Still proudly home grown, Canberra’s building industry excels in sophistication

Tuesday 4 July 2017
Rhiannon McClelland's picture
CHC Australia

Just like our city, the building industry’s night-of-nights is coming of age. As impressive as the quality of this year’s event was the pride and professionalism of a sector heavily responsible for the growth of Canberra.

The Master Builders Excellence in Building Awards were held on Friday 30 June at the National Convention Centre – the only Canberra venue that can now host the 1400-strong crowd. Not only is the Canberra event the largest of any of the building awards in Australia, this year’s event received over 200 award entries and had a waiting list for attendance.

The official theme of the evening was local matters, which was exceptionally executed throughout the program, menu and produce but also evident in the support that the sector have for their peers.



Master Builders Association (MBA) ACT Executive Director, Kirk Coningham, explained that while the capital is excelling in sophistication, this level of community and comradery is extraordinary and unique to Canberra because of where we have come from.

“Our industry has grown up off the back of being a country-town and while we are now very much a city, our developers are home grown – there is a unique support for each other and the wider community.”

One of the highlights of the evening for Kirk were two exceptional homes in Yarralumla – 2017 House of the Year, built by Preferred Builders and designed by DNA Architects, and Monarch Building SolutionsSchlich Haus which Turco & Associates & The Dept. of Design also won awards for.


Schlich Haus


“Some of the projects we saw this year, like the Yarralumla houses, would be at home anywhere in the world – you could put them in New York or Tokyo and they would be recognised as world-class – that says a lot about where we are as an industry.”

Kirk also commented on the capital’s growing appetite for quality of lifestyle and how this has become a major driver for Canberra builders to showcase exceptional standards and craftsmanship.

“We’re seeing an investment in lifestyle in Canberra that we haven’t had before. People want to invest in their homes and it is hard to over-capitalise as the market is going very well.”

The project of the evening, Willinga Park, was to be expected following the recent accolades received by Terry Snow’s Equestrian Centre at the 2017 Architecture Awards. Construction Control echoed Cox Architecture’s recent success for the same project, taking out Project of the Year, Commercial Building ($20 - $50 million) and Sustainable Construction (Commercial). The group’s Andrew Sharp and Granger Atkow were also recognised individually, respectively winning Project Manager of the Year and Onsight Construction Manager of the Year.


Willinga Park

Construction Control’s Managing Director, Pete Payten, is humbled to receive so many awards, particularly for the prestigious project of the year – the fourth time the organisation has been awarded this honour in five years.

“Willinga Park is the vision of our great client, Terry Snow, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to bring to life the design so elegantly produced by Cox Architecture.”

“Our success is testament to the fantastic team we have at Construction Control – great people delivering great projects. It is also important to congratulate our extended team of subcontractors and consultants, particularly award winners IC Formwork, Erincole and DZ Landscape Design and Construction.”



While discussing the success of Bawley Point’s Willinga Park with Kirk Coningham, and the opportunity that presents itself across our border with the likes of Googong and Ginninderry, we touched on Canberra’s ability to achieve great things in surrounding regions.

“People are changing the way they talk about Canberra – we no longer refer to ourselves as a town. As we establish our own gravity as a city, we are starting to draw in the satellite cities. Canberra as a region and a population catchment of up to 800,000 is very much part of the conversation across government and industry about what we are now capable of.”

The Canberra region has an air of vibrance about it that is exciting – and so it should.

Growing up in the building and construction industry and working in it professionally for 12 years, it is refreshing to see that there is a growing consciousness among the property sector that with great power comes great responsibility and this was very evident at this year’s Excellence in Building Awards.



Our city is a buzz with a refreshed and invested approach from government and industry, progressive development and major infrastructure projects. However, with such speed of growth, it is more important than ever to set new standards and put those on a pedestal who are taking the time to champion quality, safety and leadership.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the 2017 MBA Excellence in Building Awards. The full list of award categories and winners is available here