The Alexandria apartments for Defence made from half a million recycled bricks

Like many building materials, making bricks releases greenhouse gases and chews up limited natural resources (in this instance, clay). This is what makes Australia’s largest recycled brick building – a claim validated by the brick supplier – something quite special. Arkadia is a recently completed multi-residential, 152 dwelling building in Alexandria, a growing inner-city suburb […]

Here come the robots, but are we ready?

Building technology has come a long way. There are now robots that can put a wall panel together – put the plasterboard in place, nail it down and cut off protruding bits – based on a digital plan of the panel, all without human intervention.

Here’s how a prefab Passive House outperforms even eco houses in the UK

A new factory-fabricated home has scored twice the Passivhaus Standard on airtightness and achieved an EU Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) score of 103 out of 100, using the UK Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for energy efficiency. Developer Etopia uses a special building method coupled with green technology that results in homes that can produce […]

Green gigs and government tenders: Urban interventions in Canterbury-Bankstown and more

Our regular round up of business opportunities. This tender is closing soon 19 June, but it’s interesting. It’s for a suite of “urban interventions” in key centres of the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area. The objectives are to bring to the area “short-term pilot projects (installations or events) that enliven the public realm.” These, says the […]

Universities need to take building education more seriously if we want to reform the industry

With the successful passing of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2020, attention now moves to the implementation of the NSW building reforms.  These bills are part of a wider industry reform strategy called Construct NSW which is the NSW government’s response to the […]

Investing in needs-based housing? How about getting the sustainability right?

The Victorian government has announced one of the largest investment in social and needs-based housing since the Global Financial Crisis. It’s important that providers integrate sustainability benchmarking across their operations and asset portfolios to align their organisations with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will place providers in the best position to ensure upgrades […]

Inside the sustainable, human-centric Bondi Pavilion revamp

The Bondi Pavilion rejuvenation project finally has the go-ahead after many years of impassioned back and forth debate between the community and the local council. In this case the public has emerged triumphant. Included in the plans are green leases for tenants to mandate the use of green packaging and other environmental controls. Developers had […]

Why we need to assess the performance of the great outdoors

How do we know if the thing built meets expectations? There are ways to measure this so you can check out the “performance gaps” – the difference between the way a building, or any kind of space, was expected to operate, and how it operates in reality.

How ventilation controls can affect the spread of COVID-19

Two new research papers advocate the use of engineering controls in public buildings, along with other measures to limit the risk of infection from covid-19. This is because to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other infections in public buildings, handwashing and social distancing are not enough; they do not prevent infection by inhalation […]

Four new sustainable building materials to watch

With the need for better buildings more urgent than ever, great minds across Australia are finding innovative ways to reshape the building sector with sustainable construction materials When it comes to rethinking sustainability, the Australian building sector is going to have to start from the ground up. Australia’s construction sector is the fourth largest indirect […]

Social value: the next great leap in Melbourne and Sydney’s transit infrastructure

In Melbourne and Sydney, investment in transit infrastructure is at an unprecedented high. How these two cities are learning from places with developed transit-related value capture models, such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London, to ensure that the investment brings broad, long-lasting social value and environmental benefits to the surrounding communities? Melbourne is currently […]

Improving consumer confidence in apartments rests on making information about defects available to all

Finding relevant information about potential defects of an apartment building is hard for a team of dedicated researchers, let alone for consumers. The new industry-based Multi-Party Risk Rating Tool is a start but will it be enough? We recently wrote an article, lack of information on apartment defects leaves whole market on shaky footings, outlining […]

10 ways to keep Sunshine Coast liveable and sustainable

As more people flock to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for the temperate climate and breathtaking views, the Sunshine Coast Council is looking for ways to accommodate growth without compromising sustainability, liveability and affordability.  The council has launched a new design guide specific to the region, complete with 10 guiding principles specific to the unique […]

Is prefab the answer to pricey Passive House builds?

It takes precision and care to construct an airtight building that’s good enough to pass the tough blower door test for Passive House certification. None of it cheap.

Ethics should lie at the heart of the new construction industry

The NSW Building Commissioner’s most recent communication deals with why an ethical and authentic developer or construction enterprise will have the most customers in future. According to David Chandler ethics and authenticity lie at the heart of what makes a construction business distinctive, in demand and ultimately successful. Most leading companies in the construction industry realise […]

Cooking with gas: bad for the planet, and bad for your health

Australia’s federal government looks like it’s digging its heels in on gas but be warned, cooking with it is bad for your health. And while rangehoods can help, not all of them were created equal. In fact, the best ones are so loud people don’t turn them on.

How healthy homes can build immunity

Home wellness company Delos says people are starting to recognise the role a healthy home plays in promoting strong immunity that has the best chance of fighting infections such as the coronavirus. If you can steer clear of the bogus claims about vitamins and specialist diets that promise to turbocharge your immunity, there really are […]

Nobody wins from rent moratoriums, not even landlords

Jay is an international student at the Canberra University of Technology. When she and her housemate both lost their jobs in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, their landlord reacted in the worst possible way: he refused to reduce the rent, instead increasing it by $15 per week.  Jay and millions of renters like her […]

Aged care facilities have been at the centre of the Covid crisis. Here’s how their design can change to lessen risk.

With the elderly community most at risk, seniors’ housing for retirement living and aged care is at the coalface of change to manage COVID-19 and any future infectious diseases. For the past few months, the focus of seniors’ living providers, especially those offering residential aged care, has been literally on staying alive and protecting their […]

Mott MacDonald snares ILFI’s Amanda Sturgeon to drive regenerative design leadership

With outfits like Google and Salesforce jumping onto the Living Building Challenge this is a green building growth phenomenon. In a signal it wants to be a regional leader in this fast-growing space, global engineering and development consultancy, Mott MacDonald, has hired someone from the very top of her field to be its first-ever head […]

Energy retrofits in community housing are tough, but there is a way  

There are many barriers to energy retrofits in the community housing sector – which needs them most – but here’s a thought: what about combining government funding with private impact-linked private capital to kickstart the economy post-Covid at the same time?

Don’t blame planning for a supply shortage and rising house prices

Recently I argued that cutting red tape or fast-tracking planning approvals would not help the housing market recover from its COVID afflictions. Some developer lobbyists have responded, doubling-down on the claim that rapid and less scrutinised approvals are essential for property market recovery. This claim underpins their attacks on the planning system – it demands […]