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Issue 21


Contents Why Intersect? 01. Project Matters

- Biophilia - Slate House Northcote

- Urban Oasis


02. InterVIEW: Tracey Michaels


03. Design Matters


04. Planning Matters


Industry Thank05. you to Matters 06. Business Matters our sponsors

27 35

07. Job Matters 38

Intersect is taken from the word Intersection – a point at which two lines or surfaces meet, and represents: + The INTERSECT-ion of disciplines + The INTERSECT-ion of past, present and future + The INTERSECT-ion of form and function + The INTERSECT-ion where industries meet.

of Victoria appreciates the support and assistance of our sponsors.

Sponsors Matter Design Matters appreciates the support and assistance of our sponsors and partners.

DISCLAIMER Publication of an article or inclusion of an advertisement in this edition does not infer that Building Designers Association of Victoria Inc trading as Design Matters agrees with the views expressed, or message conveyed, nor does it imply endorsement of products. In addition, Design Matters does not accept responsiblity for any errors or omissions. No content may be reproduced without the written permission of Design Matters. Requests should be lodged to The Editor, at ďťż


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01. Project Matters: Biophilia - Slate House Northcote


“A sleek sustainable family home combines passive design, energy efficiency, innovative technology, sustainable materials and addresses wider sustainability issues such as occupant’s health and wellbeing, biodiversity and stormwater management in an holistic sustainability approach.” 01.Project Matters: Biophilia - Slate House Northcote

Winner Best Environmentally Sustainable ++Biophilia – a deep connection with nature to benefit the occupants health and well-being was core to the design concept ++This house was designed to maximise passive heating and to reduce the heating demand to nearly zero, with large areas of glazing, high levels of insulation, dark colours and thermal mass ”Biophilia - Slate House Northcote” is a family-home built on the principles of nature, craftsmanship and environmental design. It interacts and engages with nature, the essence of Biophilic design. Below the strong monolithic slate form, a simple ground floor plan interweaves with nature, meandering out and in, carving two courtyards, at once grounding the house in the garden and drawing the garden back into the house. The building invites the adjacent park into the garden, borrowing natural vistas and extending the backyard, whilst embracing its wider contextual surroundings. Urban food production, green roofs and integrated planters create additional intimate connections with nature. The client brief was about creating connections, while delivering healthy and sustainable living, plus good flow of spaces and street integration. Discussing the need to create healthy and sustainable living in the briefing process led Melbourne Design Studio to Biophilic design. The home is set on a typical inner suburban block. The generous land size allows for the interweaving floor plan. Initial streetscape studies led to the strong vernacular roof form: standing out without dominating the street. At the back, the house form fragments, inviting and embracing the neigbouring parklands. Each ground floor space connects with outdoor spaces for daily activities, e.g. the playroom opens towards a ‘play yard’. Upstairs, the master bedroom allows ‘living in the treetops’ and extends to an external green roof terrace, a rare opportunity in an inner city setting. Natural light, ventilation and direct sunlight give a profound sense of diurnal and seasonal rhythms.

While the north garden and adjacent parklands were identified as an opportunity early on, the north-south running orientation at the same time presented the challenge of limited access to north light along the length of the land. Another challenge was how to create a contemporary home that would stand strong and proud as a highlight of modern building design, while at the same time respecting the neighbourhood and drawing inspiration from it. Courtyards play a key role in the design allowing direct north sun deeper into the plan and also promoting excellent natural ventilation. Direct (and controllable) sunlight in each space, an abundance of natural light - often from more than one aspect provide comfortable and enjoyable spaces to inhabit.


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01. Project Matters: Biophilia - Slate House Northcote

To facilitate easier construction, the original basement was deleted from the design, thereby reducing the risk of rocks and floaters found on site. The additional building mass was incorporated seamlessly into the floor plan. Meticulous detailing, natural materials and imaginative design of spaces and joinery create multi-use, flexible spaces that bring joy and delight to the occupants. The internal courtyard which flows through to the interior space is a spectacular example of what hard work and consideration can achieve. Three different colours of LaPaloma bricks are laid down in a pattern inspired by dappled shadows created by trees to further accentuate the biophilic concept. Second-hand red bricks on the external walls and around the pool complement the contemporary courtyard. Slate used on the walls and roof work in harmony with other masonry elements to create a balanced and considered home. Biophilia Slate House demonstrates how an age old traditional material can be used in a contemporary way. The strong vernacular form upstairs, created by traditional slate cladding, ties the house beautifully into the streetscape. Seamlessly integrated sustainable principles and technology such as a large solar PV array forms part of the architecture.

Sustainability considerations

A holistic sustainability concept was adopted early and integrated seamlessly into the design including passive solar design, high insulation, courtyards for deep solar access and ventilation, solar PV, innovative heating/cooling strategy, fixed and operable shading. These design features all contribute to the energy efficiency concept. In summer the subsequent cooling demand is addressed with efficient air conditioning powered by a large solar PV array, cooling the home using 100% renewable energy. The PV system is designed to be so efficient that the excess energy generated cools the slab by heat pump technology, effectively turning the slab into a battery for renewable energy storage. Sustainable materials - include reused, sustainably sourced, natural and low-voc materials. Green roofs and planters mitigate the urban heat island effect, reduce stormwater, and aid biodiversity.

Home automation and efficient technology were integral to the overall sustainability concept for example an alarm is raised when switching on the air conditioning when a window is open.



Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) Builder:

Melbourne Homes of Distinction

Stuctural Engineer: John Brock Consulting Building Surveyor:

Metro Building Surveyors

Energy Rater:

Melbourne Design Studios (MDS)


Peter Clarke Photography


Radial Timber Sales AWS La Paloma, Austral Bricks Custom Polished Concrete Mix Livos Australia Nulok Sanitaryware & Tabs, Rogerseller, Reece, ACS Bathrooms Miele, Fisher & Paykel, Electrolux Ilan El Lighting Design Designer Doorware



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“The family home as a built outcome inspires, relaxes and calms busy minds, with beautifully crafted spaces, natural materials and endless dialogue with nature. The building as a complete package is much more than the sum of its parts with nature, craftsmanship and environmental sustainability key to the success of this design.” Melbourne Design Studios Biophilia - Slate House Northcote


01. Project Matters: Urban Oasis 


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“The upstairs gallery with its oversized glazing has become one of the homeowners favourite rooms in the home.”

