SBEnrc News | December 2020

Welcome to SBEnrc’s final newsletter for 2020

This year really has been like no other. Many of us across the SBEnrc family have been beset with adversity. However, the Centre itself has realised enormous opportunities in the face of the challenges at hand. We have been able to step up our digital communications across the globe to connect more people more often than we ever have before. Leveraging various technology platforms has allowed us to productively engage with our project teams across the housing, building and infrastructure sectors. We have also been able to pivot selected research projects to contemplate some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the built environment.

In my role as CIB Global President, I have been proud to be part of a stronger and better connected research fraternity, engaging more vigorously with our student chapters, our research commissions, and industry and research leaders across the world. We trust that 2021 will bring a safe, effective and widely adopted COVID-19 vaccine, allowing the return of face-to-face meetings and international travel. However, I am confident that an ongoing component of our communications will continue to be across the digital platforms that have been enhanced through billions of uses across the globe this year.

Subscribe to the SBEnrc YouTube Channel to see our latest research outcomes.

Industry Leaders Driving Research

Last month we hosted a virtual forum for our senior leaders to discuss current national industry and government challenges as we navigate our way in the post-COVID era.  The event was well attended, with a diversity of topics and synergies across the group.

We were pleased to provide our research and industry partners this alternative to our traditional face-to-face format, where we identified research themes for 2021 and beyond. The discussion particularly focussed on the ongoing importance of:

  • Social and affordable housing
  • Resilient, sustainable, and adaptable infrastructure
  • Digital integration of processes and performance assessment across facility lifecycles
  • Urban regeneration.

The significance of these themes has already been acknowledged by state and Australian governments and is strongly represented in COVID-19 stimulus channelled through building and infrastructure development. The Centre views industry research as a fundamental component of delivering against these targets. Innovation is essential for change that delivers improved value to community. It is fuelled by applied research that originates from real world industry issues. Without innovation, traditional development of the built environment only serves to build obsolescence into our community.

The process of identifying new research themes to explore in 2021-22 will continue into the New Year. We look forward to new partnership and new projects – please contact our CEO, Keith Hampson if you have any ideas and suggestions for future areas of research and partnerships.

Liveability and Accessibility in High Density Urban Housing

Medium to high density living is becoming a fact of life in our urban centres. But do current approaches provide an acceptable return on investment in infrastructure? And what risks are posed to our community through high density housing?

SBEnrc research is currently exploring the broad understanding of liveable and accessible social and affordable housing, and what opportunities exist to maximise value and minimise potential future risks.

As part of this work the team is developing a matrix to help understand the interactions and impacts of various aspects of liveability, accessibility and value. The Liveability Framework for Medium to High Density Social and Affordable Housing will be a took to support:

  • Understanding key stakeholders in the engagement process
  • Promoting uptake of liveability and accessibility outcomes
  • Building the value equation and community understanding to enable industry to deliver whole of life solutions.

This research is investigating current leading practice, considering future innovative options and includes case studies and stakeholder interviews. It has been significantly informed by responses in 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read more about the project team and their outputs to date on the SBEnrc website. For more information please contact our Project Leader, Judy Kraatz.

From the CEO

The close of 2020 positions us strongly for renewal of our research directions and partnerships from 2021 and beyond. Our ability to continue ‘business as usual’ in the face of adversity, and indeed, shift our research towards addressing the relevant repercussions of the pandemic will set the scene for next year. Our industry research has never been more needed!

On behalf of Australia’s Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre, and our Governing Board Chair, John V McCarthy AO, I wish you the very best for a healthy and joyful holiday. I hope you are able to spend time in the company of loved ones and enjoy the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate after a year like no other. I sincerely thank you for your ongoing involvement with the Centre and look forward to seeing you in 2021.

Best regards

Dr Keith Hampson, Chief Executive Officer

Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre
Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

Our challenge is to continue growing the value and impact of our applied research more deeply and broadly across Australia.  The Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc) is acknowledged as an excellent example of a CRC that has graduated into an independent organisation delivering unique industry, government and research collaboration.


Dr Keith Hampson CEO, SBEnrc            


John V. McCarthy Chair, SBEnrc