Local Architect: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 #GC2018

Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, Queensland Australia

I am very excited to see the beginnings of the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, a new Commonwealth Games development in my own local precinct.


The Site

Located in Coomera, at the northern end of Gold Coast, Queensland Australia, the site is situated on a flat section of land surrounded predominantly by existing sporting fields, with amusement parks and a marine precinct nearby.


#GC2018 coomera site


The Architecture

Designed by BDA Architecture a local Broadbeach based firm with a strong reputation for quality architecture in association with Peddle Thorp. The new multipurpose facility will be host to a number of event finals including netball and gymnastics.




I like how the architect has been able to make a large building appear light and refined through the use of transparency and a finely detailed roof structure. This is emphasised by the way in which the wall peels away from the front corner of the building. The large entry void provides a dramatic sense of occasion as you approach the building.


The venue is to be constructed by Hansen Yuncken at a cost of $40 million and due for completion October 2016. Watch this blog for future construction updates.

Would you live in a tent?

For many, a tent is normally associated with a camping holiday. However, could this form of accommodation serve as a realistic and affordable option for our suburban communities? Highly-acclaimed architect, Peter Stutchbury, living in his own tent on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, seems to think so.


Peter Stutchbury's current tent home on Sydney's northern beaches
Peter Stutchbury’s current tent home on Sydney’s northern beaches. Click the image to listen to his interview.


“The tent house provides a model for sustainability…It is a purposeful step towards a radical view of living in the suburbs.”

– Professor Peter Stutchbury

Planning Controls and Approvals

All building projects require some form of approval. What types of approvals will be required for your new home and how do you ensure the process is as painless as possible?

Most approvals are divided into 2 parts:

  • Development approval
  • Building application


Development Approval

A development approval assesses the shape, size and form of the new home and it is your designer’s responsibility to ensure all requirements have been met prior to submission. A development approval is often submitted directly to Council however there are exceptions.

Body corporate estates

When living in a body corporate estate your development application is often made to a separate committee independent of Council. These committees have a detailed outline of planning requirements specific to that development. It is recommended to have your designer design within these constraints to ensure the approval process is as painless as possible. It is much easier to conform to the planning controls when your home is designed from scratch versus a templated project home. I find many project builders try to force their pre-designed homes onto a site without a proper understanding of the planning controls applicable for the site, with a reluctance to modify their designs to accommodate. This reluctance is often met with multiple rejections and a need for multiple resubmissions and additional costs.

Self-Assessable Applications

Many states allow for self-assessable applications. These are assessed by building certifiers on behalf of the Council. Building certifiers are accredited building professionals responsible for assessing your building plans against the relevant building codes. Contact your local council (or conduct a website property search) to confirm if your site falls under this category.

Before submitting your project for Development Application approval, I would suggest a preliminary meeting with the individual or committee that would be responsible for assessing your application. This will help raise any issues and avoid any unwanted surprises after the application has been submitted. I often see clients and builders try to build things that are either not on the approved plans and/or are not in accordance with the planning controls for the estate, for example, retaining walls. This often does not go unnoticed and could create many headaches after you have moved into your home. If it’s not on the approved set of plans, don’t build it, obtain approval first.

Building Application

Once you have obtained your planning approval your designer will assist you with obtaining a building approval. This approval is required to ensure the design is in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and addresses issues such adequate natural light, ventilation, insulation and structural integrity. This approval was formerly assessed by a department within Council, but can now be processed by an independent building certifier.

Once both a development and building approval have been obtained, and a builder has been selected, the building process can begin. The building certifier is also required to conduct independent inspections, typically at frame stage and completion to ensure the project has been completed in accordance with the approved documents.

Approvals process flow chart

What you need to do

To ensure the path to approval is smooth you should:

  • Consult with your design professional to ensure you have all the essential approvals in place prior to construction.
  • Ensure your builder has a copy of all approvals for reference during construction.
  • If changes or amendments are to be made, check with your designer and building certifier to confirm compliance prior to proceeding, to avoid future non-compliance issues.

Inspirational Prefabricated Housing

Prefabricated homes are becoming a real housing option for many around the world. I love the simplicity of this design, with timber cladding to help tie it into its surrounding context. Could serve as the perfect holiday house or granny flat, lets hope prefabricated homes grow in popularity as a real option in Australia.

Sonoma Connect 5


Architect, Draftsperson or Building Designer: which professional should you choose to design your home?

I have worked in a various number of design roles over the course of my career to date, Architectural Draftsman, Building Designer and Registered Architect. Each role has a specific level of qualification and expertise. I would like to discuss these three types of designers based on my own experience, in the hope it will help you select the correct designer for your project.


Architectural Draftspeople generally obtain their qualification by completing a Diploma of Building Design via TAFE (2 years full time/4 years part time). Draftspersons are skilled in the area of architectural documentation with an understanding of the laws relating to building projects. They generally obtain the majority of their work through project housing companies and smaller builders looking for a basic set of plans for construction. Draftspeople are not licensed and must perform their work under the guidance of a licensed building designer.

Draftspersons are skilled in the area of architectural documentation with an understanding of the laws relating to building projects.

Building Designers

Building Designers are involved with the design and documentation of building projects. They come from a vast array of design-related backgrounds, which can include individuals with degree qualifications. There are no restrictions on the use of the title ‘Building Designer’ and in several states and territories such as Western Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory and the ACT, where there are no registration requirements for building designers. There is greater consumer protection in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. In Victoria, registration is required under the Building Practitioners Board. In Queensland, licences are issued by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. If you do choose to engage a building designer, ensure they are licensed, have a look at their portfolio and/or talk to past clients to ensure they are the best fit for your project.

Building Designers are involved with the design and documentation of building projects.

Registered Architects

Architects are highly qualified and passionate design professionals with the ability to manage all aspects of the process including formulation of a design brief, design and documentation, construction inspections, contract management and post construction services. In order to practice as and use the title of ‘Architect’ in Australia you need to be registered with the Board of Architects in the state or territory in which you practice.

Rose Seidler House

Architects are highly qualified and passionate design professionals with the ability to manage all aspects of the process including formulation of a design brief, design and documentation, construction inspections, contract management and post construction services.

To be eligible for registration you need to have meet several criteria:

  • completed a recognised university degree (5 years full time)
  • post graduate experience (2 years minimum)
  • pass a written and verbal examination; and
  • once registered, participate in ongoing professional development to maintain registration

A Code of Conduct applies to all Registered Architects to ensure they display a level of professional integrity in the provision of their services. The registration process is undertaken to ensure anyone practising under the title of ‘Architect’ does so with an assumed level of knowledge and experience in accordance with an industry standard recognised by the Board of Architects.

Unfortunately, there are Draftspeople and Building Designers that refer to themselves as Architects. It is wise to check whether the architect you engage is registered at the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia.

Who should you choose?

Being an Architect, I believe a Registered Architect is the most qualified design professional for the majority of projects. In my opinion, there are reasons to consider engaging a Draftsperson or Building Designer. A Draftsperson is qualified to document an existing design concept. A building designer is qualified to transform your ideas into a working design concept through to preparation of building plans. But, if you have a project that requires a designer to ‘think outside the box’ and deliver an imaginative and refreshing solution for your site, from initial design through to completion, a Registered Architect would best serve your requirements.

If you are unsure about which design professional to choose, I am happy to answer questions via Facebook message.