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ED18 AUGUST 2019


Issue 18

Contents Thank you to our sponsors


of Victoria appreciates the support and assistance of our sponsors.




Why Intersect? 3 4





04. PLANNING MATTERS Thank you to INDUSTRY MATTERS our 05. sponsors

27 31





of Victoria appreciates the support and assistance of our sponsors.

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.

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 


President’s message - Dominique Hunter

A New Future After eighteen months’ of work to ensure the BDAV continues to be relevant and brings tangible value to our members and the industry, I can confidently say we as an association are now ready for what the future holds. In order to look to the future we must first look to our proud past BDAV started as the Association of Independent Draftsmen/ Drafting Services. In 1982, three agenda items brought together 36 draftsmen and 2 draftswomen to tackle the following issues that we were facing at that time: + Copyright problems + Industry ethical standards + Problems with building regulations At meeting’s end, a unanimous vote to form an association was taken. A steering committee of twelve was elected. While we continue to grapple with those same issues, thanks to the strong foundation set by those early association pioneers thirty seven years ago we have a proud list of accomplishments: + We have delivered a level playing field in the design environment for building designers in Victoria through: • Registered building practitioner status • Open licence • The evolving Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) qualification • Tailored PI insurance and much more + Today our opinions are sought by government on policies relating to building and planning; we have representation on the Building Advisory Council to provide advice to the Minister, we proactively put forward opinions on as many day-to-day matters which affect members and we continue to be the voice and advocate on behalf of our members. + In 2011, we achieved NatHERS Assessor Accrediting Organisation status and we are the largest AAO in Australia, + In 2019 we are one of the biggest building design associations in Australia. Our member base reaches beyond Victoria and the building designer profession. So why the need to look at us after thirty five years? Eighteen months ago at the thirty five year mark, the Committee started asking this VERY pertinent question. Why? The world we live in is changing – our environment, technology, globalisation, and consumer expectations. As an organisation, as a profession, as an industry, we must embrace what the future has to offer. To remain relevant to our members and the industry, we must, like our association’s pioneers set a solid foundation that creates new and innovative value for the organisation now and for future generations.

As a result, we undertook a full strategy review of where we are now and what the future could look like. We started with a SWOT analysis; undertook research and evaluated future industry and consumer trends; looked at competitors; ran industry workshops with stakeholders; and surveyed members and non-members. From this what we know with absolute certainty is: + Quality building design needs to be promoted + Pride and awareness of our profession is paramount + We need to work together as an industry each with our roles and responsibilities clearly defined, to deliver quality outcomes + More awareness and availability of compliant, quality building products is required. Added to the above we also found that there is an unmet need for consumers to access ‘quality building design’ – services we currently deliver but haven’t leveraged or communicated as our point of difference and strength. And we are perfectly positioned to contribute to these market needs. With our clients, by their side, navigating their journey to achieve their vision of home or building. So what does the future look like ? Our vision is to broaden, build and embed the appreciation of good building design into contemporary Australian culture. Our mission is to build value for our profession through enthusiastic advocacy and cohesive action. We believe good building design is an ideal worth sharing. By seeking out proactive, open collaboration with members, peers and partners, here and abroad, we will position ourselves as an authority for simplifying and enabling the delivery of good building design in Australia. We believe at the heart of what we do and what we fight for and refuse to compromise on is … we believe design matters and good design is for EVERYONE. The name Building Designers Association of Victoria or BDAV no longer represents who we are, where we are going and what we plan to deliver for the future. As such we are adopting a new name that can unify, educate and communicate our beliefs. Now BDAV will be transitioning to a new name DESIGN MATTERS. Over the following months you will see the rollout of the new brand and communications, including a new website, building designer tools which are aimed at improving client knowledge and relationships as well as announcing a new consumer campaign to create demand for members. A two year program is scheduled to ensure we build on the previous eighteen months of hard work. While members concentrate on delivering better building design solutions for clients, we’re here to drive excellence and provide support so members and the wider industry can realise a better future, where good building design matters. Presidents speech from 2019 Design Matters Building Awards. 


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01a. Project Matters: Moat’s Corner


“Moat’s Corner is a benchmark for quality residential design. Nestled elegantly within five acres of established gardens on a 53-acre property, its clean lines, colour palette, and use of natural materials make this home a clear standout.”

01a. Project Matters: Moat’s Corner

Winner 2019 Design of the Year ++ Good use of natural light and views of the expansive gardens from all aspects of the home ++ Completely elevated, the building gives the illusion of floating off the ground ++ Everything we come to expect as standard within a home has been re-thought

Moat’s Corner is a timeless, interactive haven, which celebrates its natural surroundings. To live in the home is to coexist with the garden. Vibe Design Group brings together form, function and appreciation of clever design to create a family home that fits within the existing footprint of the property, ensuring no detrimental impact to the natural vegetation. The home’s orientation and floor plan has been carefully considered to make good use of natural light and views of the expansive gardens, while still allowing privacy for its inhabitants. Completely elevated, the building gives the illusion of floating off the ground. Motorised glass sliding doors bring the outside in, allowing the residents to enjoy natural light from every room and a peaceful outlook on to the site’s gardens. The glass cladding system provides reflections of the surrounding gardens, ensuring the occupants have a deep connection to nature. The well-considered floor plan and strategic use of materials ensures the occupants can celebrate the beauty of the five acres of landscaped gardens as they transition through the seasons. The pivot entry door is the only solid matt element setting the tone of intrigue and discovery at the first point of entry. This simple, understated entrance hides a sleek, modernist inspired home for a growing family. The carefully thought out floor plan creates an element of surprise as you navigate through the space. The separate master and bedroom wings function as a retreat for teenage children and parents alike, while the self-contained guest wing provides all the privacy and luxury of a secluded sanctuary.


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01a. Project Matters: Moat’s Corner The hallway of the bedroom wing has been designed to act as an interactive library with panelling forming as bookshelves. While the deep-set glass above, below and in-between the panelling ensures no views of the lush greenery outside are compromised.


Bathroom shelving is imagined as an offset black pocket within a white glass panel.

Sustainable practices have been thoughtfully incorporated without visual impact. Large underground water tanks are concealed, capturing every drop of rain from the expansive roof, for use in toilets, gardens and the pool. Solar panels have been fitted to the farm shed and cabled back to the house, providing maximum benefit without the usual visual prominence. Passive sustainability measures are also an integral part of the design scheme, intentionally configured to capture light and natural ventilation. A deep continual eave shields from the summer sun while embracing the winter warmth. Raised roof structures afford ventilation and light to centralised amenities. The considered and gentle placement of the home affords minimal disturbance and overall impact on the landscape it nestles so closely to. To hero its natural setting is to strengthen our connection with it and the way we care for our immediate environment. But it’s the incorporation of innovative technologies and materials within the home that work in conjunction to deliver a new living standard for now and well into the future.



