is pleased to be looking to hold an inaugural course in 2013 should there be sufficient interest from industry. The FutureNet Business Leaders Program offers leadership development and enhanced industry networks to enable future leaders to thrive in the changing built and natural environment. • Do you have young professionals in your organisation who you envisage leading the practice in the future? • Would your young professionals benefit from extending their networks within the built and natural environment? • Could your young professionals improve their leadership and management capabilities through soft skills training and development exercises?
SA FUTURENET RECENT EVENTS Client Relationships 101: The SA FutureNet group achieved a record attendance for the August networking event Client Relationships 101 with 160 young professionals gathering to hear strategies on how to build, strengthen and maintain great client relationships - one of the most important, yet least developed skill sets in business. This presentation was followed by a networking hour where delegates discussed the many points highlighted in the presentation by Ashley Manna of BRS.
SA FUTURENET UPCOMING EVENTS End of year networking event: This year SA FutureNet is planning a Bowls, Bevvies & BBQ event at the Adelaide Bowling Club. Keep an eye out in the coming months for further information. SA FUTURENET PLATINUM SPONSORS:
• Would you like to see your young professionals mentored by other renowned industry professionals to develop their skills? The proposed 2013 SA FutureNet Business Leaders Course would commence in May 2013 and conclude with submissions, presentation and judging in November 2013. We urge interested candidates to speak with their manager / supervisor and contact the Consult Australia’s SA State Manager, Jan Irvine for further information or to register interest.
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VIC FUTURENET RECENT EVENTS FutureNet Victoria has seen a few changes around the committee, with some old faces moving on and some fresh faces drawn to the group through its wide range of networking opportunities. We welcome new members, Mick James (Linking Melbourne Authority); Oscar Sun (SMEC) and Eloise Sargent (AECOM) and wish our outgoing members farewell. We look forward to continue working on a diverse range of FutureNet events.
VIC FUTURENET RECENT EVENTS Contracts, Claims and Consultants: On Wednesday, 15 August the FutureNet Committee hosted an event at The Apartment with Clayton Utz Partner in the Construction & Major Projects Group, Michael Earwaker. Michael has a degree in engineering and in law and has acted on a wide range of matters and disputes relating to general building, road and rail infrastructure, chemical and mineral facilities, pipelines and power generation facilities. Throughout his presentation, Michael discussed risk management issues for young professionals working in the built environment. Drawing on his many years of experience advising engineering and infrastructure professionals, Michael also provided some practical tips for dealing with some of the common legal risks that young professionals face in their day to day practise. Property vs Shares – Where Should You Invest Your Money?: In line with FutureNet Victoria diversifying its range of events, we held a Property vs Shares event on Wednesday, 10 October. Our two speakers: Bank of Melbourne’s Chief Economist, Hans Kunnen; and CBRE National Director - Valuation and Advisory Services, Peter Fay introduced two perspectives to our audience, as he considered whether young investors should focus their money towards property or shares.
VIC FUTURENET BUSINESS LEADERS COURSE The FutureNet Business Leaders Course is almost complete, with fortnightly sessions coming to a close and participants now working hard on their assignments. We look forward to the awards night to celebrate the success of our participants and a second successful year running the course. The feedback to date has been very positive and we look forward to developing more great leaders for the built and natural environment. Expressions of interest are now open for the 2013 course. Get in quick, as places are limited!. VIC FUTURENET SPONSORS:
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WA FUTURENET RECENT EVENTS
How to Work the Room: In the fourth event for the year, Futurenet WA members were able to pick up, and put immediately into practice, a variety of networking tricks from Ron Gibson, a leading authority in the field of business networking. Ron provided insight into techniques that lead to valuable and lasting connections; where to network for best results; how to follow up to capitalise on new connections made; how to keep oneâ€™s network alive; and how to turn a relationship into business. Quiz night: On Thursday, 25 October FutureNet WA will present its inaugural quiz night. With the stunning backdrop of Perth City skyline at Frasers Restaurant in Kings Park, this event promises to be a night full of entertainment, friendly rivalry, networking opportunities and the chance to win some quality prizes!
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QLD FUTURENET NEWS 2012 Consult Australia FutureNet essay competition winner announced: At our August FutureNet event we were delighted to congratulate Reanna Harper of Arup as the winner of this year’s competition. The judges were impressed with the quality of all entries. A special mention must go to the other finalists: Emma Healey (Reddog Architects); Marina Kozul (SKM); and Christian Duell (Asia Pacific Design Library). All of the finalists’ essays are available on the FutureNet website.
QLD FUTURENET RECENT EVENTS Tapping into Generational Diversity: Undeterred by an early start, a crowd just shy of 200 people attended QLD FutureNet’s inaugural breakfast event. Tapping into Generational Diversity explored the opportunities and challenges that arise through generational diversity within the workplace. The event welcomed a number of experienced industry representatives who manage and mentor younger staff on a daily basis. The attendees’ feedback was very positive, with the younger guests particularly appreciative of the opportunity to engage and network with more experienced professionals. Project Snapshots Expanding Professionalism: QLD FutureNet’s fourth event of 2012 brought together five young professionals and one senior professional to talk about some interesting projects. They broke conventional thinking to problem solve, open up possibilities, create opportunities, and expand their professional capabilities.
Thursday, 25 October: The final event for 2012 involved a senior panel of built and natural environment professionals who shared their knowledge, experience and insights about professionalism in the workplace. Each panellist was asked to share their experience and understanding of professionalism with the audience and their thoughts on how a young professional might go above and beyond expectations in the workplace. Discussion points included: • Examples from their own careers which demonstrate good or bad displays of working ‘outside the box’ of professionalism. • Sharing opinions on qualities that many young professionals could improve. • Discussing the importance of professionalism in the workplace and its correlation to career advancement and improved project outcomes. The session closed with an interactive Q&A session where attendees engaged with senior professionals in the industry.
QLD FUTURENET BUSINESS LEADERS COURSE FutureNet Business Leaders 2012 Awards Dinner: On Thursday, 22 November the Business Leaders Awards Dinner will bring this year’s course to a close. We invite you to join us in celebrating the achievements of this year’s participants and to mingle with invited guests, friends and colleagues as we announce the winner of the final team project.
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What makes Google one of the world’s best workplaces IN JUNE 2012, BRW MAGAZINE PUBLISHED ITS ANNUAL BEST PLACES TO WORK LIST. A REGULAR WINNER ACROSS WORLDWIDE RATINGS INCLUDING FORTUNE MAGAZINE’S COVETED LIST, AND THIS YEAR’S THIRD PLACE WINNER AS JUDGED BY BRW IS GOOGLE. SINCE ESTABLISHING GOOGLE IN 1998, FOUNDERS, LARRY PAGE AND SERGEY BRIN HAVE WORKED TO ENSURE THAT THE COMPANY’S SUCCESS IS GROUNDED AND SUPPORTED BY A STRONG ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE. CONSULT AUSTRALIA WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH GOOGLE AUSTRALIA’S HR BUSINESS PARTNER, SHANNON STEPHENSON TO FIND OUT WHAT MAKES IT SUCH A GREAT PLACE TO WORK.
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...Our culture in terms of management is very important to us. We make sure that Googlers can work with a high level of autonomy. Our people managers are really business coaches and this works for Google: it works for the people; the work they are doing; and the founders’ principles. Across the world, Google is regularly heralded as one of the best, or often the best place to work. What does Google do differently or better than most organisations to achieve this accolade? One of the main reasons Google receives recognition in this space is our culture of tolerating risk and failure. At Google we want our employees to seek out new opportunities, innovate and push their creative boundaries. For many companies this is seen as ‘risky business’ and not an immediate value-add to the bottom line. We recognise that risk is essentially a learning opportunity whether it works or whether it doesn’t. If supposed ‘failure’ is the outcome, then just move onto the next discovery! We understand that new projects and initiatives don’t always work out the first time around and we think this is ok. It’s ok to learn from mistakes. This culture of tolerance really gives people the freedom to innovate. We also invest a lot in hiring the right people. As part of our hiring process, we employ a ‘Smarter Than You’ principle, which we believe encourages development of the entire workforce. Essentially it comes down to making sure that new employees can bring something different to the workforce and can teach everyone, including those with expertise in other areas, something new. When hiring, we make sure that people are passionate, not only about the type of work that they will do in Google, but also those skills they have outside of their Google life. We want to make sure employees stay true to themselves. Googlers, as we call our employees, are encouraged to express themselves and we count on this. Intellectual curiosity and diverse perspectives drive our policies, our work environment, our perks and our profits. It’s this type of diversity that allows us to do amazing things. Finally, our culture in terms of management is very important to us. We make sure that Googlers can work with a high level of autonomy. Our people managers are really business coaches and this works for Google: it works for the people; the work they are doing; and the founders’ principles. To ensure your workplace is recognised, most importantly by your own staff, as a great place to work, you must really look at the background of
your workplace. Look at the philosophy and the culture to discover what works best for you. One size does not fit all! These seem to be the overarching three key principles that help ensure you get the most out of your workforce. Why are these three things so important? Well, essentially it’s what I mentioned - these principles foster a culture of innovation, which is core to the business and market we are in. At Google it’s all about information sharing and transparency and this type of workplace, supported by the right employees, allows this to happen. Really these three aspects: tolerating risk and failure; our hiring process or our focus on getting the right people; and our management process are all about aligning our culture, values and people exceptionally well. What does Google offer its employees that many other companies don’t? We believe that office space and layout is critical to a successful workforce. We encourage transparency and innovation in our workplace and within our workforce through our open and exciting office layout. The ability to communicate with one another with ease is core to the design of our buildings and spaces. There is a big emphasis on collaborative spaces where formal and informal meetings can take place. Another unique initiative we have across the worldwide Google workforce is something we call ‘20 per cent Time’. This is an initiative that actually came out of our engineering department and has spread to other employees from there. It is a very simple principle - 20 per cent of time spent at work can be used by employees to work on any idea they want to run with. These ideas could be internally focused, or just the next big thing they want to explore. This again comes back to our principle of tolerating, or better yet, encouraging employees to take risks. 20 per cent Time is not about success, but about innovation and flexibility. Employees can utilise the tools that are available to them in their current roles and build something that is of interest to them. The way in which employees engage in this time is very much open to the individual – they can come up with their own ideas, or they can collaborate on other existing projects and contribute their skills and knowledge across
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different departments and even geographical locations. Google News, Gmail and our new Google Art Project have all come out of 20 per cent Time, so it’s definitely working! What is Google’s policy/approach to flexible working practices? In terms of flexibility within the workplace, again, our offices are designed in a way that encourages staff to be flexible in their work practices. We acknowledge that the best ideas don’t always come from time spent at the desk so we have cafés, social activity areas and break-out spaces which are designed to get people moving around the offices. Many of our employees also work off laptops so they can move to a space that feels rights for them in that moment.
We acknowledge that the best ideas don’t always come from time spent at the desk so we have cafés, social activity areas and break-out spaces which are designed to get people moving around the offices. Many of our employees also work off laptops so they can move to a space that feels rights for them in that moment.
We also do not demand our employees follow a 9am to 5pm workday. Google is very much an outcome-driven working environment and so we provide flexibility to our workers when we can and when it suits. What traits does Google look for in its employees? The Google founders actually instilled some do’s and don’ts for the hiring process for Google and these are very important when it comes to growing the company. Some principles that underpin our search for the right employee include: • Hire people that are smarter than you so you can learn from them. • Hire generalists who can easily adapt to changing environments rather than looking for a very narrow skills set. Googlers often work on a wide variety of projects and change roles and locations in order to ensure they are learning and developing, so this flexibility is important.
• Hire enthusiastic, motivated and passionate people with unique interests and talents. • Hire by consensus. The decision to hire someone isn’t up to one person. The candidate must be right for the role and the company. Once a potential candidate has reached the interview process, they are interviewed with managers and potential colleagues, as well as people who aren’t in their immediate team but who represent the broad scope of potential internal clients e.g. staff from across different departments and teams as well as in different locations (through our videoconferencing system). These principles help to make sure the candidate is the best person for the position and for Google overall.
data to decide what worked best for us. The project team made observations about managers, looked for patterns, made hypotheses and tested these against different managers. From this we came up with list of traits of good managers. This list identified eight good behaviours and three pitfalls of managers, which gave the leadership team an indication of what they have to do to have teams that perform better, ensure that individuals are retained better, and that their staff are happier. Here at Google Australia, we used the data as a segue to ramp up very open and honest discussions with management teams, helping to bring important aspects to light and see where their areas for improvement strengths lay.
What approach does Google take towards people management that other managers (from a range of organisations) could use to get the best out of their staff?
Google’s diversity@google initiative encourages employees from all backgrounds to seek employment at Google. Why is a diverse workforce so important?
We have developed our workplace practices from internal studies that demonstrate what works and what makes sense for us. We undertook this process of self-discovery through an initiative out of Head Office called Project Oxygen. Of course as a data-driven company, we turned to surveys and analysed
Diversity at Google is important for so many reasons, one of which is that it reflects the global audience who use our search engine and tools. It is also about bringing in different ideas and cultures, which always leads to the creation of better products and services and is a more accurate reflection of audience.
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We offer hundreds of internal groups and clubs, many of which are actively engaged in supporting diversity initiatives within Google and our wider communities. How does Google encourage innovation and creativity whilst managing productivity? Again, we do our best to make Google a place where innovation and creativity can occur but of course we need to manage productivity as well. The ability to do this is both something the company and individual staff must monitor so it is very important in the hiring process to consider time management skills. But certainly from a company perspective, particularly with our 20 per cent Time, we want to ensure employees and ideas don’t get caught up in approvals processes or chains of command. The high levels of autonomy we provide our employees allows us to keep things moving quickly and it keeps Googlers motivated to pursue their ideas and get the job done.
Transparency is also key to ensuring workers are productive. On a weekly basis, Googlers are given the opportunity to engage with the company’s leaders and key decision makers; they are encouraged to ask for opinions and advice and also question the decisions that are made. This critical thinking really encourages creativity. These types of things help our employees stay engaged and retain the desire to be productive. In terms of logistics, we set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) from a business to an individual basis, and we have quarterly reviews for all staff. It’s about finding the right balance, which will be different for every organisation. We really do invest a lot of effort and time thinking about what makes sense for Google; what makes our employees tick and what gets them out of bed each day.
All photos by Leila Cranswick courtesy of Google Australia
On a weekly basis, Googlers are given the opportunity to engage with the company’s leaders and key decision makers; they are encouraged to ask for opinions and advice and also question the decisions that are made. This critical thinking really encourages creativity. These types of things help our employees stay engaged and retain the desire to be productive.
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VicUrban Tenancy at Goods Shed North in Melbourneâ€™s Docklands. Photo courtesy of NDY & Equiset-Grollo Group
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Delivering flexible and efficient working environments I VIVIDLY RECALL MY FATHER TAKING ME TO HIS WORKPLACE AS A CHILD. THE OFFICE HE WORKED IN WAS CONNECTED TO A NOISY CORRIDOR, HAD NO WINDOWS OR NATURAL LIGHT, WAS CLAD IN AN AWFUL GREEN VINYL AND THE STENCH OF TOBACCO HAD PERMEATED THE WALLS, FURNITURE AND BOOKS IN THE ENTIRE OFFICE. I observed that my father’s colleagues smoked inside the building and appeared to be at the same desk they no doubt were given when they first joined the company. Today, this memory sits juxtaposed to the workplaces of large and progressive organisations on which I collaborate as a professional services engineer. The Melbourne CBD office market is a case in point. It has seen significant levels of new development over recent years with an increase in the number of Green Star projects entering the market driven by market sector demands for better and more efficient workspace. Tenants are also using their accommodation strategy to support specific organisational values such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Accordingly, the traditional view of the world when it comes to corporate realestate is changing, with an emphasis on more sophisticated tenant briefs to promote flexible and efficient building and engineering services design over and above base Green Star rating requirements. With these workplace shifts underway, management styles and workplace designs
are undergoing a transformation. The requirement to have efficient, robust, flexible and sustainable building services is now becoming the norm for commercial office space. Recent studies by Velndoun+Co. suggest that Activity Based Working (ABW), a term coined by corporate real estate professionals, is a result of the management style evolution. ABW focuses on a cultural management style shift away from tight control to flexible management and working arrangements. No longer will your manager expect to see you at your desk to know that you’re working. The workplace of the future will encourage you to roam the office and interact with others. ABW includes a range of furniture types and built zones to suit the work activity that you or your team undertake over the course of a day. The idea is that certain workspaces better support certain types of work activity. Examples include specific tables for meetings, project rooms for projects, quiet rooms for focus work, cafés for sharing and exchange, traditional work stations for long term work and single person booths for innovating. The notion of a traditional workspace is being challenged.
