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4 the brief
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0402 853 989
0407 981 911
Building Designers Australia
Published by Pond Publications
Suite 6, 199 Bulwer Street, Perth WA 6000
Printed and distributed by Vanguard Press
26 John Street, Northbridge WA 6003
(08) 9228 0698
Contributors: Dick Clarke, Trevor King,
Oscar Fong, Ovie Taylor, Martin Farley
Cartoonist: Greg Smith
Pre-press: Melinda Sandosham
in this issue7 PRESIDENT’S PAGE Interstate co-operation and continued member interaction hold the key to a healthy BDA future
8 DESIGN FEATURE Don Taylor’s light-filled riverside award-winner is a sparkling example of a design that milks every
last ray of winter sunshine
15 SPATIAL DESIGN Oscar Fong takes readers on the first leg of a journey to the core of an emerging design discipline
18 MY SAY Veteran designer Ovie Taylor shares his enthusiasm for the benefits and rewards of BDA involvement
20 SPIRIT OF PLACE Trevor King sees hope in the take-up of bioregionalism as a tool for designers to break free of the
modernist architectural influence
25 THE BIG PICTURE Dick Clarke is not convinced that the right bushfire regulatory balance has been struck between
design freedom and fire risk management
28 MY SAY Dick Clarke is a passionate advocate for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum to lock in Constitutional
recognition for local government
32 PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Martin Farley homes in market awareness as an important key to unlocking the secrets of
35 DESIGNER PROFILE Melanie Symington bares her design soul for all to share as a case study for professional success
38 PRODUCT PROFILE Truecore framework by Bluescope Steel
building designers australia
‘Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly
hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.’
Contemporary northern hemisphere poet Edith Sitwell was right on the money
with her oblique reference to the importance of home in her verse on the essence
of winter. So, too, was Don Taylor with his contemporary southern hemisphere
design solution for a winter-friendly riverside home near Fremantle. It sets the mood
for a season in which comfort is paramount. We hope you can take professional
comfort in the words of our winter offering.
Rochelle Front Cover The winter sun
fills this Don Taylor-designed
home with light and warmth
on the site of the Swan River
Colony’s first vineyard.
the brief 7
president ’s page
BDA is an association that espouses interaction between members, both within Chapters and between Chapters. This really is the main
strength of our association, and the highlight of this interaction occurs at the National Conference where members of all Chapters mix
to celebrate the National Design Awards.
This year, the Conference and Design Awards presentation will be held in Melbourne from October 24-26. I would extend an invitation
to all members to attend and be part of the greater BDA family. If you have never been to a National Conference, now is the time to
rectify that omission in your life! You’ll feel so much better for the experience.
Recently, the presidents and vice-presidents of each Chapter met with representatives of both BDAQ and BDAV to discuss a possible
liaison between the various groups. There is much yet to be discussed, but it is encouraging that the first steps have been taken to,
hopefully, lead to a more united BDA family that can represent our members, especially on the national stage. Please feel free to talk
with your individual Chapter council regarding progress of these talks.
It has been suggested that the current downturn in the building industry, especially in the eastern states, is about to turn the corner
and we will see an increased level of activity over the coming months and years. At the same time, the HIA and MBA have warned of
a manpower crisis as a result of this increased activity. We as building designers must be ready for this, and we need to make sure that
within our own practices we have the capacity to handle both current workloads and any possible increases.
BDA has been actively involved in the preparation of the new nationally recognised Building Design Training Packages, and to date we
have seen the introduction of the Diploma in Building Design and the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Building Design.
State-based TAFE colleges and other RTOs have introduced these courses in this year’s curricula.
Currently we are working on the Certificate IV in Building Design Drafting, and this is progressing in a satisfactory manner. We should
see the introduction of this by the end of this year. This will complete the Building Design Training Package suite and provide a full
career path for building designers as a viable alternative to a university degree. For, as we all know, not everyone has the opportunity to
Co-operation between states has been paramount in the success of these programs and clearly demonstrates what a united BDA can
Platinum National Partner
Gold National Partner
Building Designers Australia
T: 1300 669 854 E: email@example.com
F: (02) 4968 9981 W: www.bdaa.com.au
A: PO Box 592, Hunter Region MC NSW 2310
President – Ian Bassett
Vice President – Phil Ker
Development Executive – Martin Farley
Tas Monty East (03) 6223 6740
Tas Theresa Hatton (03) 6334 7144
NSW Ian Bassett (02) 6584 2601
NSW Chris Reardon (02) 4822 1342
WA Phil Ker (08) 9367 1636
WA Ian Ogborne (08) 9384 4282
SA John Bryant (08) 8362 8860
SA Bill Adams (08) 8381 7758
8 the brief
There’s something about Fremantle that caters for a multitude of
tastes. There are those who lust after the carefree trappings of its
bohemian influence as a place to call home, and there are those who
find it a fascinating place to visit without necessarily wanting to live
there. But just across the water in fashionable Bicton, there are those
who take regular advantage of Freo’s signature escapism whenever it
suits, knowing they are within eyesight of the relative peace and quiet
of their own, somewhat less energetic, riverside home base.
Sipping wine on a Bicton balcony overlooking the southern reaches of the Swan
River as it wends its way past Fremantle to the Indian Ocean is a significant thing
to do on a sun-soaked winter’s day as the warming rays stream in from upriver,
washing over the north-facing living areas.
For it was here more than 170 years ago that the first vineyard of the fledgling
Swan River Colony was established, with almost 6000 vines planted to please the
palates of the colonial gentry. It was here, too, that building designer Don Taylor
was commissioned many years later to‘bottle the sights and sounds’of a stunning
absolute riverfront location for an expatriate client coming back to the laid-back
Freo doorstep precinct after five years living in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.
DTDA Design Team
The gentle lapping
of the ripples on the
the perfect overture to
a design conceived
to capitalise on the
the brief 9
The gentle lapping of the ripples on the riverbank directly across the street provided
the perfect overture to a design conceived to capitalise on the block’s natural allure.
With an undercroft garage and two guest bedrooms with ensuites tucked in
rammed earth walls with deep-set windows looking to the water at street level, the
main residence centres on a landscaped upper-level courtyard around which the
living areas connect to make the most of the tranquil riverside ambience .
Set among mature frangipanis, a bubbling pond and a supersized pergola, the front
door is concealed in a striking panel of anodised bronze aluminium. Inside, the
kitchen and dining room wing, with its timber cabinetry and striking 7.5m stainless
steel bench, enjoy views out to the lap pool as well as through and around the
courtyard and glassy pavilion that accommodates the living room and study, where
stacker doors opening both to the courtyard and along the river side of the room
are designed to maximise the outdoor experience.
