Maintaining education and training standards for future building designers

In the September edition of Intersect we provided an overview of Design Matters concerns in relation to proposed changes to the national building design qualifications that were lodged as part of a July public consultation process.

Artibus Innovation facilitated the review of all feedback, and only minor changes were affected when the proposed national building design qualifications were released for final public validation in September 2019.

With these minor amendments, Design Matters still does not believe the proposed Advanced Diploma of Building Design will not satisfy the knowledge required for registration in Victoria as a draftsperson (architectural) within the Building Design category and therefore will not deliver outcomes within Victoria; and will potentially mislead potential students with two qualifications with similar titles that deliver very different outcomes.

As part of the validation process, Design Matter shared the following feedback:

Diploma of Building Design

  • Lack of WHS
  • The requirement of the Certificate IV as a pre-requisite to this qualification imposes a greater time and financial commitment for the students. It is also worth noting that this could have implications on students being able to access VET Student Loans and their eligibility to access a state government funded position.

Advanced Diploma of Building Design

  • In the mapping documents it states that β€˜It has been introduced to better meet industry demand for building designers with the competencies required to develop building designs for medium-rise projects.’ However, it does not address the high level of skills and knowledge required for Building Designers and is severely lacking in some crucial areas.
  • The pre-requisite qualifications at Certificate IV and Diploma level do not cover the required skills and knowledge or the right level of volume of learning at Advanced Diploma level. There is the issue that so much of the skills and knowledge will be learnt and applied at lower AQF levels.
  • In general, all units are severely lacking in any detail of the Performance Evidence required to be competent. There are too many generic Business Service units at the expense of more industry specific units.
  • Evaluate construction materials, methods and services – the unit has no application in the design process
  • Determine compliance requirements – the unit has no application in the design process and is lacking assessment
  • The following generic units are not fit for purpose:

– Manage the tendering and construction process for a client

– Undertake project work

– Manage and monitor business or records systems

– Lead and manage team effectiveness

– Apply ergonomic principles to accessible building design and fitout

– Prepare a concept design for accessible building work

  • Produce BIM for building design projects. BIM is the process, not the product, it is lacking in standard terminology, standards and legislation references. It does not include 4D (plan and track) or 5D (track timelines). Overall this unit is overly simplified when BIM is a highly complex process.
  • Skills and knowledge missing from the qualification

– Safe buildings

– Bushfire attack level assessments


We are unsure how the Property Services Industry Reference Committee could consider endorsing these qualifications, however if they are, and they are launched, Design Matters will continue to lobby the Victorian Government to support the Victorian Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) to ensure that registration and scope of services currently available to Victorian building designers continue into the future at the high level and calibre it is today.