VicUrban Tenancy at Goods Shed North in Melbourne’s Docklands Photo courtesy of NDY & Equiset-Grollo Group
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Award-winning Media House in Melbourne. Photo by David McArthur - Parallax Photography courtesy of NDY
No longer will your manager expect to see you at your desk to know that you're working. Recent projects suggest that commercial real estate teams are adopting ABW with enthusiasm. At Macquarie Bank @ 1 Shelly Street Sydney, ABW has been incorporated into the design. Similarly, at NAB Bourke Street, Melbourne and Medibank Bourke Street, Melbourne, ABW initiatives are deliberate inclusions to facilitate a comfortable, collaborative and productive environment. To facilitate the flexible ABW approach within the context of Green Star rated buildings, the building services must be designed to accommodate the migration of occupants within the tenancy through a working day in an efficient and sustainable way. Whilst new buildings are more able to adapt to the requirements of ABW, fit-outs within existing buildings can also adopt many of these functional designs. Fundamental to supporting a ABW is a robust and flexible Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system underpinned by digital business systems that cater for the fluid working environment. Simply providing building wide WiFi systems is insufficient to maximise the benefits of ABW. Seamless integration of the businesses technology to the ABW audio visual systems also enhances the flexibility and efficiency of the workspace. Integrated AV systems, such as common digital workspaces and concurrent document editing, enable people to collaborate at a new level. Centralising information and minimising duplication are keys to more efficient workplaces, and appropriate business systems are fundamental to supporting ABW. Enhancing occupant comfort with high levels of acoustic treatment, increased fresh air rates and flexible lighting solutions also support the ABW. These enhancements provide a platform for increased staff productivity and collaboration. Despite the increased challenges in achieving the desired flexibility and efficiency in an existing building, there remains a significant
Award-winning Media House in Melbourne Photo by David McArthur â€“ Parallax Photography courtesy of NDY
opportunity to apply revised designs to support ABW. Existing buildings may carry legacy issues with compliance to older fire regulations, air conditioning, fresh air limitations and communication systems that may be designed for traditional fixed position workplace design, however modest levels of investment can markedly improve the flexibility of the workspace. Notwithstanding these challenges, a mobile and collaborative workspace with unconventional work point settings has the capacity to reduce business outgoings whilst simultaneously improving output and performance. ABW is a significant paradigm shift in the office environment resulting in behavioural changes. By reinventing the office via efficient and flexible service design, corporate real estate teams and workplace consultants are applying sharing factors to work point settings and as a result, organisations incur reduced operational costs by decreasing their total required leased area. In essence, fewer un-occupied spaces and better utilisation of space over all promotes a more efficient and productive business. Ben Mason Associate Norman Disney & Young
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Do fence me in YEARS AGO, RESEARCHERS SPENT SOME TIME WATCHING STUDENTS’ BEHAVIOUR IN A SCHOOL YARD. THE SCHOOL WAS IN THE CENTRE OF A FIELD WITH NO PERMANENT FENCE AROUND IT. AT PLAY TIMES THE STUDENTS NEVER VENTURED VERY FAR FROM THE SCHOOL BUILDING, DESPITE HAVING THIS ENORMOUS FIELD TO PLAY IN. At some point, a fence was constructed at a distance from the school. Immediately the students began to play at their new boundaries – feeling more courageous and empowered to do so. Whilst employees are not children and work is not play, this study provides useful parallels as we consider how to get the most from and bring out the best in our workforce. In the same way that children need visible boundaries that provide safety and protection, so too do employees in a professional services firm where they are challenged to improve their performance. It is the way in which the boundaries are created that is critical to a firm’s overall success.
Vision goes hand-in-hand with leadership. In today’s uncertain environment, employees look to leaders to provide direction. These business leaders must make the company vision their own and motivate others to do the same. the reference point for employees to ensure what’s important is not compromised. Governance
Creating boundaries for employees is obviously far more complicated than constructing a fence in a school yard. However in my experience, there are four sides to every ‘fence’ from an employment perspective: vision; values; governance; and individual alignment.
Governance, and the processes that underpin it, is fundamental to providing a quality service – one that is consistent, competitive and scalable. An organisation must have governance so employees work safely within regulatory requirements and licences and yet exceed client expectations.
Just as a school fence may be seen as limiting or restrictive, governance can sometimes be perceived as ‘getting in the way’ of business growth, creating unnecessary bureaucracy that cripples a business’ ability to adapt however, Powerful and nimble governance can facilitate performance and innovation – it creates space for employees to tap into stored intellectual property and design tailored solutions. Once employees see this value it is easier to encourage discipline and compliance in their use of business systems.
Without a clearly articulated vision, we are a collection of individuals fighting for our own purpose – like kids in a school yard. A vision creates focus, it provides a sense of direction that motivates and unites people with a sense of greater purpose and shared achievement. Vision can inspire and ignite passion, action and performance. Vision goes hand-in-hand with leadership. In today’s uncertain environment, employees look to leaders to provide direction. These business leaders must make the company vision their own and motivate others to do the same. We want our leaders to hold employees to account, to be authentic and to act with integrity. As role models, these leaders are the people who bring out the best in others, who drive performance and challenge employees to reach their full potential. Values The second side to this fence is our values and culture. They set the benchmark of what are acceptable or expected behaviours in a professional services firm. They create a sense of how together we want to achieve success. In successful firms, values and culture are enduring and defining and provide
Individual alignment This is often the hardest part of the fence to put in place. The challenge is how to connect each individual to the vision and set up clear performance goals that bring the business strategy to life. It is also about providing interesting, challenging work so that individuals get a sense of achievement both in terms of the company and for their own personal growth. Without this alignment, employees will come to a point in their careers that they jump the fence and leave. To help retain employees, the ways in which a firm rewards and recognises performance must appeal to its own people – and this system must be transparent.
As in the school example, where the fence gave students the confidence to go further than they had done before, these four sides of our professional fence have the same potential to inspire action and performance. Let us consider carefully how these boundaries are built and also how they are maintained, because without them we will certainly fail to realise the full potential of our people. Joanne Nugent Director of People and Corporate Sustainability Parsons Brinckerhoff
Teamwork and collaboration THE TERM ‘COLLABORATION’ IS BECOMING PART OF OUR INDUSTRY’S DAY-TO-DAY VERNACULAR. HERE, WESTFIELD SYDNEY’S PROJECT DESIGN DIRECTOR, GLEN PIDGEON TALKS ABOUT COLLABORATION IN PRACTICE AND HOW IT WAS USED TO DELIVER ONE OF THE CITY’S MOST ICONIC NEW BUILDINGS. GLEN PIDGEON WESTFIELD PROJECT DESIGN DIRECTOR
Using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and REVIT at our weekly team meetings and maintaining non-hierarchical, interactive face-to-face communication, allowed us to effectively collaborate and work as one cohesive unit. As projects become larger and more complex, ensuring there is a leadership team and style that will get the most out of a workforce is paramount to success. Today, communication, collaboration and teamwork are all needed to turn a complex vision, such as that of Westfield Sydney into a reality. These factors were at the front of our minds from the very beginning of the Westfield Sydney project, from the design stage, construction and tenancy stages, right through to the opening. Given there was in excess of 10,000 working drawings produced over multiple disciplines, and over 200 individual design professionals working on the project at any one time from multiple locations, you can imagine what a task this was.
The Westfield design team was made up of 35 architects, engineers and technicians who worked on the detailed documentation for the project.
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The full project team for Westfield Sydney included developers (client representatives), Westfieldâ€™s design and construction teams, Westfield Centre Management, Westfield Leasing and 40 consultancies. With so many different parties working on the project, effective communication was absolutely critical to our success. Each and every team member across the Westfield architect and technician groups were empowered to co-ordinate directly with their counterparts in external consultancies. A key part of my role as Project Design Director was acting as the conduit between the other Westfield divisions and executive management. I was also responsible for controlling the flow of information in a way that was manageable for the team to interpret and implement. In order to communicate effectively, assessing the appropriateness and effectiveness of how information was delivered was critical. Using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and REVIT at our weekly team meetings and maintaining non-hierarchical, interactive face-toface communication, allowed us to effectively collaborate and work as one cohesive unit. The Westfield building needed to adapt to the requirements of incoming tenants which led to some significant challenges. The building was still being leased during the construction process so any changes that were made had to be incorporated efficiently in order to eliminate any loss of time. It was a complex and multi-faceted project which meant it was critical that the team working on it was able to cope with changes to designs and plans. The design team was made up of 35 architects, engineers and technicians who worked on the detailed documentation for the project. They also serviced the daily needs of the other divisions on an as-required basis for: schemes and sketches for alternate options; preparation of leasing sketches and lease plans; construction
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The Retail Podium was comprised of seven levels of predominantly fashion and food retail which added up to a total of 39,000m2 Certified 5 Star Green Star rating area. The existing structure for this podium was retained and extensively modified in Centrepoint and Skygarden, and the new connecting structure was built between the two to create the full retail floor plate.
Requests For Information (RFIs); and services co-ordination. Our internal design team was divided into two groups: retail; and commercial. Each team was assigned a project design manager. Team leaders then allocated responsibilities for the primary disciplines of: structure; services; faรงade; and interiors. Consultants were managed by one of the two project design managers and co-ordination between the teams occurred on a daily basis. Westfield Sydney was divided into three distinct zones - the Retail Podium; 100 Market Street; and 85 Castlereagh Street - that were each essentially treated as separate projects with separate project codes and budgets. The Retail Podium was comprised of seven levels of predominantly fashion and food retail which added up to a total of 39,000m2 Certified 5 Star Green Star rating area. The existing structure for this podium was retained and extensively modified in Centrepoint and Skygarden, and the new connecting structure was built between the two to create the full retail floor plate. Through this section of the project, the key constraints were the existing floor to floor levels, and the need for sections of the building to remain operational whilst our teams were demolishing and re-building. 100 Market Street is comprised of 10 levels of office space, totalling 29,000m2 with 3,000m2 of floor plates, and is leased to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Westfield Australia.
The floor plates were extensively remodelled with an extension of the building on the Market Street face. New, full-height atriums were also cut into the building on the north and south. Interconnecting stairs were introduced on the south side of the building to provide connectivity between the floors and the original precast faรงade was removed and a new curtain wall installed. 100 Market Street has a Certified 6 Star Green Star design rating and the as-built rating is currently being assessed. 85 Castlereagh Street, located directly above the old Imperial Arcade site, is comprised of 25 levels of office space leased to JPMorgan, Westfield Corporate, LFG Group and Allen & Overy Lawyers. It covers 33,000m2 with 1,485m2 floor plates in a unique elliptical floor plate. The commercial building is serviced by a large foyer which is referred to as the Sky Lobby. The Sky Lobby is located on level
seven and is accessed from a smaller street level lobby off Castlereagh Street by four shuttle lifts. This section of the project has a Certified 6 Star Green Star design rating and is similarly undertaking assessment for the as-built rating. As part of a leadership team, getting the most out of your workforce is about encouraging genuine teamwork and collaboration. This can be a complex endeavour, but Westfield Sydney is a fantastic example of what a successful collaboration between teams can produce. Glen Pidgeon Project Design Director Westfield Sydney
All photos courtesy of Westfield Sydney
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Real leaders look for the best in people REAL LEADERS LOOK FOR THE BEST IN THEIR PEOPLE EVERY DAY. THE FORMER CEO OF GE, JACK WELCH EXPRESSED IT VERY WELL WHEN HE SAID, “THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB YOU HAVE IS GROWING YOUR PEOPLE, GIVING THEM A CHANCE TO REACH THEIR DREAMS.” Unfortunately so many people, including leaders, look for the worst in others first. Australia’s ‘tall poppy syndrome’ causes us to cut down anyone who aspires to greatness and success, and look for what’s wrong rather than what’s right. I have had clients respond to my question, “Do you tell people when they are doing a good job?” with “No, they would get up themselves. Anyway, I would let them know when they were doing something wrong!” Recently, a leading financial institution decided to stop investing in cultural change programs and focus instead on boosting technical skills to ensure employees are able to prove their value to the company. One would think that the people in that organisation were hired for their skills, experience and competencies and because the organisation had determined that they would add value from the outset. The hidden message in this institution’s new approach is, “We are not sure you add value, so you need to prove to us all over again that you do!” In my opinion, this creates uncertainty, confusion and mistrust and is not the best recipe for engagement, teamwork, productivity and profitability. Furthermore, technical skills are much easier to learn compared to behavioural competencies. These competencies are known as
soft skills, but ironically they are the ones that deliver hard results and are essential to leading people effectively.
Talking is easy. Extraordinary leaders live their messages. They walk the talk and above all else, they seek to inspire others.
I believe the problem with this style of management is that it operates from a fear of failure, limited thinking and an inherent lack of understanding and respect of differences.
Most human beings are good people. They do not wake up in the morning and ask themselves the question, “What can I do today to upset my co-workers and my boss? What can I do to undermine my own credibility at work? How can I damage my organisation’s reputation?” Most mistakes people make are due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the bigger picture.
If someone is late for a meeting, the first thought is that they are rude; if someone makes a mistake on their expenses, we think they are trying to rort the system; and if they miscommunicate, we think they don’t know what they are talking about or are purposely trying to mislead others! What if we reversed our thinking, and sought the best in each of those situations? We would then potentially think that the person who is late may have too much work, or has an ill family member and therefore needs more support; the person with the incorrect expense report may have inadvertently highlighted flaws in the organisation’s processes; and the person who has miscommunicated needs coaching or training on how to communicate more effectively with those who have a different style to him/her! This does not mean that leaders should overlook those who are not performing well. It does mean that they should be courageous and honest enough to deal with poor performance on a timely basis. It also means making the hard decisions when needed.
Seek to help your people be the best they can be by believing in them, giving them the training and development to succeed, and the tools which will enable them to be the best they can be. What would your organisation and the community in which you live look like, if each and every one of us did our part to be an inspirational leader every day, encouraging people to be better employees and better human beings? We can curse the darkness or we can light a candle. Choose to shine every day! Avril Henry Avril Henry Pty Limited
The best way to lead and motivate others is to model the behaviour you wish to see. As Father Chris Riley from Youth Off The Streets once told me,”The most effective way to lead others is to lead by example and be prepared to provide ‘personal evidence’ that you are committed to the very things you ask others to do!”
Seek to help your people be the best they can be by believing in them, giving them the training and development to succeed, and the tools which enable them to be the best they can be.
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The mental health and profit correlation ORGANISATIONS MUST ADAPT TO CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS. THIS PROCESS OF ADAPTATION IS OFTEN DRIVEN BY A QUEST TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND PROFITABILITY. TODAY, IT’S WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS TO FOCUS ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF EMPLOYEES AS WELL AS PERFORMANCE. IT HAS BEEN SHOWN THAT ORGANISATIONS THAT FOCUS ON BOTH OF THESE ELEMENTS ARE 220 PER CENT MORE LIKELY TO BE IN THE TOP QUARTILE OF PROFITABILITY THAN THOSE THAT FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE ALONE.