With the added attraction of a steel balustrade, the living room becomes a balcony
in its own right. Extensive use of louvres and external blinds allow breezes and
sounds into the room without the afternoon sun in summer, and fill the zone with
warmth and light when the openings are adjusted to take advantage of the area’s
equally pleasant winter influences.
10 the brief
0 10 20 N
GROUND FLOOR PLAN
the brief 11
A central staircase between the two
wings links all three levels, with the
uppermost level accommodating a
master bedroom suite for which a
special design focus was required.
This had everything to do with the
clients’fondness for hotel rooms.
With a brief only to ensure the well-
travelled couple would always be able
to experience that same feeling of
relaxing in five-star luxury, a long design
leash was let out.
The result is an ultra-stylish self-
contained hotel-style suite including
a concealed tea preparation area and
A timber-veneer wall of robes is backed
by the ensuite storage and washbasins,
freestanding stone-clad bath and
Large sliding doors hide the tea-prep
area that extends from the external wall,
incorporating a dishwasher, bar fridge
and an instant hot water outlet.
Its white Corian finish gives it a crisp,
clean feel. The bedroom itself is simple
but generous and opens to amazing
views with a covered balcony.
12 the brief
Positioned above the living room
pavilion, it’s height above the road, and
automatic external blinds that screen
the windows and balcony, provide a
reassuring sense of privacy without
compromising the brilliant outlook.
Materials and space combine to give
the entire project a defining presence.
A palette of natural stone, timber,
white plaster and grey polished dado
render, together with the use of
oversized bronze aluminium battens
for both internal and external screens,
helps to eliminate the usual senses of
demarcation between inside and out.
With the cabinetry forming as much a
part of the planning as the walls, and
doors being concealed where possible,
there are few barriers to inhibit the
to give the entire
project a defining
the brief 13
14 the brief
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Focusing on the flow of space between interior and exterior
environments, the emphasis of spatial design is on working
with people and space
the brief 15
crossing the spatial threshold
Wikipedia describes spatial design as“a relatively new discipline that crosses the boundaries of traditional
design disciplines such as architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and landscape design”.
Ultimately, it notes, spatial design can be seen as“the glue that joins traditional built environment
Spatial design had its genesis as a course of formal study in the UK,
where several institutions now offer programs. In Australia, only
Sydney’s UTS has such a seat.
Focusing on the flow of space between interior and exterior
environments, the emphasis of spatial design is on working with
people and space. As a growth area of design, its practitioners
generally work within existing disciplines, such as architecture or
building design, or as independent consultants.
One such pioneer of the discipline in Australia is BDA WA member
OSCAR FONG, whose design practice, FOICE, has been specialising in
spatial design consultancy since 2011.
While also offering traditional bespoke design services on
architectural, interior and landscape projects, Oscar maintains the
injection of spatial design principles in his strategic planning solutions
helps his residential and commercial building design clients achieve
both financial and mental wellbeing.
His specialities include spatial experience design, branded
environment design and user experience design to assist businesses in
attracting and retaining customers and staff.
Here, he offers a practical insight into the application of the spatial
design philosophy as a tool for enhancing the design outcomes
of projects that require a sensitive balance of structure and social
Science can now
it is no mere
people to have
16 the brief
Are you as curious as I was? Have you ever wondered why you are drawn to your
favourite places? It might be the local park where you take your dog for a walk, or
the coffee shop near your office where you take your daily caffeine hit.
There are scientific explanations for such phenomena. In neuroscience it is now
understood that strong emotions related to actions and places are ingredients
for the formation of lasting impressions. Places that incur the greatest positive
emotional arousal are remembered with the deepest impressions.
The coffee shop’s positive experiences may have been a combination of the rich
coffee aroma, the friendly personal greeting, the funky clock on the wall, or the
attractive barista who helped to brighten your day, every day.
Science can now explain why it is no mere coincidence for people to have
attachments to places. With a new understanding of the‘why’, there are now ways
to replicate and redesign these experiences.
The next stage in evolution
Spatial design is the next evolutionary stage of architecture. In the history of the
architectural profession we have seen many influential figures carving out new
career pathways with specialisation. They do so initially to satisfy their personal
creative interests but also as innovators to solve real societal needs.
Zaha Hadid is a world-famous architect – and arguably the wealthiest, according to
the Forbes Rich List. Her unique style has been applied to
many public institution designs. However, in recent years, her personal interest
in designing female shoes spawned a new fashion product line inspired by her
signature style and forms.
Zaha is a recent example of an evolutionary trend that can be referenced at key
moments in architectural history. There are influential contemporary architects who
have consciously chosen to specialise in interior environments and subsequently
adopted the title of interior architects. In the modern period, Le Corbusier had
visions of creating Utopian cities, and our colleagues who followed his city design
footsteps now call themselves urban designers. Charles Eames is remembered in
architectural school for his Case Study House No.8, but what really ignited his career
was in fact his famous Eames Chair, conceived as a furniture design.
The next logical progression in design evolution is new specialisation that
acknowledges the subconscious human response far more than ever.
the brief 17
In the New Economy, businesses should seek to attract
customers by providing value and positive user experiences
So what exactly is spatial design? Being a relatively new discipline, the definition
may vary from person to person depending on one’s interest and interpretation.
My personal definition, and the manner in which I practise, is to place emphasis
on designing for heightened emotional engagement in spatial environments. It is
about creating emotive anchors that capture and influence one’s consciousness and
subconsciousness for a specific outcome. I do so by focusing the design effort in
liminal spaces, or spatial thresholds, between different spatial environments.
Designers in this discipline can be considered the adhesives between other
traditional disciplines, such as architecture, interior design, landscape design and
urban design, because they create the seamless spatial flow between the spatial
The coffee shop analogy
Following the story of the coffee shop, there are many ways in which a spatial
designer may provide creative strategic design solutions to improve the business
by improving its spatial environment. In the Old Economy, businesses are under
financial stress, particularly in the hospitality and retail industries. They are doing
it tough because they often resort to discount strategies of down-selling, or price
warfare, to attract and retain customers.
A recent media expose of this condition focused on several businesses in suburban
Mt Lawley (WA) that had resorted to promoting $2 coffees. From a business
promotion perspective, it would certainly attract immediate public attention, but is
it a financially sustainable strategy?
In the New Economy, businesses should not seek to compete only on price but
instead seek to attract customers by providing value and positive user experiences
– qualities which spatial designers may assist in conveying through the physical
The concept of up-selling is very simple – creating a positive and memorable
environment so customers will visit repeatedly, discounting any objection to price.