01. Project Matters: Urban Oasis

Winner Excellence in Use of Glass ++The effective use of glass has bought the outdoors inside and provides essential transparency for the parents to keep an eye on the children while they play ++A contemporary home that accommodates the health and physical needs of the client’s family ++Glass bringings natural sunlight to the centre of the house through a generous central void Like its name sake, the brief for Urban Oasis was to create a contemporary-styled getaway, an oasis, and provide space where the family could come together but also enjoy time apart. The building design brief for Urban Oasis specified a very large house to accommodate a family needing to manage particular physical and health needs of their children. A house designed to universal access principles was essential including a lift for mobility and an indoor swimming pool for hydrotherapy. The design response is a highly articulated façade of tilted, chamfered “Alucabond” framing the full height glazed windows. Bluestone was used to ground the facade visually. Internally, what could have felt vast with a house of this size instead feels light and cosy.

The thoughtful use of glass ensures the home is bathed in natural light throughout, that it feels intimate, comforting and engaging for the family. By providing a range of indoor and, outdoor living spaces, this home provides exceptional amenity. Overall, there is a transparency to the home that allows the family to keep an eye on the children as they play and includes runnable areas through the house with minimum obstructions.

Although the rear of the block was north facing the size of the required home challenged the ability to maximise solar gain. Nagydesign found creative ways to bring in natural light by using ample glazing throughout and incorporating a generous central void to draw natural light deep into the home, alongwith with clerestory windows around the stairwell. The hallways are shortened through void and gallery glazing panels. Other glazing features include a raised Clerestory on the living room wall with glazing above and below the entertaining hub, designed to filter in the morning light, but not to distract from viewing the TV. The glass enclosed hydrotherapy pool seamlessly becomes another room of the house. The sustainability considerations for this home include a 20,000 litre underground Water Harvesting tank that has been installed in the back yard, installation of 8 kv PV Panels orientated north on the roof alongwith double glazed windows.



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“Overall, there is a transparency to the home that allows the family to keep an eye on the children as they play and includes runnable areas through the house with minimal obstructions.” Nagydesign Urban Oasis


02. InterVIEW


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02. InterVIEW

Tracey Michaels Finding and developing a successful niche in the Car Wash industry! I am commonly known as the “Car Wash Queen”; where I am able to develop a project from the initial sketch stage, complete the Town Planning documentation and then deliver a full set of construction drawings including the Architectural drafting/Building Design, Structural/Civil and Hydraulic Engineering- all myself! Seeing a project go from start to finish, knowing that you have designed all aspects of it gives me great satisfaction. I get to work with amazing clients all around Australia and New Zealand; which is a rare opportunity that I enjoy.

What is your favourite project that you have worked on, and why?

In 2009 I designed this ‘wave’ Car Wash in Cheltenham. Over my career I have designed over 120 car washes, this one is still my favourite as my client wanted something different and the ‘wave’ look was developed. Due to the ridge/trough placement, I was able to only have 1 box gutter and 1 eave gutter for the main roof. I complemented the curved roof structure with an inset fascia truss that had different inflection points to the main roof to add variation and depth to the building façade. I continued the colours of the fascia truss/roof throughout the concrete panel areas to maintain the ‘wave’ flowing throughout the entire structure. I love projects where I get to be creative and do something a little different than your standard ‘box‘ Car Wash. At the end of the day it all comes down to the creativity of your Client. With creative design (both architectural and engineering) you can achieve interesting building façades without blowing the project budget.

My favourite finish is?

Rum and coke on a Friday afternoon… But on a serious note I predominately work with concrete panels and steelwork. So I am constantly thinking of new and interesting cost effective techniques to ‘joosh’ up the buildings that I design.

The architectural style of the home I grew up in?

I grew up in a typical 1960’s brick-veneer house in Gippsland. It was a standard 3 bedroom, central bathroom and 1 living area modest home. It fitted Mum, Dad and my brother without any troubles. The building design didn’t shape any architectural views that I have today; but I am grateful for my humble upbringing.

I joined the Design Matters because?

Networking, continuous learning, keeping up to date with current trends, CPD and to be inspired by other members’ designs and creativity.

My favourite Australian building is?

This may be a let-down to some people; but I have always loved the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Maybe more so for the icon of the building/structure that it is and what it represents to me. Draped in your team colours, I’ve always loved the walk down from Federation Square and over the William Barak Bridge, the banter along the way and the atmosphere. I’ve loved seeing this structure reinvent itself since its initial inception back in 1853. Sometimes architecture is not just about the external beauty of a façade, it is about evoking emotion and a deeper feeling within.

My favourite international building is?

I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona to see Gaudi’s work- that is a bucket list item. Of what I have seen on totally a different level of architecture would be Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Having experienced this building first hand it is simply different and in my view elegant! The technical design, construction and on-going stabilisation methods used is mind-blowing; with the three asymmetrical towers and a 3 acre roof deck that cantilevers 65M at its outermost point. And if you have ever seen the light show that they project from it and the surrounding buildings nightly? Put simply… WOW!

My words of wisdom for a student building designer are?

Never stop learning and listening. Be dedicated and put in the hard yards early in your career. The hardest times might be just before your biggest breakthroughs. Continually strive to improve. You will get out what you put in. Success rewards hard work. Learn from your mistakes. Push the envelope, but know your boundaries and when to ask for help.

When I was a child I wanted to be?

I never really knew what I wanted to do until my year 10 careers teacher suggested that I might like Engineering as I was good at maths. At that stage I didn’t even know what an Engineer was! I read a book about Engineering and decided that Structural/Civil Engineering sounded good- so I did that! From an earlier memory, from about age 12, I enjoyed looking over house floor plans that I’d find in a magazine or a brochure. I’d collect them and still have them to this day! In hindsight maybe I was destined to be where I am today, with a mix of both Engineering and Building Design skills.