Today, caring for the mental health of staff is about much more than the fluffy stuff. Here, I consider some of the costs associated with ignoring mental health. Negative mental health costs The Medibank publication, Sick at Work found that 34 per cent of all employee-rated lost productivity occurs due to depression and stress disorders. A report commissioned by the International Labour Organisation in Geneva also estimates that up to 40 per cent of employee turnover can be attributed to stress. Despite this, 70 per cent of Australian workers believe that their workplace does not offer programs to support their mental and emotional wellbeing. Positive mental health productivity The benefits of facilitating a positive mood appear self-evident, but do they translate to productivity and profit improvement? Shawn Achor’s Harvard Business Review (February 2010) article found that workers with a positive mood are 300 per cent more creative, 31 per cent more productive, and sell 37 per cent more. So, how do we create a culture that promotes both mental health and performance? The answer is, through positive leadership. Successful leadership will bring about successful change, but it’s hard to define what style of leadership is best. I consider successful leaders to promote the following five strategies: 1. ‘We’ trumps ‘me’: Ideas workers are motivated by purpose. Leaders who can communicate their company mission in a compelling way will increase the group’s energy. Daniel Pink’s book, Drive demonstrates that purpose is a key ingredient of sustained performance. In 2011 the ‘R U OK? at Work’ survey found that within, only 27 per cent of highly stressed agree with the statement that ‘my organisational purpose energises me,’ compared with 66 per cent of low stressed workers. When looking at emotional support, 54 per cent of highly stressed employees believed that there was someone at work that cared about them as a person, compared to 81 per cent of low stress employees. 2. Acknowledge progress (and setbacks): What motivates employees on a day-to-day basis is the knowledge they are making progress on meaningful work. In her book, The Progress Principle, Teresa Amabile found that when a leader recognised small wins it ignited joy, engagement, and creativity at work. In Australia, only 32 per cent of highly stressed employees were satisfied with the employee recognition practices of their organisation, compared to 71 per cent of low stressed employees. Whilst early intervention is an essential element of preventing psychological injury, only 40 per cent of highly stressed employees believe their employer has systems and management practices in place that stop little problems turning into big problems, compared with 68 per cent of low stress employees.
3. Encourage physical health: In their book, The Power of Full Engagement Jim Loeher and Tony Schwartz demonstrate that the linkage between health and productivity is extremely strong. The survey showed that 73 per cent of low stressed workers agreed that ‘my organisation encourages physical wellbeing’, compared with 42 per cent of highly stressed employees. It also showed that whilst 91 per cent of low stressed workers felt physically and emotionally safe at work, only 43 per cent of highly stressed workers did. 4. Mastery focus: Daniel Pink’s book, Drive also shows that ideas workers are also motivated by mastery and autonomy. In Australia, 66 per cent of low stress workers were satisfied overall with the growth and development opportunities of their employer, compared to 34 per cent of high stress employees. Whilst 89 per cent of low stress employees were satisfied with the amount of control and involvement they had in their work, only 47 per cent of highly stressed employees were. 5. Invest time wisely: Employees who use their strengths, and have discretion about when and how they work, enjoy the most positive moods. Not surprisingly, 70 per cent of low stress workers agreed that their supervisor understood their strengths and encouraged them to use them, compared to 42 per cent of highly stressed employees. When considering time management, 84 per cent of low stressed workers said that overall they were happy with the work life balance practices of their employer compared to 42 per cent of low stressed employees. Leadership that optimises mental health is no different to the leadership that optimises sustained performance. Enhancing mental health in the workplace is not a soft and fuzzy ‘nice to do’ concept. It greatly reduces the costs of absenteeism and presenteeism and creates an employee mindset and energy level that thrives through change. Graeme Cowan Author Back from the Brink book series
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Change management feel your way forward HILL + KNOWLTON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STUART KELLY AND GLOBAL CHANGE & INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS PRACTICE DIRECTOR, LINDSAY HUTTER EXPLAIN WHY GREY MATTER COUNTS FOR COMPANIES MANAGING INTERNAL CHANGE.
“We have given our employees all the facts they need, and more. So why is it so hard for them to accept change?” – Manager X Consider the above – possibly familiar – refrain from a typical manager. When it comes to internal communication strategies for managing change, many companies understand the importance of simple, clear and relevant facts. Many companies – certainly more than was the case a decade ago – are also embracing a range of strategies and tactics for engaging with different internal audiences. Yet, despite the carefully laid plans and a genuine effort to engage with employees, something still gets lost in translation. The manager’s frustration above is understandable – the facts were laid bare, sophisticated processes ensured all staff received the information through the most appropriate channels, and a concerted attempt was made to manage feedback and address concerns. This was, after all, an exciting proposition for the company and employees! So what’s missing? Why is the message falling flat, seemingly accepted but hardly grasped by both horns? What’s happening is: the facts go in; the brain processes them; and hopefully they’re understood and analysed at an intellectual level. What’s missing is an emotional connection. All the facts in the world are not enough if there is not an equal appreciation of the base drivers of our behaviour. We need to appeal to feelings to stimulate behaviour around change; it’s not good enough simply to make sense. Even if employees understand the message, it doesn’t automatically mean they will embrace it and even if they accept it, the next few paragraphs will show why they quickly fall back on old habits. To understand why feelings are so important in communicating change, we need to turn to neuroscience, the study of our nervous system. Our brain deals with change on three levels (to keep it simple). The prefrontal cortex at the front of our brain is activated by change, quickly weighing up options and the risks. But it can hold only so much
Traditional change management strategies use reward and punishment as drivers of behaviour, focusing on promotion, status, money, etc. We now know that focusing on motivational aspirations such as workplace culture, environment, stimulation and relationships is as important as money in driving employee behaviour. information before checking in with the next level, the amygdala, which triggers our feelings. It’s at this level that we decide to embrace, fight or cut and run. The third level is the basal ganglia, which is like a hard drive and is wired for old memories and habits. The basal ganglia is slower and much bigger than the prefrontal cortex, which is why we’re so easily inclined to fall back on old habits, particularly when we respond rather badly to an idea or don’t react emotionally to it at all. The exception is if the prospect of change stimulates our ‘reward centre’ in the amygdala enough to overcome our natural inclination to flee or revert back to safe mode. When there is resistance to change, it’s rarely because of a missing thought process; it’s usually a missing emotion. We need to arouse strong positive feelings in employees to overcome their fear of change. If people’s emotions are sufficiently aroused by the prospect of change, they are much more likely to continue to respond positively in the future rather than revert to old ways. Traditional change management strategies use reward and punishment as drivers of behaviour, focusing on promotion, status, money, etc. We now know that focusing on motivational aspirations such as workplace culture, environment, stimulation and relationships is as important as money in driving employee behaviour. At Hill+Knowlton Strategies, our internal communication counsel to clients includes
communicating on three levels: telling the story (facts); feelings; and identity. By anticipating how an audience feels, we can adjust how we tell our story by focusing on, or at least emphasising areas that are more likely to stimulate strong positive emotional responses. Traditional approaches are also quite passive in that they do not involve as much audience participation. Research shows that we are much more committed to our choices after we make a decision, rather than accepting decisions being made on our behalf. Our change management strategies are much more effective when we encourage employees to make a number of small decisions on the way to a big change – by activating their amygdala ‘reward centre’ as it were. Each decision increases their commitment to the larger change ahead. Rather than asking why it’s so hard for employees to accept change; we should be asking whether we’re pushing the right buttons. It can be as simple (or hard) as understanding what makes us tick. Stuart Kelly Associate Director, Corporate & Finance Hill+Knowlton Strategies Australia Lindsay Hutter Global Change & Internal Communications Practice Director Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Washington D.C.
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Organisational culture – the do’s and don’ts Branding. You may remember what it felt like 20 odd years ago, this fuzzy, inconsistent thing that people knew played a role in achieving successful business outcomes but that nobody thought could be managed. Nowadays, no one in their right mind would challenge the value and the competitive advantage that good branding brings to business. Organisational culture today is very much like branding 20 years ago - critical to success and key to happy staff and customers, but much too hard to try to tackle other than by some light-touch work on values. Often professional services firms are in the business of helping clients achieve their business imperative by helping them to manage their organisational culture. Culture can be defined as the patterns of behaviours that are encouraged or discouraged by people and systems over time. Every word is important in this definition. ‘Patterns of behaviours’ reinforces the importance of what people do, not what they say. This emphasis is due to the fact that it is unspoken messages (sometimes sent through behaviours) about what is valued in an organisation that is picked up by staff and customers. ‘Systems’ tells us that it’s not just people but tools, processes, and symbols which also convey culture. As for the time factor, it simply means that cultures aren’t born in a day – in fact they’ve taken years, sometimes decades, to become what they are today. What really makes culture seem impossible to manage is that, to attempt to make any kind of lasting change, it’s necessary to work on the deep-set values, beliefs and feelings that underpin behaviours. Did you really say feelings? In the business environment? Yes. Some of the do’s and don’ts are not that different from what you would find in other types of projects, but with culture they take on a particular significance.
The do’s: •W alk the talk: There is no point telling people what to do if you are not exhibiting what it is that you expect from them. What happens when you walk the talk? Trust. And trust will take you a long way.
• Lead the way: Without full support from the leadership team, your culture change project is doomed, or will achieve very little.
• Engineer the desired culture: Know where you want to go, make sure it is aligned with your business imperative, and build a plan.
• Educate your people: Knowledge is power. You cannot change what you do not understand. Knowing what culture is and how it is created will go a long way in people ready for change.
• Open your heart: Change starts with each of us, and it starts at the deepest level. Change your feelings to change your behaviours.
Culture can be defined as the patterns of behaviours that are encouraged or discouraged by people and systems over time.
• Think holistically: Behaviours, systems, symbols, values, beliefs, and… yes again, feelings.
• Focus on the biggest gaps: If you embrace too much, you will achieve too little. Be strategic.
The don’ts: • Don’t think you know better: Listen to what the organisation is telling you, even if you don’t like it.
• Don’t believe it will be easy: Changing feelings and beliefs is one of the hardest things to do.
• Don’t believe it will be hard: Because culture is about us as individuals, staff will love your culture change project.
• Don’t expect culture to change by chance: Culture should be engineered if you want it to be successful.
• Don’t work in isolation: You will need the help from every single person in the business if you want to create long-term change.
• Don’t give up: Changing culture takes time. The culture you have was not created in a day and it will take time to shift. Be patient. At Arup we are passionate about culture. How often in the business world do you get to work on the hearts of people? How often do you get a chance to create significant, long-lasting change that will not only improve the bottom line but also give people meaning? Make no mistake though. This is dangerous territory, fraught with danger and traps, and many have given up before reaching the tipping point. But with a little bit of engineering, success is not as far as you think. Jerome Parisse-Brassens Diana Coelho Arup
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Brain-smarts ARE YOU GETTING THE BEST FROM THE BRAINS WORKING FOR AND AROUND YOU?
A recent study of leaders in Fortune 500 companies asked, ‘where do you do your best thinking?’ Only 10 per cent answered, ‘at work’. In another study, when Harvard Graduates were placed in a workplace that simulated a typical office, they performed at the intelligence level of the average eight year old. What is it about our workplace that is dumbing down our workers? I regularly ask the CEOs and executives who I coach to reflect on their ‘best boss ever’. They report that it was the boss who enabled them to think best. Whilst working with and around that particular individual they generated and executed great ideas and were operating efficiently and effectively. In essence, they were mentally performing ‘on all cylinders’. Areas of neuroscience are now exposing exactly what these bosses do that enables the brains around them to work so well. Use the following insights from the latest research into neuroscience to start getting greater output from the brains in your organisation. It’s the best way to leverage the great talent you have worked so hard to attract and retain. 1. Move from problem diagnostics to opportunity generation When someone with higher status than us (such as our boss) asks us to talk about why a project is not working, our bodies release cortisol and our brains go limbic, limiting our thinking to those solutions that are safe, censored and already known. Diagnostic
thinking is exceptionally good for spreadsheets, projects and cost-benefit analyses, however to get the best from people you need to get them making new connections. This can only occur when they are not experiencing a threat response. Try having a conversation about the possible opportunities or future solutions inherent in the circumstance at hand rather than talking about the problem. When I talked to leaders at Microsoft in Singapore about this, they reported to me that they spend 50 minutes in their meetings talking about the problem and only when the time pressure is on in the final 10 minutes do they focus on the solution. Their meetings could be so much shorter! 2. Ask, don’t tell When we make our own mental connections in the brain, a pre-synaptic terminal sends a charge to the postsynaptic terminal. This releases dopamine and noradrenalin which is why generating your own ideas feels so energising and motivating. If you want your top people to do more of their own high quality thinking, you need to get them doing it when they are around you. Merely hoping they do it when you aren’t around is not good enough. If you are always doing the heavy lifting in your conversations and wondering why others don’t come up with great ideas or solutions, it may be that you are accidentally training them to leave the thinking to you. Start asking them for their ideas. Keep on asking until they start generating solutions and focussing on opportunities. When leaders at Ericson tried this they reported to
me the very next day that their conversations were shorter and their staff were more energised and already taking more ownership. Good luck applying these insights to get the best from the brains working for you! Isabelle Phillips Director Mackerel Sky - Leadership Matters
Want to learn more about how the neuroscience of leadership can bring you better results with less effort? According to Mercer‘s workforce engagement research, leadership and vision (not just high salaries) are among the top motivators for employees to stay and perform. The Consult Australia 2013 Executive Leadership Program offers you the chance to join a cohort of leaders from the best consulting firms across Australia. Expect constructive, peer dialogue leading to improved leadership and decision making skills, and generation of tangible results for business leaders and companies. Each leader is allocated an executive coach to support development of, and accountability to goals. Invest in yourself, invest in your business.
9 month ExEcutivE LEadErship program Motivate and inspire your team to achieve their best Consult Australia’s National Executive Leadership Program will take successful candidates through the three types of leadership and equip them with the foundations and skills required to be the best leaders, delivering measurable performance improvement and enduring, positive change, creating workplaces that produce results and attract and retain the best people.
Limited places for the 2013 course are now available For more course information and dates contact Julia Lemercier on (02) 9922 4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
$1,000 discount for Consult Australia members
Consulting Matters Features
Be a great employer:
it is definitely worth it WHAT IS INVOLVED IN BEING AN ‘EMPLOYER OF CHOICE’, AND WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND BENEFICIAL OUTCOMES? IN THIS ARTICLE I PROVIDE SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON HOW PROFESSIONAL SERVICES LEADERS AND MANAGERS CAN MAKE FIRMS MORE ATTRACTIVE TO EMPLOYEES; BOTH EXISTING AND PROSPECTIVE. Starting with the employment process and the employment contract design, the idea is to maximise win-win outcomes for both the employer and employee. The employee should be encouraged to be productive; to care strongly for client outcomes and for the firm’s competitiveness and profitability; and to take up opportunities to personally grow and develop. Great firms create a set of conditions in which these elements are unambiguously beneficial to all parties. I believe these should be made as explicit as possible, leaving nothing to misinterpretation and chance. For that reason, I am a fan of the clarity of the ‘management by objectives’ system, in which the employee and their manager agree to a set of clear objectives and outcomes each year, then work to ‘close the loop’ and achieve those, managing gaps, shortfalls, training needs and development aspects. This system is based on a fundamental belief that people generally desire structure in their workplace, meaning that they prefer to clearly understand what they are expected to do and achieve. All the firm
Performance measurement, feedback, recognition and rewards are critical to converting good intentions into a high performance culture and behaviours. In successful firms, every employee is told how well they are performing and given constructive criticism about areas for improvement.
then has to do to apply this philosophy is to set high level vision and strategies, and be able to deduce from these a cascaded set of job roles and employee tasks and objectives. Of course this is easier said than done, but it does provide a guiding frame for how employers of choice structure their work processes and job roles. Performance measurement, feedback, recognition and rewards are critical to converting good intentions into a high performance culture and behaviours. In successful firms, every employee is told how well they are performing and given constructive criticism about areas for improvement. They are also recognised, thanked and rewarded for their capabilities and achievements. People need and like feedback, they benefit and mature from constructive criticism when it is balanced with positive reinforcement. The worst thing that can be given to employees is no feedback at all. Every organisation and employee has an employment contract which specifies work, pay and conditions etc, but there is also an unwritten ‘psychological contract’. This is in play in every workplace, and will determine how much discretionary work effort employees will voluntarily give to their employer. Discretionary work effort is the effort, in terms of both quality and quantity, which staff give to their employer, clients and projects, above and beyond a reasonable minimum. It is this discretionary work effort that employers receive as their big corporate prize from good management. Without solid levels of discretionary work effort, our firms would be ordinary at best.
