In a sign that things could be getting more interesting for sustainability in the commercial office sector,  Colliers International has a brand-new sustainability team in the real estate management business.

Kate Slattery, Leanne Frederiksen and Nick Mavropsi will join the new Engineering, Facilities and Sustainability specialisation.

Slattery, former engineering director at JLL, will lead the team, based in Sydney. In her former role she developed and led engineering and renewables teams.

She’s also worked at AGL Energy, Mott MacDonald, Norman Disney & Young and Aurecon.

Frederiksen joins the team in a freshly minted role as associate director, health, safety and environment. She brings over 20 years’ experience to the role, including general manager, health safety environment at the Australian Turf Club and jobs at Mirvac and Macquarie Leisure Trust Group.

Mavropsi, based in South Australia, has also been appointed as director, real estate management. Mavropsi joins Colliers International from Knight Frank where he was national director of sustainability, asset management.

It’s a reversal on the outlook a few years ago when commercial property agencies tended to shrink their sustainability capability.

According to Nick Mavropsi, there is now “huge emphasis from us on sustainability and growing the team”.

The interest in sustainability in the market is significant, he says.

“I know people talk it up but it is correct. We just visited a huge number of clients and sustainability has been one of the major topics that they talk about. It’s front of mind.”

One private client in particular with a 20,000 square metre A grade office building seemed particularly disappointed that in his five star NABERS energy building the water rating has had dropped to 4.5 stars.

The building is a 20,000 square metre A grade property. Mavropsi says there is clearly a ”flight to quality” by tenants. “I know everyone uses that term but tenants want to be in buildings that are highly rated. They’re perceived to be better maintained buildings.”

Kate Slattery says the move is partly driven by a restructure within the company as well as “making a larger investment in the right people in engineering and the technical side around sustainability.”

“It’s a mix of response to demand and a renewed focus on the real estate management business in the company, along with a desire to drive change within the organisation and be a leader”.

The company wanted to grow it’s value add offer to clients and be better able to make an impact on sustainability, she says.

The team was likely to grow. Key aims include reporting frameworks such as Green Star NGERS and GRESB and also grow numbers over time.

And in other moves…

In Victoria, Mitchell Mackenzie has jumped from Darebin City Council to Sustainability Victoria. He’s now land use planner, waste and resource recovery planning at the state agency.

He’s also worked at Kingston City Council, Visionstream and GHD.

Phil Donaldson is now the chief executive officer at Bioregional Australia Foundation. The organisation runs training programs, leadership programs and advisory services to adopt One Planet Living Principles. part time role One Planet Living is Bioregional’s vision of a world.

He’s also the director of Sustain SA, a business sustainability consultancy, and currently has three businesses that connect through Sustain SA: Green Cities Global, Australian Living Lab Innovation Network and Adelaide Design Link.

Our pick of the jobs:

If you like trains, Laing O’Rourke is recruiting a sustainability manager to work on a high profile rail project. The job is based in Sydney.

Lovell Chen is looking for a landscape architect/designer interested in design, sustainability, innovation and landscape history. The role is based in East Melbourne.

Looking for a job in the Northern Beaches of Sydney? Design practice Envirotecture, based in Elanora Heights, is hiring an architect/building designer.

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