Outside of work, I am passionate about?

Spending as much time as possible with my young family and friends. Keeping active by running, cycling, bikram yoga, basketball and tennis. I love triathlons, and have completed 2 Ironman and 16 half Ironman races back in the day before bub arrived!

At the moment I am reading?

“Mighty Fighting Hawks” by Martin Blake; which is a detailed history of the Hawthorn Football Club since Alistair Clarkson’s inception as coach back in 2005 - a great eye opening read. Love my Hawks!

My life in 4 words?

Loving, determined, happy and successful. I deleted ‘resilient’ for ‘happy’ because when you are happy nothing else really matters!

Favourite Quote? “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” 


Cheltenham Wave Car Wash, VIC

Somerton Park Car Wash, SA

Sumner Park Car Wash

Tivendale Car Wash, Darwin


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03. Design Matters



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03. Design Matters

NABD Winners The National Design Awards is the flagship event for the National Association of Building Designers and has been developed to acknowledge the expertise, creativity and excellence of building designers nationwide. The Event was telecast live across three states so all attendees, regardless of location, heard the announcements at the same time.

Design Matters Members received 7 of the prestigious awards across both Residential and Commercial categories. We congratulate all nominees and winners.

All nominations were of incredibly high standard and is testament to the imagination and the design excellence of Building Designers across the country.

A big thank you to the judging panel who deliberated for hours on the merits of each project, as well as the Sponsors BrickWorks Building Products, Wood Solutions, Capral Aluminimum, Schuco.



Victorian Winners

Queensland Winners

Best Residential Interior Design Beaumaris Residence STUDIOMINT

Best Non Residential Interior Design Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Norman Richards Building Design + Interiors

Best Heritage Design Kirrewur Court Restoration & Additions Another Dimension Building Design

Best Special Project Design Hidden Cove Phillip Buchanan – Burleigh Design

Best Sustainable Design Biophilia - Slate House Northcote Melbourne Design Studios (MDS)

Best Alteration/Addition Commercial Design The Longs Quarter StruXi Design

Best New/Alteration/Addition Public Building Design Holmesglen Student Hub and Learning Commons Crosier Scott Architects

Best Multi-Residential Design - over 6 Dwellings T10 Villas Alisco Designs

Best Small Lot Design Corner Store Maison Co

Best Alteration/Addition Residential Design - up to $350K Construction Cost RB House Norman Richards Building Design + Interiors

Best New Residential Design - up to $500K construction cost Backbeach Project Beaumont Concepts Best New Residential Design - over $1M construction cost Moat’s Corner Vibe Design Group

Western Australia Winners Best New Commercial Design Prime House Meyer Shircore Architects Best New/Alteration/Addition Industrial Design City of Bunbury Depot Veen’s Design Group

Best Alteration/Addition Residential Design - $350K to $800K Construction Cost Bijou MR Design & Drafting Best Alteration/Addition Residential Design - over $800K Construction Cost White Water House Chris Clout Design Best New Residential Design - $500K to $1M Construction Cost Zen Residence Cam Raymond - Raymond Design Winner: The 2019 National Building Design of the Year Prime House - Meyer Shircore Architects

Best Multi-Residential Design - up to 6 Dwellings The Blinco Dalecki Design Best Small Dwelling Design - up to 150m2 King William St. Residence Sam Martin Building Design 2019 National Building Design of the Year Prime House Meyer Shircore Architects 


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A great opportunity to travel with like-minded people exploring Japan’s built environment.

03. Design Matters

Japan Study tour, Building Design students Bendigo Kangan Institute (BKI) were successful in applying for funding provided by the Australian Government in their Endeavour Leadership Program. The study tour was designed to provide Building Design students with the opportunity to see firsthand examples of international building design, particularly examples of sustainable building systems and materials that related to units within their course. On the trip were 11 second and third year students, 2 teaching staff from BKI (Sonia Vescovi and Brian Stratford) and 2 facilitators from Ceres Global. The tour started in Tokyo where we stayed in a capsule hotel, immersing students in small scale living and linking to more recent design, exploring Tokyo’s contemporary building fabric. We walked and caught what felt like hundreds of trains in order to view examples of Tokyo’s high tech sustainable buildings by leading architects including Tokyo Skytree, St Mary’s Cathedral (Kenzo Tange), Nakagin Capsule Tower (Kurokawa), and many more buildings along the way. A visit to the Edo Open Air Museum was a highlight, with more than 30 buildings on display from Japans recent history (300 years) including a traditional farmhouse and a more recent example of what we would label mid-century Modern. BKI partnered with Ceres Global to facilitate the trip, and as well as keeping us safe and well fed, they were instrumental in providing opportunities for the students to gain first-hand knowledge of sustainable building techniques. They arranged a visit to a permaculture cooperative in Fujino where we met with an architect, Mr Yamada, who showed us buildings he has designed where techniques such as cross ventilation and shikkui lime plaster and mud walls allow the building to breathe. Locally sourced timber is used with traditional no nail approach, meaning the building is deconstructable and biodegradable at the end of its life. Another visit was made to a building studio with a presentation by a joiner who demonstrated the use of traditional interlocking tsugite joints to construct houses and furniture with no nails or screws. Next stop; Kyoto where we stayed in a traditional ryokan with tatami mats and sliding screen doors. A lot more walking – did I mention it was incredibly humid and hot! – to various markets and shrines and traditional buildings. After 2 days we left for

Port Uno where we had planned to spend 2 days touring the Art islands - Naoshima and Teshima – however a looming typhoon meant we spent only one morning cycling around Naoshima visiting art installations and swimming in the ocean. Cancelled trains and ferries required us to depart the area before the typhoon hit; our facilitators Katie and Mariko skilfully guided us out of the impending strike zone and after 6 hours of travel we made it to Osaka, weary but glad to be safe. Osaka had a mixture of contemporary and traditional architecture and our last two days were spent taking in all the sights. The highlight for me was the island of Naoshima. We rode an electric bike around the island with glimpses of ocean and mountains as you meandered through small villages and at every turn, a different piece of artwork. We managed to grab a swim in the ocean which was welcome relief from the clammy heat.

