Show Notes

This episode welcomes Sean Kirkland (FORMSPACE)  who is a well established SDA Building Designer across the sector. 

Minh interviews Sean finally, after waiting 5 months from whence Sean reached out to us to express his appreciation for what we did on the show.

The main topics covered in this interview are:

  • SDA Design Quality
    Sean expressed concerns about poor design practices in the SDA space, noting that many builds were temporary solutions rather than fit-for-purpose housing outcomes.
  • Becoming a Registered NDIS Provider
    Sean discussed his journey to be a registered NDIS provider, highlighting the extensive process involving audits, applications, and background checks to signal his commitment to quality in the SDA space.
  • Role of Building Designers vs. Architects
    Sean elaborated on the differences between building designers and architects in the SDA space, emphasizing the practical construction experience that building designers like himself bring to SDA projects.
  • Importance of Real-World Experience
    He stressed the importance of real-world construction experience, which he believes is crucial for effective SDA design, a skill set that differentiates him from others in the field.
  • Projects Across Locations
    Sean mentions working on projects in locations such as QLD, SA, VIC, and NSW, involving HPS, FA, & IL housing, villas, and apartments.
  • Compliance with Standards
    Sean emphasises the importance of staying updated with the latest SDA standards and NCC changes to ensure compliance and relevance in their work.
  • Client-Centric Design Approach
    Sean emphasizes the importance of listening to clients’ needs and feedback to establish a clear brief, which guides the entire design process.
  • Engagement of External Consultants
    External consultants, such as Certifiers, are engaged early to provide preliminary assessment reports, which help define design parameters.
  • The Role of Access Consultants
    Access consultants play a crucial role throughout the design to build process, ensuring compliance and functionality for disability accommodations.
  • Challenges in Design Compliance
    Sean discusses common issues with non-compliant designs in the industry and how he addresses these by adhering to standards and suggesting alternative solutions.
  • Client Types in SDA Space
    There are different types of clients in the SDA space, including builders and developers who trust professional advice, and first-time mom and dad investors who need guidance to separate emotions from the design process.
  • Marketplace Evolution
    The marketplace is becoming more sophisticated with clients who are better informed and educated, leading to a demand for higher quality & more discerning SDA designs.
  • Choosing a Designer or Architect
    Sean advises on selecting a designer or architect by looking at their portfolio to gauge competency and by understanding their intentions and history in the industry.
  • Industry Collaboration
    Sean appreciates the efforts of  Deb and Minh, helping educate the industry & expresses a desire for increased collaboration in SDA.

For more information about FORMSPACE, click on the link below:


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