Vibe Design Group

Icon Synergy

Structural Engineer: NSIENT Consulting Engineers Building Surveyor: Nepean Building Permits Photographer:

Jack Lovel Photography


Keller Minimal Windows European Window Co Laminam Signorino Tiles Viridian Glass


Issue 18

“The considered and gentle placement of the home affords minimal disturbance and overall impact on the landscape it nestles so closely to. To hero its natural setting is to strengthen our connection with it and the way we care for our immediate environment. Vibe Group Design Moat’s Corner


01b. Project Matters: Kyneton Red Brick House 


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“An original design that catches the eye both externally and internally“

01b. Project Matters: Kyneton Red Brick House

Winner Excellence in Recycled Materials ++ An excellent example of how recycled materials can be given a new lease on life ++ A balance of internal brickwork to create a look that celebrates brick, without being overwhelming ++ A design connecting 2 strong building forms one with a gabled roofline and the other with a skillion roofline

When a client with a bricklaying son approached us to design their new Kyneton home, it came as no surprise that the brief included using recycled red bricks. The brief was to create a modern warehouse feel using polished concrete, glass, steel along with the use of brickwork to make a strong statement internally and externally and to give the house a heritage feel. Located on a small corner site Kyneton Red Brick House required careful design to allow the house to present well on it’s exposed street frontages, as well as creating a protected private courtyard for the residents and their guests to enjoy. The design outcome is the use of 2 strong building forms one with a gabled roofline and the other with a skillion roofline and a low level flat roof running between these 2 buildings. The skillion roof element allows the main living space to have a large wall of glass facing north and the gabled roof block helps to give the house a presence on the property when viewed via the 2 street frontages. By maximising the side setback along the northern boundary and placing the single garage at the south-west corner of the floor plan, the design was able to achieve the goal of creating a suitable outdoor courtyard along the northern side. It also allowed the living area of the house to have extensive north-facing glazing to maximise the passive solar potential.

This little house has garnered quite a lot of attention in the local community. The builder, with some 40+ years of experience, has commented on the unique qualities of the house. The owner is simply in awe of her home - it’s an original design that catches the eye both externally and internally. In the few months she’s had living in the house, it has proven to be a very comfortable and livable space. Kyneton Red Brick House is an excellent example of how recycled materials can be given a new lease on life.



Woodend Building Design

Internal face brickwork is used to the entry hallway and also at either end of the large living space. The bedroom wing is largely left as plasterboard to provide a softer and quiet environment.


Massina Builders

The floor plan design was derived around passive solar principles - keeping the living areas to the north and limiting the amount of glazing to the west and south. The use of internal brickwork and polished concrete slab provides for thermal mass.


JJR Bricklaying


Tenylle Marie Photography

Sustainability considerations included the specification of higher levels of wall and ceiling insulation, along with good quality double glazed windows and doors.


N E W S . B D AV. O R G . A U


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“Kyneton Red Brick House celebrates and beautifully balances the use of recycled brick, without overwhelming the design. The red bricks feature throughout the home in a bold approach to achieve a rustic yet contemporary design, providing the residents all the wonders of a 21st century design in a heritage style environment.� Woodend Building Design Kyneton Red Brick House

02. InterVIEW


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02. InterVIEW

Alastair McDonald Alastair is the founding director of EDG.Space, a team of award-winning, innovative and talented designers located on the Murray River on the border of Victoria and NSW. Specialising in boutique residential, commercial and industrial design, with projects throughout inner city Melbourne and Sydney, Alastair’s dedication to design excellence has been central to his 20-year career in the industry. Alastair is a Past President and a Fellow of Design Matters and has been a Member since 2001.

What is/are your favorite project/s that you have worked on, and why? Currently my favorite project is North Altona Health Hub, which involved converting an existing industrial building into a two level, 3,500m2 Health Hub with 13 different tenancies. It was largest commercial project I have completed with numerous secondary consultants and constructed over a three phase process. We teamed up with Design Matters members and good friends at Dig Design to deliver the project. However, we are currently designing an apartment building on a historical site in a central Victorian town which could easily become number one…. Watch this space!

I joined Design Matters because? I joined Design Matters to connect with other designers and for the information Design Matters provided. Being a regional member, there was limited access to information or other designers in the early 2000’s. Being a member allowed me to tap into some of the industry leaders who gave me guidance on all design and business matters.

My favorite Australian building is? I really love Australian woolsheds. No specific one, just all of them…. There is an incredible amount of Australian history and character evident in a woolshed.

My favorite international building is? My favorite international building that I have visited is Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. However, I am looking forward to visiting New York to visit the Iconic New York Architecture, particularly public buildings built in the early 1900’s.

Central Vic Apartments To date, my biggest business/design challenge has been? Managing and aligning client expectations around town planning. Constant battle!

My favorite finish is? The combination of timber and steel is a perennial favorite and features heavily in a large portion of my design work.

The architectural style of the home I grew up in? I grew up in a farm house on 7,000 acres on the Wakool River in southern NSW. The original part of the house was built in circa 1880’s. During floods in early 1900’s, the house was moved to higher ground by bullock and cart and has been added to over the years. The house still has the original Victorian style 35 degree pitched roof, 11 foot ceilings with an 8 foot verandah right around. The house was clad with hand sawn redgum timber cladding and floor boards that were milled from the property. Although the house has been modernised over the generations, the external hand sawn timber cladding is still in great condition on the rear wall.

My words of wisdom for a student building designer are... Keep learning as much as you can, the great thing about our industry is that you never learn enough, there is always something new. The day you stop learning something, you should retire from the industry.

When I was a child I wanted to be? I always thought I would continue operating the family farm. Although the farms are still in the family, I do not see myself there now.

Outside of work, I am passionate about ... I spend every spare moment either water skiing or planning to go water skiing. I also have a family, wife and two boys, who I invite skiing – occasionally.

At the moment I am reading ... Since the inception of Netflix, I haven’t read many novels. However, I am enjoying flicking through a book titled “Australian Art Deco Hotels” prepared by photographer Geoffrey Goddard. I am planning to have a schooner in each of the hotels in the book! I am currently watching “Vikings” on Netflix.


North Altona Health Hub

North Altona Health Hub

Shearing Shed, family home Wakool River NSW


03. Design Matters



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03. Design Matters

2019 Building Design Awards The talent and expertise of building designers were on show Saturday 27 July at the 24th annual Building Design Awards, where over 300 guests celebrated good design at the prestigious National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). As a nod to the growing industry commitment to advancing good design, an incredible 56 unique projects entered the annual Building Design Awards for 2019. Celebrating its 24th year, the 2019 Awards showcased the best residential, interior, sustainable, heritage conservation, excellence in use of materials and non-residential design projects from Design Matters (formerly known as Building Designers Association of Victoria) members across Victoria and beyond. Design Matters President Dominique Hunter believes the Awards are vital for the industry to encourage excellence and performance as it gives designers a high standard to work towards. “We’re proud to showcase and acknowledge the importance of building design, both within our professional community and across the wider community of those we serve with good design,” said Ms Hunter.

“At Design Matters, we believe good building design unites form and function while addressing commercial, social and human needs.” Set in the Great Hall of the NGV, famous for its stunning stained glass ceiling by Leonard French, the gala night was not just a glamourous awards ceremony, but also a great networking event with members and industry peers all coming together to catch up and celebrate. The evenings ceremonies also celebrated the works from emerging designers and the People’s Choice Award, which welcomes the public to vote for their favourite design project. It was also a great honor to recognise seven members for their 25 years of membership of the Association. Profiles of all the winning projects are available in the Awarded Magazine at The 2019 Building Design Awards are proudly sponsored by James Hardie, Jetmaster, Webber Insurance Services and WoodSolutions.



