11 May 2012 – Section J of the Building Code of Australia which relates to minimum environmental standards is starting to cause problems for some architects according to Simon Wild who says his company Cundall is picking up quite a lot of consultancy work in this area. The sticking point, he says is building fabric.
Wild, who is originally from the UK says the Europeans implemented similar minimum standards about 20 years ago.
What’s happening he said is that at the top end of the property development there’s been no problem with higher standards; companies have been motivated by competitive pressures so they’ve pushed the envelope, on a voluntary basis.
Now comes some regulation to capture the bottom end.
“At one end of the bell curve has pushed up and the front end not pushing hard enough,” Wild says.
“From an architectural point of view the knowledge isn’t out there. From the government point of view, it’s starting to shift the market. The UK brought in similar rules in 2001.”
Wild says there’s another – counter pressure –under way and it’s driven by the creeping tightening of finance and ramping up of construction cost.
“Now the market is questioning how far you go in sustainability from a competition perspective: costs are rising and finance is getting harder.
“So people are asking, ‘how far do we really need to go with this to be competitive in the market?’”