Building Designers Association of Australia’s (BDAA) vision is to unite the building design industry to deliver a livable, green, efficient and smart built environment, delivering the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable design.

Driven by the global megatrends of sustainable development, urban densification and connected technology, Australia’s building design industry is facing a period of significant change and opportunity.

Booming real estate prices and urban sprawl have redefined the Australian dream, as more of us swap traditional quarter acre blocks for apartment living to be near work, friends and amenities. Swelling cities face a series of wicked challenges including increasing energy use, water shortages, stormwater flooding and urban heating. Building design that addresses these issues at the source can rebalance the whole urban system to solve these issues rather than add to them. Uniquely positioned to reimagine urbanisation as it transitions from linear to circular design, the building design industry will play an increasingly powerful and influential role in ensuring the built environment of the future is home to healthy, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous communities. As the voice and trusted advisor of Australia’s building design sector, the BDAA is committed to educating, inspiring and supporting its members to lead the way and reap the economic, social and environmental benefits offered by sustainable development and design.

What is sustainable development?

While issues like climate change, waste and renewable energy often steal the headlines, the BDAA defines sustainable development as an approach to designing the built environment that balances economic, social and environmental benefits.

The only way to make significant and lasting change is to ensure sustainable development works for all stakeholders in the built environment ecosystem from designers, architects, engineers, builders and landscapers, to planners, consultants, product manufacturers, sustainability experts, government and industry associations.

As design professionals, the biggest individual contribution you can make to achieving a sustainable future is through the whole-of-life impacts of client projects. Sustainable development can also make buildings more resilient to physical impacts from climate change by providing multiple options to respond to threats such power failure, water stress and heat stress.

Built environment design goals:

As an association, the BDAA has committed to incorporating sustainability and circular design into all decisions. Underpinning our vision are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

Liveable

Sustainable buildings are not only more comfortable, inclusive, healthy and harmonious, they create desirable residences that are more valuable economic assets.

Efficient

Well-designed buildings are more enjoyable, last longer, have lower running costs, command premium rent, offer greater ROI and generate broad long-term social benefits.

Green

Circular developments deliver the environmental benefits of reduced impacts of waste, water, building materials and energy, and are in high demand and cheaper to run, operate and maintain.

Smart

Intelligent technology like building information modelling, integrated digital design, robotic manufacturing and home automation can drive practical and sustainable solutions.

Why does it matter to you?

The bottom line is that residential, commercial and industrial clients are increasingly demanding sustainable developments, and they are also prepared to pay a premium to live, work and play in livable, green, efficient and smart communities.

Developers & Investors

With buyers and investors focusing on ethical and sustainable investments, the results are higher asset prices and rental yields.

Employers

Attracting and retaining talent, especially younger staff, now requires alignment in values and a commitment to a sustainable future.

Building Designers

Embracing sustainable projects and business practices not only increases your appeal, it means happier clients, better buildings, enhanced reputation and a stronger business.

Supply Chain

Growing demand for sustainably developed materials, services and solutions is an opportunity to stand out and grow your business.

Owners

People demand action on social justice and climate change. Businesses that demonstrate progress will attract customer loyalty and support.

Governments

Built form impacts almost every government responsibility from education to healthcare and needs to be planned, designed and regulated to meet community needs.

BDAA and Members

Through education, advocacy, leadership and recognition, we will raise the profile of the building design sector to help members profit and prosper.

We’re all in this together

One thing is certain, the only way we can overcome these global challenges and all benefit from the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable development is for the building design sector to work together and across the built environment supply chain.

Pivotal in conceiving the built environment of tomorrow, building designers can raise the bar, set priorities and drive change starting with today’s project. As trusted experts, designers can inspire owners, developers, investors, builders, peak bodies, educators, product suppliers and service providers to embrace the vision. This influential role gives our industry the opportunity, and responsibility, to take a collaborative role in designing the built environment of the future that is circular and sustainable by design.

Let’s rise to the challenges of today and tomorrow

From comfort and safety, to maintenance and affordability, the most common issues with the built environment can be designed out by applying circular design principles from day one, which makes life better for everyone.

Increasingly, we envisage a major opportunity for interested designers to step into the critical role of sustainable development experts, becoming trusted advisors on broader topics like the Passive house principle, net-zero construction, thermal performance, water management, circular design, approvals and green infrastructure. That’s why, as part of our vision, the BDAA is working towards developing deeper involvement of the building design sector in the construction, management, service and renewal phases of the built environment cycle to ensure our visions become reality without compromise.

How can your business support sustainable
development?

1. Understand

Read, learn, upskill and discuss sustainable development as much as you can. BDAA will share education, advice, tools and resources.

2. Assess

Start by benchmarking your performance and gaps. Take our Ready Reckoner for a personalised balanced scorecard and practical tips.

3. Commit

Sign BDAA’s public declaration of commitment to sustainable development and embrace action, accountability and transparent reporting.

4. Take measurable action

Actions speak loudest. Through measurement and transparent reporting, we’ll publish data-driven evidence of our progress, individually and as an industry

5. Be Recognised

BDAA is developing a formal accreditation program that enables members to publicly prove their commitment, action and results.

Inspire Change

Share successes and publicise outcomes to inspire others to join the movement to create a sustainable future for all.

Be the change you want to see

To begin or accelerate your journey towards sustainable development, we invite you to join us at www.bdaa.com.au/sustainable where you’ll find resources and tools.

Declaration of Commitment to Sustainable Development Building Designers Association of Australia

will support its members by committing to the following sustainable
development principles and actions:

Global Goals

Embrace the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to consider social, economic and environmental outcomes in all policies and decisions.

Global Goals

Embrace the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to consider social, economic and environmental outcomes in all policies and decisions.

Net Zero

Acknowledge the need to achieve a net-zero economy.

Education

Commit to educating and supporting ourselves, staff, customers and suppliers to better understand and advance sustainable development

Triple Bottom Line

Acknowledge that transitioning to a sustainable future for everyone, requires a focus on parallel impacts for economy, society and environment.

Collaboration

Acknowledge that government, business and society all play a critical role working together to solve these problems, and commit to openly sharing knowledge and ideas.

Diversity

Value diversity, recognising that it is a strength that gives resilience to communities, systems and organisations.

Urgency

Commit to setting ambitious timelines that urge immediate action and supporting the sector’s already rapidly accelerating progress towards a sustainable future

Accountability

Be ethical and transparent in all actions through benchmarking performance, measuring results and publishing datadriven evidence of progress

Frank Geskus
National President

Building Designers

Association of Australia

David Morgan
CEO
SDG Align Pty Ltd