1. Framework for Mitigating Non-compliance Risks in Domestic Buildings in Victoria, Australia

Proactive inspections conducted by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and private building inspectors have unveiled various non-compliance risks in the construction of both low-rise residential buildings (domestic buildings) and commercial structures. The VBA’s quarterly inspection reports for the 2022/23 fiscal year revealed non-compliance risks of 57%, 51%, 51%, and 45% for domestic buildings, and 46%, 50%, 57%, and 37% for commercial buildings report (please use this Link to access the report). Notably, a higher incidence of non-compliance risks was identified in domestic buildings compared to commercial ones, prompting a focus on solutions for the former in this research.

While the identification of issues through inspections is crucial, it alone may not suffice to alleviate the problems. Therefore, the study emphasizes the need for designing appropriate mechanisms to address non-compliance risks during the construction phase. The primary objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive framework tailored to mitigate non-compliant items in low-rise residential buildings (domestic buildings) within Victoria, Australia.

The specific objectives of the study include:

  • Conducting a longitudinal (2020-2024) review of relevant inspection reports to identify the most frequent non-compliant items.
  • Seeking strategies for mitigating identified risks in domestic buildings from perspectives such as the National Construction Code (NCC), Australian standards, and construction practices.
  • Developing a framework that maps non-compliant items with potential strategies for effective risk mitigation.
  • Designing an interactive and user-friendly digital tool to facilitate the implementation of the developed framework.

By addressing these objectives, the research aims to contribute to enhanced compliance and quality in the construction of low-rise residential buildings, ultimately ensuring safer and more reliable structures in Victoria, Australia.

Project Team
Dr Argaw Gurmu (project leader)
Dr Abdul-Manan Sadick

Grant Details
School of Architecture and Built Environment- 2023 School Research Fund
Grant amount = $12,016

2. Futureproofing the QS: Reimagining QS roles and skillsets

Quantity Surveyors undertake a variety of everchanging roles driven by advances in technology, competition, and industry’s expectation.  Quantity surveyors (QSs), who are experts in the field, are seeing the need to diversify their services to satisfy the changing client demands and shifting business circumstances. In order to identify and fill the gaps, this research sets out to identify the many responsibilities that QSs are currently required to play including the skillsets needed to fulfil those roles and services.

The objective of this research is to identify important new and emerging roles that can be improved by the use of QS services in a range of industrial sectors. This will be achieved by developing an understanding of the supporting skillsets needed to deliver these services. The research team will develop a framework that focuses on skillsets that add value to new services, and this framework will be validated by an expert panel of QS, and a selected group of clients who employ professionals in the role.

Project Team
Prof Anthony Mills
Dr Argaw Gurmu

Grant Details
School of Architecture and Built Environment- 2023 School Research Fund
Grant amount = $5,000



1. Analysis of Defects Waste in Low-Rise Residential Buildings in Victoria

In Australia, construction and demolition activities have substantially grown over recent decades leading to the generation of a large amount of waste. In 2021, the construction industry produced 29 million tonnes of construction and demolition (C&D) waste, of which only 23.2 million tonnes were recovered (National Waste Report, 2022). It is documented that one of the main reasons for waste generation in the building construction sector is defects. Building defects are a common phenomenon in the Australian construction industry. A recent study estimated that at least one defect was detected in around 70% of buildings built between 2000 and 2018 and Australians have spent 10.5 billion dollars to manage building defects (Johnston and Reid, 2019). A fraction of this figure is spent on managing defect waste. To date, there has been no research conducted to quantitatively evaluate the impact of building defects on C&D waste generation in Australia. 

This proposed research is at the intersection of two disciplines: C&D waste management and building defect management. The research aims to provide clear insight into the role of building defects on C&D waste generation in Victoria, Australia. To achieve this aim, the following objectives are proposed.

  • To identify the building elements/trades where defects often occur
  • To investigate the type of waste generated due to defects.
  • To quantify the construction waste generated due to the defects.
  • To estimate the costs associated with defect waste management for low-rise residential buildings.

Project Team
Dr Argaw Gurmu (project leader)
Dr Gayani Karunasena
Dr Nilupa Udawatta
Dr Salman Shooshtarian
Prof Tayyab Maqsood

Grant Details
School of Architecture and Built Environment- 2023 School Research Fund
Grant amount = $14,300

2. Examining low completion rates in construction trade apprenticeships in Australia and its impact on skill shortages.

The Australian construction industry is currently seeing a skill shortage In the Constructions sector. Data from the National skills Commission (Australian Government, 2021) indicate Skill Shortages were prevalent in the Construction Trades Worker occupations assessed for the 2021 Skills Priority List (SPL), with all 17 occupations in shortage.  Apprenticeships are an integral ingredient of Skill development. Despite an increase recently in growth of trade Apprentices this year enrolling we still see Individual completion rates for apprentices and trainees commencing in 2017, 54.0% for trade occupations, down 3.0 percentage points from those commencing in 2016. (NCVER, 2017).  Given the importance of the construction industry to the Australian economy and the significant impact of the high dropout rate of apprentices, it is essential to identify the factors contributing to the problem and develop strategies to address them. Therefore, this research proposal aims to investigate the factors contributing to the high dropout rate of construction apprentices and the impact of their dropout on skill shortages in Australia. This research aims to provide insights that can help to improve completion rates and reduce skill shortages in the construction industry. 

Australian Government (2021). National Skills Commission – Construction. Retrieved from https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/reports/australian-jobs-2021/jobs-industry/construction 
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2017). Apprentices and trainees 2017: September quarter. Retrieved from https://www.voced.edu.au/content/ngv%3A79170 

Project Team
John Kite (Lead Researcher)
Prof Anthony Mills
Dr Argaw Gurmu
Dr Nateque Mahmood
Dr Jamal Thaheem
Dr Asheem Shrestha
Dr Dominic Doe Ahiaga-Dagbui
Rachel Finneran

Grant Details
School of Architecture and Built Environment- 2023 School Research Fund
Grant amount = $12,000