The building design study trip to Japan was nothing short of amazing. Being part of a group of people with similar interests and exploring another country and culture was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Together we took in the sights, sounds and smells while expanding on our focus of sustainable building techniques both past and present. - Belinda Younger 


The team

Naoshima Art island

Visiting a building studio

Zenkojido Temple



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04. Planning Matters



Issue 21

Little bits that can make a big difference to your town planning outcomes

04. Planning Matters

Planning Tid Bits Multiple Small Lots & CHMP Exemptions Clause 1 recently provided readers with the findings of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) in relation to what constituted “a lot”, when calculating the total Garden area. The decision in Clayton Gardens Pty Ltd v Monash CC [2019] VCAT 1138 found that: …. the minimum garden area requirement to be applied is dependent upon the type of application and the composition of the planning unit. As such the garden area is to be applied to the planning unit, not on a per lot basis, if the application includes more than one lot. A more recent decision in 104-105 Station Street Pty Ltd v Kingston CC [2019] VCAT 1546 made similar considerations, this time regarding whether a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP)was required. In this case the Tribunal considered an application for a three storey building containing 19 dwellings and a basement car park, over two lots (in two certificates of title). The site’s were located within an area of cultural heritage sensitivity. Regulation 10 of the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations provides an exemption for smaller sites from the need to obtain a CHMP, and states: The construction of 3 or more dwellings on a lot or allotment is an exempt activity if the lot or allotment is – (a) not within 200 metres of the coastal waters of Victoria, any sea within the limits of Victoria or the Murray River; and (b) less than 0·11 hectares.

It was agreed that the land met condition (a), above. However, condition (b) was more contentious. In this instance the two individual lots were less than 0.11 hectares each, however greater than 0.11 hectares when combined. It was the permit applicant’s position that the reference in Regulation 10 to “the lot or allotment”, was a reference to the size of each individual lot and that the second part of the exemption was also met. In its findings, the Tribunal referred to the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984 which provides that: ... in an Act or subordinate instrument, unless the contrary intention appears – ... (c) words in the singular include the plural; and (d) words in the plural include the singular. The Tribunal found that the proposal could not be contained on one lot and that the exemption is limited to 3 or more dwellings on a lot of less than 0.11 hectares. In this case the dwellings were over two lots, the combined area of the two lots being more than 0.11 hectares and therefore a CHMP was required. Practitioners need to be aware that it is the size of the overall ‘planning unit’ that provides the relevant ‘site area’ when applying the CHMP exemptions, not the size of any individual lot that makes up part of the planning unit.

Ph: 03 9370 9599 


Christmas Notification Blackouts Once again, at this time of year Councils across the state will implement ‘blackout periods’, restricting the advertising of planning applications over the holiday season. The dates and restrictions of the ‘blackouts’ vary significantly from Council to Council. Permit applicants should contact their relevant Council for details, but here is an example of what some Councils have already announced will not count towards the normal 14 day public notification period. Stonnington:

Dec 20th 2019 - Feb11th 2019


Dec 24th 2019 - Jan 2nd 2020


Dec 16th 2019 – Jan 6th 2019

During these dates most Council’s will not count the ‘black out’ days as part of the required advertising period. This generally means sign(s) must be maintained on site for all of the ‘black out’ date plus 14 days. In some instances, Council’s require the sign to be erected for 14 ‘continuous’ days (not including the black out dates). In such circumstances, if your sign is erected 10 days prior to the black out period, remains up over the black period and is required to be maintained for 14 ‘continuous’ days after the blackout period, your sign will be erected for more than 6 weeks. As a result of the elongated advertising period, it is often in an applicant’s best interests to not erect the sign on site until after the blackout period has ended. It is noteworthy that the Planning and Environment Act does not authorise Council to ‘blackout’ days over the Christmas period. Despite that, VCAT regularly supports the notion of ‘blackout’ periods when issuing Orders that require advertising over the holiday season. Clause 1 is of the opinion that the inconsistency in ‘black out’ periods across Victorian municipalities and the lack legislative support for these ‘black out’ periods has created a confusing, frustrating and unnecessary time delay for permit applicants. Practitioners should be aware that the ‘black out’ period can be added to the 60 day statutory timeframe and Councils that enforce ‘blackout periods’ over the Christmas break could be inadvertently exposing themselves to ‘failure’ appeals from more-aggressive applicants and may well find themselves liable for the associated VCAT-appeal fees.

These tidbits are part of the regular contribution made by Clause:1 Planning to Intersect. For more information visit

Melbourne Market Update – Spring 2019 Springtime in Melbourne… The crowds are gathering for the usual array of significant events such as the AFL Grand Final and Melbourne Cup, not to mention the attendance at the Global Climate Strike on the 20th September. The Strike saw a huge turnout and was a major event for the Architecture and Design industry considering it’s potential to lead, change and shape outcomes in this crucial area. From a market activity perspective, consistency has returned to the market after the first half of the year. Earlier, we saw up’s and downs primarily to do with the long-running Banking Royal Commission and the May Federal Election. With both of those now behind us, confidence levels are higher, resulting in a more consistent recruitment environment generally. Several uncertainties during the first half of the year resulted in some studios making redundancies, others recruiting staff and others sitting in the middle in “hold tight mode”. There has been a small number of business closures across the development, construction, design sectors. Along with slowing real estate prices in the headlines, it made for a period where confidence levels were suffering. In this period, virtually all sectors were experiencing lower activity levels than in the previous 2 years. Despite significant international events such as Brexit, tradewars and issues in the Middle East splashed across the media; locally, the market seems to be stable as we approach the end of the year. Following changes to the way projects are financed (particularly medium density residential), we have seen longer breaks between project stages. Early conversations about new finance models supporting “build to rent” or “rent to buy” type projects are starting to increase. Activity is expected to continue in these areas into 2020, and with interest rates now having dropped to historic lows, impetus appears to be coming back into the real estate market. Whilst positive, this new finance model may add an element of complexity when resourcing, managing and delivering projects, with finance more likely to go on hold at certain project stages. With slightly tighter market conditions, tougher fees are something that many studios are contending with within a competitive market. Our current positions still suggest high levels of activity across the board, though with changes in the mix of projects along with budgets. It is hard to pin-point a consistently busy sector, as some practices who are working in a specific typology are busy, others are quiet.

