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    Latest homeowner survey reveals architects and building designers falling out of favour for renos

    Nathan Johnson

    Building designers and architects have both fallen slightly out of favour with home renovators over the past 12 months, according to a recent homeowner survey.

    Claiming to be the largest survey of residential renovation, building, and decorating activity conducted in the country, the 2016 Houzz & Home study gathered information from 14,000 Australian homeowners who are registered with the online renovation and design platform. The survey aimed to discover why and how Australians renovate their homes.  

    It’s the second survey that Architecture & Design has analysed, the first being the 2015 survey which found that Australian homeowners are more likely to renovate than build new, and more inclined to upgrade their home’s aesthetics and functionality rather than improve its environmental footprint.

    A part from the major finding from the 2016 survey, which was that Australians prefer to take on a renovation project than move into a completed home, a smaller discovery was a drop in the hiring of building designers and architects as a percentage on last year.

    In 2015, 12 per cent of renovators hired an architect and nine per cent hired a building designer. In 2016, this number is slightly down with 10 per cent of renovators using an architect for home renovations and only seven per cent seeking the expertise of a building designer.

    2015.JPG
    Above: 2015 survey
    Below: 2016 by comparison
    2016.JPG

    IS THE WORK ELSEWHERE?

    The Houzz survey does fly slightly in the face of other recent reports not specific to the house renovation sector that show that the services of architects are actually in very high demand.

    A recent analysis of ABS quarterly labour market data by Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows that over the past year 19,800 architectural jobs have been created, ahead of its next rival, market research and statistical services, which had 19,000 new jobs.

    While Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Alexandra Veroude did tell the the ABC  that these jobs will likely involve projects in the non-residential sector as the construction industry experiences a significant divergence, a number of architects have recently admitted to be happily riding on the coattails of a residential building boom.  

    For example, architecture firms like QLD’s Cox Rayner (recently changed to Cox Architecture) are currently enjoying what former director Michael Rayner has called a “pretty buoyant” time for residential construction.

    Cox is currently working on a number of Brisbane residential projects, including a 274-metre emerald-green residential tower at 30 Albert Street, another similar tower at 240 Margaret Street, a $600 million mixed-use precinct development in Canon Hill.

    Hassell’s Peter Ward also recently told the AFR that it was the residential sector that had driven up demand for architects, but a decline  in the building boom could impact more on architect firms that specialise in that sector.

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