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03. Design Matters

Award Winners Building Design of the Year 2019 Winner: Vibe Design Group Project: Moat’s Corner

Residential Design Interior Winner: Rachcoff Vella Architecture Pty Ltd Project: Firewood and Candles

Residential Design New House $300K-$600K Construction Cost Winner: Beaumont Concepts Project: Backbeach Project

Winner: STUDIOMINT Project: Beaumaris Residence

Residential Design New House $600K-$1M Construction Cost Winner: GLOW Design Group Project: Village House Residential Design New House $1M-$3M Construction Cost Winner: Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) Project: Biophilia - Slate House Northcote Commendation: Maxa Design Proejct: Heathmont Passive House Residential Design New House over $3M Construction Cost Winner: Vibe Design Group Project: Moat’s Corner Residential Design Best Environmentally Sustainable Winner: Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) Project: Biophilia - Slate House Northcote Residential Design Multi-Residential Winner: Holman Designs Pty Ltd Project: Same but Different Residential Design Alterations & Additions up to $250K Construction Cost Winner: Sync Design Project: Hope Street Residential Design Alterations & Additions $250K-$500K Construction Cost Winner: Maison Co Project: Corner Store Residential Design Alterations & Additions $500K-$1M Construction Cost Winner: Sketch Building Design Pty Ltd Project: Project Armadale Residential Design Alterations & Additions over $1M Construction Cost Winner: Peter Jackson Design P/L Project: Kilburn

Non-Residential Design Alterations & Additions Winner: JJC Design Project: Traralgon Bowls Club - Indoor Bowls Centre Non-Residential Design New Project Winner: Crosier Scott Architects Project: Holmesglen Student Hub & Learning Commons Non-Residential Interior Winner STUDIOMINT Project: Yamaha Music Australia Commendation: STUDIOMINT Project: Civilex Excellence in Use of Glass Winner: Nagydesign Project: Urban Oasis Excellence in Use of Lightweight Materials Winner: GLOW Design Group Project: Village House Excellence in Use of Masonry Winner: Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) Project: Biophilia - Slate House Northcote Excellence in Use of Recycled Materials Winner: Woodend Building Design Project: Kyneton Red Brick House Excellence in Use of Metal Winner: Project Now Project: Westlab Excellence in Use of Timber Winner: Project Now Project: Aspect Parade Excellence in Documentation Winner: Green Sheep Collective Project: Magnolia Soul James Hardie Award Winner: GLOW Design Group Project: Village House

Residential Design Restoration Winner: Rachcoff Vella Architecture Pty Ltd Project: Firewood and Candles

Most Innovative Design Bathroom Winner: Design Unity Project: Villa Essence

Residential Design Heritage Winner: Another Dimension Building Design Project: Kirrewur Court Restoration & Additions

Most Innovative Design Kitchen Winner: Sketch Building Design Pty Ltd Project: Project Armadale

Residential Design Best Small Lot Winner: Drake Design Project: Elwood Residence Commendation: Maison Co Project: Corner Store 


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03. Design Matters

25 Years of Membership At the 2019 Design Matters Awards celebration recognition was made to a number of long-serving Members who have been Members for 25 or more years. These Members are (in alphabetical order): The late, Donald Abbes who’s family accepted this honour before his passing Member Number 75 Date Joined: 14/4/1994 Cleo Di Paolo Member Number 84 Date Joined: 12/7/1994 Gavan Doran Member Number 85 Date Joined: 21/7/1994 Paul Haines Member Number 91 Date Joined: 21/7/1994 Michael Mettes Member Number 302 Date Joined: 26/2/1994 Paul Simmons Member Number 73 Date Joined: 17/2/1994

Mike Mettes

Shane Thomas Member Number 88 Date Joined: 21/7/1994



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Issue 18

03. Design Matters

Emerging Designers The Student Awards were also announced on 27 July 2019, demonstrating the design skills of students in the process of completing the Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural).

Winner Best Response to a Design Brief

Winner Best Digital Presentation

Thomas Harrington

Don Van Tran

Thomas has responded to the brief for a multipurpose sports centre within the Fisherman’s Bend precinct in a well researched and methodical way, yet he has been creative and fresh in his design approach. The result is an elegant and refined design solution for the site, supported by beautiful renders that perfectly capture the light filled essence of the design. The judges considered Thomas’s project to be a stand out entry and congratulate Thomas on a well thought out design solution.

Don’s digital presentation is of a high standard with a realistic 3D depiction of his design. The fly through of the interiors in particular gave a good feel for the spaces as they would be experienced as a built form. Overall an excellent digital presentation and a worthy winner.

Holmesglen Institute

Swinburne University


Winner Best Group Project

Winner Excellence in Documentation

Matthew Gibbs, Luke Henry and Joel Lybyk

Damir Ramiz

Working on group projects when studying can be a challenge, the temptation is often to avoid them whenever possible! However, the fact is, in your working lives you will more often than not work on a project as part of a team. The project submitted by Matthew, Luke and Joel from The Gordon is strong and cohesive. There is no clear lineage to different authors within the design or the presentation. It has clearly been a good team effort. Well done!

The extensive drawing set prepared by Damir demonstrates a high level of understanding in the materials, processes and construction methods of a complex built form. Layouts were logical and methodical, making them easy to understand and navigate. The judges congratulate Damir on a thoroughly detailed set of working drawings.

The Gordon

Holmesglen Institute

Winner Brian Morison Award for Most Promising Student Ryder Hallet

Melbourne Polytechnic Ryder Hallet was presented with the Brian Morison Award for Most Promising Student 2019. He is a student from Melbourne Polytechnic, and clearly has a solid career ahead of him in the design profession. Ryder received $4,000 from Design Matters to further his career in our profession.




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04. Planning Matters



Issue 18

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

04. Planning Matters

Aged Care Facilities Providing a Big Planning Boost A recent VCAT decision has reinforced changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions (VPPs) that reflect the growing need and increased planning-support for aged care facilities. In Japara Developments Pty Ltd v Knox CC [2019] VCAT 828 the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) considered a planning application for a 95-place residential aged care facility at Lysterfield, within a Neighbourhood Residential Zone, a Vegetation Protection Overlay, a Significant Landscape Overlay, a Design and Development Overlay (DDO) and Bushfire Management Overlay. Permit triggers included buildings and works under the zone and overlay provisions. Of note, the zone does not require a planning permit for the use of the land for a residential aged care facility, but it specifically requires a planning permit for buildings and works in relation to an aged care facility. Council had refused the application. The Council’s submission was that its planning scheme supported aged care facilities in better serviced locations, and that the building would adversely affect the area’s identified significant landscape values. The Tribunal set aside Council’s decision to refuse the application, and ordered a permit granted. Much of the Tribunal’s consideration focussed on the relationship between Clause 53.17 Residential aged care facilities and the zone and overlay provisions. Of particularly interest were the specific requirements of Clause 53.17 that conflicted with Overlay requirements. Clause 53.17 – Residential Aged Care Facility was introduced to the VPPs by Planning Scheme Amendment VC152 on 26 October 2018 and sets out general requirements and performance standards. The purpose of the provision is: + To facilitate the development of well-designed residential aged care facilities to meet existing and future needs. + To recognise that residential aged care facilities have a different scale and built form to the surrounding neighbourhood. + To ensure residential aged care facilities do not unreasonably impact on the amenity of adjoining dwellings.

