Cold call Access Consulting Career inquiries climbed again in 2015, and although the applicants are keen and we wish we had positions, the truth is its a saturated market and their prospects are slim. Adding to an already difficult career start for graduates is an emerging decline in jobs within Building Surveying and Local Government leaving many applicants holding vocational certificates in disability access, but not much else.
The growth in Access Consulting Careers followed the introduction of the long anticipated DDA Access to Premises Standard in 2010 (APS). The APS created a nightmare for architects already struggling with change fatigue following stringent new green building quotas and Work Health and Safety reforms.
Prior to that, architects and builders took their advice on DDA and BCA matters from seasoned professionals, specialist architects, with occasional input from disability groups and care givers.
Since 2010, Building Surveyors/ Certifiers have taken the disability-access inclusions in the BCA as an opportunity to expand their role, scope and fee share simply by packaging each part of the BCA as a distinct service offer, I.e. Section J Environment services, Part C Fire Consultants, and now Part D Disability Access Consulting.
Importantly, Building Surveyors had seized control of this expanded consulting team by advising clients that the approval process would be expedited with a full compliment of in-house services, that sometimes grew far beyond the BCA, into Town Planning and WHS services for example.
Leveraging the statutory approval veto was a legally risky strategy that proved lucrative for building certifiers, yet filling seats in these BCA production houses would involve finding new supplies of low cost alternatives to qualified architects.
The Advent of Access Consulting Career
A five-week access consulting career certificate courses in disability access run by private institutes would met the short term labour shortage by more than filling vacancies within the first year. By the second year the market was saturated.
Five years on and courses continue to produce Access Consulting career graduates with a future somewhat less than the rosy career pitch for paying students. The demand for access consultants is likely to continue its decline as the new access laws become familiar, and construction budgets tighten in line with iron ore prices.
The current business environment is seeing the market returning to peer to peer support from independent and qualified professionals with strong building background.