As a spatial designer harking back to the neuroscience understandings, my interest
is to create a stage where we can influence the actions of customers through
the space while provoking designed emotive responses at strategic interactive
One of many spatial solutions I would prescribe for Mt Lawley businesses
predominantly engaged in take-away coffee sales would be to consider the
engagement experiences at point of sale, encouraging the business owners to
question the existing purpose and effectiveness of their coffee counter. Is the
counter simply a place for transaction or could it serve for more than one purpose?
Is there a possibility the space could engage the customers while waiting for
their coffee with a queue of 20 ahead of them? Do the queuing customers stand
chaotically around the barista or would directing the queue in a certain direction
entice them to purchase other merchandise such as cakes, brownies or big cookies?
As a spatial designer, I strategically analyse how design may bring new sales
opportunities to those mundane engagement points.
Drawing understandings from environmental and sales psychology, behavioural
science and interior architecture we may influence customers to create specific
purchase patterns once they engage the point of sale area of the business.
Food for thought
This example illustrates just one spatial design opportunity to improve the financial
wellbeing of an eatery. The same results are not achieved by following only the
traditional design solutions of the architectural discipline.
The New Economy demands not only a decorated building from designers. We now
need to consider how the external and internal spatial elements may bring value to
the business as a strategic planning service.
Bindoon Café bakery, WA
somebody who cares
Veteran building designer and BDA pioneer OVIE TAYLOR has had a colourful and varied career in the
industry. Now in semi-retirement at Rowella, in Tasmania’s picturesque Tamar Valley region, he shares a
personal perspective on the important role that BDA participation played in the evolution of a fortunate
working life, peppered with words of wisdom for designers who choose to be less active or interested in
Lilly Tomlins is quoted as remarking:“When I was young, I wanted to grow up to be
somebody. Now I realise I should have been more specific”.
Finishing high school at 17 in South Africa, at the start of my working career I had
very few aspirations of professional achievement, let alone ambitions of becoming
Therefore, looking back at a working life spanning 50 years from a position on
the right side of retirement has been an interesting as well as thought-provoking
My entry into a civil engineering drawing office as an apprentice draughtsman
(still spelt properly then) came about as a result of encouragement from someone
who saw more potential in me than I was aware of in myself. A casual word from a
stranger changed my life.
For a while I was content to find fulfilment in the pursuit of producing the best,
most technically comprehensive drawings second to no-one in a large government
drawing office. But like school, the academic side of my‘qualifications’held little
interest for me.
Despite ending up in charge of an office producing the tender documents for the
New Table Bay Harbour in Cape Town (a billion dollar venture in today’s terms),
it become clear that without that seemingly irrelevant piece of paper, my future
prospects would hit a brick wall, which there was no way through or around. I left in
1972 and pursued a strictly architectural career in Australia.
After more than 15 years working for various architects, prospects of professional
recognition were not much better. My passion for design in fact became an
obstacle. The boss just wanted a draftsman, not a competitor.
I desperately wanted to start my own business but lacked confidence, because
this time the barrier to success was the fact that one was either an architect,
who designed buildings, or just a draftsman who drew the plans that architects
As my design skills developed, I could not help but exercise them – but you can’t
have two cooks in the same kitchen. Someone had to go.
When I was eventually replaced by just a draftsperson (yes I have lived through
all the changes), I had built up a modest part-time clientele with local builders – a
common pre-building designer scenario – but I had little expectation for future
professional viability. I was still just a draftsman.
Try for another job or go it alone? Destiny once again intervened through a friend
calling in at just the right moment, encouraging, insisting, demanding…. go for it! I
18 the brief
A number of years later, working in a little office, all alone, charging a pittance so as
not to be undercut by the other draftsmen who were my‘enemy’out there, things
were going far better than I had anticipated, despite myself. But there still lacked
that essential element – professional recognition.
My third life-changing experience, professionally speaking, then came about.
In 1994 I heard of and subsequently attended a meeting of the Building Designers
Association of New South Wales along with, it turned out, a few other draftsmen
from my area. Within a few months we had established the Blue Mountains and
Riverlands Branch of BDANSW.
‘Enemies’became friends. We worked together for the mutual benefit of design, the
built environment and the public. And the rest, as they say, is history.
At last that seemingly impenetrable barrier was gone. Finally, I had an identity. I was
a professional building designer. I had become, in a sense,‘somebody’.
The confidence gained enabled me to take on organisational roles that I never
would have contemplated as being possible. Interestingly, the more I gave, the
more I received, but in far greater abundance, personally, professionally and
financially. Others who take on leadership responsibilities will attest to this.
The significance of the freedom to fly attained by this professional design identity
attained through the BDA would be appreciated mostly by my peers who have
followed similar paths in their careers. It is this awareness that has driven the passion
of our former leaders at state or branch level to develop, promote and advance the
organisation to the status it enjoys today. Without the BDA we would have remained
‘nobodies’. Lose it and we could quite possibly revert to no longer being‘somebody’.
I wonder if some members, particularly those who never did face those identity
challenges understand or appreciate this.
Should anyone wonder what the point is in belonging to a professional organisation
such as the BDA, or whether they need bother attending meetings or functions,
getting involved in the development and maintenance of it, or supporting those
who do, should ponder the implications very carefully. The greatest tragedy would
be to lose what was fought for so bravely, through apathy or neglect.
Footnote: It is essential to evolve from a‘what’s in it for me’attitude, to one of
‘what can we achieve together, and how can I help’form of thinking. As we do, it is
worth being aware of how a seemingly casual, but well-considered word from any
of us can make a life-changing difference to someone who needs it at a particular
time of life.
ABOVE Ovie’s office at Rowella, in
Tasmania’s picturesque Tamar Valley
The more I
gave, the more
I received, but
in far greater
the brief 19
20 the brief
succumbing to the
TREVOR KING grapples with the influences of modernism on the
emergence of placelessness in globalised urban environments and
cuts a swathe through the layers of community consciousness to
uncover the essence of regionalism and embed its importance in the
post-modern building design mindset.
Today’s world is full of complexity and degrees of change that are quite unlike
anything that’s gone before. In attempting to comprehend and relate to it all, I
find myself oscillating between feelings of nascent understanding and puzzled
estrangement. Local and regional issues remain familiar and accessible enough, but
the wider globalised arena often seems baffling, overwhelming and much harder to
Our immersion into the global sphere has meant that the relatively simple
connections that localities afforded to people in pre-modern societies have been
largely supplanted. We commonly relate to other people through communities of
interest that can be world-wide in scope. Places now act as a dynamic interface
between the local and the international. This is absolutely unprecedented.
