As Australia's population soars, our largest cities are going to grow the fastest. However, this process needs to be done in a way that benefits the construction industry as well as providing excellent design for the community as a whole.
It is then pleasing to report the announcements made last month by Minister of Housing Richard Wynne at the National Architecture Conference regarding the Better Apartments initiative.
In the speech, welcomed by the Australian Institute of Architects, Mr Wynne talked openly about how high density living (apartments and high-rise buildings) will become the norm in Australia in the coming years. However, he said it was important to look at the functionality, sustainability and aesthetics to ensure that they don't become an eyesore.
The announcements at the conference will mean that Victoria's town planning process will align more with NSW where there are many checks and balances when designing new city infrastructure.
Victorian Chapter President Peter Malatt explained this in more detail.
"We fully support the introduction of minimum standards in the interest of the public and the long term sustainability of the construction sector, an industry which is the second largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Australian economy at approximately 7.8 per cent," he said in a May 15 media statement.
"This model contains not only design guidelines, but also the requirement for design review panels; the requirement for ongoing checking that the approved design intent is being maintained through project procurement and construction and the requirement to use registered architects to design multi-storey apartment buildings."
Success in NSW
As the country's largest state by population, NSW authorities have learned to work with architects to ensure good design and better outcomes. In fact, its NSW SEPP 65 framework model has improved living standards and has the support of the industry and other authorities.
"Design considerations are fundamental to the achievement of high-quality building projects."
Mr Malatt stated that "design considerations are fundamental to the achievement of high-quality building projects." With the best architects in place, the finished product can meet high standards in terms of design and safety.
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