Continued on page 43


Issue 21


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05. Industry Matters



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05. Industry Matters

Quality projects, quality documentation By Emma Green, NATSPEC Communications Building designers uphold high standards in their businesses and projects, high standards that are shared by all members of the building and construction sector. However, in this industry, problems related to inferior quality continue to arise. The building issues of the past several years continue to be of concern in 2019. The Lacrosse building fire in Melbourne in 2014 brought non-compliant cladding materials into the spotlight, an issue thrown into even greater relief by London’s catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. Further incidents back in Australia have continued to cause significant disquiet within and outside of the building industry. Similar to Lacrosse, there was another Melbourne cladding fire at the Neo200 building; in Darwin, nine apartment blocks were found to have non-compliant transfer slabs; and in Sydney, evacuations from the Opal Tower and Mascot Towers apartment buildings kept the issue of building quality in the public arena. These events have created a push for action as government bodies, industry organisations and individuals recognise the need for firmer enforcement to ensure building safety. The Victorian Government, for example, is looking to impose stricter regulations on building designers. Many changes are proposed within Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir’s report Building Confidence. Published in 2018, this report was commissioned by the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) in 2017, following the Lacrosse and Grenfell fires. Building Confidence is well known for its 24 recommendations to improve enforcement and regulation in the building industry. These have now become the foundation of the BMF’s national approach to strengthen the building and construction sector. A Government implementation team is working on specific recommendations from the report to improve the construction industry. These events, plans and issues relate to overarching changes for the building industry as a whole. In this large-scale context, it is easy to forget about the importance of each building designer’s good practices and professionalism. The need for high quality documentation in each project is of utmost importance. This includes drawings, details and construction specifications. NATSPEC, the National Building Specification, specifies the required quality of construction, helping building designers to dictate the quality of construction required, on behalf of their clients. Building designers have a professional responsibility to specify products that conform to regulations and are used in a compliant manner. This ensures that any building they design is safe for its occupants. With NATSPEC documentation, building designers can clearly specify their quality requirements. This helps everyone involved in the design and construction process to be aware of the necessary standards. NATSPEC emphasises compliance with the Building Code of Australia.

There has been something of a culture change since Lacrosse, Grenfell and the Building Confidence report. Indeed, the report’s authors highlight the need for a cultural shift in the industry. Jurisdictions have become more aware of industry problems and have put solutions into action. Several states and territories have conducted cladding audits to assess the level of risk in their area. As of their last report, the Victorian Cladding Taskforce has assessed 2227 buildings, of which 1069 were found to have combustible cladding. There have also been legislative approaches, most notably Queensland’s “Chain of responsibility” amendments. The National Construction Product Register (NCPR), an initiative by NATSPEC, has been part of the culture change by encouraging greater responsibility for the overall safety of buildings. Government and industry bodies support NATSPEC as the administrator of the NCPR. The NCPR is a national database of construction products that have verified evidence of conformity. Manufacturers apply to NATSPEC to have their products included on the register, and NATSPEC verifies that each product has valid evidence of conformity. Building professionals, including building designers, can then access the free database to check the validity of products in their projects. Designed to be used in all stages of the design and construction process, the NCPR is a crucial part of the effort to improve regulation in the building and construction industry. It is especially valuable when considering product substitution. Products chosen as substitutions must satisfy the conformance requirements of the construction specification. The building designer can use the NCPR to check whether a proposed substitution has a verified certificate of conformity. The NCPR helps building designers and other building professionals to reduce the risk caused by non-conforming building products. Building professionals have a responsibility to work with products that are appropriate, fit for purpose and safe. State government responses and the BMF’s national approach reflect this obligation and reveal the seriousness of the construction industry’s problems. Responsible for their individual practices and projects, building designers can contribute to the culture change by ensuring that they specify quality with NATSPEC and use products with verified evidence of conformity. By using the NCPR, building designers are doing their part to improve building safety. NATSPEC is a not-for-profit, Government- and industry-owned organisation. It is impartial and not involved in any advocacy or policy development. NATSPEC maintains the National Building Specification and has been a valued part of the industry for over 40 years. For more information, and to check the conformity of products, visit: 


05. Industry Matters

Building Amendment (Cladding Rectification) Bill A Building Amendment (Cladding Rectification) Bill was introduced to Victorian Parliament on 14 October 2019.

The purpose of the Bill is to: •

to confer further functions on the Victorian Building Authority in relation to cladding rectification

to provide financial assistance for building work associated with cladding rectification

to provide for the subrogation of the Crown to the rights and remedies of an owner to whom financial assistance is given

to establish a new account in the Victorian Building Authority Fund

to impose an additional levy on certain building permits

It is anticipated this legislation will be enacted before the end of 2019, however Design Matters will keep members up to date with any progress.

So what does the proposed Bill mean for registered building designers?

As Justin Cotton, Director, Lovegrove & Cotton noted in his article “How Cladding Exclusions May Change the Way Building Cases are Run” dated 15 October 2019, “sole traders unable to firewall themselves with the corporate veil of the company structure may face bankruptcy if large awards are visited upon them in circumstances where their policies do not respond. This may well precipitate a wave of asset protection activity as companies migrate assets to either trust structures or spouses. The spectre of the ‘man of straw’ building practitioner defendant may resume currency.” It also leaves the registered building designers and registered engineers very exposed, as they are the only practitioners remaining in Victoria that have mandated PI insurance with no exemptions. While a large volume of building designers are not affected due to the scope of work they undertake, for those of you who are in the commercial space, we have taken this matter to the Government.

