Our policies in practice
Our independently certified ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System is the backbone of our service approach and business operations. Recognising our responsibilities to our clients and the community as Architects and professional service providers, our systems support consistent and high-quality services for all clients and projects.
Our company values of ideas, humanity, collaboration and economy are the foundation of our practice policies, with objectives set to drive measurable actions, and continuous improvement in our services and operations. Articulating our commitments to quality services, safe design, equitable workplace conditions, and support for local communities and businesses through procurement, our policies are anchored in tangible outcomes. In practice, these policies and objectives have led to the following initiatives:
Quality service delivery and industry engagement
We are active participants within our industry networks, both as a practice and as individuals. In 2022 Foreground became an Australian Institute of Architecture A+ practice member, supporting increased engagement with our peers, and expanding professional development opportunities for our team.
Our sector expertise is reinforced by our memberships and partnerships with industry associations including Learning Environments Australasia, and the Property Council of Australia as an Associate Member and Victorian Industry Partner (Retirement Living).
Recognising the impact of gender inequality in the profession, Foreground is a proud inaugural member of the Parlour Collective, supporting the continuation of Parlour’s research, and improvements and education for our practice.
Local industry and community development
Our commitment to improve communities is demonstrated in our design, delivery and operations. We maximise opportunities to support the community by working with consultants who share our values, and by purchasing from social and disability enterprises including STREAT, Reground, Enable Australia, and Fruit2Work.
Through our projects, we develop tailored actions and targets that support the Victorian Government commitments to local jobs, industry and social procurement, namely the Local Jobs First, Social Procurement Framework, and Fair Jobs Code. As a 100% Australian owned and operated SME, Foreground is committed to collaborating with local consultants to drive local economies and build knowledge close to home.
Foreground Architecture is also a proud corporate sponsor of Sweet Justice, a beekeeping training and industry employment program engaging youth in Victoria’s Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre.
Find out more about Foreground’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy.
Sustainability in design and operations
Sustainability is a key priority for our practice, in both design and operations. Backed by our Environmental Sustainability policy, our designs integrate proven sustainable design principles and industry standards such as Net Zero Energy Design.
As a signatory of the Australian Architects Declare movement, we are continuing to develop ways to adopt the movement principles in our projects and operations. We are in the process of completing a review of our policy and developing a new action plan to further improve the sustainability of our operations. In renovating our new Carlton home in 2022, we pursued high ESD and ethical procurement options wherever possible. This has laid the foundation for us to commence our carbon neutral journey in 2023.
Our environmental sustainability policy in more detail.
Reconciliation Action Plan
Foreground Architecture acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country upon which we live and work throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and celebrate the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to Country. We commit to continuous learning and recognition of their cultures in our practice.
In June 2023 we submitted our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan and continue engaging with Reconicilation Australia to achieve endorsement. We see our Reconcilation Action Plan as an opportunity for the practice to take meaningfully and sustainably take positive action to advance reconciliation. Based on the core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunity, the RAP will focus on fostering respect, economic equity and supporting First Nations self-determination.
Long committed to designing place-responsive solutions, we are supporting our team in building their knowledge of designing with Country, First Nations history and design principles to support considered design and project delivery, and culturally safe approaches.
A safe and inclusive workplace
We are committed to an inclusive workplace for all, where individuals feel safe, heard and comfortable to progress their career. Foreground has developed policies and guidelines accessible by all staff, including paid Family Violence leave, flexible hybrid work arrangements, and ongoing professional development opportunities. Our Occupational Health and Safety team champions initiatives to maintain a healthy and safe work environment, including supply of ergonomic workstation equipment in the studio and at home.
Contributing to the safety of the workplace, members of our team have completed certified training including First Aid, and Mental Health first aid, cultural competency training and accredited allyship training.
Equity in design, and in practice
We recognise the importance of equity in design, and in practice. In 2022, Foreground Architecture formalised our commitment to fostering a culture and operational structure that supports the fair and equitable participation of all persons working within architectural practices and in the wider architectural industry, independent of cultural or gender identity.
We recognise the legacy of gender inequity in the profession and are passionate about addressing the impacts of these structures on diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
We believe our equity targets and actions benefit staff of all gender identities through improved workplace policies, diversity of ideas and staff, and increased opportunities for participation and education.
In support of these commitments, we have developed a Gender Equality Strategy to drive progress towards equal gender representation. Our strategy focuses on objectives that promote equity in practice by addressing participation, pay equity, career development, workplace flexibility, inclusive workplace principles, advocacy and accountability.
Central to our plan is our commitment to support 40/40/20 gender equitable representation in the practice workforce by the first quarter of 2027. This is supported by actions including our aim for 40/40/20 gender balance on all project teams.