Paying the Right Price for Energy Efficiency


New research from Melbourne School of Design finds that people in the ACT - where mandatory energy efficiency ratings have been in place for house sales and rentals for 10 years - are willing to pay more for energy efficient housing, making the case for a mandatory national rating system for existing homes.

This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article. The research paper is available only to subscribers via this link.

Recommended by:

Rachael Bernstone of Sounds Like Design.


How Architects use research: case studies from practice, by RIBA


For architects, research can be a difficult concept to pin down and define. But what is clear is that research can be the intellectual fuel for the engine of innovation and growth in architects’ practices.

To develop a research culture in practice there are some key questions that need answering:

  • What research knowledge do architects need and how do they use it?

  • How does research bring value to architects’ practices and their clients?

  • When do architects undertake research for themselves and how do they connect with academics and other research specialists?

This short publication uses case studies to inspire architects’ to recognise the research they already do, and to integrate research activity as part of their business models so they can reap the benefits of the knowledge available to them.

Recommended by:

Naomi Stead and Sandra Kaji O’Grady, Deans of Monash and QUT architecture schools respectively, in their Dossier on research in large practices, Architecture Australia, July/August 2018.

How architects use research - RIBA

How architects use research - RIBA

Architects and research-based knowledge: A literature review, February 2014

Executive Summary

Part of a series of RIBA publications on research – Architects and Research – this desktop study, undertaken for the RIBA by the Research Information Network, looks at published academic research on information practices in architecture and the built environment. The study is intended to help the RIBA to refine its strategy for communicating research, but is also a useful resource for practices who may be wanting to, for example, encourage the sharing of knowledge between their staff members. It demonstrates the importance of understanding research cultures across the built environment sector for those, such as the RIBA, seeking to encourage closer relationships between researchers across practice and academia, and more effective knowledge transfer.

Recommended by:

Naomi Stead and Sandra Kaji O’Grady, Deans of Monash and QUT architecture schools respectively, in their Dossier on research in large practices, Architecture Australia, July/August 2018


The Naked Architect: a guide to commissioning an architect


Are you talking to clients who are not yet convinced about commissioning an architect?

The Naked Architect series takes viewers into the design and construct process via interviews with architects and clients, talking about the homes they’ve created together.

The Naked Architect is an initiative of Open House Melbourne, with support from the Architects Registration Board of Victoria, and in association with ArchiTeam. The series was launched in 2017 and continued in 2018 as part of the year-round program of Open House.

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Physical activity-related health and economic benefits of building walkable neighbourhoods: a modelled comparison between brownfield and greenfield developments

By Belén Zapata-Diomedi, Claire Boulangé, Billie Giles-Corti, Kath Phelan,Simon Washington,J. Lennert Veerman and Lucy Dubrelle Gunn



A consensus is emerging in the literature that urban form can impact health by either facilitating or deterring physical activity (PA). However, there is a lack of evidence measuring population health and the economic benefits relating to alternative urban forms. We examined the issue of housing people within two distinct types of urban development forms: a medium-density brownfield development in an established area with existing amenities (e.g. daily living destinations, transit), and a low-density suburban greenfield development. We predicted the health and economic benefits of a brownfield development compared with a greenfield development through their influence on PA.


We combined a new Walkability Planning Support System (Walkability PSS) with a quantitative health impact assessment model. We used the Walkability PSS to estimate the probability of residents’ transport walking, based on their exposure to urban form in the brownfield and greenfield developments. We developed the underlying algorithms of the Walkability PSS using multi-level multivariate logistic regression analysis based on self-reported data for transport walking from the Victorian Integrated Survey of Transport and Activity 2009–10 and objectively measured urban form in the developments. We derived the difference in transport walking minutes per week based on the probability of transport walking in each of the developments and the average transport walking time per week among those who reported any transport walking. We then used the well-established method of the proportional multi-cohort multi-state life table model to translate the difference in transport walking minutes per week into health and economic benefits.