Town Planning Consultants

1. Additional levy An additional levy will apply to all Class 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 buildings which are not in regional Victoria. The additional levy (on top of the standard levies) is proposed to be: Cents in every dollar

Construction cost


$800,000 or more but less than $1,000,000


$1,000,000 or more but less than $1,500,000


$1,500,000 or more

This cost should be factored in to any feasibility studies or any projects you have in the pipeline (pre building permit), especially given the anticipated commencement of the final legislation is prior to the end of the year. 2. Rights & Remedies Additional powers are proposed so that the State Government can pursue building professionals in relation to the installation or use of any non-compliant or non-conforming external wall cladding product, or other building work, that required the cladding rectification work to be undertaken. Given that building surveyors and inspectors are no longer indemnified by insurers (that is, exemptions are permitted in their PI insurance for registration with the VBA) if they are sued for cladding related defects they will have to carry this personally.

Where Your Vision is Our Purpose 435 Nepean Highway Frankston Victoria 3199 03 8765 2455 


Issue 21

05. Industry Matters

Maintaining education and training standards for future building designers In the September edition of Intersect we provided an overview of Design Matters concerns in relation to proposed changes to the national building design qualifications that were lodged as part of a July public consultation process.

Artibus Innovation facilitated the review of all feedback, and only minor changes were affected when the proposed national building design qualifications were released for final public validation in September 2019.

- Evaluate construction materials, methods and services – the unit has no application in the design process

With these minor amendments, Design Matters still does not believe the proposed Advanced Diploma of Building Design will not satisfy the knowledge required for registration in Victoria as a draftsperson (architectural) within the Building Design category and therefore will not deliver outcomes within Victoria; and will potentially mislead potential students with two qualifications with similar titles that deliver very different outcomes.

- Determine compliance requirements – the unit has no application in the design process and is lacking assessment - The following generic units are not fit for purpose: • Manage the tendering and construction process for a client

As part of the validation process, Design Matter shared the following feedback:

• Undertake project work

Diploma of Building Design •

Lack of WHS

The requirement of the Certificate IV as a pre-requisite to this qualification imposes a greater time and financial commitment for the students. It is also worth noting that this could have implications on students being able to access VET Student Loans and their eligibility to access a state government funded position.

• Manage and monitor business or records systems • Lead and manage team effectiveness • Apply ergonomic principles to accessible building design and fitout • Prepare a concept design for accessible building work - Produce BIM for building design projects. BIM is the process, not the product, it is lacking in standard terminology, standards and legislation references. It does not include 4D (plan and track) or 5D (track timelines). Overall this unit is overly simplified when BIM is a highly complex process.

Advanced Diploma of Building Design •

In the mapping documents it states that ‘It has been introduced to better meet industry demand for building designers with the competencies required to develop building designs for medium-rise projects.’ However, it does not address the high level of skills and knowledge required for Building Designers and is severely lacking in some crucial areas. The pre-requisite qualifications at Certificate IV and Diploma level do not cover the required skills and knowledge or the right level of volume of learning at Advanced Diploma level. There is the issue that so much of the skills and knowledge will be learnt and applied at lower AQF levels.

In general, all units are severely lacking in any detail of the Performance Evidence required to be competent. There are too many generic Business Service units at the expense of more industry specific units.

Skills and knowledge missing from the qualification - Safe buildings - Bushfire attack level assessments

We are unsure how the Property Services Industry Reference Committee could consider endorsing these qualifications, however if they are, and they are launched, Design Matters will continue to lobby the Victorian Government to support the Victorian Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) to ensure that registration and scope of services currently available to Victorian building designers continue into the future at the high level and calibre it is today.



Issue 21

Bupa offers the value you need Discover the benefits of being a Bupa member, which you get in addition to your corporate benefits, to help you take care of your health and wellbeing and live a healthier, happier life. Pay nothing for dental check-ups

Taking care of your mental health

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To support our members, we pay towards the cost of both psychology and counselling, at recognised providers, under our mental health category on most Extras and packaged covers.

Age-based discount on all Domestic Hospital covers

Corporate cover with great benefits

If you’re aged 18-29, you could be entitled to receive an agebased discount on your Domestic Hospital cover in addition to your current corporate benefits. The discount is calculated at 2% for each year you’re aged under 30, when you first purchase Domestic Hospital cover. 3

Bupa have teamed up with your employer so you can access a range of health and wellness services as well as unique corporate benefits. Join your colleagues on your corporate health plan to take advantage of these benefits, including discounted health insurance premiums that may be available to you.

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Only for new customers on selected combined corporate Hospital and Extras cover issued by Bupa HI Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590 who join on direct debit or payroll deduction (if available) between 01/09/2019 and 31/10/2019 and who mention the phrase “Get Bupa corporate six weeks free” upon joining. Offer excludes Overseas Student Health Cover and Hospital products combined with Orange 50 or Orange 60 Extras products. Members must maintain a combined corporate Hospital and Extras cover for 30 consecutive days from the join date to be eligible to receive the six weeks free offer. 2 and 6 month waiting period waiver commences from the join d ate and only applies to selected Extras. Other waiting period s apply. Yearly limits, fund and policy rules apply. Not available with other offers. See the full terms and conditions here: health-insurance/campaigns/6-weeks-free-terms 2Available to Bupa members who have selected combined Hospital and Extras cover that includes general dental. Excludes Your Choice Extras 60 when general dental is not selected and Orange 50 and Orange 60 prod ucts. Yearly limits, waiting period s, fund and policy rules apply. Full details at 3The age-based d iscount is calculated at 2% for  and the size 3 2of each year you are aged under 30, when you first purchase Domestic Hospital cover. The maximum discount is 10% for 18 to 25-year-olds. The discount applies based on how many adults are on the cover, their respective discounts, which are based on their age. Discounts will begin to phase out from 41 years of age. This is a voluntary Australian Government initiative that Bupa has chosen to adopt. Bupa HI Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590. (BKQY-VQS6)

05. Industry Matters

10 Star Home under construction Progress is well underway for Adelaide’s first 10 Star Home by Building Designer SUHO. During July, August and September builders have poured the slab, formed the dedicated service penetrations in the slab instead of the walls, structural framework work installed, termite protection membrane laid, insulation installed within the rafters, metal roofing, the OSB board taped and sealed. Part of being a KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful) ‘Clean Site’, the 10 Star Home is also providing training to contractors and through tertiary institutions during the construction. The slab work included a significant recess to allow for an additional insulation layer for the 10 Star rating. Kingspan Kooltherm K12 panels were used on the outside. These were screwed to the frame and taped to each other as part of the airtight strategy and therefore no services were allowed to enter the home through this layer. The layering on insulation provides strategic air gaps that are either ventilated or unventilated for to ensure that we are allowing the products to work in the best way possible. It was also for Woolcock Constructions, the builder to ensure that the installation was coordinated heavily because of the weather.

