20 February 2013 DHA wins UDIA Award for Excellence

Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is honoured to accept the 2012 UDIA Queensland Boral Awards for Excellence. At the awards ceremony on 12 October, DHA's Gordon Olive Estate in Brisbane was awarded first place in the Small Residential Subdivision.

Gordon Olive Estate in Queensland

Peter Howman, DHA's Chief Operating Officer, said "these awards are highly sought after in the Queensland Development Industry and I am pleased that we have been recognised among some of the best."

Located in the suburb of McDowall, Gordon Olive Estate was developed to meet the needs of the Australian Defence Force—attractive, well-located housing options that are fully integrated with the broader community.

"These six-star energy efficient homes are a welcome addition to our portfolio," said Mr Howman. "The estate offers 61 dwellings which are 'home' to Defence members and their families, with another 23 townhouses planned for the future."

A number of innovative approaches and significant community consideration is what makes this development stand out among others.

Mr John Dietz, General Manager, DHA's Property Provisioning Group, said "in the planning phases we held a number of workshops with the Brisbane City Council and the local community. We wanted to deliver a development sensitive to both the needs of the residents and the environment."

"Certainly, naming our development in honour of a Brisbane-born, war hero was one of the ways that we could do this and recognise an important part of our history," he said.

"We delivered an innovative new housing typology for Brisbane in the form of a terrace house design—acoustically designed to reduce the noise from nearby roads."

"The streets and walking paths are carefully aligned to draw residents to parks, bus stops and the adjacent school. The housing alignment provides clear visual access over the streets and open spaces to promote public safety."

"The landscaped open space with a picnic shelter and informal play structures also encourages community interaction—something that has been well received by the residents."

Raja Narayanasamy, DHA's Senior Development Manager, admits that one of the challenges was the integration of stormwater management systems into the open space.

"We were able to use the existing watercourse and sculpt it in such a way that it provides an attractive and usable recreation area," he said.

"Because we were conscious of retaining as much of the landscape and trees as possible, we've even been able to use recycled tree trunks to provide a playful element to the park."

Setting DHA apart from some other developers is its Design Guidelines.

"These guidelines enable us to define the architectural and urban design elements that matter to us and our client [Department of Defence], but still enable the contractor to apply innovative practices," said Mr Dietz. "This means that our developments are unique—no two adjacent houses look the same."

"This award gives us great confidence," said Mr Howman. "We aim to be a progressive developer, innovative and sustainable, and balancing this with the needs of our client, our Defence families and the broader community. We're proud to be recognised by UDIA for this award."