As knowledge has become more widely accessible there’s been a trend throughout
the Western world towards‘subsidiarity’, the shrinking of central governments and
the devolution of responsible decision-making to local and regional communities. In
combination, globalisation and subsidiarity impose challenging and unpredictable
demands on individuals, and on communities.
The complexity is compounded by cultural references to a‘post-modern condition’,
where nothing can be known with any certainty, and where the‘grand narratives’
of science, history and cultural cohesion are repudiated. Ecological concerns are
prominent, along with multiple social movements. We may well feel inclined to
forsake the impulse of working together to find solutions – there are so many
contested points of view to reconcile that it’s all become impossibly difficult.
The general confusion is exacerbated by the mixed usage of terms such as
globalisation (the practice of corporate/internationalist power), globalism (its
ideology), post-modernism within the arts (‘pomo’for short, and distinguished by
eclecticism and the ironic use of pastiche), and a post-modernist attitude which
sees society as so fractured through the commercialisation and trivialisation of
culture that no social consensus is possible.
Our immersion into the global sphere has meant that the
relatively simple connections that localities afforded to people in
pre-modern societies have been largely supplanted
the brief 21
Thankfully, the prominent sociologist Anthony Giddens has provided a quite
different and timely analysis that, for me, seems more grounded and refreshingly
real. Within his influential study of modernity, he argued that a post-modern society
is yet to arrive in any meaningful way; that what we are actually experiencing is the
emergence of a more completely developed and consolidated form of modernity
instead. And with the exception of areas where it is being actively resisted, its
impact and reach have become practically universal.
I have often pondered over the tenacious grip that functional modernism exerts
over architectural expression, flirtations with‘pomo’and faux‘heritage’aside. Now I
understand – modernism didn’t actually go anywhere.
These ideas have clear implications to a contemporary understanding of‘place’
in all its forms, from the geographic, right through to our social and personal
The conditions of modernity
As a way of life, modernity lies in stark contrast with all social forms that preceded
its development. From hunter gathering, through the rise of horticulture, agrarian
societies and early industrial capitalism, the vast majority of people formed
connections at a local, and at most regional, level. Their knowledge of the world and
of themselves was constrained by rigid social structures and limits to mobility.
Connections to time were seasonal and cyclic, and were fundamentally associated
with the range/place of habitation. In this worldview, time and place belong
together. Life is ordered and largely predictable. Temporal connections differ from
place to place, from culture to culture and there are differing interpretations of time.
In contradistinction to this, modernism decisively disconnects time from place. The
precise measurement of time and space (which began with the widespread use
of mechanical clocks in the late 18th century, and the adoption of standardised
calendars and ways of charting the globe through advanced navigation techniques)
resulted in the‘emptying’of place. The subjective human experience of a localised
place-in-time has been irresistibly tied into its global context. Modernity is
inherently future-oriented – anticipation of an unknown future has become part of
Relations between people have also been lifted beyond their localised contexts of
interaction. Socially constructed mechanisms such as the nation state and the use
of money and telecommunications services to purchase goods and services at a
distance mean that social relations have been transported out of their‘situatedness’
in specific locales. A community’s economic activities, political and ecological
impacts are no longer tied to its geographic location. In the sense of an embedded
I have often
pondered over the
22 the brief
affinity to place, traditional understandings of‘community’are transformed. Thus,
modernity is inherently globalising. Individuals become connected to large-scale
systems and changing circumstances at local, national and international levels.
The widespread availability of information has produced a circular relationship
(known as reflexivity) where knowledge obtained from within the public domain
feeds back to individuals and into society itself in an ongoing and continuous way,
thereby undermining the establishment of fixed viewpoints and existing traditions.
This is an energising but destabilising influence. Within industrialised societies,
‘high modernity’has cut people loose from tradition, effectively involving the
institutionalisation of doubt.
Modernism is inherently unsettling. It undermines long-established understandings,
removes psychological securities and, as its reach has stretched across the globe, its
technological and economic prowess has progressively weakened the privileged
position that the West formerly enjoyed.
The dynamic interplay of these revolutionary elements is characterised by Giddens
as“modernity coming to understand itself”rather than changing into a post-
modernist state: reflexivity is an inherent characteristic of modernism and thus,
“modernity turns out to be enigmatic at its core”and there is no way to predict its
An intuitive awareness of this complex and uncertain situation filters into the
collective consciousness, producing an unspoken anxiety with which we all live.
The revival of regionalism
The end of WW2 ushered in the final demise of colonialism, yet from that time
the forces of globalism have only accelerated. For citizens in Western societies,
unforeseen impacts are emerging. Giddens quotes Miles and Irvine (1982): There
is some evidence that many people in economically advanced states experience
“development fatigue”, and much evidence of a general awareness that continued
economic growth is not worthwhile unless it actively improves the quality of life of
We also see increasing evidence of calls for local autonomy, regional
interconnectedness and the preservation of cultural heritage and identity.
The alienation of‘place’from modernist aesthetics has inevitably led to the blank
walls and transparent surfaces that dominate its typology, along with a divorce from
the expression of natural forms. The use of patterning and floral motifs was confined
to the dustbin of history. Modern cities look practically identical with a pervasive
urban sameness. Such banal uniformity is countered within the architectural
movement known as critical regionalism.
Critical regionalism: design that links the local and regional to the
Architectural expression that simultaneously relates to its location (using
place-derived forms and materials) and to internationalist influences is central
to this approach to design. While there is an understandable distancing from
simply replicating or directly imitating vernacular materials and forms, there is
a concomitant avoidance of‘placelessness’. Manifestations of the natural and
cultural history of the region are layered in an attempt to respectfully reflect
the idiosyncrasies of the place. This humble and context-sensitive approach still
retains the right to be critical of provincial approaches to building, and to the blind
imposition of the‘international style’. The result is a synthesis of local, regional and
This approach also reinforces the notion of‘place-making’as a counter to the idea
of‘development’which appears somehow value-neutral – as some disembodied,
inevitable process that just happens regardless of the decision-making that goes on
around it. Place-making locates the process squarely within the human/cultural, as
distinct from a simply physical/economic, sphere.
