Housing affordability is a serious issue in Australia’s urban centres where the average home buyer is challenged by the rising cost of living as well as high property prices. A recent study by International Housing Affordability Survey ranks Sydney second on its list of least-affordable cities to buy a house this year, with Melbourne coming in at number six.

‘Affordable housing’ is a complex issue with many contributing factors. However, one industry that can make a positive impact on housing affordability is architecture, which can address many of these challenges right at the planning stage through better design and choice of materials. The subject of affordable housing presents an immense opportunity to architects around Australia, and Locker Group has an important role to play to make it happen.

An opportunity for architects

In a recent address at Parliament House in Canberra about housing affordability, National President of the Australian Institute of Architects, Ken Maher argued for medium-density housing including multi-residential buildings, as a way to address the issue of housing affordability in Australia’s key urban centres.

Observing that the situation presented an opportunity for architects to help make living in Australia’s cities more affordable as well as more environment-friendly, he said the architecture profession, as a key player in the development of the built environment, has the skills to deliver housing that addresses crucial issues such as affordable living, sustainable design and flexible housing, providing savings in both upfront costs and the ongoing cost of occupation.

Locker Group’s architectural products

One company that can contribute immensely to the challenging problem of housing affordability is Locker Group, whose architectural products can be part of this affordable, sustainable design envisaged by Mr Maher.

Locker Group’s metal façade products, in particular, can help create buildings that are cheaper to make as well as maintain, while still providing a comfortable environment for their tenants.

Reduced construction and maintenance costs

Local sourcing is an important aspect of sustainable design and building as it reduces supply chain costs as well as the carbon footprint by eliminating the need to import over long distances. Thanks to Locker Group’s extensive network and ability to produce on a large scale, quality products can be supplied to projects at competitive prices.

Locker Group’s metal facade products continue to deliver benefits even after the project is finished. Many of these products, particularly the perforated and expanded metal facades, can be treated as individual modular components. In the event of repairs or replacements, only that particular part has to be removed without any need to pull down the entire facade. By adopting more of a modular approach to design, architects reduce the ongoing maintenance costs of their buildings, a benefit that’s passed down the line to tenants.

Sustainable apartment buildings have lower running costs

The affordability of a home should extend beyond the initial purchase cost. Between ongoing maintenance and living costs in a city, homeowners can come under immense financial pressure. This is where sustainable design comes into play; houses designed for low energy consumption are not only good for the environment, but also reduce the burden on occupants.

Australia’s climatic extremes pose a challenge for architects who want to create energy-efficient buildings that don’t rely too heavily on artificial climate control systems. Installing shading facades reduces the impact of the sun and cools the interior of a building naturally without interfering with views or airflow, helping keep electricity bills low.

According to Mr Maher, “Good design can’t be seen as a luxury or an optional extra; rather, it is essential to delivering a built environment that can sustain Australia’s diverse communities into the future.”

Affordable and green urban housing comes down to consciously designed architecture, which integrates quality products that contribute to low maintenance and sustainability. Get in touch with Locker Group today to find out how their architectural products can be used in innovative urban design.