Building Better Homes for the Future

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In conjunction with the Committee for Ballarat and Ballarat City Council, BREAZE successfully conducted the Building Better Homes for the Future forum on October 5. Held at Ballarat's Mercure Hotel, the event attracted builders and developers from across the region. Panellists included Mullum Creek Development architect Paul Haar, Chatham Homes group managing director Bradley Hall, Hygge Property director Joseph van Dyk and City of Ballarat director of development and growth Natalie Robertson. BREAZE Board member and event coordinator Sally Missing described the event as highly successful, with a great range of speakers and a very engaged audience.

Video recordings of all speakers participating in this event are now available on the BREAZE Inc. You Tube Channel

Report on Building Better Homes for the Future Forum

held on 5th October 2022


The project was conceived as an opportunity to improve the quality of volume building in Ballarat with the aim of ensuring new homes have a smaller carbon footprint and are more thermally efficient than current new homes.

The project will comprise three forums and the development of media and social media content. The first forum targeted representatives from industry. Two community forums will be run in 2023. A Steering Committee was formed with representatives from BREAZE, the City of Ballarat planning department, a private architect with an interest in eco builds and was chaired by the CEO of Committee for Ballarat.

The objective of the first forum was to: Inspire and motivate builders, developers and planners, in particular volume builders and to provide them with some practical strategies to improve the thermal efficiency of new builds and reduce their carbon footprint. Considerable thought was given to who would make the best speakers and what angle was most likely to resonate with the audience. Also, much work went into identifying the invitation only audience for the forum to ensure we attracted the people that had the potential to make change.

The forum

The forum was held on a weekday evening with a buffet dinner.

The presenters were:

Paul Haar Architect – Mullum Creek Development. Paul, our keynote speaker talked about the journey of developing the Mullum Creek project including some of the challenges and focussed on some practical changes that could be made in selection of materials to reduce their environmental impact.

Bradley Hall Group Managing Director Chatham Homes. Bradley talked about the challenges of building an 8.2 star home designed for volume builders. He also discussed the barriers to change in particular due to Federal, State and Local Government all having input into planning regulations – pointing out the Local Government was ahead of the others.

Joseph van Dyk, Director Hygge Property. Joseph talked about the development of the Nightingale apartments and the consideration that was given to creating a community rather than just a home – by incorporating a café, shared garden and laundry. He stressed the importance of leadership in moving the building industry to be more sustainable.

Natalie Robertson, Director of Development and Growth, City of Ballarat discussed the development of the Ecologically Sustainable Design special planning amendment along a number of other councils, the importance of embedding good design and planning across council policies and the other council initiatives to improve the sustainability of housing and help the community achieve net zero carbon emissions.

The MC and facilitator of the Q&A panel were from local development group Integra.

 Approximately 60 people attended. The audience was very engaged in the discussion and provided very positive feedback.  Quite a few stayed back to talk to the presenters and organisers after the event.

Media coverage:

Prior to the event:

  • Article in the Ballarat Times
  • 5 minute segment on Regional ABC Radio

After the event:

  • Full page coverage in The Courier
  • ABC Regional Radio journalist is currently working on a follow up article.
  • Coverage on BREAZE Facebook (2000+ followers) and @BREAZEtweets (800+ followers)

The event was professionally filmed and will be available to the general public, ensuring the forum has a wider reach.

Key takeaways:
  • Leadership should come from the sector and should not wait for legislation
  • The community needs to be educated and help drive change
  • The importance of considering how you create a healthy and vibrant community as well as a home
  • Inaction at state and federal level is holding things back
  • The increasing cost of materials and labour shortages present a challenge for the industry
  • There are practical steps builders and developers can take now to make housing more sustainable
  • Thermally efficient, sustainable homes need to be affordable for all

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