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In the interest of improving business across the board, I identify below some of the specific key factors that employers of choice engage in that can be used as a checklist with which to identify gaps where your firm falls behind. the workplace a meritocracy. In firms people get ahead and stimulate creativity in the workplace. 1 Make 5 Encourage because of the work that they produce. In great firms, everyone Having a system for capturing, evaluating and turning the best has the opportunity to get ahead and become the best they can be, meaning they can develop both their personal potential and their workplace contribution. This leads to strong alignment between what’s good for the firm and what’s good for the employee. Getting these conditions right is fundamental, and getting them wrong is downright dangerous and dysfunctional.
professionalism and consultation lead people to 2 Respect, be psychologically involved and fully ‘dialled in’ as opposed to ready to leave. Best practice involves lots of communication about strategy, widespread consultation with staff at all levels, and a strong sense of inclusiveness.
ideas into valuable innovations is key to stimulating creativity. the right amount of workplace flexibility and 6 Create manage a sensible system of work-life balance. With minimal disruption to workflow, it is possible for professional services firms to trust employees to do the right thing and achieve some personal balance through flexible work conditions. in sustainable development, meaning that firms 7 Engage should find ways to make a positive contribution to the environment and community.
in staff capability building. By providing development 8 Invest the high-integrity road in everything that all employees 3 Take opportunities and a career path for staff, a stronger sense of are expected to do. Staff will respond positively to policies of honesty and integrity, which must be led and demonstrated from the top of the firm, and expected, communicated and inspected throughout. down and eliminate all forms of waste in the 4 Chase organisation. Waste causes frustration to staff and clients, and constitutes fully one-third of work effort on average. Eliminating waste means that it is possible to be five time as good as this average figure; a change which all stakeholders would benefit from.
value exchange is built into the employment relationship.
The benefits of engaging in these practices are immense. Essentially, your firm will get to win in the labour market, by attracting, motivating and keeping the best people! There is some effort involved in implementing these practices, but strong business benefits will inevitably flow. Danny Samson University of Melbourne
Get your ‘A’ team together Identify, groom and reward your greatest asset - your people
Investment in your talent now is key to gaining an edge over your competition. It produces better leaders and more engaged employees, which can have a huge impact on organisational performance. Talent management begins with organisational strategy. Hay Group can help translate your strategy into what it means for building your ‘A’ team. We’ll help you spot potential, develop and retain it - so you get the leaders you need when you need them most. To find out how contact us on 1800 150 124 or email email@example.com. Hay Group is a global management consultancy with over 2,600 employees working in 85 offices across 48 countries.
Consulting Matters Protecting your business
New Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) guidance tools CONSULT AUSTRALIA HAS DEVELOPED A SET OF GUIDANCE TOOLS TO ASSIST MEMBER FIRMS TO COMPLY WITH THEIR OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE NEW NATIONAL WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY (WHS) LAWS, AND TO ENSURE SAFER DESIGN OF STRUCTURE AND PLANT, LEADING TO SAFER WORKPLACES IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND MANUFACTURING SECTORS. The harmonisation of WHS laws around Australia has continued to evolve as this year has progressed, with a clearer picture now emerging of what the final legislative framework will look like. The announcement by West and South Australia that they will legislate to enact the harmonised system of laws this financial year is welcomed. The Victorian Government has indicated they will not be joining the national WHS system. One of the key concerns for businesses adapting to the harmonised WHS system is how to develop a clear understanding of what their new roles and responsibilities are. Many of these are set out in the relevant Codes of Practice, which are now reaching their final stages of development. Of particular interest to Consult Australiaâ€™s member firms are the Codes of Practice for the Safe Design of Structures, and the Safe Design, Import, Manufacture and Supply of Plant, which Consult Australia played an important role in developing by providing industry feedback through each stage of development. As with any transition to a new set of laws, there are still practical issues that are unclear, and pose real challenges to those people responsible for setting policies and procedures within each of the firms operating under these laws. This challenge is greater for smaller firms who might not have the resources to employ a WHS specialist in either an in-house or consultant capacity. To address these issues, Consult Australia has developed a set of guidance tools to assist firms in developing their policies and procedures, and to take much of the stress out of transitioning to the new set of laws. The guidance tools draw on the expertise of our larger firms, to ensure that the consulting industry as a whole is able to move forward, which in turn should see our industry collectively enjoy the benefits of a safer work environment and greater compliance.
The guidance tools draw on the expertise of our larger firms, to ensure that the consulting industry as a whole is able to move forward, which in turn should see our industry collectively enjoy the benefits of a safer work environment and greater compliance. Traditional guidance tools have tended to include lists of guidewords to assist designers develop a hazard risk register. The Consult Australia guidance tools will include an example of a hazard risk register, but rather than creating a table of terms to draw upon, the emphasis will be on designers considering their specific job, and developing project specific terms. This approach is intended to lead to better overall outcomes by taking a broader view of how to create a safer workplace. Robin Schuck Consult Australia
The resource includes a suite of documents, with the centrepiece being a simple flowchart that explains action items that should be undertaken at each step of the design process. It also links to important reference documents, including the relevant Codes of Practice and sample hazard risk register and safety report templates. One important feature of the new laws is that they extend the obligations beyond design professionals to include anyone participating in the design process, i.e. anyone with control or influence over design, including clients and contractors. To this end, one document that forms part of the tool is a draft letter for firms to send to their clients, explaining each partyâ€™s safety in design obligations and setting out some important action items that aim to produce safer outcomes. The letter is designed to be co-branded between the firm and Consult Australia. A particular challenge of safety in design that sets it apart from other areas of WHS compliance is that there is not a simple checklist of items to meet. Rather, there is a potentially limitless field of issues that must be brainstormed and then addressed, including anything from (for example) preventing falls from heights, to safe exit from confined spaces, preventing harm from toxicity or live electricity.
Consult Australia would like to thank the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) for their support of this initiative. We would also like to give special thanks to GHD Group Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Clayton Harrison; GHD Health Safety Environment Manager - Western Australia, Nicola Davies; and Coffey International Limited Group Health Safety Security and Environmental Manager, Scott Myles for their hard work as members of the working group who assisted in the development of these tools. We would also like to thank all member firms who contributed documentation to assist in the development of these tools.
Protecting your business Consulting Matters
Commonwealth Government review of Australian contract law The Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department is currently finalising their report resulting out of their Review of Australian Contract Law. This Review has broad terms of reference, including issues as diverse as whether contract law in Australia should be codified. It also considers how to integrate contract law here with the law overseas to better recognise the global marketplace that many Australian firms operate in. Consult Australia lodged an extensive submission to this inquiry, which focused on standards of contract behaviour sometimes encountered by our members when dealing with their clients. Many of these issues relate less to contract law itself than to the requirement for parties to a contract to obtain legal and insurance advice, which can often be prohibitively expensive or time consuming. Our submission also made the point that contract negotiations are seldom conducted on a level playing field, with many contracts offered on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis. Thus, the concept that contracts are freely negotiated between parties is illusory, especially where a consulting firm is not in the position to pass up work. One possible outcome that Consult Australia is calling for, is for public sector agencies to act as ‘model clients’, in line with the existing obligation for the Commonwealth Government to behave as a model litigant. Consult Australia eagerly awaits the outcome of this review, and the Commonwealth’s policy response to the report. Our submission can be viewed on the Consult Australia website, or on the Commonwealth Attorney General’s website dedicated to this review.
Safety in DeSign CPD Are you aware of your duties and obligations under the new WHS legislation? Attend this course to learn vital information on: • Designer duties under current legislation • Hazard Identification Tools • Risk assessment, control, and management • Safety in Design procedures and documentation • Best Practice Examples • Safety in Design Resources
Robin Schuck Consult Australia
Book now For more course information and dates contact Alexia Lidas on (02) 9922 4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
$1,650 for Consult Australia members $2,200 for non members Group booking and in-house discounts available
Consulting Matters Protecting your business
AS4122 update Since its release late last year, Australian Standard 4122-2010 General Conditions of Contract for Consultants has been Consult Australia’s recommended form of agreement between consultants and their clients. This agreement was developed with the involvement of client and industry stakeholders, including government representation through the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC). The contract was designed to deliver fair and proportionate allocation of risk in line with current industry best practice while also meeting client requirements. Throughout this year, a major focus for Consult Australia has been the rollout of AS4122-2010 to client organisations. Already, a range of public and private sector clients have adopted this agreement as their standard contract of choice. However, while the increasing use of AS4122-2010 is a positive development, some early feedback suggests there are still a range of cultural issues related to contracting that must still be overcome – in particular the trend toward risk shifting as a standard contracting practice.
One particular problem that is frequently encountered is the situation whereby a client decides to use this standard, but then offers a set of amendments that dramatically shift the balance of the agreement, and defeat the policy intent behind the creation of the document. These changes may include anything from removing the limit on liability, to the inclusion of warranties, contracting out of proportionate liability or onerous insurance requirements. In its un-amended form, AS4122 has been designed to carefully balance the interests of each party and ensure that risk is properly allocated to the party best able to manage it. However, by making these changes, some unintended consequences may arise. These amendments risk creating the same problems that AS4122 aimed to avoid, including creating uninsurable risks and increased disputation which in turn will potentially increase the cost and time of project delivery. To overcome this issue, Consult Australia is working with client organisations that have recently amended this agreement, to increase awareness of the potential
consequences and to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for client and consultant where a contract is too onerous on the consultant. One other issue that has recently been brought to our attention is the continuing use of older and out of date versions of AS4122 and the use of unreleased standards by clients. Older agreements are also unlikely to be licensed by SAI Global, who distribute AS4122 on behalf of Standards Australia. The 2010 version represents a better agreement which effectively balances each party’s interests. Consult Australia has discussed this issue with SAI Global who in turn have offered to approach client organisations using unlicensed versions of AS4122. To this end, Consult Australia calls on all consultants who encounter out of date versions of AS4122 to contact Consult Australia’s Senior Legal Policy Advisor, Robin Schuck who will assist in approaching clients to use the most recent version of AS4122, so all parties can enjoy the benefits of this agreement. Robin Schuck Consult Australia
Additional visa options for employers: regional and state migration schemes IN COMPARISON TO COMMONLY USED VISA OPTIONS SUCH AS THE TEMPORARY SKILLED 457 VISA AND THE PERMANENT EMPLOYER NOMINATION SCHEME, FEW EMPLOYERS ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE REGIONAL SPONSORED MIGRATION SCHEME AND THE SKILLED – NOMINATED VISA OPTIONS.
The regional sponsored migration scheme The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visa, provides an additional avenue for regional employers to recruit skilled overseas nationals to work for their business. The program offers a viable alternative to the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa and is growing in popularity. In 2011-12, there were 16,471 places delivered in the RSMS, compared with 30,083 delivered through the ENS.
• It does not confine an employer to nominating workers for roles based on a defined list; and • There is no application fee payable by the nominating employer. Skilled workers can apply for this visa if they: • Want to live and work in regional Australia, excluding the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne;
The key benefits of using the RSMS over the ENS are:
• Have been nominated by an approved Australian employer located in regional Australia;
• It receives the highest level of priority processing by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC);
• Are younger than 50 years of age; and • Meet the skills, qualifications and English language requirements.
Protecting your business Consulting Matters
Like the ENS program, the RSMS option has two main streams: 1. The temporary residence transition stream is a streamlined and simplified pathway to permanent residence for applicants who have been working in their nominated occupation with their sponsoring employer for the past two years as a 457 visa holder. 2. The direct entry stream is for applicants who are outside Australia, or are in Australia but have not held a 457 visa for the required two-year period. You can read more about the RSMS visa at: www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/index/visas/subclass-187/ State-specific migration State and territory governments have negotiated with the Federal Government to nominate an agreed number of skilled workers each year within the national migration program under annual State Migration Plans (SMPs). These positions are separate to the uncapped, demand-driven employer-sponsored visas such as the ENS, RSMS and 457 visas. The introduction of state migration plans and their associated visa options offer additional avenues for both employers and prospective workers. SMPs enable state and territory governments to address to specific skill shortages and local labour market needs within their jurisdiction. SMPs specify which occupations state and territory governments can nominate applicants under and specify the maximum number of visas that will be granted as part of this program. Most SMPs include a large range of engineering and related occupations that are in high demand by professional services firms within the built and natural environment.
ContraCtS for ConSultantS CPD Do you know what you’re signing? You could be exposing yourself and your firm to avoidable risk.
Using state migration, skilled workers can apply for a range of visas including the skilled – nominated or sponsored (provisional) (subclass 489) visa and the skilled – nominated (subclass 190) visa.
Attend this course to learn about:
Applicants for nomination by a state or territory government must be willing to:
• Contracting issues
• Settle in that state or territory; and
• Construction contracts & consultancy agreements
• Undertake to remain in the nominating state or territory for at least two years. This undertaking needs to be considered by sponsoring companies when deciding where to physically engage foreign workers. For further information on state/territory government nomination and links to the websites of the participating states and territories, please visit: www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilledmigration/state-plans.htm Sarah Gowing Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
• Contract information • Contract terms • Liability and relief • Onerous contract terms • Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance • Ending a contract • Dispute resolution
Book now For more course information and dates contact Alexia Lidas on (02) 9922 4711 or email@example.com
$2,145 for Consult Australia members $2,440 for non members Group booking and in-house discounts available
Consulting Matters Protecting your business
The importance of defining your business Defining the scope and limitations of your role under a professional services agreement is one of the most useful tools available to manage your professional negligence risk. Defining your business to the insurance market can also pay dividends, having a significant impact upon how your business risks are assessed by insurers and ultimately the premium and policy terms that can be negotiated by your broker. The clear definition of services under a professional services agreement manages your risk by: • Minimising perception risk whereby your client may perceive that the scope or nature of services to be provided by you are broader than what you understand them to be; • Providing an opportunity to limit the scope of responsibilities by specifically noting services that are outside the scope of the engagement; and • Providing a documented reference point in the event that a dispute arises regarding the scope or nature of services to be provided. Professional indemnity insurers typically underwrite a broad spectrum of risks and, whilst some may not admit it, underwriters often do not have a detailed technical understanding of the nature of activities undertaken by all of the professions they underwrite. In our experience underwriters are more likely to look favourably upon a business they clearly understand than one where there is ambiguity or uncertainty surrounding its exposures. This is where you and your broker can create significant value by clearly articulating the nature of your business. Our ability as your broker to understand your business is a critical influence upon our ability to negotiate a competitively priced insurance program that provides the cover you require. As specialist brokers we spend a significant amount of our time making sure we clearly understand our clients’ businesses. For inhomogeneous professions such as engineers, this information is usually best gathered during discussions using lay terminology rather than from an application form. Plain English descriptions are far more useful than technical jargon, and it is all about quality and accuracy rather than quantity of information. Armed with this understanding of your business, we then review the information contained in any application forms completed by you to make sure that they clearly articulate our understanding of the nature of the business. The traditional role of an insurance broker is to undertake the presentation of a risk to underwriters and the negotiation of appropriate terms on behalf of their client. Acting in this capacity as agent of the client, the broker owes a principal duty of care to their client, the Insured, and therefore must act in the best interests of the Insured. In order to fulfil this duty by arranging appropriate insurance, the broker must first be equipped with a clear understanding of the nature of the business to be insured and secondly, with the skill to articulate this to underwriters. Many insurance brokers manage their own risk at the detriment of their clients, avoiding a principal duty of care to the Insured by entering into an agency agreement with an insurer. This means they act as the insurer’s agent rather than the Insured’s agent. The implications for consultants purchasing insurance from a broker acting as agent of the insurer are significant because:
• The disclosure obligations and therefore responsibility for accurately articulating the nature of your business shifts 100 per cent onto you (the consultant); and • You also assume the obligation of determining the appropriateness of the insurance product offered and carry the risk if the product is not appropriate. Caveat emptor! The following are examples where the absence of an accurate business description can get you into trouble with insurers by unnecessarily exposing you to significant cost and insurance/liability risk: • Consultancies: Consultancies providing or contractually assuming responsibility for the delivery of services provided by other professional disciplines or trade contractors, may be exposed to liabilities beyond the scope of typical ‘off the shelf’ professional indemnity policies commonly purchased by their profession. • Project managers: Project managers of internal projects such as business changes, relocations or new product development have vastly different exposures to project managers of construction or infrastructure projects. • Process engineers versus process control engineers: The nature of services provided and risks assumed by a process engineer and a process control engineer are vastly different, yet these risks are often confused. • Electrical engineers: Programmers of PLC/SCADA or suppliers of electronic components have significantly different liabilities when compared with traditional electrical services designers. • Project managers: The risks associated with a project management consultancy acting as principal project manager responsible for project delivery are vastly different in nature and magnitude to a consultancy providing services on an hourly rate basis acting as part of their client’s in house team. A well-presented underwriting submission clearly and concisely articulates four key elements of a business: 1. What you do: the nature of services provided; 2. Who you do it for: typical clientele; 3. The types of projects you are involved with; and 4. How you fit into the picture: the nature of your engagement in context of other parties involved in the project e.g. principal consultant vs. hourly rate, scope of your role. If you are able to achieve an accurate description of your business containing the above key elements, you will have gone a long way towards putting your best foot forward in presenting your business to the insurance market. The rest is up to your broker, so make sure you have a good one! Darren Pavic Broking Manager Bovill Risk & Insurance Consultants Pty Ltd (BRIC)
Protecting your business Consulting Matters
Consult Australia member firm, Defire share their experience using the PI Pathway
DEFIRE IS AN AWARD-WINNING BUILDING AND INFRASTRUCTURE CONSULTANCY FIRM SPECIALISING IN PERFORMANCE BASED FIRE SAFETY DESIGN. THE FIRM DEVELOPS INNOVATIVE AND PRACTICAL FIRE SAFETY SOLUTIONS BASED ON SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES AND THE SOUND BODY OF RESEARCH AVAILABLE TO THE FIRE SAFETY INDUSTRY. Defire signed up with BRIC as its insurance provider in 2008. The decision to sign stemmed from the recognition that BRIC is a specialised insurance consultant for the building and construction industry. One of the reasons Defire made the decision to sign with BRIC came down to their personalised service combined with their contract review service. Defire have notified a claim or circumstance that may give rise to a claim since signing with BRIC; seeking advice regarding numerous difficult projects, even when not at fault in any regard. They noted that the claim/circumstance notification procedure is streamlined. Defire has regular contact with BRIC; undertaking a review of all projects prior to renewing the insurance agreement and taking the opportunity to identify any project they believe may have a risk of legal proceedings. BRIC offered tailored insurance and regularly advised on Defire’s insurance compliance in regards to client contracts. “What stands out about BRIC is their personal service. They understand our business and needs and are able to discuss specific requirements, particularly in regards to professional indemnity insurance for building consultants. Their contract review service is particularly helpful for small firms.” Jason Jeffress Managing Director Defire
Professional Indemnity question? Consult Australia believes that it is important to support members in all aspects of their business. We also recognise the impact that the insurance market has on Consult Australia member firms in terms of availability, affordability and quality of Professional Indemnity Insurance. Post your latest Professional Indemnity Insurance cases on the Consult Australia Linkedin group and our PI Insurance Pathway will advise you on the best steps to tackle these issues.
