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    Senior architects cashing in as high-rise apartment approvals soar

    Nathan Johnson

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    Architects for high-rise apartment buildings in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast are in high demand and getting better pay, that’s according to a number of recent industry reports.

    One of the latest comes from Avdiev consultants whose half-yearly survey of 22,000 people working across 150-plus property companies shows that the average salary of senior architects working on medium- and high-density projects is up five per cent this financial year.

    This is better than the average three per cent salary increase enjoyed by other property professionals and, according to Avdiev managing director Rita Avdiev, is an overdue improvement.

    “They have been waiting for so long for some improvement,” Avdiev explains in an article by the Australian Financial Review.

    “They are usually the lowest-paid of the professions."

    The pay increase has been attributed the growing number of higher-density apartment buildings that are popping up in Australia’s urban centres and which now account for almost half of all building approvals across the nation.

    The Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) October 2015 – Residential Building Approvals: profile by type and geography report shows that approvals for apartment buildings above four storeys are up 10 per cent on a 10 year national average and up a massive 41.1 per cent than the number of approvals 12 months ago.

    This is driven predominantly by NSW where approvals accounted for 41 per cent of the nation’s total.

    This also resonates with the 2015 Q2 Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index, which showed that the number of high-rise developments grew 32 per cent across the nation, thanks mostly to a 38 per cent increase in Sydney and a 27.2 per cent increase in Melbourne.

    Data released by the online jobs website Seek would suggest that the number of advertised jobs for the architecture and design sector mirrors this growth.The number of new jobs ads in the sector increased by 42 per cent in the 2015 financial year from the previous and actually outgrew any other sector .

    Three consecutive Hays Quarterly Reports for Construction & Property have also suggested that this increase in multi-residential projects has in turn increased the demand architects. Their report goes further however and narrows the demand to BIM-savvy, senior and project architects, the same type of architects that are reporting higher salary increases than other property professionals this financial year.

    And while dKO Architecture’s managing director Craig Gordon told the AFR that it’s not just senior architects salaries that were rising “but across the board from graduates to the top of the profession,” Jon Clements, president of the Australian Institute of Architects was more direct in his description of who was enjoying the benefits of the multi-residential boom in the profession.

    "Firms working in multiple sectors are benefiting the most and Sydney firms are particularly buoyant."

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