It includes specific requirements that override some of the mandatory and discretionary requirements often contained in zones and overlays. These requirements apply to building height, site coverage, setbacks, internal amenity and external amenity. Clause 53.17 includes the following inconsistency provision: + ‘If there is any inconsistency between a requirement in this clause and a requirement in another provision of this planning scheme, this clause prevails’ In the course of the Japara Developments hearing, the Council raised four questions of law in relation to inconsistency between the requirements of the DDO that affected the site and the requirements of Clause 53.17-3. On these questions the Tribunal found as follows: 1 .Is the provision under the heading ‘Site coverage’ in clause 53.17-3 of the Scheme (‘site coverage provision’), a requirement? The Tribunal found that yes, it was a requirement. 2. If the site coverage provision is a requirement, is the requirement relating to the site area covered by buildings and impervious surfaces in clause 2.0 of DDO3 inconsistent with the site coverage provision? Yes, a site coverage requirement of the aged care residential facilities provisions is inconsistent with the impervious surfaces provisions of the DDO. 3. If the site coverage provision is a requirement and it is inconsistent with the requirement relating to the site area covered by buildings in clause 2.0 of DDO3, does the provision under the heading ‘Operation’ of clause 53.17-3 (‘inconsistency provision’) enable a development that is prohibited under clause 2.0 of DDO3 to be permissible? Yes - the inconsistency provision in clause 53.17-3 enables a development that is prohibited under clause 2.0 of DDO3 to be permissible.


The Tribunal also noted that:

In recent years, the State government has unlocked substantial areas of Melbourne’s growth areas for development, via the Precinct Structure Planning (PSP) process. However, despite land being zoned for development there remain significant delays in development processing. While these delays have a number of causes, this project has been designed to specifically target capacity constraints and delays associated with the growth area planning permit assessment process.

The inconsistency provision does not override other relevant planning scheme provisions or planning policy more generally. Importantly here, this includes the objectives and other provisions of DDO3. These must all still be considered and balanced in the context of an overall integrated planning decision.

The research undertaken by Mesh Planning looks at all seven growth area Councils; Casey, Cardinia, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham and benchmarks them on key performance indicators that influence the planning process and decision timeframes including:


+ The scale of growth they are experiencing;

Significantly, clause 53.17 does not refer to neighbourhood character in its purpose or its requirements. What replaces neighbourhood character considerations are:

+ Their maturity and experience in this space;

4. If the answer to question 2 is yes, does the inconsistency provision enable a development that is prohibited under clause 2.0 of DDO3 to be permissible? Yes - the inconsistency provision of clause 53.17-3 enables a development that is prohibited under clause 2.0 of DDO3 to be permissible.

a. a purpose that recognises that residential aged care facilities have a different scale and built form to the surrounding neighbourhood; and b. an obligation that built form is ‘contextual’ as defined by the site and context description. Council submitted that the proposal’s visual bulk and large form were not appropriate within its physical context, nor within the policy context of the Dandenong foothills. The Tribunal found that this policy direction was challenged by State policy which recognised that residential aged care facilities are an appropriate use in residential areas, and by the provisions of Clause 53.17 that override some requirements of the zones and overlays. In particular, State policy at Clause 16.01-7 for residential aged care facilities seeks to: Recognise that residential aged care facilities are different to dwellings in their purpose and function, and will have a different built form (including height, scale and mass). Practitioners should be aware that the Japara Developments decision reinforces the strength of Clause 53.17 and the fact that aged care facilities play by a different set of rules with regards to siting, built form, amenity impacts and neighbourhood character. Council’s Process Benchmarked A recent report released by the Victorian Planning Authority, provides interesting insight into the workings & efficiency of Victoria’s growth-area Councils. The overview contained in the report states:

+ Internal and external communication and culture; + Processing timeframes + Adaptability and risk aversion + Staffing and technical resources The report highlights where Councils are performing well and provides recommendations where improvement can be made. Clause 1 applauds this open and transparent approach to measuring Council’s performance and seeking to provide meaningful ways to improve the timeframes taken to determine applications. Unfortunately, this research only looked at ‘growth area’ planning permit applications. It would be wonderful if the State Government could extent this sort of research to cover “all” planning permit applications. The full report can be viewed here: uploads/2019/06/Council-Health-Check-Upated-FinalReport-22-May-2019-1.pdf

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

Ph: 03 9370 9599


05. Industry Matters



Issue 18

05. Industry Matters

Building Designer Insurance Update Since 2014 following the Lacrosse building fire, Combustible Cladding is an issue that has been on the radar of building professionals throughout Australia. The Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 showed that there is a real risk with buildings that are clad with flammable panels. This tragedy was the event that shone the spotlight on these materials and in turn resulted in building audits across Australia. The results were shocking with hundreds of buildings throughout Australia clad with flammable panels. It is now mid-year 2019 and there is still no clear solution as to responsibility. Building owners are left counting the cost of their properties being devalued or unable to be sold. Building professionals are holding their breath and waiting on State and Federal Governments to provide some direction and funding to fix the overall problem. The wheel has turned slowly, but we are starting to see some direction as to how this issue will be fixed.

Effect on Building Designers As the leading insurance broker and partner to all of the major Building Designer Associations in Australia, we have in place a market leading Professional Indemnity policy that is accessible to all Building Designer members. We have worked hard in the past few years to identify clearly what is the role of a Building Designer across Australia. By understanding the work that Building Designers undertake, we sit here comfortably with the knowledge that almost all of Building Designer’s across Australia that we insure have no exposure themselves. This is mostly due to Building Designers: • Working mostly with Residential Buildings up to 2 storeys (Class 1 Buildings) in height where there is no current impact of these types of materials • When working outside of Class 1 Buildings, having a good knowledge base when specifying products As it stands and moving into the future, we see no adverse effects to the Building Designer Insurance programs due to combustible cladding.

Other Building Professionals The future for other building professionals is not so bright. It has been well publicised that Building Certifiers have copped the brunt of it. This has resulted in insurers both locally and internationally being unwilling to provide coverage to Building Certifiers without exclusions. Some States have moved to amend their legislation to allow Building Certifiers to continue to operate with these exclusions in place. It is unknown at this stage what effect this will have on the building industry as a whole. Building Certifiers that are continuing with their business are doing so with the understanding that they personally and their businesses are liable for insurance claims arising out of Combustible Cladding. This is a very difficult position to be in and has resulted in many Building Certifiers ceasing to operate.