Bovill Risk & Insurance Consultants
Welcome to Forecast: a quarterly publication that aims to keep Consult Australia members up-to-date with the latest market trends in building and construction.
Overview In its latest forecasts, published on 16 July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that world growth will slow from 3.9 per cent in 2011 to 3.5 per cent in 2012, and pick up to 3.9 per cent again in 2013. In its forecast last April it had forecast slightly higher growth of 3.6 per cent in 2012 and 4.1 per cent in 2013. The IMF’s projections for key economies and economic groups, ranked by growth in 2011, are set out in the chart opposite. Since late 2011, below-trend growth in leading indicators of economic activity has been warning of a coming slowdown in world growth; and the indicators have recently declined still further. World growth can therefore be expected to stay slow for at least the rest of 2012. That slowdown, along with recurring financial crises in Europe, is likely to keep both consumer and business confidence low in Australia. The Reserve Bank’s latest forecasts (10 August) estimate that the Australian economy grew by 3¼ per cent in 2011/12, and forecasts growth of 3-3½ per cent in 2012/13 and 2½-3½ per cent in 2013/14. Our forecast, shown in the chart opposite, reflects these views. Total construction activity in Australia increased strongly in the March quarter, rising by 5 per cent to be 14 per cent higher than a year earlier. The chart opposite shows why, and is a handy summary of what is happening in the wider economy. The mining industry – the main driver of engineering construction – is booming; but most of the rest of the economy – symbolised here by residential and non-residential building – is going nowhere at all. In fact it is going down: in the March quarter, new housing activity fell by 1 per cent, and housing renovations and non-residential building each fell by 4 per cent. Total building activity was down 3 per cent in the quarter and was 5 per cent lower than a year earlier. Engineering construction activity rose by 13 per cent and was 36 per cent higher than a year ago.
*ASEAN-5: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
Non-residential Building Activity fell by 4 per cent in the March quarter of 2012 to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $30.8 billion: 4 per cent less than a year earlier. Forward indicators are still negative. Work commenced in Australia in the year to March was 8 per cent less than work done, although at the end of March there was still seven months work in the pipeline. The indicators were relatively strong in Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory, but weak elsewhere. Approvals increased in the March quarter, mainly because of some big hospital approvals in Melbourne and Adelaide. But they fell again in the June quarter to an annual rate of $29.9 billion; and with approvals of education buildings continuing to decline, and private industrial and commercial building still in the doldrums, no early upturn is expected. Business confidence has been poor for the past year. By the June quarter of 2012 the index was not only below its longterm average but also negative, meaning that more businesses expected conditions to get worse than expected them to improve. The National Australia Bankâ€™s June quarter survey of commercial property found that market conditions had deteriorated to a new low. Expectations for retail and industrial property were especially weak; and access to development funds was reported as being more, not less difficult. Activity is estimated to have fallen by 8 per cent in 2011/12 and is forecast to fall by 8 per cent again this year.
Non-residential Building Forecast: by State & Territory
value of work done, $ million, constant, 2009/10 prices
Engineering Construction Recent activity Measured in 2009/10 prices, the volume of work done increased by 13 per cent in the March quarter to an annual rate of $119.4 billion: 36 per cent higher than in the same quarter a year ago. Forward indicators of activity remain strong. In the year to March, 11 per cent less work was begun than was done. This appears to be negative; but so many large projects were still underway that at the end of March there was still 15 months of work yet to be done. In Queensland and Western Australia there is more than 20 months work in the pipeline. Indicators are strong in Tasmania and, with the $30 billion Inpex Alpha LNG processing facility in Darwin to start soon, will improve dramatically in the Northern Territory. Commencements have been trending lower. They nevertheless rose to an annual rate of $85 billion in the March quarter of 2012. In the year to March, they totalled $94.5 billion: down 9 per cent on the previous year to March. The volume of work yet to be done rose in the September quarter to the record level of $140 billion, two-thirds of which is on mining and heavy industry. We estimate that activity increased by 31 per cent in 2011/12 to $111 billion. It is forecast to increase a little further this year and, with commodity prices lower and some big projects finishing, to peak at $115.5 billion in 2013/14.
Engineering Construction Forecast: by State & Territory NSW
Value of work done, $ million, constant, 2009/10 prices
a = actual
New Housing Work done on new housing fell by 1 per cent in the March quarter of 2012 to an annual rate of $36.1 billion: 6 per cent less than a year earlier. The recent census revealed that at June 2011 there were about 300,000 fewer people in Australia than previously estimated. As a result, population numbers from 2007 to 2011 have been revised down. The new numbers tell us that, having declined in 2009 and 2010, population is now growing more strongly again. In the year to December 2011, Australiaâ€™s population increased by 302,600, compared with a rise of 254,100 in the previous year to December, and of 341,500 in the year to December 2009. Smaller population and the past slowdown in growth result in the underlying requirement for new housing in Australia easing from around 172,000 in 2010/11 to 158,000 in 2011/12 and rising to 160,000 in 2012/13. State requirements in 2012/13 are estimated to be 38,000 in New South Wales, 43,000 in Victoria, 30,000 in Queensland, 30,000 in Western Australia, and 10,500 in South Australia. The trend rate of dwelling approvals lifted to around 150,000 a year in the June quarter: still below national needs. Much of the increase came from a lift in Melbourne apartment approvals so strong that starts will be spread over several years. Although affordability improved by 7 per cent over the year to March, confidence remains low and the market weak. We expect a fall of 1 per cent in new housing activity this financial year, and a rise of 6 per cent in 2013/14.
New Housing Forecast
Value of work done, $ million, constant, 2009/10 prices
a = actual
Consulting Matters Business essentials
In business, it pays to keep an eye on the competition AS SOME READERS MAY ALREADY KNOW, THIS YEAR, CONSULT AUSTRALIA HAS PARTNERED WITH DELOITTE PRIVATE TO UPGRADE AND AUTOMATE OUR TRADITIONAL PRACTICE PERFORMANCE SURVEY (PPS). THE NEW SURVEY WILL PROVIDE MEMBERS WITH A SOPHISTICATED, USERFRIENDLY TOOL THAT AUTOMATICALLY UPLOADS DATA, PROTECTS DATA WITH CUTTING-EDGE DATA PROTECTION SYSTEMS AND ALLOWS FOR INSTANT REPORTING.
Consult Australia members will be able to use the tool to consistently monitor and track their performance against their peers and the industry at large. Members who subscribe to the new PPS will be able to: • Benchmark themselves against their competitors; • Highlight inefficiencies and performance indicators that can lead to improved profitability;
Business essentials Consulting Matters
consulting firms to assess their business performance. The application automates the collection of financial data from commonly used business software, reducing the need to manually submit, aggregate and update data. There are no forms to fill in! It is simple to set up and fully supported by a team of IT professionals from Deloitte Digital. With more than 40 metrics available, this flexible tool allows firms to benchmark their performance against their peers and competitors and to select KPIs based on tailored segmentation, including: • Geographical regions; • Revenues; • Number of employees; • Utilisation; • Gross margin; • Net profit; and • Working capital investment days.
• Forecast various future scenarios in response to changes being made in their practice – Deloitte Private’s ‘goal seek’ model illustrates online how your profits can be improved; • Review a cash flow analysis and manage their net cash flow with new insights into cash flow movements; and • Visualise their KPI’s and manage their business towards optimal performance. All Consult Australia member firms have the opportunity to trial the new PPS free-ofcharge with no obligation to continue. To take up this offer, members should contact Tony Woods at Deloitte Private on (02) 9322 5761.
Why benchmarking is a winning strategy Knowing where your business stands compared to your rivals helps you to sharpen your focus and improve your performance. As with any design, development, or delivery project, measuring and being able to report on progress and outcomes is critical. It’s no different when running a business or professional practice. Benchmarking provides a range of benefits to a business, not the least of which being that it helps develop a common language with your management team on what you’re trying to achieve. To be able to identify and develop growth and operational strategy, owners and managers need to be able to define the impact of business decisions and
understand the consequences that they have on financial and operational aspects of their business. Comparisons against performance benchmarks of similar firms on key metrics can provide insights into productivity and financial management. Benchmarking can also assist with identifying and achieving the minimum requirements to obtain funding from a bank. It can provide financial and business discipline to increase the amount of profit that can be drawn from a business, which will help increase value should an owner wish to sell. Finally, a commitment to benchmarking assists with the retention and development of key staff by enhancing their business and financial skills. Being part of a benchmarking program assists participants in developing networks of business professionals and peers to help each other in lifting overall firm performance. Ongoing education programs for user groups to show practitioners how to improve and grow their businesses is an important benefit that can help your people and performance improve over time.
What is the Practice Performance Survey (PPS) The PPS is a secure, web-based application specifically designed to allow subscribed
This invaluable application also highlights operational inefficiencies and identifies expense and performance indicators, which are shown in concise graphs. This assists management in strategically planning the growth of their business and to take corrective action, if necessary, to address areas where performance has fallen behind the industry average.
Visualise how your business could operate more effectively Another important function is the ‘what-if’ module that provides firms with the ability to perform forecasting of various scenarios using their existing data, benchmarking metrics and pre-determined levers/gauges included in the application. Using online, interactive graphs and demonstrations, the ‘what-if’ function of PPS illustrates how a business can improve, both from an operational and profit perspective, by adjusting specific items, such as growth margins, operational expenses or working capital ratios. This tool is useful for strategically analysing data and for collating the information to be presented to third parties. Tara Hill Partner Deloitte Private Sean Neale Director Deloitte Private To sign up for your FREE trial of the new PPS contact Tony Woods at Deloitte Private on (02) 9322 5761.
Consulting Matters Business essentials
How to get the best risk management outcomes on your project The reality of project management is that from time to time, events occur that have the potential to turn a project into a disaster. Whether this is caused by bad planning or just bad luck, it is at this point the project manager’s decision-making skills and the level of support provided by senior management is acid tested. Whether it is appreciated or not, project management, in fact all decision making, is about risk management. This article will briefly look at some key considerations for project managers when assessing project risk and consider some of the more common deficiencies in system implementation. It’s fine to talk about risk identification and control measures, however the commercial reality is that you would go broke if you attempted to eliminate all risk from a project. So the key is to focus your attention on highprobability and high-consequence events, so that if things start to go bad, this is identified at an early stage and appropriate and decisive action taken at that point. How you position yourself to manage potential risks when they manifest will generally determine the outcome. It is experience and decision-making skills which separate effective project managers from the pack. While there is no short cut to gaining experience, good decision-making skills can be developed and you can benefit from the experience of others in how to respond to issues or avoid problems escalating.
Far too many project managers fail to deal with project risk appropriately when identifying threats and see risk management as an action to be ticked off to comply with corporate procedures, or as more of a commercial than project delivery concern. Some of the more common warning signs we see in problematic projects that indicate that your project is likely to go bad include: • Acceptance of a tender well below competitors without critical analysis; • Poor project documentation including execution plans; • Lack of a properly thought-out project schedule (and acceptance without critical analysis or in knowledge of inadequacy by the principle); • A contractor taking a contractually aggressive stance early in the project; • A contractor unable to accurately report progress; and
• Transition to construction prior to the design being sufficiently advanced. I regularly see these factors present in the projects which have ended up in dispute or financially disastrous litigation. If you have one or more of these present, I would suggest you have cause for concern. Important to note is that whilst these are manifestations of a project likely to go downhill, they are not the cause. To effectively manage a project, it is important to understand and minimise the issues that cause a project to go bad. Leaving aside the few instances of just plain bad luck, in almost all cases, bad project outcomes go back to the delivery strategy and a failure to appropriately identify and manage project risk including the decisions made once an event crystallises. Take risk identification first. At least for major projects, few would not have formal risk management processes in place which would commonly include hazard studies, project and sublevel risk management workshops and on-site tests and investigations. It is following this stage that many projects go astray. Far too many project managers fail to deal with project risk appropriately when identifying threats and see risk management as an action to be ticked off to comply with corporate procedures, or as more of a commercial than project delivery concern. Some of the more common problems we see with the implementation of a project risk management strategy are listed below: • Process is conducted too early in the development phase and not revisited leaving many risks mitigated by generic actions.
Business essentials Consulting Matters
• Risk workshops are conducted, reports issued and then shelved. • Proper thought is not given to the appropriate manner with which to deal with each identified risk. • Risk is dealt with by allocation with the result that the risk remains in the project. A further problem seen all too frequently, is the failure to consider the fundamental hierarchy of risk management, that is: minimise the unknowns; eliminate or minimise risk at a project level; decide who is best able to manage each element of risk; do not attempt to transfer something you do not understand; and only then look to allocate risk to another party. These issues as well as other key areas relating to project management will be addressed in more detail in the Consult Australia Project Management course. Mark Griffith Director Hinds Blunden
Consult Australia recently launched its new education course, Project Management which arms attendees with the essential knowledge and skills that are critical to a project’s success. Course facilitator, Mark Griffith is a highly sought after presenter at key legal and construction conferences for practical advice about issues relating to project management.
ProjeCt ManageMent CPD Are you delivering your projects on-time and within the budget? Attend this course to learn about: • Time management • Contract administration • Risk management • Construction management With over 27 years experience in senior management and project management roles within the construction and engineering sector, Mark Griffith is a highly sought after presenter at key legal and construction conferences for practical advice about issues relating to project management.