If adult residents living in the greenfield neighbourhood were instead exposed to the urban development form observed in a brownfield neighbourhood, the incidence and mortality of physical inactivity-related chronic diseases would decrease. Over the life course of the exposed population (21,000), we estimated 1600 health-adjusted life years gained and economic benefits of A$94 million.


Our findings indicate that planning policies that create walkable neighbourhoods with access to shops, services and public transport will lead to substantial health and economic benefits associated with reduced incidence of physical inactivity related diseases and premature death.


Recommended by: 

An article in Domain: New research shows infill developmevnt is better for our health, but councils aren’t on board



Dossier - Research in Large Practice

By Naomi Stead and Sandra Kaji-O’Grady


This guest-edited Dossier addresses the state of research in large architecture practices in Australia, examining the scope, ambition and impact of research activities on the business and culture of practice. How can research secure and enlarge the architect's influence?

Recommended by:

Rachael Bernstone of Sounds Like Design



Current and future impacts of climate change on housing, buildings and infrastructure


This report by the Federal Senate examines the current and future impacts of climate change on housing, buildings and infrastructure, accounting for the full range of projected climate scenarios, having regard to matters, including:

  1. recent and projected changes in sea level rises, and storm surge intensity;

  2. recent and projected changes in temperature and precipitation;

  3. recent and projected changes in extreme weather, including heatwaves, bushfires, floods, and cyclones;

  4. recent and projected changes in natural coastal defence systems including coral reefs, kelp and mangrove forests;

  5. the impact of these changes on the vulnerability of infrastructure in coastal areas;

  6. the impact of these changes on water supply and sewage treatment systems;

  7. the impact of these changes on transportation, including railways, roads and airports;

  8. the impact of these changes on energy infrastructure, including generators and transmission and distribution lines;

  9. the impact of these changes on health, education and social services infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and aged care;

  10. the impact of these changes on private and public housing;

  11. the impact of these changes on public recreation and tourism facilities;

  12. the impact on financing and insurance arrangements for housing, buildings and infrastructure;

  13. the adequacy of current state and Commonwealth policies to assess, plan and implement adaptation plans and improved resilience of infrastructure; and

  14. any other related matters.


Recommended by:

Article in Domain: Senate committee finds extreme vulnerability of Australian homes to climate change but experts frustrated at inaction 

Early Stage Cost Estimation and the Relationship of Architects to Quantity Surveyors


Understanding the dynamics between cost estimation and design in the project delivery process is essential if accuracy of early stage estimates must be improved. In Australia architects are the primary designers of buildings. Yet, in the Australian context very little work has examined how architects view cost estimation in order to understand cost dynamics. A first step in ascertaining the key issues in relation to cost estimation and design is when architects engage a Quantity Surveyor. The aim is to examine the costing of the conceptual design of projects rather than focusing on professional roles between architect and QS. The point at which a QS is appointed in the design process is identified. The types of issues that arise in relation to costing and design are recognized. To do this, 1132 architects were approached and 85 surveys were received. Each respondent was asked to answer questions related to the highest value project completed by their office. The types of design issues that were acknowledged were related to finishes, construction methods and materials. Of concern was the ability of the QS to cost accurately in situations that required expert knowledge related to a location or particular building type. The results are a first step in formulating further research investigating the ongoing cost messages and costing iterations that take place during the project delivery process. Understanding this dynamic in the first instance will aid research into value management, project benchmarking studies, bidding and tendering as well as stakeholder management studies.

Recommended by:

Dr Peter Raisbeck in his blog Surviving the design studio

The architectural sector in full swing, from futurA in Delft


This Dutch white paper The architectural sector in full swing‘ was written by Jasper Kraaijeveld, policy advisor Market & Entrepreneurship at BNA (Royal Institute of Dutch Architects) and project member of futurA.

It examines current developments in the architectural sector and compares the situation before the economic crisis to the current market situation, and examines trends. It suggests that - as a result of changing markets - architecture firms have to acquire new competences and think about their business strategy.

Recommended by:

Dr Peter Raisbeck in his blog Surviving the design studio