Other building professionals including Architects, Engineers and Inspectors are facing an uncertain future if they have been involved in projects that have been identified as having Combustible Cladding. These firms would have seen, or will see, significant rises on their insurance premiums and excesses as well as exclusions where there is a significant Combustible Cladding exposure. Builders themselves are also facing significant costs in rectification works if found liable. Many builders will find this type of work may be uninsured and will have to fund work themselves. Ultimately, the cloud over a whole industry facing significant costs is not sustainable moving forward. Ideas have been floated by State Governments to partner with the Federal Government to fund rectification costs. Whilst this bailout would be good for consumers as well as the building industry, action could still be taken against those deemed negligent. Consumers would get their buildings fixed, however building professionals and their insurers could still wear the cost.

Moving Forward Building Designers need to ensure they remain vigilant when selecting their partners in the building profession. Working with experienced and knowledgeable people as well as staying up to date with information from their Association, will ensure that their exposure is reduced. We as insurance brokers, will continue to monitor and assess changes as they develop to ensure our clients are as informed as possible. With this, we will work with our insurer partners to maintain the market leading Professional Indemnity policies, keeping them as comprehensive and cost competitive as possible.

Further Information We welcome any questions from Building Designers with regards to Combustible Cladding issues or other insurance and risk related matters. We can be contacted as follows: • Phone 1300 932 237 • Email o Chris Webber – o Daniel Webber – To obtain a quote for Building Designer Insurance, please visit For more information as to Building Designer insurance requirements, please visit building-designer-insurance-guide


05. Industry Matters

Low Carbon Home and Building Guides Launched The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) has launched a suite of low carbon living guides offering professionals and consumers easy to use information on low carbon homes and buildings. The user-friendly guides will help consumers and professionals make informed decisions about their home, commercial property or development project – from understanding an electricity bill to creating a sustainable precinct.

The suite of Low Carbon Guides consist of: Guide to low carbon residential new build

Guide to low carbon residential retrofit

This document offers practical advice to developers and owner builders on how to achieve these objectives through the conception and realisation of a new home.

The document builds on key research conducted nationally by individuals and organisations, including the Australian Government’s Department of Environment and Energy and local universities, working in the areas of low carbon retrofit options, housing typology and climate.

Guide to low carbon households

Guide to urban cooling strategies

Occupants, or householders, may be owners or renters and there may be multiple householders within one dwelling. This document recognises the needs and capacities of these different householder groups and, where appropriate, also addresses the needs of households in different climate zones.

This document provides practical gui dance for built environment professionals and regulatory agencies seeking to optimise development projects to moderate urban microclimates and mitigate urban heat island effects in major urban centres across a range of climates in Australia.

Guide to low carbon landscapes This guide is an introduction that offers practical insights for homeowners, builders and designers to illustrate what low carbon landscapes are, how they function and the benefits they provide.

The CRCLCL’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Deo Prasad said the publications are designed for practical use in the market and will be part of the organisation’s legacy as it winds up after 30 June. “These guides draw on the significant body of research the CRCLCL has funded over the past seven years, now encompassed in these practical tools to help reduce and manage the built environment’s carbon footprint,” he said. “As buildings are responsible for 30-40% of prime energy used, these guides will help to future proof our cities by helping people make informed decisions when building or renovating.

Guide to precinct design assessment A convergence of digital innovation with advanced knowledge from the fields of urban planning and design, social science, computer science, engineering and construction has been harnessed in this guide to create an advanced information platform for transformative built environment planning and design focused on precinct scale modelling and performance assessment.

“Importantly, buildings are responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, so the built environment sector must take action to mitigate emissions if we’re to meet current targets of net zero emissions by 2050 and a 26–28% reduction in emissions relative to 2005 levels by 2030,” said Professor Prasad. Copies of the guides can be found at


Issue 18

05. Industry Matters

Cladding Safety Victoria As one of 35 actions recommended in a report released by the Victorian Cladding Taskforce, Cladding Safety Victoria has now been established to provide support and funding to apartment owners to remove cladding on their buildings. While Cladding Safety Victoria supports owners and residents through the rectification process, the VBA will continue its important work of identifying, inspecting and assessing multistorey buildings across the state. When an apartment building has been audited and assessed as having heightened fire safety risk, it will be referred to Cladding Safety Victoria. The VBA will continue to issue Building Notices and Orders, checking rectification work as it progresses and confirming that the completed works are safe and compliant with regulatory requirements

Cladding Safety Victoria process for fixing high-risk buildings 1. Building assessed by Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit 2. Building referred to Cladding Safety Victoria Once referred, you can expect the following as part of this first phase: • Your owners corporation manager will receive a letter from Cladding Safety Victoria  • If you are the owner, you will be invited to meet with Cladding Safety Victoria 

Owners of buildings outside the scope of Cladding Safety Victoria, such as private hospitals, private schools and aged care facilities, will continue to liaise with the VBA.

• You will receive information regarding next steps and processes for rectification 

The VBA’s Chief Executive, Sue Eddy, said the establishment of Cladding Safety Victoria provides a clear plan for the advancement of rectification works across the state.

• Be supported in selection and appointment of a project manager.

“This announcement enables thousands of Victorians to commence the cladding rectification process, making their buildings and homes safe and compliant,” Ms Eddy said.

You and other owners will appoint a project manager and begin planning the building’s rectification. As part of this phase, you can expect to:

Since December 2017, the VBA’s Statewide Cladding Audit team has inspected over 2200 properties, finding around 900 buildings that need to be rectified to some degree.

• Identify possible issues and needs relevant to the building

Ms Eddy said the statewide audit is ongoing, with the VBA expecting to find more buildings that will need some work to limit fire safety risks. Inspection of a further 500 sites will take place over the next 12 months. About Cladding Safety Victoria Cladding Safety Victoria works with owners and owners corporations to help them rectify non-compliant cladding by providing support, guidance and connections to appropriately registered and qualified practitioners. Cladding Safety Victoria’s aim is simple - support owners and occupiers to ensure Victorian buildings with combustible cladding are rectified and deemed safe to occupy long term.

• Be assigned a liaison officer; and

3. Project planning and design

• Understand options available for rectification • Appoint other professional services that may be required, including a fire engineer and building surveyor; and • Be provided guidance regarding entering agreements and associated processes. 4. Approvals and funding A number of administration tasks are undertaken as part of this phase, in which approvals are sought for the rectification solution/s developed. These may include: • Holding a meeting with the building’s community to discuss options • Lodging a submission with the Building Appeals Board for approval of designed rectification solutions

Where eligible, Cladding Safety Victoria will provide funding for:

• Cladding Safety Victoria will assess costs and make a determination regarding the amount of funding to be made available

• Project management support

• Owners will endorse a preferred approach to rectification

• Professional design services • Building surveying

• A building surveyor will provide a building permit, enabling works to commence.

• Permits and approvals • Building materials and rectification works


4. Approvals and funding A number of administration tasks are undertaken as part of this phase, in which approvals are sought for the rectification solution/s developed. These may include:

The maps below of metro Melbourne and Victoria show the number of privately-owned buildings identified with cladding, shown by metropolitan municipality, as at 11 July 2019. Source:

• Holding a meeting with the building’s community to discuss options • Lodging a submission with the Building Appeals Board for approval of designed rectification solutions • Cladding Safety Victoria will assess costs and make a determination regarding the amount of funding to be made available • Owners will endorse a preferred approach to rectification • A building surveyor will provide a building permit, enabling works to commence. 5. Contract awarded Owners engage a builder through facilitated negotiation. • Owners select a service provider for rectification works (typically a builder) • Cladding Safety Victoria will support owners through contract negotiation, ensuring necessary terms, conditions and works schedules are specified in any agreements • Project manager will develop works schedules in a way that minimises disruption. 6. Works carried out Work gets under way to rectify the building to reduce cladding risk, with minimal disruption to occupants and the community. • Regular updates provided to owners and occupants  • Residents will be provided a dedicated liaison officer for any queries 7. Works are completed After a final inspection and meeting with the Victorian Building Authority, owners will receive: • Written confirmation of finalisation of works • Handover of final compliance documentation • A survey of owners and occupants undertaken to understand areas for process improvement.