of the natural
history of the
an attempt to
of the place
the brief 23
used to define
provides an ideal
available tool for
Bioregionalism and sustainable community development
Impacting on the thinking of the environmental movements within North
America and Europe, bioregionalism seeks the realignment of political, cultural and
ecological systems within naturally defined areas, called bioregions. The viewpoint
emphasises that bioregions are a cultural phenomenon, acknowledges the role
of localised populations, knowledge, and solutions, and recognises each citizen’s
personal stake in the proper management of regional ecosystems. Members of the
worldwide cultural movement for sustainable communities also express a shared
intention to combine their socio-economic and environmental concerns in ways
that will enhance the well-being of both human and non-human communities
Bioregions and regional ecosystems in Australia
Within the Australian land mass, 89 Interim Biogeographic Regions and 419 sub-
regions have been identified (see map ). A bioregion is an area delineated by broad
landscape patterns that reflect the major geological structure, climate patterns
and broad groups of plants and animals. Each region is made up of a group of
interacting ecosystems that occur across the landscape. Regional ecosystems are
defined as vegetation communities that are consistently associated with a particular
combination of geology, landform and soil in a bioregion. The combination of
elements used to define regional ecosystems provides an ideal and readily available
tool for designers wishing to accurately source and express regionally specific
Consider the contrasting colour palettes in wildflowers from adjacent sub-regions
within the south-east corner bioregion. This is a minute example of what Australia
has to offer. Responsiveness to place is integral to cultural resilience and to social
sustainability. When connected to the idiosyncrasies of individual places, it’s clear
that we now have a truly astonishing range of potentials to explore.
Map illustrating biographic
regionalisation for Australia
Building in bushfire prone areas has always been
a question of balancing the risk against the rewards
the brief 25
where there’s smoke
DICK CLARKE is no shrinking violet when it comes to taking a stand
in the face of adversity. In the course of a career that has pitched the
sensitivity of the building designer against the unstoppable forces of
nature more than once, he has seen off his fair share of flashpoints. But
he questions whether there has been too much expensive regulatory
over-reaction to a bushfire menace that can be handled in other, more
rational ways, to lighten the design burden.
It’s a question of balance: sweet versus sour, bass versus treble, regulation versus
free market … and cost versus benefit.
Building in bushfire prone areas has always been a question of balancing the risk
against the rewards: the risk of serious damage or even total annihilation against
the benefit of connection with a bit of nature. The balance has changed since the
rather hurried release and implementation of AS3959-2009 Construction of buildings
in bushfire-prone areas (AS3959). That is, between freedom of design and choice in
construction detailing, balanced against minimising risk of damage while offering a
protective space in a fire event.
But has the right balance been struck? In conversations with some highly
experienced bushfire consultants, and from my own experience of bushfire fighting
and design going back to 1979, I will stick my neck out and say no. The pendulum
swung too far following the tragic Victorian Black Saturday fires of 2009. I suggest
that the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) prepared by the Australian Building
Codes Board (ABCB) needs to be revised. The current standard provides no certainty
of benefit, at significant cost.
Let me clarify a few things before the outrage begins. Fire hose in hand, I have
stared down the barrel of the gun, and do not underestimate the ferocity and
power of a major fire. It is terrifying, and anybody who tells you otherwise has not
been there. I have designed houses in fire prone areas, and been around to protect
them successfully, during fire events. I have worked with manufacturers to develop
construction systems that assist in making buildings more defendable. In short, I
understand the issues. However, I do not pretend to have all the answers. Here, I am
attempting to highlight problems with the current regulation, and encourage all
relevant parties – industry and expert consultants, CSIRO, ABCB, and state planning
technocrats – to have another look.
Master of Sustainable Futures
There is very
onslaught of a
26 the brief
There are a number of assumptions in the underlying paradigm that have not been
The occurrence of megafires
Black Saturday was a megafire: a fire of almost unimaginable ferocity and
magnitude. There have been several megafires before, most notably in 1939 and
1983, both in Victoria. There is no record of megafires prior to the 20th century,
and indeed, the further back in Australia’s post-1788 history you look, the fewer
and smaller the wildfires become. Bill Gammage’s headland 2011 book The Biggest
Estate on Earth details why: fire was a tool used delicately, regularly and with great
intelligence to farm the land by Aboriginal society, a significant by-product of which
was to maintain a landscape largely open and park-like, with a very low risk of large
However, our notion of wilderness is now unbroken tracts of bushland with
little, if any management, which sets the background framework for an over-
arching assumption that uncontrolled bushfires will occur, and that big ones are
unavoidably common. As climate change dries out the lower third of the continent,
these will increasingly become megafires. I challenge the assumption that this
situation is unavoidable. It was once managed successfully by Aboriginal people – it
can be managed again.
Survivability in a megafire
Much of the intent of AS3959 has to do with providing a building that will protect
the occupants for the duration of a fire front’s passing, usually less than 15 minutes.
In moderate fires, this is a relatively achievable outcome, although no regulatory
document guarantees this – that would be very brave indeed. There is very little
certainty that any structure can withstand the onslaught of a megafire. Radiant heat
loads literally go off the scale, wind speeds exceed 120kmh, and flying debris makes
a firestorm akin to Armageddon.
Fire is an
an overhaul of
how we think
of it is long
the brief 27
A week or so after Black Saturday, I inspected several areas on the fire grounds of
Steel Creek and Clonbinane in Victoria. Clonbinane is on the western edge of the
megafire’s path, close to its point of ignition, and resembled many other burnt and
partially burnt landscapes I have seen over the years.
Steel Creek, however, like Kinglake, is near the eastern side of the great swathe,
and faced the full force of the blaze. It was like nothing I have ever seen before: a
moonscape, not a leaf on the ground, no twigs left on trees, trunks even deep in
ravines snapped off at half height. Blue and white police tape still around so many
houses, even of brick and stone, where charred bodies still lay, some clutching
the remains of their fire hose. And yet here and there, survivors – still desperate to
debrief and tell their stories.
How had some houses, and their occupants, survived? That was why we were there
– to try to figure that out. But in the end we could only conclude that a few got
So what is the point of stringent BAL-FZ (flame zone) construction requirements?
The standard answer is that it increases the likelihood of survival. But if that
likelihood is increased from zero to perhaps 50 per cent (and there are many who
would not rate it that highly), is it just raising false hope? The best advice is surely to
The financial burden of BAL-40, and especially BAL-FZ, construction detailing makes
many houses unaffordable, in preparation for an event that may happen once in a
decade or longer, or may never happen.
This is in stark contrast to other regulatory requirements such as thermal
performance, where the benefit applies nine months of the year, every year.
Perhaps we should look at the benefit of a complete reversal of‘protection’, and
allow FZ buildings to be totally sacrificial, on the basis that in urban areas evacuation
is by far the most sensible precaution.
In non-urban areas, property owners could be given the option of having a bushfire
shelter instead. Such buildings would necessarily be ultra-lightweight, with little
material and energy debt. Good thermal performance can be achieved using
organic insulation products and vegetable-based phase change materials.
