Built to impress

Standing on an international stage, the HIA National Conference was once again a headline event.


Kate Veteri

Taking in the picturesque architecture of Singapore while being led on an educational tour was only a fraction of what the 2018 HIA National Conference had in store for members and sponsors. Throughout the conference it was obvious that the immersion in amazing networking opportunities and the chance to listen to extensive business and building industry advice greatly impacted those who attended – leaving an everlasting impression.

With an action-packed line-up filled with events, tours and guest speakers, held at the best tourist destinations, HIA members saw a display of some of the finest Australian housing designs and international architecture.

Domenic Nardelli, managing director of Aquila Homes in Western Australia says having it offshore gave HIA members the opportunity to look at things from a different perspective.

‘We heard from [internationally recognised] designers and architects, who shared their concepts which are very relevant to our own industry in Australia,’ he says.

This was a view shared by Peter Fry from Peter Fry Agencies in North Queensland who valued the chance to hear the planning views from the Singapore Residential Building Design Panel of Cameron Woo and Peng Beng Khoo at the Business Building Sessions. He said he could not get enough of the international architecture and the exposure to a new culture: ‘a lot of people were new to Singapore or new to that area of Singapore and the experience of [the events] certainly captured that culture’.

The three days in Singapore provided the perfect opportunity for HIA members to network with others in their industry.

‘I found networking and catching up with people then and there [was] a good opportunity,’ Peter says.

Domenic had a similar experience, saying ‘It’s a great opportunity…to network, [and] get fresh ideas and concepts’.

The Business Building Sessions, sponsored by James Hardie, once again proved to be a great success. An educational and entertaining time for attendees, the Business Building Sessions promote possibilities for business and personal growth within the industry, and provide attendees with added motivation from guest speakers and leading business figures.

‘The speakers at the Business Building Sessions were thought provoking and inspirational. This provided a very positive and energetic atmosphere for discussion,’ Domenic commented.

With such a strong line-up of keynote speakers, it was evident that attendees struggled to find a favourite. ‘Across the board, all of [the speakers] were [highlights],’ Peter says.

The 2018 speakers came from varied backgrounds, passing on their knowledge and experience to everyone. From the teachings of running a business by Gus Balbontin, the knowledge of interior design by Neale Whitaker, to understanding the new world by Chris Riddell, there was something to impress all listeners.

David Houston from Liberty Steel Reinforcing, sponsor of the HIA Australian Project Home award, said he believed that ‘each of the speakers [had] their own key message to take away’.

One such speaker, Neale Whitaker, made his way from fashion and publishing to the stage at the 2018 HIA National Conference. ‘I’m thrilled to be speaking at the HIA Conference. It’s an honour to be invited,’ Neale says. Further to his contribution to the Business Building Sessions, Neale took part in the Blum Design tour. Domenic says this tour ‘was an eye opener to say the least’.

It soon became apparent that Neale doesn’t stop working while travelling overseas, focusing on the wonderful interior design and architecture Singapore has to offer.

‘I find inspiration everywhere. Singapore is an interesting and very contemporary city and I find inspiration from its restaurants, bars and hotels, shops, signage, public spaces and the pulse of life on the streets as [well as] the city’s architecture and interior design,’ Neale explains.

Wrapping up the Business Building Sessions were distinguished surfer Layne Beachley and INXS musician Kirk Pengilly, whose contributions to the event had a very positive impact on attendees. INXS fan and admirer of Layne’s hard work in a male dominated field, David says ‘having Layne Beachley and Kirk Pengilly [there] was a big, special part of it for me’.

Planning to return for another year, David believes that the conference provided him with the perfect opportunity to develop his business relationships and revel in social time. With such positive feedback it is safe to say that the 2018 HIA National Conference was a great success, posing the challenge of finding a line-up of speakers and events as exhilarating next year.

Thank you

HIA would like to thank all of the 2018 HIA National Conference and HIA-CSR Australian Housing Awards sponsors and attendees. The continuous support of our members helped make this year’s conference the success it was.
Keep your eye out for 2019 HIA National Conference dates.
Visit www.hia.com.au

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