From the UDIA to the Property Council of Australia to the Housing Industry Awards to a myriad of state-specific and international titles, there’s no shortage of property awards for new developments to vie for. But how do you cut through the noise and understand what these award-winning developments actually mean for you as a potential buyer?
Which ones are genuinely notable, and which are just a little bit bogus? Understanding the selection process of these awards, how they’re judged and the independent (or otherwise) body behind them is key.
There are awards such as the Master Builders Queensland award that is specific to Queensland, and award winners for very specific categories such as Best Residential Kitchen and 5 different awards for Best Display Home, each within a particular price range.
Other awards, such as the Rider Levett Buckhall awards for Innovation and Excellence, focus on all development from shopping centres, public spaces and office buildings with only a few select awards for residential developments. It’s these types of awards, where the competition is fierce and the winners are only a small subset of the finalists, that are worth noting. In 2018, the Crown Group Award for Best Residential Development at the Rider Level Buckhall Awards was presented to Newport Hamilton, a part of the Hamilton Reach master development by Frasers Property Group.
The UDIA (Urban Development Institute of Australia) awards its National Awards for Excellence in 10 different categories including Masterplanned Development, Residential Development, High-Density Housing and Affordable Development. Award-winning developments from each of the State Awards are then nominated as finalists for the National Awards and all categories are judged independently to really decipher the “best of the best”.
The only Queensland development to be awarded a National Excellence Award for 2018 went to The Melbourne Residence, in South Brisbane by ARIA Property Group. The Queensland UDIA Awards for Excellence were presented to Canopy Bardon for Small Scale Development, and to ZAHRA by Spyre Group for Marketing Excellence.
The Housing Industry Awards are specifically presented to those in the residential building industry and are also independently awarded annually. The 2018 national winners were recently unveiled in front of hundreds of industry leaders at the awards HIA National Conference in Singapore in May. While Apartment of the Year went to a development in Western Australia and Townhouse Development of the Year was awarded to Individual Builders in Victoria, there were two award-winning developments won by Brisbane projects. Bathroom of the Year was awarded to Sublime Architectural Interiors, and Bold Living took out the price in the Professional Medium Builder/Renovator category.
While there’s almost a metric tonne of other awards for contributors for new developments (ie, architecture awards, builder awards, interior design team awards etc) the UDIA and the Housing Industry Awards are a few of the only two genuine impartial industry assessments within Australia that can help a buyer determine the credibility of a property developer.
Internationally, the International Property Awards are open to Australian developments, with eligibility in the Asia Pacific category. The shining star of the 2018 awards was South City Square in Woolongabba, taking home the Australian awards for Best Residential High-Rise Architecture, Best Architecture Multiple Residence and Best Residential Property awards. Banyan Tree Residence was also awarded the Best Residential High-Rise Development in Australia. Finally, the IPA also recognised LSA Architects as the Best Architecture Single Residence Australia for their work on Lucent in Newstead.
So what does this mean for you as a buyer? A little bit of healthy competition between developers is only ever going to produce better design, finishes, interiors, and overall increasingly great quality new properties to choose from. Queensland is home to some of the country’s best property developers, and it’s unfortunate that there aren’t more independent industry awards to recognise this hard work and professional expertise. Yet, with so many state-of-the-art developments about to get underway in Brisbane, expect the next few years of both national and international development awards to be peppered with Brisbane-based projects.