Partner & sponsor products installed to date are: •


Kingspan K12 & Permicav

PGH Bricks

Revolution roofing and Bluescope roofing and flashings

Proclima wraps, tapes, consulting and training provided by Climasure

Okanlux triple glazed thermally broken aluminium windows

Brickwork commenced in October using PGH Bricks – manufactured locally in Golden Grove, S.A. The Reverse Brick Veneer design was tested through Roborater as the best choice for the project as the density provided more winter warmth for the home. The products are in all areas possible left raw (and unrendered) to ensure that the maximum capture of heat was obtained. Windows finally arrived so the home is now at lockup. The triple glazed thermally broken units were installed with the air-tight membrane, vapour membranes and sill tape to ensure maximum air-tight seal. Woolcock Constructions and SUHO proved the air-tightness strategy was an achievable construction with the first Air-Tightness test achieving an incredible result of possibly better than 0.7ACH @50p. SUHO are hoping on the final test at completion will hit the passivhaus level of ACH which is 0.6.


Issue 21

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06. Business Matters



Issue 21

06. Business / Technology Matters

Is it time to update your website? Your business website is the center of your brand identity, marketing, sales, and customer relations. More than 80% of shoppers do online research before they buy (AdWeek). You have spent a lot of time and money to build your business, develop your reputation in the marketplace and develop your website so you don’t want to repeat that effort unnecessarily. Below will help you figure out if it is time to revitalise your website and if it is doing the job of creating you sales leads and enhancing your client relationships. Why It is Important An outdated website design can hurt your search rankings and turn away clients, which is definitely not your goal. It is important to keep your website working hard for your business - every hour of every day. A redesign every so often will keep things fresh and freshen your look. You also need to keep your technology current while you are at it. So, how often do you need to redesign your site? The following eight factors will pinpoint whether you need a redesign now - or twelve months ago! 1. Mobile friendly 2. Visual appeal 3. Navigation and content

If your site looks professional and is loaded with useful information, visitors will see you as an authority and expert. Likewise, if your site looks poorly designed or out-of-date, they may make the same assumptions about your business or you as a Building Designer or Energy Rater or any other profession. Use your competitors and peers as examples to evaluate your own site. Are you keeping pace with your industry? Remember to check both your computer and phone views of your website. Both should be appealing and similar. Your page elements need to look good and work on mobile devices. Links and buttons need enough room around them to prevent accidental clicking.

5. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

The text needs to be easy to read and the navigation easy to use. Your visuals of your projects and your work should be professionally photographed and showcased.

6. Security

Your website should have a clean and easy to use look and feel about it.

4. Speed

7. Lead generation 8. Social media integration Website Audit Tips:


Mobile-friendly web design is the standard

So, we list this first because having a mobile-friendly or responsive website design also affects the other factors. Consider the following: •

Google search favors websites that look good on smart phones and other mobile devices. Google began indexing websites based on their mobile version, not their desktop version

More than 50% of website traffic comes from mobile devices

People are twice as likely to use search than other online or offline sources.

Between browsing behaviors and search results, having a mobilefriendly or mobile-first website is a must.


Visual appeal for your audience

Your website needs to have visual appeal for your audience. Website standards keep evolving, as do visual standards. Large images, appealing colors, and open or flat design elements are the normal user experience. Words matter, but how those words look matters as well.


Navigation and content matter

Can your visitors find the information they are looking for? Website visitors are looking for information. Either they found you through search or they know who you are and want information about your services, your past work and current work. They want to know about you and how credible you are. Make it easy for visitors to know who you are, what products or services you provide, and how to find you. Information should be no more than two clicks away. Consider implementing site search, mega menus, and deep footers to link to popular content. If you have high bounce rates (check your Google Analytics) that may indicate visitors are not finding what they’re looking for on your site. Check your referral sources and search terms to see what your visitors are wanting. Short content is out. Every good piece of content answers a question or solves a problem. Arrange and develop content to provide answers. Showcase your projects and the good work you have done. If you have won awards here is where you can display them and boast about your wins. Browsing preferences have changed and scrolling is preferable to multiple clicks. Use subheads and images to break up content and make it more visually appealing. 


Mobile users want content without downloads, sideways scrolling, or needing to zoom their screens to read your words. When possible, do not use PDFs or attachments, but format the content to fit your website so it is searchable. For example if you have brochures do not just post the brochure PDF! Use the content to make an optimised page that can be read without downloading.


Page speed is important


Integrate your social media into your website

Link your social media to your website or integrate it so all digital channels are working for you simultaneously. This ensures that clients can find you through all channels and it creates a full narrative about you, your business and your services. It also allows you to interact with your clients and engage them in the community you create digitally.

Bounce rates rise by more than 50% if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load. A slow site or slow page hurts your traffic (and conversions). Use Google Page Speed Insights and find out how long your site takes to load. If your score is low then you may need a website design update.

Websites are your digital business cards and your digital shop front

Optimising images and minimising CSS can help reduce page load time. Other factors include your website hosting company and hosting plan. If you are using WordPress, you may want to evaluate the use of plug-ins and remove any that aren’t needed.

There are future clients who are looking at your current website or have completely missed your website and this is the very reason why your website may need a redesign and reinvestment.

If you need a page redesign, starting with a mobile-first approach to limit load factors will also help with page speed on computers.

This article is written from the following sources:

If you are using graphics to showcase your projects be mindful of how long they take to download. Consider reducing the file size in order to make it easily accessed by clients or create a gallery that sits on it’s own page so clients can view your projects separately.