Book now For more course information and dates contact Alexia Lidas on (02) 9922 4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
$1,650 for Consult Australia members $2,220 for non members Group booking and in-house discounts available
Consulting Matters Corporate Social Responsibility
Innovation and inclusion in Aboriginal settlement “The very nature of this partnership means we don’t know what the future will bring, but we are confident it will be positive,” Mr Shinkfield said. “This is the first tri-partisan relationship between an Australian Indigenous community, academia and industry to build a research and knowledge bank over a longer term with the focus on settlement planning and implementation. “The Sustainable Warburton Project will not only affect the future of the Warburton community but potentially inform the broader agenda of Indigenous settlement.” As projects are funded, graduates will become part of the development team who will project-manage and deliver initiatives. The projects focus on sustainability, community, urban planning, water and energy management and agriculture to improve health, education and social engagement. They include: • Community college: An award-winning design offering a space for women’s meetings, a library and reading and other informal and formal gatherings.
In 2010, an innovative approach to designing and planning Aboriginal settlements was trialled in the town of Warburton in central Western Australia. With a population of 600 and situated nearly 1,000km north-east of Kalgoorlie, Warburton has little in the way of effective infrastructure. Here enters a partnership between AECOM, the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku. This partnership was prompted by conversations with the Shire about how to effect spatial and environmental change which would benefit the people of Warburton. The partnership is a research and practice design and planning studio involving UWA masters and honours students in architecture and landscape architecture under the guidance of AECOM specialists. The exploratory on-site studio generates concepts that the students then take away and develop as part of their academic program. AECOM’s Technical Director – Planning and Design, Jon Shinkfield said the first year they were feeling their way but as the processes of engagement both with the community and with the Shire evolved, the outcomes of the studio became richer and more applicable. In 2011, a second group of students took part in a week-long studio stay at Warburton and were later given the opportunity to present their project ideas to a community forum of 150 residents. AECOM sponsored a prize and three-month internship for the top student. In this instance, that student was Jess Snell, whose work focussed on modular housing and clusters that work more harmoniously with how Indigenous families live. Now starting its third year, the partnership is going strong with firm commitment to the future. Four more students attended a studio at Warburton and this year’s focus is on the development of a health services precinct, upgrade of airport facilities, flood mitigation and a garden concept incorporating traditional medicines.
• Urban agriculture: Planting orange trees irrigated with treated wastewater throughout the town to provide shade, food, protection from dust and improved community health. • Warburton arts precinct: A project devoted to Warburton’s internationally-exhibited art. Work is also underway on a separate AECOM project to expand Warburton’s Early Learning Centre and Learning Landscape. In an Australian-first, it features a playgroup for Indigenous women and children with structured activities to help school become a more palatable option for the future. Separately, AECOM is advising on alternative energy options to help find solutions to the community’s reliance on costly diesel fuel to drive the town’s generators. Dean of the UWA’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, Winthrop Professor Simon Anderson has commended AECOM and the Shire Council of Ngaanyatjarraku on the project. “This is a most important community-based planning and design initiative in partnership with our faculty,” Professor Anderson said. AECOM plans an ongoing involvement in Warburton to ensure the proposed projects are delivered to the community as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment. AECOM’s CSR Coordinator, Nicola Young says that while AECOM has always undertaken community outreach and philanthropic activities, they hadn’t previously been coordinated in a formal program. “Our focus is to build an effective, proactive and flexible CSR program that means something to our 4,400 team members across Australia and New Zealand and creates a lasting positive impact on the communities we engage,” she said. Nicola Young Principal Advisor – Corporate Social Responsibility AECOM
»SELECTED »TRAINED »DEPLOYED
for short-term paid international emergency work
Hugh Macready, Haiti earthquake
Space kindly donated by Consult Australia.
Do you have what it takes? » www.redr.org.au Information sessions » Melbourne 31 October + Sydney 14 November
Consulting Matters Corporate Social Responsibility
Engineer and Army Reservist making a difference
A house in North Wagga Wagga with a pile of flood damaged goods out the front Photos courtesy of Defence Public Affairs
Captain Thomas standing at the top of the new Djarindjin Street in the AACAP 2012 sub-division project Photos courtesy of Defence Public Affairs.
Eight years ago while studying at university, Jacquie Thomas met a friend who introduced her to the Army Reserves. Since then Jacquieâ€™s life has been transformed - she is now a member of the 21st Construction Regiment, 5th Brigade, located at Holsworthy Barracks. So far in 2012, Jacquie has completed her PhD at the University of NSW, been deployed to assist with flood recovery operations, and sent to build infrastructure in an indigenous community in Western Australia. She has also been deployed as a platoon commander with the Reserve Response Force on Operation Waratah Blue to assist with the clean up after the Wagga Wagga floods.
North Wagga Wagga under water. Photo courtesy of Defence Public Affairs
Being a reservist has given Jacquie opportunities to develop skills that are also useful in her civilian career as an environmental engineer. In 2011 she was awarded a Prince of Wales Award which allowed her to travel to New Zealand to learn about both the defence and civilian agency response to the water and sanitation problems caused by the Christchurch earthquake. She has also undertaken a two week military attachment with an
Corporate Social Responsibility Consulting Matters
During my time in the Reserves, I had the opportunity to be involved in a valuable exchange of knowledge and lessons about defence liaison with Christchurch public heath units who ensured the maintenance of both water quality and supply quantities.
It is such a rewarding experience. The community we assisted in North Wagga Wagga was so grateful that the Army had come to help them. For many people the task of cleaning out their homes without assistance would have been nearly impossible. Between June and August I was deployed as the plant troop officer on the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) to the Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia. The program in the Djarindjin community delivered housing, roads, health services and training courses over a six month period. Whilst it wasn’t my primary focus, my engineering background in drinking water quality was useful as well.
engineering regiment just out of Palmerston North on the North Island. After the defence attachment, Jacquie travelled to Rotorua to present some of her PhD research at the International Water Association’s 16th Health Related Water Microbiology Conference. We asked Jacquie to share some of her experiences as a Reservist with us. Here’s what she had to say. “My first introduction to the Army Reserves was through a friend who told me about the basic training and courses that were available. From what she told me, it sounded like something I would enjoy. The pay is tax-free, which was also a great incentive for a part-time university student like me. These were the factors that first led me to become a reservist, but the reasons I have stayed are more meaningful. I have found in the Reserves a group of like-minded people from many different backgrounds who, like me, wanted to challenge themselves and serve their country.
In 2011, I received a Prince of Wales Award which gave me a unique chance to spend two weeks of Defence exchange in New Zealand, and also a chance to present my PhD research at an international water conference. Initially I travelled to Christchurch and saw the devastation of the Canterbury earthquake. My dad is from Christchurch so I have visited the city previously and it was astounding to see the damage. I visited the 2nd Engineer Regiment who were on the ground after the quake supplying emergency drinking water using their portable water purification unit. I travelled around the suburbs and paid close attention to the emergency drinking water and sanitation responses that were still serving the community many months after the initial disaster. During my time in the Reserves, I had the opportunity to be involved in a valuable exchange of knowledge and lessons about defence liaison with Christchurch public heath units who ensured the maintenance of both water quality and supply quantities. The knowledge I gained should be very useful should a natural disaster cause such water and sanitation problems here in NSW. I now have a position as a policy analyst working for NSW Health in their water unit.
After this opportunity I went to Rotorua to present some of my PhD research at the International Water Association’s 16th Health Related Water Microbiology Conference, which had a workshop on water and sanitation responses after natural disasters. Through presentations and group sessions there were valuable lessons learned from the Christchurch, Haitian and Spanish earthquakes, as well as the Japanese tsunami. My experiences in Australia and in New Zealand have truly demonstrated the benefits of combining professional work experience and being in the Army Reservists. It is a rewarding career that has allowed me to assist communities in need, develop my professional skills and one which has shaped who I am today.”
Consult Australia supports Australian Defence Force Reserves Defence Reserves Support (DRS) provides a link between the Australian Defence Force, employers and the community with the aim of enhancing the availability of the Reserve component of the ADF by promoting the benefits of employing members of the Reserve. Through the Supportive Employer Program, DRS aims to establish partnerships with employers so they support those in the Reserve. Find out more at www.defencereservessupport.gov.au
Consulting Matters Our industry
Vulnerability of the Pacific The populations of Pacific island countries and territories are projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2030, raising concerns about food security for the region. Traditionally, fish has been the main source of animal protein for the people living in the Pacific. While there is scope to increase fisheries and aquaculture production to ensure food security, there are concerns that climate change will derail these plans. Such effects include: Pacific Ocean warming; coral reefs increasingly affected by bleaching during warm weather and ocean acidification; rising sea level affecting mangrove and seagrass habitats and lowlying islands; changing rainfall patterns and cyclone intensity; and increasing economic development and vegetation removal in river catchments. The Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change project was undertaken over a period of three and a half years by a team of 88 leading international scientists from 36 organisations. The project analysed atmospheric and oceanic conditions across 27 million square kilometres in the Pacific to determine climate change effects on freshwater, estuarine, coastal, coral reef and deep ocean environments. The team then assessed the effects of these changes on fisheries production (from mountain streams to oceanic tuna) to identify the vulnerability of food security, livelihoods and government revenue for Pacific island countries and territories. The project was led by Dr Johann Bell from the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, and funded by AusAID. SMECâ€™s Dr Peter Gehrke led the teams that produced the assessments of freshwater and estuarine fisheries. Through this project it become clear that the way in which Pacific governments and aid organisations react and adapt to climate change will be vital in ensuring food security. Communities that depend on coral reef fisheries will be negatively impacted by climate change. Higher sea temperatures, ocean acidification and loss of important habitats (like coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and intertidal flats) are expected to dramatically impact the availability of fish and shellfish in coral reef fisheries. These communities will need to focus their fishing efforts on the rich tuna resources of the region.
Dumbea River, New Caledonia Photo by Dr Peter Gehrke courtesy of SMEC Warming of the ocean will be greatest in the east of the Pacific region, which will cause an eastward shift in the distribution of tuna. While this will lead to reduced tuna resources in the larger fisheries of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, many smaller countries in the east will experience increased tuna abundance. Freshwater fisheries that are vital to people living in the inland regions of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands will be improved. The project provided the most comprehensive assessment of freshwater and estuarine habitats and fisheries resources in the region to date. With rainfall projected to increase across the region, freshwater rivers, lakes and wetlands will become larger and support higher levels of fish production. However, a precautionary approach is required to ensure that essential economic development (including mining, forestry, agriculture and hydropower generation) does not compromise water quality, fish habitats and river flows. Increased temperature and rainfall are also expected to improve conditions for freshwater pond aquaculture. However, this will not be enough to feed the rapidly increasing populations of the Pacific islands, and people living in the region will need to rely more heavily on tuna as a source of food.
The project sets out ways in which the populations of the Pacific islands can adapt to these new circumstances. Adaptations included the installation of additional fish aggregating devices to attract tuna closer to shore where they can be caught from small vessels and canoes; encouraging communities to grow fish in freshwater ponds; and improving management of mining and forestry industries to prevent sediments and nutrients from spoiling fish habitat. Other adaptation recommendations included policies to: retain a greater proportion of catches from ocean-going vessels for domestic consumption; increase local processing of fish catches; and prevent overfishing through management of fishing effort in all fishery sectors. The project was completed in June 2012 at a Heads of Fisheries meeting in Noumea. Dr Peter Gehrke Australian Manager Natural Resources SMEC
Our industry Consulting Matters
The untapped driver for business success We talk about the X factor that drives business - striving to get that slight edge to improve performance and stay ahead of the competition. At Hay Group we think that there’s actually a XX factor. Our research proves that fostering women into leadership positions actually has a quantifiable impact on improving business performance. The 2009 Best Companies for Leadership report commissioned by Hay Group and Bloomberg/ BusinessWeek shows that two thirds of the companies rated in the top 20 have a high proportion of women in senior leadership roles. These same top 20 companies in the global Hay Group survey produced eight times better shareholder returns than their peers over a five year period. What does that mean? Ultimately embracing diversity in the workplace - especially encouraging women to succeed into senior roles - flows through to the bottom line. In addition, a report by Goldman Sachs JB Were indicated that closing the gender gap in Australia could add 11 per cent to Australia’s GDP in improved productivity performance – or the equivalent of about $120 billion. That’s even more than the US, where the same report suggested a nine per cent improvement in GDP by redressing gender imbalance. In Japan, that estimate blew out to a 16 per cent enhancement. The opportunity What CEO would say no to significantly improving their business’s performance? What Prime Minister or elected government would say no to increasing the GDP of their country by 11 per cent? This is the opportunity facing organisations in Australia today, to embrace diversity as a source of competitive and social advantage. Through our 7 lever model, we make the case for businesses to adopt gender diversity a priority. We outline a solution which requires executive commitment and a holistic approach to achieve these benefits and create an energising environment for all employees.
women in the whole organisation, in senior management and on the board. This process has begun to shine a light on practices within organisations when it comes to gender balance - prompting many companies, and governments, into action. Organisations do not need to be pushed to do the right thing when it comes to fostering diversity. There is actually a huge incentive for organisations to embrace diversity. Recognising the benefits of getting it right will be the motivation that the best leaders will need to get on board. The solution Many attempts have been made to address gender diversity. However, these failed to gain momentum, as they’ve tended to offer up isolated or sporadic solutions (e.g. simply setting up diversity committees). This issue requires an integrated and systematic approach. The 7 lever model - the ‘whole’ system perspective Those women who manage to rise to the top of their organisations are unfortunately the exception, not the rule. Change needs to be led from the top and supported in a holistic manner throughout the organisation. Without systematic change to the way we think about our work, our customers and our employees, businesses will not maximise their potential. Nor will their employees, men or women, deliver their best performance.
The 7 lever model (bottom flowchart) comprehensively addresses the systemic barriers to diversity and promotes a healthier approach to growing and developing an environment for improving diversity. Diversity means more than doing the right thing. Addressing issues associated with diversity is a key driver towards improving business success. Now is an opportune time to address this issue – particularly gender diversity – as most organisations deal with the post GFC world and growth agendas, where skills shortages and internal market pressures re-emerge. The journey in embracing diversity will often be difficult, because it requires change. The change however will be very rewarding, not only for the organisation’s bottom line, but also for the people involved. HayGroup
What Hay Group’s seven lever model recognises is that the key to improving gender diversity does not reside within one functional area or process, for example recruitment and selection or reward. It
The 7 lever model HR Policies & Procedures Management Processes & Systems
Values & Culture
Embracing gender diversity push or pull? Good intentions are no longer good enough - and for those too slow to move there’s a big stick on the way. In Australia, since July 2010, the ASX requires companies to set out in their annual report how well they are meeting their board set gender objectives. They are required to list the number of
requires a holistic approach that incorporates how the organisation structures its operations, provides and supports the values and culture that support diversity and connects with performance management and succession planning. Against this backdrop all of these measures need to support and reinforce the organisation’s business objectives.
Critical Success Factors
Leadership Organisation, Team & Job Design
Reward & Recognition Individual & Team Capabilities
Consulting Matters Our industry
Good building, bad building:
THE FUTURE OF THE BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT IS SUSTAINABILITY. NO PRACTITIONER, POLICY MAKER OR DECISION MAKER IN THESE FIELDS CAN AFFORD TO EXCLUDE SUSTAINABILITY FROM THEIR CONSIDERATIONS. Sustainability or ‘sustainable development’, to use the term preferred by the United Nations, rests on three pillars.
1 Inclusive economic growth, meaning
long-term profitability for all and an end to corruption and crises;
2 Environmental care, meaning not just
avoiding harm but making net gains in terms of improvements and the reestablishing of valuable habitats; and
3 Social justice, meaning equality, thriving human communities, and an end to systemic poverty.
The first step is for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to what makes things sustainable. This is not easy. Who should decide the metrics for measuring sustainability? Who needs to agree them? From what perspective should they be decided - with what bias, and aim? The launch of the UK’s National Planning Policy Framework earlier this year provided a clear example of how governments internationally are dealing with these questions in action. The biggest shake-up of planning policy in the UK in 65 years, the Framework emphasises the need for sustainable development to be ‘a golden thread running through both plan making and decision taking.’i During the Framework’s development, some of the most heated parliamentary and civil debate concerned this favouring of sustainable development. What would it mean in practice? What were its likely outcomes? Environmental groups took legal advice about the vagueness of the term, arguing that the government was actually offering unlimited approval to developers with a concept focused solely on economic growth. The Framework’s definition was re-drafted; Prime Minister, David Cameron wrote to the National Trust (one of the UK’s largest conservationist land owners) stressing that, “I believe that sustainable development has environmental and social dimensions as well as an economic dimension, and we fully recognise the need for a balance between the three.”