Cladding Safety Victoria’s aim is simple - support owners and occupiers to ensure Victorian buildings with combustible cladding are rectified and deemed safe to occupy long term. See page 45 for details on the 6 part video series from the VBA on Combustible Cladding. 


Issue 18

05. Industry Matters

Building Defects Affecting Residents A recent study lead by Deakin University and funded by the PICA Group sought to identify types of building defects and how they impacted on the building and its occupants. According to the researchers, “it should be reasonable to expect that homes are constructed in a manner that, at the very least, is stable, safe, sheltered and fit for purpose.” But are they ? About the study

Summary of findings

The study was led by researcher Dr Nicole Johnstone, a senior lecturer at Deakin Business School. The analysis included a review of 212 building defect reports and collated 3,227 defects*, a literature review and indepth interviews with stakeholders.

Of the 3227 defects analysed, defects relating to building fabric and cladding (40%) were the most prevalent, followed by fire protection (13%), waterproofing (11.5%), roof and rainwater disposal (8.5%), and then structural issues (7%)

The study was designed as a “pilot” with four broad aims:

The most concerning aspects revealed in the study relating to the impact defects have on buildings and occupants were:

• to identify the types of defects impacting residential buildings • to understand these impacts • to assess these defects against the Australian regulatory environment • to understand how defects are managed (by owners corporations and managers) and rectified The scope of the pilot focused only on building defects arising within the statutory liability period, within the multi-owned property environment. Building defects are considered inevitable by the building industry, so as part of the study it was essential to gain a better understanding of the nature of defects and the impact these have on residents and the owners corporations managing the buildings. Thirteen construction systems were identified as relevant to most residential multi-owned properties 1. Access and egress 2. Building fabric and cladding 3. Electrical, lighting and data 4. Fire protection 5. Hydraulics 6. In motion equipment 7. Mechanical and ventilation 8. Roof and rainwater disposal 9. Safety 10. Structural 11. Utility supply 12. Waterproofing and 13. Non-essential services (pools etc). Sub-categories were created that aligned with each of these construction systems in order to identify the individual construction element inflicted by the defects.

• The number of defects present in buildings is significant (there is a problem) • The number of defects relating to fire safety is alarming. Fire is a direct threat to life and fire safety measures installed need to be independently checked and verified to ensure compliance • Mould that has arisen due to water ingress defects is often present and has the potential to lead to serious health implications for residents. The lack of care by trades in properly managing mould often leads to spores embedding or remaining in lots • The type of defects commonly observed require invasive and often costly remedial works to rectify (particularly waterproofing and fire separation failures) • The financial burden placed on lot owners [and residents] when builders fail to rectify building defects can lead to a number of psychological health impacts (particularly stress related) and for some, financial ruining • The strain and time commitment required by committee members, when acting on behalf of the owners corporation, in order to remedy defective buildings is clearly evident and concerning from a health perspective. The Regulatory Environment “A number of concerns were raised about the relationship between the National Construction Code and the Australian Standards, where there is some disconnect in requirements, and industry identified a need for better consistency. “The focus on minimum standards instead of best practice in the National Construction Code was also raised as a concern, as well as the private certification system, where community expectations were seen to be out of step with legal requirements. Note: Many of the reports collated multiple entries into the one line item without providing an exact count. That is, if the same defect was found across multiple locations within the audited building, it was reported as one line item and the language used was pluralised (for example, missing fire collars). A building defect can range from a mere imperfection (for example, a  chipped tile or mark on a wall) to a structural fault that could create instability in a building.


An overview of the results Following is a summary of all defects by Construction Systems and further breakdown of the percentage of defects reported in the 3 top three systems with defects. All States




Average number of construction systems effected






Std Dev





Average number of defects identified






Std Dev





Percentage (%) of buildings with at least one defect across multiple locations






Std Dev





Defects by by Construction System Defects Construction System Building Fabric and Cladding Fire Protection Waterpoofing Roof & Rainwater Disposal Structural Safety Hydraulics Mechanical and Ventilation Electrical, Lighting and Data Acces and Egress Non-Essential (Pools, Spas) Utility Supply In Motion Equipment 0










% Defects

Consequences and Contributors Consequences and Contributors AllAllConstruction Systems Construction Systems Building damage 15%

Safety 20%

Rust 4%

Other 10%

Water ingress / moisture 29% Multiple 22%

Continued over page ďťż


Issue 18

05. Industry Matters

Building Defects Affecting Residents cont’d Building Fabric & Cladding Defects Building Fabric & Cladding Defects 30


% Defects






Lightweight cladding


Windows & Doors

Platering & Rendering

Tiling & Carpeting


Slab (NonStructural)

Vermin Proofing


Waterproofing Defects Waterproofing Defects 30


% Defects






Membrane - Balcony


Membrane - Internal Membrane - Podium Membrane - Window Membrane - Caulking Membrane - Planter Wet Area & door reveals seals boxes


Content for this article has been sourced from an Examination of Building Defects in Residential Multi-owned Properties by Nicole Johnston (Deakin) with Sacha Reid (Griffith). In the September issue of Intersect we will explore in more detail what the Building Designer can do in the design phase to help reduce the instances of defects ďťż


05. Industry Matters

Population Matters Victoria’s population was 6.5 million at 30 June 2018. It is the second largest state in Australia by population, but has been growing by more than any other state or territory at up to 150,000 per annum (and at the highest rate of up to 2.5 per cent per annum). Victoria has grown by a million people since 2011 and is expected to add another million by 2026. Population Characteristics Understanding the composition, or characteristics, of the population is just as important as the size or the growth rate. Places with the same population size may require different services and infrastructure depending on the mix of ages and household types. As the number of households increases so must the number of dwellings required to house them. From 2016 to 2056 Victoria will require an additional 2.3 million dwellings to house the extra population: almost 1.9 million in Greater Melbourne and over 400,000 in Victoria’s regions. The median age in Victoria is 36 – young by standards in the developed world. Almost two thirds of Victoria’s population is within the key working ages of 18 to 64 years, while fewer than one of every six Victorians is aged 65 years or over. By 2056 the population will have aged significantly by proportions, particularly as the large ‘baby boomer’ cohort moves into the oldest age group. By 2056 the median age is projected to increase to 41. The numbers of “couple only” and “one person” households are expected to double. Older Victorians are more likely to live in a one- or two-person household than a larger household so, as the population ages, both the number and the proportion of these households increase. The average size of a household therefore decreases: from 2.54 persons per household in Victoria in 2016 to 2.40 in 2056. The proportion of families with children decreases over time, but the number increases by 82 per cent or almost 850,000. With an additional 560,000 people expected at school ages (5 to 17) by 2056, the family home will still be in demand as will community spaces, transport infrastructure, urban renewal projects and sustainable building designs. Where are the growth areas? With a growing populations… where are they going to live ? Population growth is not evenly distributed across Victoria. Patterns of urban and regional population change reflect the likelihood of individual places to attract population growth and their capacity to absorb extra population. Greater Melbourne is projected to grow by approximately 4.0 million people, increasing from 5.0 million in 2018 to 9.0 million in 2056. Over the same period Victoria’s regions are expected to grow by just over 700,000 from 1.5 million to 2.2 million.

