DesignBUILD - the construction industry's only dedicated trade show conference - will for 2018 have a strong focus on product compliance and conformity that has been driven by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London last year and also the 2014 Lacrosse building fire in Melbourne.
Bringing together Australia’s leading architects, building professionals, contractors and design community together with manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, DesignBUILD will host three days of networking, inspiration and with the added impetus of serving as a forum for thinking through the bigger issues affecting the industry.
Through a series of speakers and panel discussions, just some of the many topics the event will explore include compliance (particularly cladding), how architects and town planners can collaborate rather than clash and build to rent.
Pia Argiratos, conference director for DesignBUILD 2018, has been instrumental in driving the new showcase of ideas and innovations in construction, design and architecture, she spoke to Urban Melbourne about her approach and aspirations for this year's conference.
Urban Melbourne: How did you become interested in the construction industry?
Pia Argiratos: My interest in the construction industry grew from an understanding of the importance homes, workplaces, schools and public spaces to our lives. I saw joining the industry as an opportunity to contribute to improving where we live, work and play.
UM: What drew you into the role of Conference Director for DesignBUILD 2018?
PA: I have been working alongside the DesignBUILD team for a number of years, and I know how committed they are to making the event relevant, informative and useful.
The role of Conference Director was a great opportunity for me to utilise my knowledge of the industry and the thought leaders within it to put some important topics on the agenda, and bring to the stage presenters who can turn on lightbulbs and inspire our visitors.
UM: Key issues for DesignBUILD 2018 include compliance, innovation and sustainability. How do you see these issues being addressed?
PA: We have a number of exciting sessions that take on the big topics. This includes building regulatory control and product conformity, and how we MUST make changes if we want to avoid disasters such as the UK’s Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The conference program is focused on how we can do things better, from improving the sustainability of our buildings, to changing how project teams work together using technology and collaborative processes.
We talk about how the design of a building can influence the wellbeing of people who live and work there, and what our communities might need from buildings in the future. These kinds of improvements come from the combination of new approaches in design as well as new, innovative products that solve problems. DesignBUILD offers an opportunity for the entire industry to communicate and learn together as a team.
UM: What is your aim for DesignBUILD 2018? What are you hoping those in attendance take away with them?
PA: My aim for DesignBUILD is for people to leave with a head full of ideas but also a clear path to achieve the next step. We want to stimulate big picture thinking, but also give pragmatic information that visitors can use in their next project.
For me, “It’s all in the detail” talks of improvement by increments, so if we can give people information that helps them tweak their work here and there to become a bit better each day, then we have contributed to the industry and the community.
DesignBUILD takes place from Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.