Australia's national architecture advisory firm Archicentre has gone bust -- right in the middle of the property boom

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The Australian Institute of Architects has been forced to close its building advisory service, Archicentre, because it was financially unsustainable, despite the spectacular property boom on the east coast.

Archicentre was a business subsidiary established by the not-for-profit architecture organisation 36 years ago. It was a national provider of design, advice and inspection services to the Australian property industry.

President Ken Maher said the decision to shut the doors immediately came after the boards of both Archicentre and the Institute reviewed its operations and finances.

Professor Maher said increased competition had “strained Archicentre’s business model and financial position for some time”.

“During this time the market and environment in which Archicentre operates has changed dramatically and what was once a unique and innovative business model has become one of many service providers in an increasingly competitive and densely populated market,” he said.

“An important change during this period has been the welcome improvement of consumer watchdogs, strengthening consumer protections in a way that overarches the services Archicentre was established to provide.”

Professor Maher said the Institute and Archicentre board spent the past two years trying to turn the company’s financial position around, but it continued to deteriorate.

Archicentre offered a range of corporate and government services to property/strata managers, owners corporations, developers and construction companies including commercial property inspections, dilapidation reports, QA inspections and maintenance advice.

“An escalation in operating costs and the recent expiration of a valuable long-term contract have now rendered Archicentre’s financial position untenable,” Maher said

“‘The Institute’s decision to bring Archicentre operations to an orderly conclusion is the prudent and responsible course of action that will best serve the interests of all involved – customers, contractors and the broader membership alike.”

The Institute will take on liability for any outstanding debts, paying contractors and members for any work carried out before the closure, and refunding customers for work paid for but not done.

The Institute is looking at possibilities to re-deploy any of Archicentre’s 12 staff, and will pay all entitlements.

Professor Maher said customers and contractors seeking further information can call 1300 134 513 or email info [at] archicentre.com.au.

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