Meeting the human need 

The untold story of the last century is how markets can work to meet most human needs.

In our industry, we study what people want in their homes, their workplaces and in their communities. We’ve worked out that meeting human needs is the best way to build strong and successful businesses.

But our markets are underpinned by our commonly agreed standards and expectations.

Six centuries ago, the royal standard was seen as a measure of judgement, quality and correctness. Today, we have government and industry standards across a range of fields all trying to be that defining measure.

Sometimes, these measures strengthen markets and give consumers and businesses more confidence, and at other times they can actually hinder innovation, creativity and change.

Our challenge in working with government is to maximise the benefits that standards can offer without hindering the innate power of the market to meet the questions of human need.

In Victoria, we’ve been working with the State Government on the development of its draft apartment guidelines and these were released in recent days. The guidelines are trying to strike a fair balance between affordability, amenity and demand.

Importantly, the new apartment guidelines don’t set minimum sizes – unlike their Sydney equivalents – so the industry can still cater for every need and innovate to achieve quality.

Not everyone wants to live in a small apartment, but for many people it suits their lifestyle and (just as importantly) their budget. It also recognises that good design is an important part of the look and feel of any apartment.

The Victorian guidelines are still a draft, but we have rated them a “7 out of 10”, so we need to keep working with government and members to achieve the best outcome. Regulation that supports innovation – that’s the objective.