Rigid and illogical risk assessment and methodology
The third fault identified by expert consultants is the inflexibility of the BAL
assessment methodology. Assessment factors are principally the locality’s fire
danger index (FDI), the site’s topography, vegetation type and density. These are
certainly the appropriate factors, but the method used does not anticipate all
the unique variations that each site presents, and as there is no scope for expert
variation. One often gets self-evidently overstated BAL ratings.
The current method is a blunt instrument, and must be revised to allow greater
scope for expert consultants to offer the relevant consent authority a well reasoned
variation to the codified result. The RFS in NSW or the CFA in Victoria would still have
the opportunity to review the submitted rating, and reject it if they have better
Fire is an essential part of Australia’s ecosystems, and an overhaul of how we think of
it is long overdue. I suggest that the rather hurried introduction of AS3959’s revision
in 2010 was at least partially a knee-jerk reaction by politicians and their mandarins
who needed to be seen to be doing something. Hard research-based data, careful
non-political consideration, and a mindset that questions the status quo are all
essential ingredients to a more sustainable outcome.
We have no shortage of good hard data on fire behaviour in structures, and a
great pool of evolving knowledge around bushfire behaviour. And we know with
increasing certainty what climate change will mean for our bushland. What we need
now are the last two ingredients: careful review, devoid of political grandstanding
and posturing, and a nationwide acknowledgement that our notion of pristine
bushland and wilderness may be utterly misplaced.
At a time when state governments around the country are wielding
big sticks in the pursuit of local government rationalisation through
amalgamation, DICK CLARKE is not likely to win any friends in
Macquarie Street with his random commentary on the relative worth
of each tier of the Australian democratic model. In his campaign for
a Yes vote in the upcoming federal election referendum, he eagerly
anticipates the beginning of the end for the“troublesome”middle tier.
September 14 may well see a change of government, although‘unlosable’elections
have been lost before today. But it also sees us all vote in a referendum to decide if
local government should be recognised in the Australian Constitution.
Many people in the community are unaware that this is currently not the case.
For various reasons – some good, some bad – state governments find local
governments annoying. Too many NIMBYs*, too small to be viable, too quick to
point out the State’s failings, always too loud in crying poor.
It’s a fact that local government is the most immediate tier of our unwieldy
governmental structure, the most connected to the community. This is a good
thing. In fact, it’s essential to have a tier of government which is awake to and
acting on local issues. Any government beyond the local level loses touch, and the
community feels left out.
What is also essential is a national government. Defence, foreign affairs and trade,
health, education, major catchments and ecosystem management, national energy
markets and long range strategic planning – all these sit naturally on the relevant
desks in Canberra.
So what is state government for? What can state governments do that either local
or national governments can’t? You tell me, because I can’t find a thing that they can
do better than either of the other two. Why do we have them? They are an historical
artefact of colonial days: the Father of Federation, Henry Parkes, could not convince
the various Premiers to merge properly into a truly national form, and so we are
stuck with the legacy of poor vision from 1898.
On September 14, the logical thing is to vote Yes in the referendum: recognise local
government in the Constitution. It may be the first step to Constitutional reform and
the eradication of troublesome, inefficient, self-centred state governments.
* NIMBY = not in my back yard, for any building designer who hasn’t heard it
muttered under the breath of a state planning department bureaucrat.
Any government beyond the local level loses touch,
and the community feels left out
28 the brief
Inventing with Scyon™
character and space
How do you design a home on a tiny
parcel of land that responds to the
character of the surrounding dwellings,
and addresses a brief for an “open and
You split the built form to get a large program of
spaces onto the site, and choose materials that
create a collection of facades. On this project dubbed
‘Small’, that’s exactly what Base Architecture did:
opening up access to areas not usually explored, and
adding Scyon™ Matrix™ cladding to support the
home’s contemporary nature.
Read all about it in Light Home magazine,
Autumn 2013 issue. lighthome.com.au
Small House by Base Architecture,
photography by Christopher Frederick Jones
From sun-kissed canal
homes to sculptural works of
art, these four designers
thought out of the box
when they put Scyon™
products to the test.
the wow factor
In creating his own home, designer
Brendan Haese wanted nothing
short of an immediate wow factor.
After his geometric driveway and
his LED mural garage, Haese’s
upper-ﬂoor facade, in Scyon™
Stria™ cladding, ﬂoats seemingly
weightlessly above, cantilevering
out for dramatic effect. The
Stria cladding’s banding effect
then wraps effortlessly around
the corners, helping create the
facade’s clean, minimalist lines.
Read all about it in
Light Home magazine,
Autumn 2013 issue.
The owners of this canal-side property in
sun-kissed Mooloolaba were clear about the
type of home they wanted: classical in form
yet embracing its waterside locale. In response,
Aboda Design Group created a twist on the
traditional Queenslander, with the home’s striking
white exterior, completed in a combination of
Scyon™ Linea™ weatherboard and ﬂat ﬁbre
cement sheet, both modern and reminiscent of
beach cottage facades.
Read all about it in Light Home magazine,
Summer 2012 issue. lighthome.com.au
Patterson Lakes House
by Brendan Haese,
photography by Luke Boyle,
Get Flashed Photography
Build your knowledge online
Starting out as an old brick garage, Dunsborough Beach
House is now an eco-friendly residence inspired by the
coastal terrain. Architect John Damant of Arcologic was
determined to match the home with its surrounds and this is
seen nowhere more than in his choice of cladding. To reﬂect
the verticality and colour of nearby trees he opted for vertical
grey panels of Scyon™ Axon™ cladding on the upper ﬂoor
extension. An added bonus: the lightweight nature of the
Axon cladding meant there was no need to reinforce the
footings underneath the structure.
Read all about it in Light Home magazine,
Summer 2012 issue. lighthome.com.au
is an easy-to-use, interactive
online learning tool designed to
share James Hardie’s extensive
technical knowledge and almost
125 years of experience with the
Earn CPD points Complete a
training module and earn up to
1 formal Continued Personal
Development point per course
Access over 20 different topics
Learn about building techniques,
lightweight design, ﬁre and wet
zone construction, CAD platforms
Request face-to-face training
Have an ACCELTM
to your business for a more
personalised training experience
Keep track of your training
Print, share and compare
your results and CPD point
certiﬁcates of completionSTART YOUR FREE
visit www.accel.com.auMooloolaba by
Aboda Design Group,
photography by Paul Smith
Dunsborough Beach House by Arcologic,
photography by Matt Moyes
working out for
BDA development executive MARTIN FARLEY puts his business
advisory skills to work for building designers who have embraced the
foundations of pathways laid in previous instalments of his practice
management series, to plot the next stage of market awareness in the
quest for business resilience.
