Connectivity is the latest buzzword, whether we're talking about access to information and entertainment via the myriad of devices now available or the need to be connected to family, friends and workmates.
But there’s another form of connectivity which is becoming more important for property developers: the connection of residents to their building and its environs, and the local community’s connection to the building. The case for listening to the public for the design and evolution of public spaces is strong. Projects need to be community assets as well as places for people to live.
Community gardens and social zones, both indoor and outdoor areas for community use, and foyers where people can gather are now sought after by the new breed of apartment buyers who have become very discerning when it comes to determining where they live.
The need to create more connected, affordable and liveable environments is gathering pace with the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) New South Wales launching the CityLife Project competition to deliver practical research that identifies how our cities should grow and develop into the future.
Connectivity is about connecting people with spaces, which is part of making a sustainable building.
It will deliver competitive advantage according to the Hames Sharley team, who are working with UTS on a project to measure connectivity in building infrastructure.
Hames Sharley managing director Caillin Howard believes delivering connectivity has become crucial to our cities.
“The world we inhabit is made up of multiple elements and individuals. The connection between these elements and individuals creates value. The more connections, the more value we give to a place, relationship or experience,” Howard said. “Being able to measure this will be invaluable in shaping the built and virtual futures we inhabit that are not just needed by us but desired.”
The challenge for property developers is determining how to deliver for the potential buyers who have decided it is important for the building in which they live to be connected to and be part of a community.
Arguably, they need good architects who can meet the brief. The quality of a brief will dictate the success of the project. When it comes to connectivity, why rely on an architect to advocate for the user when you could engage a strata manager to provide definite direction on what the end occupier requires?
Therefore, there is a strong case for developers to engage with experienced strata managers who understand the needs of the people who want to live and be part of a building which has a strong sense of community.
It is a common misconception to think that strata management is just an add-on or something that is only relevant once an owners corporation is established.
Architects can come up with the concept and the plans, and can have oversight of the construction, but the strata/community managers should be involved from the beginning so they can maintain the intended use and vision from the architects.
Having a qualified and licensed strata manager working on the project from day one will not only will assist in the creation of a building facility that is cost effective and efficient. It will also provide a building which is attractive and user-friendly and has the connectivity prospective buyers are seeking. Early involvement of strata managers in the design of a multi-unit complex can significantly improve saleability.
The design of a building is fundamentally about the people. While the architects are endeavouring to deliver something that is aesthetically pleasing as well as meeting a budget, it is strata managers who have long-term engagement with property owners, so it makes that sense that they are brought into the process from the beginning.