For the last 12 years, another Framework has helped organisations address this balance: the Sustainability Reporting Framework of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In Australia, companies such as Stockland, GPT Group, Landcom, Transurban, Main Roads Western Australia, Westpac, ANZ, BHP Billiton, Woolworths, as well as consultants such as ERM, Manidis Roberts and Net Balance, amongst others, are already reporting to GRI’s Framework. The most widely-used reporting guidance of its kind, and endorsed in the development policies of several governments, GRI’s Framework, which consists of the Reporting Guidelines; sector guidance; and protocols provides indicators that can be used by all organisations to measure and communicate their economic, environmental and social performance. But it also provides one answer for how such measurements can be decided. GRI is a non-profit multi-stakeholder organisation. Its reporting guidance is developed following due process by working groups of international experts representing business, civil society, labour, accounting, finance, academia and government. But as one might expect of a resource available as a free public good, the Framework is also developed by the public at large. The second public comment period for the latest draft of GRI’s Guidelines, known as G4, is now open. The first public comment period in 2011 attracted over 2,000 responses, with over 100 from Australian organisations alone; an enormous number for such a consultation. This collaborative approach also underpinned GRI’s Construction and Real Estate Sector Supplement, launched last year. Its sector-specific guidance includes consensus-based indicators for measuring the energy, water and emissions intensity of buildings; land remediation; health and safety management; and population displacement. Other disclosure items capture the built environment’s impacts throughout project life cycles, and on social wellbeing and community prosperity. The 27-member working group that developed the Supplement came from such diverse
organisations as Lend Lease Australia, Landcom, the UK Green Building Council, the Energy and Resources Institute India, and Bloomberg Japan. Year after year, Australian companies lead the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for Construction and Real Estate. Year after year, the same leading companies are guided by GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework. Consensus among constituencies was much in evidence at the first Australian GRI Conference, hosted by GRI’s Focal Point Australia in March 2012. More than 250 participants expressed broad support for the continuous innovation of robust reporting frameworks in the transition to a sustainable economy, and the adoption of a ‘report on sustainability or explain why not’ approach to policy by government, regulators and stock exchanges. What GRI’s work shows is that in planning, construction and land management as elsewhere, our sustainability challenges are neither an unnecessary imposition nor an impediment to economic development. Instead, they represent an opportunity to achieve sound commercial practices and responsible human conduct. We no longer have to be ignorant of the harm we do or the value we can create. We are being offered a chance to get it right.
Victoria Whitaker Jack Boulter Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) i
Department for Communities and Local Government, National Planning Policy Framework 2012
Our industry Consulting Matters
A case for reform Australia’s ever-increasing infrastructure backlog sends a clear message that current policy will not fund the transport infrastructure we need now for a growing population and competitive economy. The path to reform lies with industry and the community. Together they demand fundamental reforms to the way we plan, manage, finance and fund our land transport networks and services. In November 2010, Consult Australia released our thought-leadership report, Transporting Australia’s Future. The framework was a call to action for all governments to back new ways of increasing infrastructure funding mechanisms, to ensure Australia gets the transport infrastructure it needs. With these proposed reforms and the right political leadership, a fully funded, fully developed national and cities transport system, including city metros and intercity train services could be implemented in two generations. Consult Australia has been pleased to continue to advocate strongly for transport infrastructure funding, more recently through the Transport Reform Network (TRN) which was launched on Wednesday, 29 August at Sydney Town Hall. Over 300 guests attended the launch of the TRN, which has been established to support industry consensus encouraging changes in the approach to transport infrastructure funding at the highest levels of government. In broad terms, its mission is to seek a better way of planning, managing, funding and financing land transport in Australia to ensure it delivers optimum and sustainable economic, social and environmental outcomes for all Australians. TRN Chair, Dennis Cliche says that the problem lies in the fact that as individuals, we largely feel disempowered to do anything about the congested roads, crowded trains and buses and poorly performing infrastructure. “The reality is there is no easy solution. Our governments are faced with significant funding challenges and difficult choices,” said Mr Cliche. “We can’t bury our heads in the sand. It’s time we had an open, honest conversation in the community. “We need to get informed, ask questions and consider all the options.” Mr Cliche said the TRN website would be a ‘go to’ resource for the latest news, reports
TRN launch: Sydney Town Hall Photo courtesy of the TRN and studies from here and overseas on transport reform, as well as a blog site for individuals to express their views. “A lot of credible work has been done, both here and overseas, by governments, academics and the private sector on alterative models for financing and funding transport,” he said. “What’s missing is a public forum where those ideas can be discussed and tested. That’s what we want to provide. “There’s a real urgency to get this debate going. We’re at crisis point. Despite the best intentions of our governments and their transport agencies, our current solutions simply aren’t delivering the system-wide outcomes we want or expect.” The coalition is supported by a dedicated secretariat funded through Committee
members’ contributions and is a natural next step to support long-term policy change. In addition to Consult Australia being a member of the Network, a number of our member firms have also joined and participate individually including: AECOM; Aurecon; GHD; pitt&sherry; Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM); and SMEC alongside numerous key industry stakeholders such as Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA); Abigroup; Australian Local Government Association (ALGA); Thiess; and Transport for NSW. Consult Australia supports this initiative and encourages all readers to sign up to the TRN and support the case for reform. Join the campaign today by visiting transportreform.org and spread the word through Twitter (@transportreform). Gillian O’Young Consult Australia
LAND TRANSPORT IN AUSTRALIA IS A MESS Our roads are clogged, our trains overloaded, our transport infrastructure tired and needing significant investment. Our current solutions – in terms of how we pay for our transport networks and services – simply aren’t delivering. The time has come to start again. We need to dismantle the house and carefully rebuild it, brick by brick, on new foundations. We’re all part of this problem and we’re all paying the price, so let’s all be part of the solution. Get informed, ask questions, and demand action. Let’s have a mature debate leading to a reform process that delivers a new and better transport outcome for all Australians. Extracted from Running on Empty issues paper by the TRN.
Consulting Matters Our industry
Getting the most out of a newly-formed team Over the past four years, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup – as the PBA joint venture – have brought together a unique group of professionals to design Australia’s largest transport infrastructure project; the Airport Link. The complexity of the project and its tight timeline required a team equipped with strong leadership, one identity and a shared commitment. The project comprised the new AirportlinkM7 toll road, a new dedicated busway from Windsor to Kedron and an upgrade of the existing Airport Roundabout. Orchestrated by the Thiess John Holland Joint Venture, around 34,000 people laboured for up to four years to deliver the $5.6 billion project, involving 15km of tunnel and 25 connecting bridges. Over 1,000 individuals worked more than one million hours to design this project and provide construction phase support. To meet this challenge, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup joined forces to build a team that drew on extensive local and international skills and resources and mobilised specialist design professionals from around the world. Strong leadership One the key successes of the Airport Link project and PBA team, was strong and enduring leadership. PBA put considerable focus on selecting the right leaders with the right skills for this project. This group of leaders bonded over a series of team-building sessions where as a collective group they developed values and role descriptions, set expectations and accountabilities and individually made a personal commitment to the outcomes of the project.
Bowen Hills tunnel shot creating One group, one identity
Remote offices managed carefully
From the outset, there was a vision of an integrated design team with a single project identity, defined as PBA. People with the right skills and attitude for the job were selected and through a managed process of mobilisation, they rapidly turned into a highly effective unit. The success of this was apparent as team members identified themselves as PBA, and were often unaware of the parent company of their other PBA colleagues. This synergy led to a motivated, high-performing group of individuals who were able to overcome ongoing design challenges in a high pressure environment.
The onsite PBA team was made up of approximately 250 people; however at its peak, there was over 500 technical professionals operating from the site office and 20 national and international Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup offices.
PBA’s Project Director, Luke van Heuzen commented that, “We can see strength of these commitments in the continuity within the PBA leadership team — not one member asked to leave the project before their role finished; everyone remained committed to their agreement and shared vision. “Importantly they were given time for detailed planning before the project team was mobilised. Often the early stages of a project are characterised by inefficiencies; Airport Link avoided this by having a detailed execution plan with fully inducted project staff, which enabled each team to rapidly set to work in a planned and managed environment.”
Bowen Hills Portal
Those involved remotely were managed via discipline leads and by package delivery. Packages identified for remote design were generally developed in the site office to the level where interface issues were resolved and package leads could return to their home offices and complete the detailed design. Technical leads from the site-based team regularly visited each of the remote offices to provide training, quality reviews and guidance.
Our industry Consulting Matters
PBA leadership team. From left to right: Paul Barraclough, Murray Kretschmer, Mike Straughton, Simon O’Hana, Luke van Heuzen, Richard Page, Mark Dumont, Marty Scrogings, Jeff Booker and Darren Roe
Team culture The project leaders invested heavily in maintaining a collaborative spirit. In addition to the standard communication tools required for such a large project, PBA initiated and maintained a program of professional and personal development that included: • Leadership forums and cultural intervention sessions facilitated by an external coach; • Health and wellbeing programs including stress resilience workshops for employees; • Multicultural forums including multicultural lunches to foster awareness about the different cultures from which team members had originated;
PBA Management Committee at Kedron Brook bus station. From left to right: Luke van Heuzen, Mark Keogh, Roger Patterson, Charlie Jewkes, Bruce Tanner and Frank Vromans.
• Recognition and reward programs (group and individual) for positive behaviour; and • Ongoing leadership coaching and development through onsite end-to-end support. The leaders also regularly surveyed and checked employee engagement and satisfaction. The last leg The final challenge was how to manage the demobilisation of employees from the project. As many of the design team worked on the project for up to four years, managing their return to work in their individual home offices was important for the leaders and
home office managers. Early preparation and communication of the plan to all employees and affected offices, as well as formal home office (re)induction processes, allowed these individuals to plan for, and then manage, this difficult transition. The knowledge that every member had been part of a high performing project team also made this transition easier, as was the realisation of the enormity of what has been achieved in delivering one of the largest and most complex transport projects in the country’s history. Luke van Heuzen PBA Project Director Parsons Brinckerhoff
Consulting Matters Industry comment
Gender diversity from the ground up ONE OF THE KEY FINDINGS IN CONSULT AUSTRALIA’S DIVERSE APPROACHES REPORT IS THAT IF MEMBER FIRMS ARE TO IMPROVE GENDER DIVERSITY, THERE MUST BE RENEWED FOCUS ON ATTRACTING AND RETAINING THE BEST TALENT. SECTION SIX OF THE REPORT PROMPTS COMPANIES TO CONSIDER HOW THEY ARE DEVELOPING A MORE DIVERSE WORKFORCE ASKING, “ARE YOU SPONSORING WOMEN AND OTHERS UNDERREPRESENTED IN YOUR FIRM?” The Women in Engineering Divisions of Engineers Australia are raising the profile of female engineers while universities such as the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), the University of NSW (UNSW), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Monash are working with schools to encourage girls to consider tertiary studies in engineering, technology and related fields. However, this has not yet translated into a significant increase in undergraduate enrolments. According to Engineers Australia, in 2010 only 12.3 per cent of domestic undergraduate students commencing four year engineering degrees were women.
In its submission to the recent Australian Senate’s Inquiry into the Shortage of Engineering and Related Employment Skills, Engineers Australia recommended that governments investigate strategies for improving the participation rate of students, and particularly female students, in ‘engineering enabling subjects’ at both school and university. The subsequent Senate Inquiry report recognised the low participation rates of women in engineering and consequently suggests that the government consider encouraging commonwealth contractors to provide ‘graduate and cadetship programs’.
This program should embody financial as well as career development incentives that will appeal to young women.
The shortage of women working in engineering and technology is exacerbated by the fact that a significant number of graduates are lured to employment in other industries. Clearly, if employers wish to improve the supply of entry-level talent, they should consider providing incentives to young women who possess suitable aptitudes and ability.
Arguably, there is a pressing need for private enterprise to also embrace the concept of undergraduate cadetships. If member firms of Consult Australia wish to address gender imbalance, affirmative action needs to be taken through an undergraduate cadetship program designed specifically to attract and retain young women.
Alister Wilkinson Director Professional Cadetships Australia
In 2013, Professional Cadetships Australia is launching the Engineering and Technology Cadetships Program for Women. The program will target Year 12 girls who have suitable aptitudes and ability. It will be the only cadetship program in Australia that is exclusively for young women and will enable participating firms to build female engagement with industry from the ground up, providing a talent pipeline for graduate programs.
Structural change in national curriculum to resolve the shortage of engineers OVER THE DECADES, ATTEMPTS BY GOVERNMENTS TO ADEQUATELY ATTRACT AND EDUCATE STUDENTS IN HI-TECH AND SKILLED CAREERS, PARTICULARLY ENGINEERING, HAS FAILED. THE CURRENT CURRICULUM NEEDS TO BE RESTRUCTURED IF WE ARE TO RAISE A GENERATION OF SAVVY, SKILLED AND INNOVATIVE WORKERS AND GET THE MOST OUT OF OUR WORKFORCE. I have spent many years analysing thousands of young people, looking at: what makes them tick; how they make decisions; and what they are looking for. This five-part strategy below will directly increase the awareness of the engineering profession and increase the number of students taking up engineering careers. The strategy consists of:
1 Changing the messaging and image of engineering to be in line with the different motivational drivers of boys and girls;
The story about engineering needs to be told in a different way to boys than it is to girls. Boys need continuous human interaction particularly with role models and mentors to perform at their peak. They learn by apprenticeship and need to touch jobs prior to making an emotional decision about career engagement. More young males will be attracted to engineering by facilitating interaction between students and adults in engineering roles.
2 Making engineering one of the four pillars of education; 3 Engaging industry directly in career intervention activities; 4 Unifying career intervention programs under an umbrella structure
Girls, differently from boys, respond to managing complexity in environments. Highlighting the processes and complexity involved in engineering will attract them to the profession. Girls respond to the project management aspects of engineering careers.
5 Improving teacher engagement and support.
If we are to inspire students to exciting and challenging careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) the curriculum needs to be restructured.
to focus outcomes; and
Industry comment Consulting Matters
Our learning systems have a foundation of three pillars - english, science and mathematics, with a wide range of un-associated electives tacked on, most of which have little direct focus or linkage to real world careers. The national curriculum should be restructured so that it is built on four pillars which support real life career path relevance based on languages, sciences, mathematics and engineering. The first pillar of languages should include english, history and foreign languages; the second of sciences would include physics, chemistry, biology, geology, geography, and environmental. The third is mathematics with the fourth being engineering, which would include applied sciences, applied mathematics, technology and project management. There has been a generic misunderstanding of the role engineering plays in our society by those involved in the development of the school curriculum. Somewhere along the way it has become associated with the word technology, but given that technology is an outcome of engineering processes and innovation and not the driver, this is an inappropriate branding which is completely misleading. The way that the profession is currently marketed sees students relate to the activities of engineering more than the profession itself. They understand that a bridge is engineered but they don’t fundamentally understand what engineering means.
experience or knowledge sufficient to facilitate the messaging that will bring about sustainable career decision choices in students. Many teachers also don’t understand the engineering profession and how it contributes to societal needs. This is where industry can help. The profession, industry and education should come together to create an umbrella matrix of accreditation over STEM subject outreach and intervention programs which maps them against the National Curriculum outcomes and the employability outcomes as defined by industry. Teacher engagement is another vital part of fixing the foundation of our education system. At Re-Engineering Australia Foundation (REA) we have found that if you can excite the students with ‘cool’ projects you will also excite the teachers. Creating excited engineering teachers is as important as generating engineers for industry but we are a long way from achieving this goal. Completing engineering should become an acceptable pre-requisite for becoming a STEM-based teacher and I would also like to see a clearly defined pathway for teachers to expand their horizons by studying engineering. Only by taking a fresh look at how we interact with students and how we bring engineering into their day-to-day language will we rectify the skill shortages that we have in engineering and ensure a stronger future workforce. Michael Myers Founder and Executive Chairman Re-Engineering Australia Foundation (REA)
Industry has a role to play in engaging students and should become directly involved in the formation of sustainable partnerships with schools. While teachers play an interface role between students and careers they may not have the
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Consulting Matters Industry comment
Progress on engineering registration The recent Senate committee inquiry into the shortage of engineering and related skills recommended a national registration scheme for engineers. Unlike other professions in Australia such as medicine and law, there is no consistent or universal requirement for engineering practitioners to register. What we have is inconsistent and often incompatible registration schemes across our states and territories, which restrict mobility and throw up bureaucratic and financial barriers to engineers who wish to provide services in more than one jurisdiction. We are also unable to make any assessment of the skill levels of the overseas engineers coming into Australia to help fill the increasing shortage in professional skills and we cannot take effective action against someone who practices negligently or unethically. Through the National Engineering Registration Board (NERB), Consult Australia, Engineers Australia, the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA) and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA), are working with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to press for the introduction of a nationally-consistent, broadly-based, coregulatory registration scheme for engineers. The NERB’s 2011 report to the Business Regulation and Competition Working Group (BRCWG) of the Council of Australian
We are hopeful that the next few years will see the introduction of a consistent, broadly based registration scheme for professional engineers in most jurisdictions in Australia. Governments (COAG), The Regulation of Engineers, Finding the Right Approach for a National Economy outlined the preferred registration scheme and discussed the professional, economic and public safety reasons why such a scheme is essential. Further work by ACIL Tasman quantified the economic impacts of registration and demonstrated that the net present value of a registration scheme to the Australian economy is in excess of $10 billion. The BRCWG’s work has now been elevated to a taskforce and NERB is continuing to liaise with that new body through the Commonwealth Department of Treasury. Beyond COAG, discussions are progressing well with individual jurisdictions and a number of states and territories are moving towards engineering registration. There has also been a very strong indication of support from the labour movement, employer representatives, the Commonwealth Government and all members of the Business Advisory Forum to COAG.
