Connect regularly features the profile of a member of the ABCB Board. This issue introduces Rolph Vos, Australian Local Government Board member and talks about his role on the Board, emerging issues and challenges working within the industry.

Can you tell us about your role on the Board?

I have been appointed to the ABCB as the representative of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). This simply means that it is my responsibility to ensure that the Local Government perspective is presented and considered by the Board.

What do you see as some of the emerging issues for the Board?

The Board has been focused on the recommendations of the Building Confidence Report. The emphasis of the report is the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia. In my view it is imperative that the Board do all it can to see the issues raised in the Report are adequately addressed.

Can you tell us about your professional background?

I commenced my career in Local Government with the West Tamar Council in Tasmania in 1996 as a cadet Building Surveyor and undertook the Diploma of Applied Science (Building Surveying) course with TAFE Tasmania. I am now an accredited Building Surveyor and Construction Manager. I have also completed an Advanced Diploma of Business Management. My experience and qualifications saw me appointed as Council’s Project Manager for the eighteen million dollar Windsor Community Precinct and Windsor Pavilion development, as well as numerous other smaller projects.

After spending 8 years as Development Services Manager for the West Tamar Council responsible for planning, building, plumbing, environmental health and municipal inspection, I was appointed to the role of General Manager in August 2016.

Given your experience working in the building and construction industry, what has been the most challenging part?

I believe one of the biggest challenges faced by all building practitioners is the need to keep pace with change. For example this rate of change is evident in construction methodology, product range and diversity as well as client/customer expectation. It is also very much the case with legislative change and the need to be conversant with State and Territory acts and regulations as well as the NCC. One challenge the Board faces is how best to ensure that practitioners are provided the professional learning necessary to keep pace with these changes.

Do you think there is enough diversity within the construction industry workforce? If not, how do you think this can be improved?

Diversity in our industry is definitely a challenge, in short, no I do not believe there is enough. There is now, and has been for some time, clear evidence that in order to provide optimum outcomes, a diverse range of input is necessary. In my mind diversity is not just about gender, true cultural diversity in the workplace is a result of practices, values, traditions, or beliefs of employees based on race, age, ethnicity, religion and gender. This type of diversity is what I would like to see more of and the best way to engender this, is through education and information, so that our industry and our communities truly understand the benefits that will inevitably flow.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to have a career in this industry?

Building and Construction is one of the largest industries in Australia. Right now, Australia is experiencing higher than normal infrastructure and population growth which is not expected to slow anytime soon. This is driving equally high demand for people to join the industry in order to meet the demand.

There are many paths which can be taken to enter the construction industry including apprenticeships, traineeships, courses, college qualifications and university degrees. There is a strong need for qualified, licensed workers in design, construction and management roles to carry out the diverse tasks available in the building and construction industry.

This industry offers excellent opportunities for people who want to carve their own career path, whether it’s working behind the scenes or out in the field. Wherever your strengths lie, if you’re drawn to the world of building and construction, you might just discover your dream career.

The really special thing about being a part of constructing iconic buildings and landmarks is walking around your city and saying, ‘I had a part in building that’. So my advice to someone considering a career in the industry is “get on board”.