Barker Ryan Stewart’s certification team had the great opportunity of attending this year’s Association of Accredited Certifiers (AAC) conference.
The AAC’s annual conference was held on the 7th of June at the Star Casino in Sydney. As always Barker Ryan Stewart had a resounding presence in terms of subdivision certifiers (including some budding certifiers!)
The conference was hosted by Andrew Daddo, who has proven himself to be the perfect host for these events – easily breaking up the serious mood of a room of certifiers pulling their hair out regarding liability insurance, and seemingly enjoying poking a bit of fun at himself and his experiences with having his own ‘Fonzy Flat’ approved through the private certification system.
This year’s theme was ‘Rising to the Challenge’ and centred around the challenges of certifiers from public and government perception, to everchanging technologies. It also included discussion from building certifiers about the worrying climate around insurance exclusions that could jeopardise how and if they operate.
But before the attendees ventured into doom and gloom, the AAC had organised for the first speaker to completely spellbind the room – enter Andrew Lock (OAM), high altitude mountaineer. Andrew isn’t a household name, but he should be. He has climbed all fourteen 8,000m+ peaks on Earth, including Everest a number of times. He was the first Australian to complete a number of ascents of these mammoth mountains and has led numerous small team expeditions to do the same. He also does this without bottled oxygen, without Sherpas, and sometimes completely alone. Whilst his stories of failed expeditions, races to the summits and the loss of his climbing buddies had the audience in his hand, there was a clear tie in with how he conducts himself on these missions and how this relates to certification – managing risk. If you’ve ever had enough of carrying out a risk assessment each morning before commencing work, Andre Lock says ‘hold my beer’ to that, as he would carry out a risk assessment every 50-100m of the climb! The result though is he has all his fingers and toes and is still breathing, so it’s safe to say that his risk assessments and management have served him well.
Moving on from that stirring presentation, the attendees were addressed by various leaders on some familiar concepts and challenges. Topics varied from planning law, to the current liability insurance situation, and how building certifiers need to apply political pressure to ensure their profession is properly covered. Barker Ryan Stewart’s Director Garry Ryan took the 30-odd subdivision and strata certifiers for a presentation and general discussion on the new Act that will one day affect us all when it is in force. Garry was able to successfully motivate his audience into what looks like the reassembling of a sub-committee of strata certifiers within the AAC. Maybe one day Garry will use these powers and become a part time motivational speaker?
In typical defence attorney fashion, speaker James Berg was able to split the room of mostly building certifiers on a simple yes or no to the question of compliance of the hot topic of combustible cladding. With a few senior audience members reading and interpreting the same clause completely differently and landing on either side of the argument, it was a very clear indication that the profession which we operate in is not always a black or white one, there is plenty of grey and our management of the risk associated with each of our choices is critical.
A special mention should be made to speaker Nick Abrahams who is the Global Head of Technology and Innovation for a Top 10 law firm. His message was simple, ‘embrace technology’, but the technology that is upon us is anything but simple. According to Nick the digital disruption is here, and in the blink of an eye the presence of driverless cars, a robot workforce, emotional recognition and manipulation, and people marrying holograms will be the new norm. Luckily, it’s Nick’s job to try and stay in front of the game and assist in bringing legal framework to an ever expanding and innovating industry…
We would like to thank the AAC for hosting such a great event. Overall, it was a successful day and reminded our certifiers of the importance of carrying out work with risk management at the forefront, and the benefits that come from managing risk well as we rise to the challenges in front of us.
Pictured: Garry Ryan presenting at the subdivision and strata section of the conference