Within Victoria’s regions the strongest growth (approximately half of all regional growth) is expected in the three major Regional Centre LGAs - The Cities of Greater Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. Greater Geelong in particular is projected to grow by over 100,000 people by 2036. A number of peri-urban LGAs – such as Surf Coast, Moorabool and Baw Baw Shires – are projected to grow by rates as fast or faster than Greater Geelong. The largest amounts of growth for Melbourne from 2018 to 2036 are expected in the Cities of Wyndham (adding 204,000 people) and Casey (182,000). The fastest rates of growth are expected in the City of Melton (4.3 per cent) and in Mitchell Shire (4.5 per cent – mostly within the metropolitan Urban Growth Boundary). Within the City of Melbourne the dwelling additions will be mostly high-rise apartments concentrated in the Central Business District of Docklands and Southbank..

Why Is Australia's Population Increasing? The expected boost in the population can be attributed to two main factors: natural growth and net overseas migration (NOM). Natural growth refers to births minus deaths within Australia. Over the years, the influence of natural growth on the overall increase in population has weakened. This is due to the continual aging of Australia's population, the decrease in birth rates and the expected extension of life expectancy. Net overseas migration is the increase or decrease in population due to the immigration into and emigration out of Australia. Net overseas migration is based on an 'international traveller's duration of stay being in or out of Australia for 12 months or more over the 16 month period'. The contribution of net overseas migration to the overall population increase has overtaken natural growth and is expected to continue to play a significant role in the future. Australia is fast becoming a hot spot for overseas investors, international students, skilled migrants, longterm temporary visa holders, permanent migrants, and so on. Droves of people are rushing to our bountiful shores. Source: Victoria in the Future. Population Projections 2016 to 2056, published July 2019


A Class Act. Changes to the National Construction Code mean that more classes of mid-rise buildings can deliver the benefits of wood.

From May 1, 2019 changes to the National Construction Code introduce Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions that allow timber building systems for all Class 2-9 buildings with an effective height of up to 25m - typically 8 storeys. You can discover more about designing and building with wood – whatever the size or purpose of your project at

06. Business Matters



Issue 18

06. Business Matters

How to Negotiate Your Fees How to negotiate your fees -while keeping your clients happy, attaining repeat business and referring you to their network Regardless of how reasonable or competitive you believe your pricing is and how good you are at building design, you will likely run into at least some clients who want a better deal. It can be tempting to give on price and your margins, or in some cases, play hardball—but what if you could negotiate a win-win solution, you will have the chance to preserve not only your own interests, but possibly build a long-lasting client relationship as well that will give you repeat business and refer your services to others. Here are some tips for negotiating a winning scenario that can help keep both you and your client happy when dealing with fee’s for your services. 1. Ask questions. If you spend time asking questions and listening, instead of just repeating your bottom line over and over again, you can get to the heart of what your client is really looking for. Perhaps they are comparing your fee to another that isn’t an apples-to-apples scenario, and a detailed look at that can help resolve things. Perhaps they have been “ripped off” before, and what they are really looking for is a little control or a little respect. Find out their true priorities and you may uncover how you can provide something they really care about. 2. Avoid negotiating on price alone. If your clients aren’t opening up about their needs, consider all the ways you can add value that does not involve price—and be prepared to use these as variables in the discussion. As you discuss value-added propositions from your end, you may trigger interest on the clients’ side that shows what they are really looking for. When you understand your clients’ agenda, and the ways you can add value beyond price, you may find your win-win.

4. Be transparent about your dual needs. Conversations are more productive when both sides are open. Instead of standing firm with no explanation, have a discussion that involves their needs and your needs. Explain what the cost involves and why it is what it is. If your price is different than a competitor, try letting the customer know why and what they are getting for the additional cost. Make sure they understand that you want to satisfy them and make them happy, but that you also have a business to run and can only go so far. 5. Keep the negotiation going for as long as possible. Be open to a longer term back-and-forth discussion. Rather than shutting down the discussion, having more options in your pocket, and an attitude that demonstrates you want to find a way to satisfy the client, can go a long way. The client will see that you value the relationship and really are trying to find a solution, and that, in the end, may be part of what they were looking for all along. 6. Always put the relationship first. Show a level of care that goes beyond the immediate deal. Focus on how you can meet their needs in the long run and you will insert a level of trust that may help shape all negotiations with them the future. Whether it’s after-care follow-up or perhaps future work that you know they will be looking for, if the customer knows you care about them and about the work you are doing, you could earn a customer for life. Understand that a negotiation doesn’t have to be a power struggle. It’s a chance to listen and to be heard, to show and earn respect and to develop a solid relationship with your customers that they’ll want to tell others about.

3. Make smart concessions. Consider giving a little by offering things your clients value highly, but that have a low incremental cost for your business. Perhaps there is a service or follow-up you can provide that will make the client feel they are getting a longer-term commitment and more value. Perhaps there are timelines that can be adjusted so the work is done faster than anticipated. That can feel like a great bonus. Perhaps there is something in the payment schedule that can be adjusted. Maybe it isn’t the price they’re balking at, but when it is due. If your client is in negotiation mode, they probably want to walk away with something of value.


Case Study: Scenario I am a budding Building Designer who has just been registered, just getting my building design studio started. How do I negotiate a design fee? I have one client so far, and I told her that I would provide client consultations, site visits, project design, briefing consultations and, working drawings to meet NCC and Victorian Building Regluations (there are no planning permits requirements for this project) for a price of $11,000.

Jane (panicking): No! We don’t have anyone else. How could we get this done together? YOU: You mentioned that funds are tight. We have proposed 5 staged payments, do you want us to break that down further? Jane: I don’t know, I will have to chat with my husband. YOU: This will be our first project together. I am happy to stage the payments even further so you can see the quality of my work? Jane: hmmmm let me think about it

I want the work, but I don’t want my services to be undervalued. What should I say or do?

YOU (thinking “Jane says ‘No!’ very quickly. She will have to step up or else I will have to back out of this project. It would be ridiculous for me to accept a $4,000 fee decrease for no reason at all and while getting nothing in return. That would signal to Jane that my services are undervalued, and that’s not the impression I want to leave with them”): I understand. I see two alternatives, and I’d love to hear more of your ideas:


Option One is that we can hold off on this until you have the funds.

The first rule of negotiation is this: “If you are going to give something away, you have to get something in return.”

Option Two is that I can complete it now so you can get the building permit and bill you in 8 - 9 instalments.

Your client has asked you to reduce your fee (after it was agreed upon!) so if you agree to do that, you need to get something valuable in return for that concession.

