Delivering thought provoking ideas and innovation to Australia’s built environment industry

Mar 2, 2018 DesignBUILD News

DesignBUILD is the construction, design and architecture industry’s premier trade exhibition, but it now also serves as a forum for thinking through the bigger issues affecting the industry.  

Hosted from Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, DesignBUILD 2018 features a showcase of leading manufacturers, suppliers and service providers such as PowerHouse prefabricated homes, Wattyl Paint and Swiss Krono Group. This will be complemented by two paid speaker and education programs discussing topics such as build to rent, property resale and commercial buildings of the future.

Pia Argiratos, conference director for DesignBUILD 2018, has been instrumental in driving the new showcase of ideas and innovations in construction, design and architecture.

“DesignBUILD represents a space for the many ‘tribes’ of the industry to come together off the work site and learn together. This event is an opportunity to think about better ways to do things – so it’s a chance to work on the business, not in it,” Argiratos says.

It’s all in the detail

“With a central theme ‘It’s all in the detail,’ everyone can gain something from DesignBUILD, either on a micro level in terms of individual products, or in terms of some of the industry-level topics we address. They can then take those options back to their own workplace and make a change, or reach out to an industry partner to collaborate,” says Argiratos.

Product compliance and conformity – informed by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London last year and also the 2014 Lacrosse building fire in Melbourne – is a critical issue at DesignBUILD this year, that will be addressed particularly through a panel discussion hosted by the Building Products Innovation Council’s Rodger Hills, Argiratos says.

“There have been some important issues flagged by disaster, both within Australia and internationally,” she notes.

“Every person who was aware of the Grenfell Tower inferno could put themselves in the shoes of the people inside that building and we knew that there has to be more that we can do to prevent something like that happening again.

“If you don’t control what products go into a building a tragedy can unfold. The industry is taking that topic more and more seriously, so I’m really pleased we are able to bring in industry leaders such as the Building Product Innovation Council and the Australian Institute of Building to lead that conversation.”

Along with compliance, innovation and sustainability are some of the key features Argiratos sees driving this year’s exhibition. To help explore these topics, Argiratos has invited respected architecture and design journalist Stephen Crafti to lead three panels: on whether property speculation is compromising design outcomes; on innovations in multi-level development; and on how architects and town planners can collaborate rather than clash, for mutual benefit.

Additionally, other education sessions include topics exploring how well Australia’s green buildings with the decarbonisation targets of the Paris Agreement, the WELL building criteria and protecting the mental health of those working on building sites and in the wider industry.

To some extent, sustainability is an area that Argiratos feels the industry can give itself a pat on the back for.

“Sustainability is becoming business-as-usual, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to get complacent, either. As we see with the topic of compliance – which overlaps with sustainability – making sure that we are doing the right thing, with the right product, the right way, is now a focus too.”

Prior to joining DesignBUILD in 2017, Argiratos has fostered industry communication and collaboration, through her role at the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), an organisation that facilitates dialogue between key players across construction and engineering, and government agencies.

Particularly,  Argiratos worked on projects such as the ACIF Forecasts, a 10-year forecast in the building construction industry to analyse upcoming demands and labour requirements. Argiratos plans to use this knowledge to help educate and bring together the wider built environment.

Click here to view the full education program and book your seats, spaces are limited. 

About DesignBUILD conference director Pia Argiratos

A successful entrepreneur, Pia Argiratos is the managing director of mobile technology consultants Maximise Technology. She has also worked in marketing, communications and industry development for organisations including national charities and not-for-profits, local governments and small businesses.

Prior to joining DesignBUILD as conference director in 2017, she held a role with the Australian Construction Industry Forum, working with the many professions and trades of the industry to collaborate and drive the sector forward, particularly through her involvement in the ACIF Forecasts.

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