After the culmination of eighteen months’ of work to ensure the BDAV continues to be relevant and brings enduring and tangible value to our members and the industry, we are pleased to announce that today we as an association are ready for what the future holds.

In order to look to the future we must first look to our proud past
Depending on which minutes you read, BDAV either started as the Association of Independent Draftsmen, or the Association of Independent Drafting Services. In 1982, three agenda items brought together 36 draftsmen and 2 draftswomen to tackle the following issues that we were facing at that time:
  • Copyright problems
  • Industry ethical standards
  • Problems with building regulations
At meeting’s end, a unanimous vote to form an association was taken. As a result, a steering committee of twelve was elected to take up these issues, along with many more. While we continue to grapple with those same issues, thanks to the strong foundation set by those early association pioneers thirty seven years ago we have a proud list of accomplishments:
  • We have delivered a level playing field in the design environment for building designers in Victoria through achieving:
    • Registered building practitioner status
    • Open licence
    • The evolving Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) qualification
    • Tailored PI insurance and much more
  • Today our opinions are sought by government on policies relating to building and planning; we have representation on the Building Advisory Council to provide advice to the Minister, we proactively put forward opinions on as many day-to-day matters which affect members and we continue to be the voice and advocate on behalf of our members.
  • In 2011, we achieved NatHERS Assessor Accrediting Organisation status and now we are the largest AAO in Australia, representing two-thirds of accredited TPAs.
  • In 2019 we have grown to be the one of the biggest building design associations in Australia. As of today we have a member base of 2,070, reaching beyond Victoria and the building designer profession. Today we are proud to include interior designers, service designers, architects, energy raters, town planners, builders, building surveyors, landscape designers and engineers – all who value what we offer.
So why the need to look at us after thirty five years?

Eighteen months ago at the thirty five year mark, the Committee started asking this VERY pertinent question.  Why?

The world we live in is rapidly changing – our environment, technology, globalisation, and consumer expectations. As an organisation, as a profession, as an industry, we cannot be complacent and must embrace what the future has to offer. To remain relevant to our members and the industry we serve, we must, like our association’s pioneers of thirty seven years ago, set a solid foundation that creates new and innovative value for the organisation now and for future generations.

As a result, we undertook a full strategy review of where we are now and what the future could look like. We started with a SWOT analysis; undertook research and evaluated future industry and consumer trends; looked at competitors; ran industry workshops with our stakeholders; and surveyed members and non-members alike.

From this what we know with absolute certainty is:

  • Quality design needs to be promoted;
  • Pride and awareness of our profession is paramount;
  • We need to work together as an industry, each with our roles and responsibilities, to deliver quality outcomes;
  • More awareness and availability of compliant, quality building products is required.

Added to the above we also found that there is an enormous, ever increasing unmet need for consumers to access ‘quality design’ – services we currently deliver but haven’t leveraged or communicated as our point of difference and strength.  And guess what, it comes as no surprise I’m sure, we are perfectly positioned to contribute to these market needs. With our clients, by their side, navigating their journey to achieve their vision of home or building.

So what does the future look like ?

Our vision is to broaden, build and embed the appreciation of good design into contemporary Australian culture.

Our mission is to build value for our profession through enthusiastic advocacy and cohesive action.

We believe good design is an ideal worth sharing.

By seeking out proactive, open collaboration with members, peers and partners, here and abroad, we will position ourselves as an authority for simplifying and enabling the delivery of good building design in Australia.

We believe at the heart of what we do and what we fight for and refuse to compromise on is … we believe design matters and good design is for EVERYONE.

The name Building Designers Association of Victoria or BDAV no longer represents who we are, where we are going and what we plan to deliver for the future. As such we are adopting a new name that can unify, educate and communicate our beliefs with certainty. From today BDAV will be transitioning to a new name Design Matters.

So, from thirty eight founding members in 1983, we are proud announce our new name Design Matters.


Over the following months you will see the rollout of the new brand and communications, including a new website, building designer tools which are aimed at improving client knowledge and relationships as well as announcing a new consumer campaign to create demand for members.

A two year program is scheduled to ensure we build on the previous eighteen months of hard work and will include the broader industry.

We commit to keeping members and industry informed via our weekly eNews.

While members concentrate on delivering better design solutions for clients, we’re here to drive excellence and provide support so members and the wider industry can realise a better future, where design matters.

Dominique Hunter
President – Design Matters
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