We are hopeful that the next few years will see the introduction of a consistent, broadly based registration scheme for professional engineers in most jurisdictions in Australia. National registration for engineering technologists and engineering associates is expected to follow. The NERB has undertaken to pursue registration for the full engineering team once governments have accepted that engineers should be registered. Registration is in the interests of all of us as individuals and of the nation as a whole; professionally and economically. It will help us to maintain and enhance the performance and status of a profession that we are all proud of. Rolfe Hartley Chair National Engineering Registration Board
Profiting from flexible working arrangements The 2012 Towers Watson global workforce study shows that 51 per cent of Australian employees are working longer hours and that 42 per cent of employees would prefer flexible work-life arrangements than paid time off. According to Towers Watson Engineering Workforce Insights, engineers have greater concerns over workload and work-life balance relative to other professions. Initiatives to promote a diverse and inclusive culture can help Consult Australia employers drive loyalty and retention.
The Australian Government fully supports flexible working arrangements and has set a goal (via the Government’s Digital Economy) that a minimum of 12 per cent of Australian employees will have a telework arrangement with their employer. The Government is launching Australia’s first National Telework Week (12–16 November, 2012) to raise awareness about the benefits of telework.
flexible work agreements in place; and we’ve had a great response to a recent initiative of purchasing additional annual leave, with over 10 per cent of Australian based employees applying to purchase additional leave. SMEC supports National Telework Week and will continue to adopt a ‘can do’ approach to flexible working arrangements which have mutual benefits for the company and its employees.
As an Employer of Choice, SMEC is supportive of flexible working arrangements. We have an increasing number of employees with formal
Marianne Matin Workforce Planning & Engagement Manager SMEC
Industry comment Consulting Matters
The essential reason to invest in deep technical development Is our industry investing enough in true technical mastery to allow break-through thinking to happen? Possibilities are created by challenging what is known and by looking for fresh perspectives. Additionally, striving for technical mastery gives our people stretch, scope and ability to innovate. It takes true financial (and time) investment to offer employees an opportunity to improve their technical mastery. Coffey Geotechnic’s commitment to technical excellence is deep. Over more than 50 years in business, we have developed successful ways to transfer knowledge to evolve our talent. Many of our leaders owe their early education and subsequent mentoring to our most senior technical rank – Senior Principals – of which many are recognised externally as Technical Masters. We have invested significant time and effort in creating a codified and
systematic global method for development of our people from beginners in their profession to the top of their specialisations, recognised by the best in the world. We have created in our people both the aspiration for true technical mastery and also provided a clear path to get there. Has this investment been worthwhile? Time will tell, but our employee turnover has fallen noticeably and our employee engagement levels have significantly improved. Across our global offices we have noticed an increase in discussions amongst staff on matters of both technical and consulting excellence. We think we are on the right track Sukumar Pathmanandavel Group Executive Coffey Geotechnics
Targeting carbon neutrality Sustainability is a major driving force in the commercial building industry and will continue to underpin future construction decisions as clients and end-users begin to reap the benefits of green offices, including increased employee productivity and lower building management costs.
The project incorporates various features to achieve these outcomes, including: energy efficient heating and cooling; rainwater harvesting; low water usage fixtures; bicycle parking and showers (in lieu of onsite car parking); a very efficient envelope with high performance glazing; and waste management and transport plans.
As Australia moves into a more ‘carbon centric’ economy and industry, there will be an increasing emphasis on the full carbon lifecycle of buildings rather than design tools for the here and now. The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) is in the process of constructing our new Melbourne headquarters which will be an exemplary project for form, function and sustainability. The primary objective for the project is to achieve ‘carbon neutrality’, by using a Total Carbon Model. This involves a detailed Total Carbon Assessment – factoring in embodied energy, operational energy, transport and waste – for the full life cycle of the building including construction and is a leading principle in producing truly sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.
41 Exhibition Melbourne Street Photo courtesy of AIA
As Australia moves into a more ‘carbon centric’ economy and industry, there will be an increasing emphasis on the full carbon lifecycle of buildings rather than design tools for the here and now.
This new hub for Victorian architecture will provide an exceptional work environment for employees and be a superior prototype to inspire architects, builders, engineers, developers and the wider community showing how a very small CBD site can be transformed to deliver a high quality, highly sustainable, innovative commercial building targeting carbon neutrality. David Parken Chief Executive Officer Australian Institute of Architects
Consulting Matters Our industry
QLD FutureNet Essay Winner CONSULT AUSTRALIA CONGRATULATES REANNA HARPER FROM ARUP WHO WON QUEENSLAND FUTURENET’S ESSAY WRITING COMPETITION IN AUGUST. WE ARE PLEASED TO PUBLISH REANNA’S ESSAY BELOW.
Topic: 2011 was a year where people around the world made their voices heard. ‘In our industry, professional advice is often not enough to sway the judgement of others. We see band aid solutions, political, self-interested or short term gain pursued instead. How can the built and natural environment professions improve their standing and influence within wider society, and engage the community, industry and government with greater effectiveness?’
The built and natural environment professionals are not a third party group of people. We are them – whether it be engineer, architect, consultant, town planner, developer, scientist or somewhere in between. It is important to realise this as we (that is, you and I) have the ability to focus our efforts on changing what is within our realm of influence. The answer to improving our engagement and standing is not technical, nor does it appear particularly challenging. We need to refresh our first hand knowledge, experience and relationships. We must remind ourselves that our own communities present the greatest opportunity. Let us change the way that we are behaving, refresh ourselves on integrity and open ourselves to learning again. There is not one solution, but a series of many ideas and tangible actions that we can trial to see how we move forward. Real actions for change Realise that policy is not always the most practical solution. While there is certainly merit to advising government on policy and ensuring our built and natural environments comply, we must remind ourselves that effective policy is created in response to community demands. If we shift our focus to educating individuals
and community on the issues that our built and natural environments face, and indeed our entire global community, a powerful successive chain of events is likely to occur. Individual people collectively change behavior when motivated by an understanding of ‘why and how’. Industry matches demand by shifting their supply of goods and services. In response, or even based on community alone, government’s add or remove policies to attempt to regulate the topic surrounding ‘why and how’. To improve our standing and influence wider society, we need to give and earn the respect to our most influential, but forgotten players in the game - our own community, including us. We need to have conversations about the ‘why and how’. Introduce ‘excursion’ into the workplace We need to introduce ourselves back into the community by understanding the real challenges of the built and natural environment. Bring it back to human passion (what do you love? what do you hate? what would you change if you had done it?). We need to visit our fellow rural towns, farmers, not for profit organisations, and laboratories to understand some of the more fundamental issues that we have started to lose appreciation for as we address simple aspects written within policy. We must talk about how they are impacted by major issues such as water availability, agricultural production, contamination, culture and native title, salinity, resource extraction and waste management and understand the big picture and how policies are helping and/or hindering. Watching documentaries and reading professional journals will never provide the profound insight and respect gained by talking to even just one farmer. Strive for gossip Policy is not fundamental, and rarely successful for long-term change. Real change is driven by word of mouth, by passion, action and community uprising.
Share the idea that there may not be one solution, or that we may have reached a solution but it is based on assumptions that we know may not mirror the complexities of real world.
Earn respect by being visible in our schools, farms, community centres, youth centres and small business groups. The farmer you and your colleagues visit for the excursion will probably tell friends and family of your visit. Be part of the conversations. Furthermore we need to ask ourselves what community standing we get out of racing to inform mining giants, heavy industry and developers about the latest policy or tool. Where are the tools, the finances and the personnel to work with our community who currently hear about the issues only through the media? Offer to translate ‘policy’ speak into real terms. You or I, for example, or certainly someone we know, could explain the carbon tax at a local community hall and take it a few steps back; share what carbon is, its nutrient cycle and the reality that our sinks are at capacity. Pick a ‘hot topic’; put on a barbeque at the community centre, offer to tell people that want to listen. It will result in more than just a few people changing light bulbs. Tell the truth Be honest and prepared to admit that we do not have all the answers. Contrary to our government processes, development applications, building guides and rating tools, professional advice can rarely be summed up by a tick in a box. Share the idea that there may not be one solution, or that we may have reached a solution but it is based on assumptions that we know may not mirror the complexities of real world. Many a professional has lost all credibility by claiming they have the solution, only to be discredited on the basis of unrealistic assumptions. Tell the whole story Our role in the industry means that people, industry and government seek answers in our advice. Of course, we must do our best to use the resources at our disposal to understand the scenario/s and come up with potential solutions. Let us just make sure that we tell the whole story, including the parts that we have missed or that we are not quite sure about. Provide the background knowledge; the reasoning and the fundamentals in the problem (for example, explain the carbon cycle in writing a paper about carbon tax). Be transparent and don’t be afraid to dust off the textbooks from our own learning period to remind ourselves that we once knew nothing about the roles we now do.
Our industry Consulting Matters
Engagement with the community requires effective communication. While our professions depend heavily on multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork, our inability to take a step back from our own technical and designing minds has probably been a barrier to our own influence and standing. Communicate in a common language Engagement with the community requires effective communication. While our professions depend heavily on multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork, our inability to take a step back from our own technical and designing minds has probably been a barrier to our own influence and standing. There is great skill in being able to explain the fundamentals and findings of our professional work in a language that your own grandmother can understand. Practice.
hindsight and regrets should be more than a ‘post mortem’ or ‘close out review’. Be ethical Reconsider our integrity when asked whether we can rewrite our objective report or advice so that it appears ‘less critical’ or ‘more favourable’ for the client. If we are asked to compromise on important aspects of our projects that touch on our ethics, remind ourselves that our respective professional codes mandate our responsibilities for informing about environmental and social harm.
Remind ourselves that we once knew nothing about our own professions
Recall the daunting time when you realised how much information you had to acquire to competently perform in your chosen profession. Be willing to admit this to our fellow citizens. This is not to say assume ignorance or any form of superiority, but to share that you are equal – the only difference being that you have chosen to focus on the industry for an intense period of time. Connect on the same level and offer to answer questions if you can. Remember that there can be a lot of respect gained, and much learned by saying unfortunately, there is no simple answer or even, I do not know the answer.
As consultants we are often the middle men. Ideally situated in the realm of influence; our provision of professional advice should be followed up with practical information about implementation. Help industries that are actively attempting positive change. For example, electricity retailers offering to work with building owners to reduce their peak demand electricity consumption. Owners save money and the retailer does not have to expand the grid, in turn lessening the impact on environment and communities (at the small scale and large scale community level). There are countless such examples. Let’s work with these parties. Go and see them; understand what they are striving for.
Have a conversation with our generations We provide advice about sustainable development and direction on how to achieve it. We attempt to respond to the issue in our designs and planning, but how many of us have stopped and talked to the future generations. Bring our school children into the boardroom. Ask. Invite our elders into the same space. Listen. Understanding should come from more than a simple ‘project inception meeting’. In the same way, appreciating
Ultimately, our own standing and influence has suffered at the hands of our own actions. With the beauty of hindsight, we can identify the errors of our ways. Rather than dwell on these, let’s implement some actions to move forward and join the people that have been so successful in making their voices heard throughout 2011. The actions presented here are simply ideas for reigniting our relationships with our peers
and neighbours in a manner that perhaps is simple, but has been forgotten. Get the fundaments and our relationships with the community right and engagement with industry and government will follow. This is by no means a short term solution; it is an opportunity to press the refresh button on our professional conduct to positively influence wider society. Reanna Harper Arup
Raenna Harper is the winner of the 2012 Queensland Consult Australia/FutureNet essay writing competition. This annual event is open to professionals aged below 35 (in the year of entry) who live and work in Queensland and work in the built environment industry. The winner is provided the opportunity to attend an international conference of their choice to further develop their professional skills. Funding from Consult Australia and the event sponsors are is used to cover flights, accommodation, registration costs etc. totalling up to $10,000 AUD. Examples of possible conferences / training opportunities include: • ICSA2013 – International Conference: Structures and Architecture, Portugal; • International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress 2013, Auckland; • Sustainability through resource Conservation and recycling, Falmouth, UK; • International conference 2013 on spatial planning and sustainable development, Beijing, China; • Cityscape, Dubai; and • MIPIM, Asia or Cannes. Reanna has chosen to travel to Romania in June 2013 to attend the ECOSUD 2013 - 9th International Conference on Ecosystems and Sustainable Development. Contact QLD State Manager, Stacey Rawlings and join the FutureNet QLD mailing list to ensure you receive an invitation for the 2013 competition. Copies of all finalists essays can be found on the FutureNet website.
Consulting Matters Our industry
Getting the most out of your workforce
Whatâ€™s my purpose?
While market competition in Australia is tightening, there is certainly an advantage in developing the people in your workforce so they can deliver solutions to maximise value for clients.
Changing demographics in Australia's workforce; easier processes through improving technology; and the enthusiasm of the motivated younger generations, are factors that all set the stage for healthy firms and a health industry. The built environment sector has never been more exciting.
To run a successful professional services firm, you must give employees the freedom to excel. They must be given the opportunity to collaborate no matter where they are in the world. To run a successful professional services firm, you must give employees the freedom to excel. They must be given the opportunity to collaborate no matter where they are in the world. This can be achieved through proper investment in technology. Employee engagement, loyalty and productivity are all directly related to providing rewarding project opportunities and career paths. Finally, always be mindful of investing in the future of employees and providing them with technical innovation programs and employee training to assist them to succeed.
Across the board, we must take the time to reinvigorate professionals and ensure they are focused on the core purpose of their industry. We all must recognise the importance of every single individual because, if they can recognise this themselves, their work has a purpose to them. Across the planning industry and within the Planning Institute, we aim to guide and inspire. We want to cut through the noise and focus on our core purpose. Creating a culture of leadership and nurturing talent will ultimately benefit the industry. Planners create better places for people to live, work and play. They make a permanent contribution to our future by balancing a range of competing and complementary demands to deliver outcomes for the greater good. Getting the most out of any workforce is about ensuring each individual realises their purpose. Kirsty Kelly MPIA CPP Chief Executive Officer Planning Institute of Australia
These four areas in combination are very powerful and help inspire our employees to achieve and deliver great results for clients. We support these areas across right across Golder Associates. They go a long way to ensuring your firm is reliable, responsive and an organisation that clients find easy to do business with. Adam Kilsby Managing Director Golder Associates
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