You have spent a lot of time and money to build your business and develop your website content. If your website doesn’t get a passing score on these eight factors, then you should be planning your next update today.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation

While content has the most influence on SEO, page design has an impact as well. There are choices in page design and element order that influence SEO, including alt tags for images and using styled text instead of graphics. A good page design will consider the site goals and optimisation.

If your site is missing meta data and alt tags, or lacks the ability to add these, then it is time for an update.


Security matters

Don’t have an SSL Certificate? Google is going to flag your website this year! Security matters to everyone. If your website does not use SSL security, then it is time to update it. You can check by going to your website and look next to the URL. Do you see a little padlock symbol and the word “Secure”? If so, you’re all set. But, if your website is not secure or has warnings of mixed content, it will be flagged and will most likely drop in rank for search results. If your site is not secure, it is time for a redesign.


Lead generation through forms, enewsletters, calls to action, and offers - build a database of potential clients

Your website is out there providing information about your business, you, your products or services, and interacting with prospects and customers. It is a clearing house of information. With more than 80% of shoppers searching information online before purchasing don’t you want to find out who they are? If your website does not have easy ways for visitors to sign up for information or join your email list, then it is time for a new website design.

LS Planning Pty Ltd offers experience and expertise across abroad range of planning issues, such as: • Planning permit application preparation and management • Planning reports • Representation at VCAT • Expert witness advice and representation • Planning Scheme amendments • Strategic planning • Residential development concept preparation Town Planning is a complex field which is constantly evolving and requires a level of expertise to achieve a successful outcome. Please call the team at LS Planning on 03 9399 1236 to find out how we can assist you with your next project.


Issue 21


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07. Job Matters ++Building Designer Seeking Employment Opportunity

++Seeking Graduate of Architecture/ Senior Architect

++Interior Designer Seeking Employment Opportunities

Ten years relevant Victorian experience predominantly designing and documenting high-end single dwellings, multi-residential unit developments and mid-rise mixed-use apartment buildings. Proficiency in AutoCAD and Sketchup with current knowledge of NCC/ResCode. My passion for architecture, art and design, with background in construction enables me to design with a considered, rational and creative approach, with an eye for detail and ability to run a project from concept to completion.

We are looking to expand our team with a highly motivated Graduate of Architecture/Senior Architect. Brandrick Architects are an Echua based architectural firm with projects throughout regional Victoria. Our portfolio has a wide variety of projects of various scales including commercial, residential, educational and government buildings. Our mission is to be the architectural practice of choice in the region by offering a diverse range of services and providing high quality sustainable architecture with flair and imagination beyond expectations.

After graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Interior Design from Raffles Design Singapore, I co-founded Lines & Lumber, an Indonesian-based interior design firm. I have 5 years of experience in running projects through all phases. I recently relocated to Melbourne, and I am looking to start my career as a designer/drafter/administration assistant. Proficient in AutoCAD, Photoshop, InDesign, Office, Excel and a strong interest in learning and improvement of my skills. I recently completed Revit Level 1 short course at RMIT.

For further information and CV, please contact Anthony via email at

++Registered Building Designer available to assist with over flow work Registered building designer DPAD located within inner Melbourne is available to assist fellow building designers, builders architects with any overflow work as required. Proficient in AutoCAD with own AutoCAD license and ABN and home/office set-up. Proficient in preparing planning documentation and working drawing documentation across bespoke homes, multi unit/low-rise/highrise residential projects and residential alteration/addition projects. Email any project enquiries to

Applications should include a cover letter, resume and references emailed to in PDF format no greater than 10mb by 29/10/2019.

++Opportunity at Design Studio in Warragul We have a position vacant for a Building Designer or a graduate in either building design or architecture at our design studio in Warragul. Knowledge of the building regulations and NCC is essential as our projects are all custom in residential and commercial. If you have a passion for 3D visulisation, with an eye for detail and would like further information on this position, please email your resume to

Please contact me via email payaldasani@ or call 0422 405 774 if you wish to see my resume/portfolio

++Seeking Qualified or Recently Graduated Draftsperson Boutique Building Design Firm, located in the south-eastern suburbs seeks a qualified or recently graduated Draftsperson. Applicants must be proficient in Revit and have solid technical detailing and project documentation skills. The ideal candidate should, in addition, possess a keen interest in emerging technology such as developing virtual reality environments and high-end 3D visualisation. Knowledge of 3Ds Max and Vray is helpful, but not essential. This is a great opportunity for a self-motivated and creative building designer wanting to work in a relaxed office environment within our growing team. Please forward your CV to

Melbourne Market Update – Spring 2019 - continued from page 27 The apartment market is showing positive signs in recent months, and the usual model of great site, great design, great amenity, and a cashed-up developer continuing to achieve positive results. An increase of commercial projects in the smaller to the midscale area seems stable. With many large-scale commercial buildings that began construction in the past 12 months due to finish up in 2020, new projects in the pipeline are tending to be mid-scale rather than large. Highly technical projects including pharmaceutical, bio-medical, rail and Aviation are creating compelling new roles, and Aged Care is on the up. However, a limited number of key players in these sectors mean roles are not widespread. We have seen a number of new hotel projects committing and these are generally a part of a mixed-use development with a broad range of facilities in the overall project mix. Education,

health and institutional sectors have seen an increase in new projects commencing. However, build-value, scale and method of engaging Architectural studios still makes for a tough sector. Infrastructure spending remains strong in the background, and studios active in this area anticipate further spending on rail, road and infrastructure projects generally from the State Government. The Interior Design market remains solid, with commercial, apartment and hospitality projects strongly in the mix of our recruitment in the past three months, and these roles continue to come through in steady levels. Some are high profile larger projects with significant demand for new team members, along with activity in the smaller scale, high-end boutique hospitality area. Read full article on: market-updates/melbourne-market-update-spring-2019/ ďťż


Good Building Design


For all your building design matters speak to a Design Matters Member. Visit or call 03 9416 0227 to find a building designer.

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Intersect, November 2019  

Intersect, November 2019 from Design Matters - enable, advocate and celebrate good building design

Intersect, November 2019  

Intersect, November 2019 from Design Matters - enable, advocate and celebrate good building design

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