The first article in this series focused on understanding business financials, in
particular important performance measures such as the business break-even point
and the personal contribution margin as a measure of productivity.
The second article focused on considering how to increase the effective charge-out
rate by enhancing the value of offers to different client segments; in effect, making a
transition to a client value-based fee structure.
Another critical dimension of practice management is business resilience, which is
about being able to prosper in a changing environment.
This article explores how to develop a“portfolio”of offers to the market as a means
of ensuring business resilience that is based on adapting to market opportunities
I hasten to add that in this sense“portfolio”relates to the range and balance of
product/market mixes offered within the business. If the market is changing and
we are standing still we’re in trouble; so the idea is to follow the Specialised Bike Co
motto –“innovate or die”.
Business growth and diversity are related contributors to business resilience. As
identified in the first article, business success is not just about growth in revenue, it’s
also about productivity and margins. The ability to productively service a range of
market segments, sometimes with differing offers, is about having enough diversity
to ensure that if one segment is“off”others will compensate. Business resilience
is about ensuring that the growth segments of the business are outweighing the
In terms of demonstrable changes in segments or need, the“first home”incentive
programs accelerated people entering the market, encouraged some established
home owners to trade up. Awareness of sustainability challenges has resulted in
different purchase behaviours, and therefore design needs.
Business growth and diversity are
related contributors to business resilience
BDA Development Executive
32 the brief
Is the forecast desire for smaller housing about to take off? If so, what does it mean
for designers and how do they position themselves to exploit that change?
While there may be a range of changes that can clarify new or robust market
segments, it is important to identify those that are attractive to individual
businesses, and why.
The degree to which they are attractive depends on individual business needs, but
some typical criteria relate to:
Market size and growth rate;
Competitive intensity in that market;
Knowledge of the market and need;
Capacity to pay;
Understanding these criteria allows one to rate them from low to high in terms of
attractiveness. You can rate each sub-criterion from, say, zero to 100 and then rank
the importance of the criteria to give a weighted score; or you can do it intuitively.
The important thing is that you think about it
Relative competitive position
It is all very well to identify new opportunities, but the complementary question is
“why will they commission us?”. Answering this question is where one crosses the
line between identifying a good idea and entering action mode.
Your capacity to compete is a relative measure; how does your business“stack
up”compared to the competition for their commission? Remember, this is not
your perception, but the perception of the potential client; it’s a case of putting
yourself in their shoes and looking in at yourself and your business and gauging
your attractiveness to them through a demonstration of your capacity to meet their
What criteria establish your relative competitive position? The answer is not simple,
it depends on the market segment; however, there are some universal criteria that
tend to be applied, including:
Demonstrated experience and results;
Professional and technical capability matches to need;
Cost and value;
Ability to engage with you to achieve the desired outcome;
Links to preferred builders;
Risks are managed; and
Ego in engaging your practice.
This list is indicative only. Some potential segments and/or clients will have fewer
decision criteria, others more; however, you can discuss these with your client base
to firm up what is important in their eyes.
These market attractiveness and relative competitive position questions are
important in their own right and it is really worth spending time thinking about
and analysing these. When you combine them, it becomes a really powerful way of
thinking about your business and its future.
The next major step is to combine these two thought processes to determine how
the opportunities fit with the business. This, and the view of your business portfolio,
is what we will concentrate on in the next issue.
For the sake of a fictitious exercise that I will present in the next article to illustrate
how this can paint a clear picture of where your practice is at, I have identified
existing services to rate, such as: Basic Plans; Interactive Design, Plans and
Documentation; Interactive Design through to Supervision; as well as a new service
opportunity which I have described as Interiors and Colours.
You may well describe your own range of services and opportunities quite
differently, but in the end the same science will yield the same picture for future
It’s a case of
of your capacity
to meet their
the brief 33
34 the brief
Building Industry Solutions (BIS) has
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the last 10 years, by developing and
providing a leading edge product
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responds to the needs of the profession.
BIS is an authorised corporate agent for
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BIS is a corporate member of
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The comprehensive and easy to
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As part of the BIS Scheme you will be
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The Scheme has been created to benefit BDA members with a
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Phone Freecall: 1800 244 224
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B U I L D I N G
I N D U S T R Y
S O L U T I O N S
I find a combination of the character of a site, and the sometimes
unspoken elements of a design brief, are my inspiration
on the record:
Melanie has worked in the building design industry for 14 years and been a member
of the NSW chapter of Building Designers Australia for the past 10 years, during
which time she has won three State design awards.
Her practice, Seaside Homes, is based in Gwandalan, on the southern shores of Lake
Macquarie, south of Newcastle, from where she consults to clients throughout the
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.
Q. What pathway (academic, trade, cadetship etc) led you to a career in
A. I suppose with a builder-father, I was destined to be on this career path from an
early age. I did, however, take a few detours via a conference co-ordinator’s role with
the Peppers Group, and a number of years with Qantas as an international flight
attendant, before committing myself to the profession.
Q. Who or what was the biggest influence in your decision to establish your
own building design practice, and how?
A. Not long after I’d joined the BDA, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with
a very experienced designer, Julie-Anne Johnson. She was a generous mentor who
encouraged me to invest in myself and expand Seaside Homes, which was then
more of a part-time business.
Q. From whom or what do you derive most inspiration as a building designer,
A. I find a combination of the character of a site, and the sometimes unspoken
elements of a design brief, are my inspiration. I am in the habit of explaining to my
clients at the start of our first meeting that I’m not a‘note taker’. If I can just listen
to the clients talk about their ideas and ask them questions to draw out more
information, I can easily write a multi-page design brief, even days later, that very
accurately covers the items discussed at the meeting. If I interrupt the conversation
to take notes, however, the flow is affected and I find that when I start designing
there are pieces missing from the story.
In the second of our series of designer profiles, New South Wales building designer MELANIE SYMINGTON
shares her professional passions, driving forces and industry observations with the broader design
the brief 35
I take any
these villages by
Q. What would you describe as the most professionally rewarding building
design project you have yet undertaken, and why?
A. I imagine I’m like many of my colleagues who find themselves living in their
favourite project. I designed our family home on the shores of Lake Macquarie in
the late 1990s. I was fortunate to have my father and his partner construct the home
– but the process wasn’t without some challenges. The quite complex roof has a
40-degree pitch and some sections of the house are three storeys with a loft over.
There were many attempts made on my father’s part to encourage me to drop the
pitch, but I held firm (even when apparently some of the rafters needed five cuts).
