Finding the nichest of the niche – Façade Engineers

If we had to predict the next big skills shortage in the construction industry, façade engineers could be it. These skills have always been in high demand and are amongst the most niche positions across our buildings sector. We are now seeing the demand increase significantly as we’ve become more tuned in to how we engage visually with the built environment.

Melbourne has some exciting and highly unique buildings projects underway and in the early stages which will transform much of how the city looks by 2027.

The Queen Victoria Market redevelopment, for example, will add apartments, a gallery, community centre and hotel. At the same time these developments will have to respect the heritage and character of the site.

Collins Arch twin towers has been designed with 20% reflective glass, truly giving light back to the city. It also encompasses an open plan amphitheatre and colonnade encompassing an entire city block that is accessible from all adjoining streets.

There will also be increasing use of green façades as part of a series of ‘greening’ projects around the city centre. Green Spine towers have a twisting form featuring balconies and terraces nestled in the curves of the façade, giving much needed green space to this inner city site.

These projects are highlighting how a building’s exterior has become so much more than just a functional element.

Designing facades with more sustainable materials has also become an area of focus. 55 Southbank is soon to become Australia’s largest mass timber building. Cross Laminated Timber and Glue Laminated Timber are safety-conscious design materials that can be treated for fire durability before installation.

Speaking of fire safety, it can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that we have some big issues to sort out with the cladding used on some high rise buildings. With the fear of combustible cladding, consultancies are turning towards CLT and GLT facades as a more precautionary façade material. We are seeing a surge in demand for engineers with skills in diagnostics and remedial work to investigate if current cladding materials are adhering to code.

As we reported recently, we don’t yet have a perfect grasp of the scale of the cladding problem. The guidance on exactly what type of cladding is acceptable and in what applications isn’t clear. But one thing’s for sure, the problem is significant.

Here exists a delicate balance between safety conscious design and facades that make you stop and look in awe. With the identification of recent complications and the emerging trends of more sustainable, yet striking exteriors, now is an exciting time for façade engineers to showcase their abilities.

So if you want to get a head start on façade engineer recruitment contact Siobhan on 0414 622 689.