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Fresher air and more space on the cards for larger buildings


Fresher air and more space on the cards for larger buildings

Sustainability and the pandemic create clashing interests when it comes to unit design.

Over the past 20 months, lifestyle as we did know it has changed due to the pandemic and climate change concerns have also impacted on living choices – and the Sunshine Coast is not immune to those changes.

BRD Group managing director Brad Read who works on the design of multi-residential and commercial buildings sees these two key issues conflicting.

“The pandemic is driving people to have bigger units with bigger external areas as opposed to if you are talking cost of living, that would generally drive unit sizes down – and sustainability,” he says. “So, from our perspective, we see the two in conflict. One is driving up sizes. One tends to drive sizes down.”

Overall, Mr Read hasn’t seen a demand for wholesale changes in the design of residential and commercial complexes. It’s been more about subtle design changes.

Some of BRD’s clients are now wanting units designed with a minimum of 250 square metres and more.

“If you went back two, three years ago, we probably wouldn’t have been doing that. We were doing big units 10 years ago and then that decreased and now we are going way back up again.”

The most recently completed Botanica in Maroochydore, reflects this change with 16 units of about 300 square metres, large outdoor areas, and expansive outdoor areas.

Less units on the floor plate, more frontage instead of internal units, internal courtyards, more natural light and ventilation and green walls are all design changes being driven by the pandemic.

“Common zones are being broken down into multiple zones rather than one big zone,” Mr Read says.

“The cost of living has seen the demand for solar integration and natural ventilation to reduce the need for air conditioning requirements,” he adds.

The newest vertical retirement complex in Maroochydore, which is currently in the design phase and has in mind a younger entry age than has historically been the case, will have increased unit indoor and outdoor areas, flexibility in its larger open spaces and common areas.

On the commercial front, due to the challenges around availability of building products, more thought has gone into how buildings are being constructed. BRD is also working into its new commercial designs more space in the workspace.

“We are very aware of not having a call-centre type approach,” he says.

His design team are working on larger workspaces and incorporating balconies to improve the quality of the staff’s working area.


Tracey Johnstone has worked as a Journalist for over 15 years. She started as a sailing writer and working on international events both in Australia and overseas. For several years Tracey was a feature writer for a national Seniors newspaper before bringing her experience in buying, selling building and renovating Coast property to MWP in 2019.

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