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7 June 2018
Kuldeep Bwail

Adding the Right Design Resource for Australian Housing Design

Think of Australia and you think of the outdoors, the ‘bush’, the ‘outback’, open land and open skies. Love of the outdoors and entertaining is entrenched in the Australian identity and reflected in the basic features of Australian architectural design for homes. In addition to this, the climate in Australia presents a specific set of challenges. In the age of global competitiveness, outsourcing architectural work is gaining popularity in Australia for all the right reasons – greater cost efficiency and increased employment for Australians. Taking advantage of established architectural outsourcing firms in India could be the answer to adding the right design resource for Australian housing design.

Climatic conditions in most parts of Australia accommodate outdoor living, and residential design often tries to bring the outside domain inside and extend living areas beyond the back of the house. Entertaining family and friends both indoors and outdoors is a big part of the Australian way of life, and hence, most residential design in Australia provides easily accessible and convenience-laden alfresco living areas. Some of the factors that are relevant in the design of alfresco areas are:

Bringing the Outdoors In
  • Wall-to-wall sliding, folding or concertina glass doors that can fully retract
  • Equal floor heights, inside and outside, which make for an easy transition from the internal living space to outside
  • Enough space must be considered for a table, chairs, an outdoor kitchen/BBQ and space between cooking and seating areas
  • It could be a casual lounge area, with outdoor lounge chairs and a low table
  • A space with both casual lounge and entertaining areas
Shade Cover

For alfresco living, these could be:

  • Plasterboard ceilings
  • Screens with vines or creepers
  • Awnings with timber battening
  • Clear awnings or shutters that can retract offer rain and wind protection
  • Fireplaces for colder regions
  • Ceiling fans for warmer areas
  • LED down lights that can be dimmed
  • Wall lighting placed vertically
  • Spotlights
  • Paint should be darker than used inside
  • Natural materials, textures to blend inside and out, such as stone, timber, renders, brick

Another important feature of Australian homebuilding is the growing popularity of sustainable design for both new homes and the renovation of existing homes. The climate diversity of the Australian landmass means that designing a sustainable home for Victoria’s high country will differ from designing one for the sultry heat of Queensland. Architectural guides have been issued by the relevant authorities to design and build sustainable homes, especially for effective climate control due to long, hot, humid summers. Sustainable homes are designed with special attention on the temperate conditions of the sun and wind. Comfort is a must, but the use of air-conditioning is eliminated or reduced, as both heating and cooling systems require high electricity consumption. Therefore orientation, ventilation and insulation play a major part in the overall design for homes in hotter climes. Here’s how:

Orientation & Shading
  • Sun-facing walls should be shorter, and the long axis of the house should run east-west, so as to minimise exposure to the morning and afternoon sun
  • Living areas should be placed to the north and bedrooms to the south
  • Large eaves, verandas and plants help shade windows and walls
  • West-facing windows should be avoided, since direct access for the setting sun can increase temperatures inside
  • Open-plan designs, with minimal hallways and internal walls, offer greater cross-ventilation
  • Each room must ideally have at least two windows or doors on opposite sides, placed to catch south-east and north-east breezes.
  • Double-storey homes can have insulation between the ground and first floor to reduce energy loss
  • For air conditioning ducts, floor joist heights should be maximised
Building Materials & Colours
  • Lightweight building materials can shade outside concrete walls, allowing for faster cooling at night
  • Light colours can be used on the roof, while the roof and walls are insulated from the heat
Outdoor Rooms
  • Weather-proof, well-ventilated and centrally located outside rooms
  • Both useable space and breezes are the result of courtyard spaces inside the home

With individual criteria specific to the region that must be taken into consideration, choosing the right partner for construction is of paramount importance. An efficient architectural services team can deliver residential projects fulfilling the particular needs of Australian architecture at competitive cost. Some of the primary characteristics to look for are:

  • Experience – several years’ experience in design and construction of varied designs and energy-efficient homes
  • Expertise – high level of technical knowhow on relevant software platforms
  • Cost – reasonable billing
  • Infrastructure – possession of relevant hardware, software and human resources to complete the tasks
  • Credentials – evidence of knowledge and adherence to Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) standards
  • Insurance/licenses – possession of appropriate licenses and insurance coverage

One option which is becoming increasingly popular is to effectively select the right partner from overseas, especially in countries such as India. Outsourced CAD services, for example, architectural CAD drafting, CAD modelling, BIM modelling and residential architectural renderings, are delivered with professionalism and accuracy in a cost-effective and expeditious manner.

There are certain reasons why Australian firms should consider CAD outsourcing services in India.

Offshore workforces are cost effective due to lower labour cost in nations such as India. CAD tools, such as AutoCAD, Revit and Solidworks, are used extensively in India for design and residential drafting services delivered globally. These services can result in significant savings for Australian firms, while maintaining an assurance of quality output.

The most common outcry against outsourcing is that it eliminates Australian jobs. It is also a commonly held belief that only large corporations are in a position to employ outsourced services. Surprisingly, this is not so. An increasing number of Australian businesses are looking overseas to strengthen their businesses and make them more efficient. This is possible because the shifting of roles leads to an increase, in the long run, of employed Australians.

How so? When a firm outsources its services to places with cheaper labour cost, that firm realises greater cost efficiency, thus permitting it to use its savings on alternate revenue-generating fields, such as sales and marketing. This will expand production and lead to greater employment. Hence, the potent combination of technology, automation and offshore services increases efficiency, productivity and employment.

With greater acceptance of remote staffing, it is becoming more common in Australia to outsource drafting, designing and estimating services. This is due to the availability of tools that manage overseas staff, such as Time Doctor and Zoom.

Indian outsourcing firms provide a number of services that can be utilised by Australian construction firms. These include construction drawings that contain plans, sections, elevations and quantity information.

Other services include:
  • Documentation for timber-frame, traditional and steel-frame homes
  • Production Drawings – construction drawing sets, using Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD, foundation drawings, floor plans, roof plans, structural and roof framings, elevations, sections, interior elevations
  • Revit BIM Models – Using Revit applications, accurate 3D models, floor plans, elevations, sections, schedules and material and quantity take-off information
  • Interference analysis and clash resolving using Autodesk Navisworks
  • Plan Updates – management of libraries of construction drawings and creation of revised residential design drawings due to changes in aesthetic design
  • Client Address Specific Drawings – customised residential construction drawings
  • Site/Lot Drawing Analysis – site/lot analysis and detailed reports to calculate costs, profitability and construction time
  • Static and Interactive Floor Plans – floor plans for brochures and on websites as colour-coded plans, 3D plans with or without furniture, 3D interactive plans of design options for a chosen house type
  • Computer-generated Images and 3D Rendering – computer-generated photorealistic renderings for external and internal perspectives. accurate 3D models

To conclude, Indian firms offer in-depth understanding of the specific design needs of the Australian homebuilding industry, experienced and tested delivery process, intelligent technological know-how, systematic approach and therefore provide an efficient solution with cost savings, faster project completion and improved productivity – in effect, providing the right design resource for Australian housing design.