We agree now that it was the right call, and it resulted in a home which became the
perfect example of my work, raising the profile of the design firm significantly in the
Q. Does your portfolio contain a mix of residential, multi-residential,
commercial and/or industrial projects, and to what degree is each
A. I do take on some commercial/industrial projects but I have a strong preference
for residential design, whether it’s a custom-designed home or a multi-residential
Q. What is your preferred market segment, and why?
A. Most of my work involves either new homes or large alterations and additions. I
enjoy the design freedom involved in being presented with a vacant site, but I love
the challenge of turning a house that’s not working for the owners into a home
designed specifically for their needs.
Q. Do you specialise in, or concentrate on any particular materials palette in
your design solutions, and if so, why?
A. My favourite combination of materials is horizontal cladding boards, Colorbond
roofing, and stone. This is strongly influenced by the region in which I primarily
design. Lake Macquarie is the largest saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere
and around the shoreline are lots of small villages that were originally holiday
destinations for Sydneysiders. Many of the original cottages have been replaced
with heavy, three-storey homes of glass and concrete, so I take any opportunity to
maintain the original character of these villages by incorporating more modestly
scaled, lighter buildings.
Q. Do you specialise in or pay most homage to any particular design genre?
A. Many years ago I came across a book on the town of Seaside in Florida
(the inspiration for the name Seaside Homes). The town was a master-planned
development on a privately-owned site, so the owner/developer, who was also an
architect, had free reign over the design guidelines for homes in the town. The result
was unfortunately overly successful because the town is so beautiful it’s become
a tourist attraction instead of the very liveable village it was designed to be. Some
of the design guidelines included the requirement for front porches and low front
fences (both to encourage interaction between neighbours), and also the use of
weatherboards with vertical profile window elements.
Q. How highly do energy efficiency and sustainability rate in your design
solutions, and what is your primary focus in this regard?
A. I’m fortunate to design primarily in a very temperate climate. Mild winters and
cool north-easterly summer breezes make designing for energy efficiency far easier
than in other areas. I’m very particular about cross ventilation patterns that draw the
summer breeze through homes, and also ensuring that glazing units are protected
from the summer sun.
ABOVE Melanie’s own home in Lake
Macquarie, NSW – her favourite
36 the brief
When a local
tell the story of
the character of
their area, rather
inclined to work
with the story
than against it
Q. Do you consider there is a need among building designers for increased
awareness of natural and cultural heritage in the design of built forms that are
more sympathetic to our regional vernacular, and if so, how do you believe
this can be achieved?
A. Absolutely. I’m not a great supporter of design covenants as they often require
unnecessary compromise. I’d rather encourage the identifying of the beautiful
aspects of particular built forms. When a local authority can engagingly tell the story
of the character of their area, rather than listing restrictions, I believe owners and
designers are more inclined to work with the story than against it.
Q. What has been the most significant turning point in your career?
A. A number of years ago I was introduced to one of my dearest friends, Paulina
Mangano. At the time, she was tasked with being my business mentor through
a time of growth for Seaside Homes. I believe as designers we invest almost all of
our energy is creating the best results for our clients. The unfortunate reality of this
situation, though, is that many of us don’t focus enough on the business side of our
design firms. Paulina was fantastic at getting me past the talking stage, and into the
implementation stage, of building a stronger business. I owe her much of the credit
for the current profile and success of my business.
Q. What professional advice would you give to any young person starting out
in the building design industry?
A. Get a mentor! If you have the opportunity to work with an experienced designer,
grab it with both hands. I’d also encourage them to join a professional association
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share about any aspect of the
profession (e.g. fee structures, future directions, training, professional
development, industry regulation etc)?
A. We’ve all seen incredible change in the complexity of the work we do over the
past decade. I don’t imagine the next decade will be any different, so I’m about to
embark on more training. I find that if you approach professional development as an
opportunity instead of an obligation, it can actually be a very positive experience.
ABOVE A recently completed project
overlooking Lake Macquarie at Coal
the brief 37
Structural damage as a result of termite activity is a common
threat to properties across Australia, particularly in rural areas
and urban fringes. In conjunction with its capabilities for
advanced home design, a frame made from steel offers a
strong and durable framework in termite prone areas.
Termites wreak havoc to homeowners every year as they
quietly munch away at wood, wallpaper and other materials,
including carpet backing. To make matters worse, the damage
they leave behind is not covered by most homeowners’
insurance policies. Signs of termite damage can lurk beneath
surfaces undetected and is made worse by factors that attract
termites, such as firewood stacked next to the property or
grading that directs water toward a house instead of draining
Clayton Whitely, a pest inspector with over 25 years
experience in detecting termites in Sydney’s homes, says
that termite damage to homes across the country is a serious
concern for homeowners:
“They love to eat wood; it’s as simple as that. And they will
eat it all - the handles off garden implements, rakes, flooring,
and roof trusses - and turn them into shredded wheat. This
year the cellulose-chomping critters began their destruction
even earlier than normal, thanks to the combination of an
unseasonably wet summer and warm weather.
“As it is one of the first parts of a house to be built and it’s a
core building element, a house frame really does need to be
strong and durable whatever the environment it has been
outsmart the homewreckers
built in and has to be protected from termite damage. A
house frame made from Truecore steel is a great option as it is
100 per cent termite proof.”
Clayton, who has the fascinating talent of being able to hear
termites boring right though barriers and timber frames,
has witnessed first hand the destruction termites can cause
to people’s homes and is passionate about helping people
understand the danger they represent.
Made in Australia to Australian standards, a frame made from
Truecore steel is 100 per cent termite proof, with no need to
apply chemical treatments, so builders and homeowners can
rest assured that the structural integrity of the home will not
be affected or damaged.
While also ensuring that the termite problem won’t return,
steel roof frames made from Truecore steel remain straight
and true so they won’t warp, twist, sag or shrink over time.
Homeowners can have the security that comes with having
a property that uses Truecore steel, as it is manufactured
by BlueScope Steel and tested in Australia for Australian
Since its introduction to the market almost 50 years ago, steel
framing has increased in distribution and demand and is now
widely used as an alternative to the more traditional timber
Many of Australia’s largest and most successful builders,
manufacturers and building solutions companies now supply
steel framing as standard.
Visit www.truecore.com.au or call 1800 022 999.
As it is one of the first parts of a house to be built and it’s a core building
element, a house frame really does need to be strong and durable
38 the brief
Ideas to Shape the Future
For more information Phone Fielders on 1800 182 255
I N T E R L O C K I N G P A N E L
Fielders’ Finesse architectural steel roofing and facades provide a durable
and aesthetic finish for residential and commercial applications.