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Staff Interview – Libby Pracilio

For the fifth of a series of 3-question interviews with KPA team members, to help you get to know us all a bit better, Sally Jones (SJ) interviewed Libby Pracilio (LP).

For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting her, Libby is an Associate Director and Architect with a flair for design and passion for construction law. A member of the national conference sub-committee and WA events sub-committee for the Society of Construction Law Australia (SoCLA) and examiner for the Architects Board of WA and AACA, Libby is strong team leader with a dynamic approach. Her architectural design abilities, contractual knowledge and witty sense of humour all make her a highly valued team member here at KPA Architects.

SJ: How did construction law become a strong interest of yours alongside architecture? How does it tie into architecture for you, and how important is it to you to have this knowledge?

LP:  Since university I’ve been interested in construction law and in 2013 the opportunity arose to undertake a Post Graduate Certificate in Construction Law.  Since then, I’ve been the main point of contact on any issues related to the broad area of construction law, including contracts, risk, insurance, dispute avoidance, etc. in our office and it’s an aspect of my job that I really enjoy.  I also just love being involved in the construction law community, predominantly through SoCLA, and have had the pleasure of meeting and learning from so many absolutely incredible professionals as a result.

As architects, we’re required to have such a vast skillset, and part of that is appreciating how the law operates in relation to our profession and our projects.  I know this topic isn’t terribly appealing for many architects, but my genuine interest and understanding allows me to step into that space and in doing so I feel as if I can really be useful to the profession and the broader construction industry.  With my knowledge I’m able influence how projects are run, so project teams can focus their attention on the true project intent and for KPA that means creating environments that enhance people’s lives.

SJ: Mentoring has been a part of your career, as you have participated in a few mentoring programs over the years. Can you tell us a bit about your mentoring experience and what is your advice to others about mentoring?

LP:  I think it’s really important to continue learning and personal growth throughout your whole life and participating in mentoring is one way of facilitating that.  The mentoring relationship is bilateral, so whether you’re a mentor or a mentee there is so much to be gained both technically and in soft skills, as long as you put in the time and effort to create a structured process, focus on growth and commit to working on your goals.

SJ: As mentioned, you are on the panel of assessors for the Architects Board of WA and the AACA, which assess the eligibility of candidates to apply for registration as an architect in WA.  What made you want to become involved and what is your view on the future of architecture with the newly registered architects?

LP: As with mentoring, I see this is as a great opportunity to share knowledge with others and also for personal growth.  Registration is important to our profession and the public as it ensures those using the term “Architect” have a certain level of skill and experience.  It’s been great to meet some very capable candidates in the process, with strong knowledge and a passion for architecture.

As to the future of the profession for newly registered architects, I think there’s still a lot of change ahead, particularly in project delivery.  Architects are increasingly being faced with non-traditional project structures, complex contracts, increasing liability, non-payment of fees and disproportionate risk allocation, which has already resulted in changes to professional indemnity insurance.  I’m optimistic that these issues, as well as the under-utilised forms of dispute avoidance and resolution, will come to the fore as we collectively move towards more cooperative procurement processes and mutually-beneficial outcomes.  In order for this is be realised we need ongoing conversation, strong industry advocates leading the way and ultimately progressive principals who are open to taking a holistic approach.

I envisage the future will also hold increased specialisation of architects, as well as further segmentation and diversification of our traditional role, which is an exciting prospect for architects at any stage of their career.