DesignBUILD 2019: Q+A with Pia Argiratos

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DesignBUILD 2019: Q+A with Pia Argiratos

For over three decades, DesignBUILD has supported Australia’s architecture, building, construction and design communities, as the industry's only trade event dedicated to showcasing the latest in design and construction product and materials.

DesignBUILD is the largest design and construction trade exhibition in Australia, spanning the whole build process, with three dedicated zones showcasing products and materials across; Construction & Building Materials, Interior Fixtures & Finishes and Software & Technology.

DesignBUILD 2019 will be held at the ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour from the 14-16th May and in the lead up to the event Urban.com.au caught up with Conference Producer Pia Argiratos to discuss what's on the agenda this year.

DesignBUILD 2019: Q+A with Pia Argiratos
DesignBUILD Conference Producer, Pia Argiratos.

Urban.com.au: The theme for the 2019 program is 'Setting the new standard'. Can you tell us more about this and what this years’ program will explore?

Pia Argiratos: After many years of boom, the building industry is at a reflective time, as industry leaders call for big improvements in regulation, as well as better quality in our services and products. With the DesignBUILD program this year, we are exploring how both design and building can improve to produce a better outcome for everyone concerned, from the project team on site to the end user or client, as well as the environment and product manufacturers. We are 'taking stock' of the things that we can do better, to set a new standard for what all Australians can expect from the building assets they use every day.

U: DesignBUILD brings together architecture, building and design? What do you think are the key challenges and the key opportunities facing these interconnected industries in Australia?

PA: The biggest opportunity for architecture, building and design is the multiplicity that is possible when we work together as a team and leverage one another's skill sets. We are creating opportunities in the education program for different industry tribes to come together and share ideas in a positive and constructive way. We want visitors to take away ideas they can try in their own work tomorrow that can improve how they work in cross-disciplinary teams and with clients.

The biggest challenge for the industry is actually making the cultural and process changes required to be more collaborative. Emerging technologies and new approaches that are more efficient and effective will change the game and the cost for those who won't adapt could be high indeed.

U: How is DesignBUILD this year addressing the issues on cladding and building compliance?

PA: Cladding, product quality and compliance are all important topics on their own, however they are part of the bigger discussion on the allocation and management of responsibility in building. In this year's program, we are referencing the Shergold Weir Report and exploring what the recommendations mean for practitioners. We have sessions detailing what the report means for architecture and design but also a how we can engage regulators to take action in alignment with the report.

U: What should visitors expect to see at this year's DesignBUILD? Is there anything new in this year's program or exhibitors list?

PA: The education program at DesignBUILD this year has topics to help visitors catch up on the big issues affecting their business and the broader built environment. We are also helping people take home information they can use now, with pragmatic sessions on topics including the new Modern Slavery Act and selecting building products, or how to choose between the difference product rating schemes, for the best result for your project. The program this year reflects the industry’s current challenges and highlights. The sessions will showcase a diverse speaker lineup encompassing experts in their fields who are keen to discuss and share their work, ideas and opinions with the industry.

U: What do you think the program highlights might be?

PA: I am excited about Koichi Takada's session on urban gardens and greening our cities, where he will also talk about some of his incredible projects in Australia and overseas. Another highlight is a session on PropTech which looks at the future and role of tech and pushes us to think 'what’s next'?

U: How have you put this year's speaker program together?

PA: I work from the industry outwards, to try to build a program that’s interesting and beneficial to our visitors. We consult with industry associations, institutes and thought leaders to ask 'what do we need to be talking about 'and 'what do people want to talk about' to try to get a balance between feeding our visitors' intellectual curiosity but also presenting to them the topics that we all need to face as an industry, so we can move forward together. We have such a high-quality list of speakers this year, every session is going to be helpful to visitors so they will take away insight and ideas to help them in their work.

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