Jane: Hmmm. Let me think about it and get back to you.

Last week in an email message she said that price would be fine, but now she has just written to me via email to say that she only has a budget of $7000. How can I negotiate with her?

Here’s how a phone conversation about that design project could go. RRRRRRING! Jane, YOUR CLIENT: Jane Smith! YOU: Hi Jane! It’s me, Dan. I got your email message and I saw that you asked me to call you, so I did – is this a good time to catch up? Jane: Yes, this is perfect. Thanks for calling, Dan. I’m sorry about that last-minute news about the budget. I only have $7,000 now to spend on my new design, rather than the $11,000 we talked about. YOU: Okay, thanks for that information. Do you know why the budget is lower than it was before?

You are ready to walk away if Jane cannot give you something in return for what she is asking of you, but that turns out not to be necessary. Jane calls back a few days later and says that she talked to her husband and he wants to get the project done now. You will get your $11,000 as expected. Here’s what hits you when Jane calls you with that news: if you had given Jane the $4,000 fee reduction she asked for (out of your fear that you’d lose the project) her husband may never have heard about the problem - and would never have heard about you. The only way you become significant to other people is to speak up when something needs to be said. How many other building designers have undervalued their services by reducing their fees as a result of client pressure?

Jane: Not really – just a shortfall in my overall budget for the project, I guess.

Once the mini-firestorm around your design fee is resolved, you may think “What a lot of trouble to get the same $11,000 project I thought I already had confirmed, a week ago!” but this kind of conversation is never a waste of your time.

YOU: I understand. That’s okay. Would you prefer to wait until next year to begin the project?

Your muscles grow every time you re-commit to yourself and to your clients that your work is valuable.

Jane (who is horrified, and doesn’t want to wait): Oh no! I need it now.

Once you complete the design for $11,000, you may have the confidence to raise your fees!

YOU: Okay. How could we adjust the project to make it a smaller engagement? Can we reduce the scope of services or reduce the parameters of the brief that you would like me to provide?

You will find that the brand “the lowest-cost building designer around!” brings in the wrong kinds of clients. Most new building designers go through that stage but as their confidence grows, their fees rise as well.

Jane (who is really hoping to get the original project with no changes for $7000): Gee, I really want all the brief and services we talked about.

Keep a look out for the results of the Design Matters Fee Survey 2019 Report.

YOU: For sure. Perhaps there is another designer who could complete that work for you for $7,000? I quote my services very carefully so as you can imagine, a one-third reduction in price for the same delivery is very challenging. What about working with someone else? This article is written from various sources: Forbes, Amex and HBR. 


Issue 18


06. Business Matters


A monthly review of must have, worthy of looking or just plain interesting apps that are relevant to the design industry.

Plug for Podcasts & Videos VBA Combustible Cladding series

Quick Plan Pro One of the most frequently asked questions I get from professionals in any kind of business, but particularly the design & construction industry is... What’s a good time and project management solution? It a tricky one as there are quite a few around – they all have different things they do well and other things they don’t. Many that I’ve looked at just seem too hard out of the box and leave you feeling like maybe it will take more time to run than it will save you or assist you in managing deadlines and projects. Well recently I come across an app that I honestly think most people would get some very solid use out of. Quick Plan Pro quickly, easily and very intuitively allows you to map out a project in a very interactive Gantt format. You can allocate tasks, costs and resources to each task. You are in complete control of the structure of the project and can build projects within projects if you wish. Linking tasks to each other is easy as is making changes on the fly. Additionally, you are able to track each task based on % complete.

The VBA has developed a 6 part series of videos explaining the process involved in identification, assessment and remediation of at risk cladding. Topics cover: •

Combustible Cladding and its Replacement

Identifying Combustible Cladding

Fire Prevention Tips for Residents

Fire Prevention Tips for Owners Corporations

My building is being audited

What does my Building Notice mean?

View VBA Combustible Cladding series on Youtube.

Whether you simply want to use this for a project over a few weeks or to manage a huge project over a year this will help you do it. It is sharable via popular cloud options such as iCloud, Drop box, Airdrop and others. It’s possible to send individual workflows to different team members – and will allow you to export out to MS project if you wish. It’s not going to send out invoices, track time spent or make you coffee – what it does do is let you plan and monitor how your plan is moving along. What it does it does really really well. I was up and running on small project plans in only an hour or so and then over the course of a few days, catching hours here and there have mapped out an entire project plan for design projects. I think I may have looked up one thing on a help file. The down side is that its only for IOS and MAC. If you only buy 1 app this year this one is absolutely worth a look and your money if you need to plan and track projects on any kind of basis. Awesome tool to discuss timelines with clients and bosses alike – or optimise a project once you can see the project work flow and where you can capture refinements and optimisations.

L S Planning Pty Ltd offers experience and expertise across a broad 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 to find out how the team at L S Planning can assist you, with your next project. 


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07. Job Market

N E W S . B D AV. O R G . A U


Issue 18

07. Job Matters

++ Seeking Casual/Part-Time Building Designer Our Sunbury based design office is seeking a draftsperson/building designer for a part-time position with the high probability of a potential full-time position in the near future. The applicant should have a suitable qualification and have approximately 1-3 years of drafting and design experience and be available to work in our Sunbury office 2-3 days a week. Foundational RESCODE and NCC knowledge is essential as well as proficiency with AutoCAD. Any additional software knowledge is a bonus. A level of experience with town planning applications and working drawings for building permit applications is highly preferred as well as excellent written and verbal communication skills. Please e-mail your portfolio/resume to:

The top 5 professions in Australia... Architects are reported as one of the 5 top-paid jobs in Australia right now as salaries grow and job vacancies dwindle, making the hunt for that job just a little bit tougher. A recent study by online jobs site Seek indicates:

++ Salaries in Australia have grown steadily in the last 12 months, seeing a 3.5% uptick in advertised figures nationally, a

++ Western Australia was the biggest winner over the period, as a shortage of qualified candidates see mining companies compete for talent, while South Australian salaries grew the least.

++ The five professions with the highest average advertisied salaries were architects ($142,196), managers in the resources ($139,782) engineering ($136,564) and IT (135,480) sectors, followed by accountants ($130,302). Despite the strong salary growth, there were 6.5% less job ads than last year. That’s on the back of a large slowdown in the housing and construction sectors.

++ Seeking a Graduate of Architecture or Building Design

Town Planning Consultants

Opportunity to join an established firm at the forefront of sustainable residential design! Seeking a Graduate of Architecture or Building Design who can work well, independently and collaboratively to see projects from schematic design to completion. The successful candidate will liaise directly with consultants and clients, and work closely with the Director. Please send applications to Luke via email at

++ Seeking Contracts / Documentation / Building Design / 3D Fifteen years experience across multiple sectors. Highly skilled in Revit and AutoCAD documentation. Has own hardware, licensed Autodesk software, insurance, registered DP-AD and ABN. Seeking on-going/temporary contracts to assist small to mid-sized organisations with work overflow alongside the introduction to Revit software. Ability to work in-house or remotely. Passionate about functional architecture, efficient workflows and best practice documentation. For a CV and portfolio please contact Steve via email at

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



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