By Peter Barda, Executive Director, ACIF
There have been many changes in the way the construction industry operates over the 40-odd years I have been working in it. While some have been for the good, others have been not so good, and three in particular stand out.
When I was asked recently about the future of architecture, I began with George Santayana’s proposition:
“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
First, the declining level of trust between client, designer, and constructor. And it’s gentle to say ‘decline’. The dramatic change in the size of consultancy and contract agreements is a simple but effective measure of this. As a young lawyer I learnt the ins and outs of the then most common form of construction contract, the E5b, a standard form published by the Master Builders Federation of Australia (MBFA) and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA). It ran to 40 or so pages, and it was rare for special conditions to deal with project or site specific matters to exceeded that number. Now, the contract forms regularly encountered by practitioners, their length and complexity, make your eyes water.