Amidst the challenges facing our industry, as we gradually move to more stability and emerging pipeline of building and construction projects, we cannot lose sight of the longer term objectives of social and economic reform. The construction industry employs 1.2 million people, accounts for 9% ($380 billion) of Australia’s GDP and key to the road to recovery and employment growth.

Implicit in this, is leading and embracing sustainability in all aspects from conception, site selection, design, building and eventual occupancy and lifecycle of all buildings. In the author’s view, we need to consider the size and purpose of all buildings considering permanent changes in working, living, and learning patterns because of CV-19. What will this look like?

Shorter office and apartment buildings, regional hubs, larger homes, fewer shops, regulated sustainability and energy saving, will see the end of the Skyscraper and high density city living. This is possible in Australia due to large tracts of land available for urban spread around capital cities. 2030 will Australia’s population reach close to 30 million and these folk should not be accommodated in crowded cities for social, economic and environmental reasons.

As reported, Victorian government announced a $797 million energy efficiency affordability package. This sets minimum energy standards with five stars for rental properties and seven stars for new builds and is also significant policy that can advance sustainability in retrofits and transform infrastructure.

This comes as part and parcel of Victorian and SW Governments’ significant investments in harnessing the power of energy efficiency and social housing to create jobs and drive economic recovery.

“Rurbanisation”, as coined by the author, needs to part of the solution. This is the development or rural communities such as Goulbourn in NSW and Seymour in Victoria to house around 250,000 to 500,000 people, each with access to a VFT, 45-60 minutes from outer Sydney and Melbourne.

Commercial building is no exception and we, as industry leading building professionals, can develop solutions and guide developers as to areas in which to build, what to build and hence, advise architects as to the ways in which buildings are to be built. Embracing technology, energy saving solutions for the betterment of occupants and the broader community will be an imperative over this coming decade.

Geoff Dart
Executive Director
Australian Institute of Building