Collard Maxwell Architect Prescribes Top Five Trends in Retirement Living and Aged Care Design in 20


Collard Maxwell Architects, one of Australia’s leading design and construction architecture firms, has launched its top six predictions for the year ahead based on an analysis of current trends and issues likely to arise from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The company’s predictions are as follows:

  1. Design and Development for non-for-profits will pick up strongly as the residential economy is expected to remain slow for some time.A slower economy causes more potential sites to become available, lower development costs, and renewed interest from institutional investment funds seeking temporary safety heavens. Non-for-profits have some catching up to do and have been waiting for a market slow-down for some years now.
  2. Volume and momentum both pick up but are inconsistent. Planning approvals will become easier and quicker for retirement living and aged care projects due to residential development applications being at their lowest in years. Aged care SEPP and planning approvals will become a prime focus within government, but the key constraint remains with licensing approval times which ironically become lengthier, partially caused by a flood of new projects and entrants to the market.
  3. Quality is a concern. Public awareness generated by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the media is welcome but will likely not lead to a quick-fix or a clear way forward as the root-cause of most problems can be linked to larger systemic failures relating to lack of experience, training, or funds. The Royal Commission will likely put additional pressure and constraints on licensing in an attempt to kerb predatorial practices and increase quality assurance and accountability.
  4. Aged Care professionals are on trend to become rare. Scarcity in HR resources will require operators to revisit their business model. Professional-appeal becomes as important as markets, and operators and developers of new facilities acknowledge that some parts of their business case will need to be re-written to remain competitive. This will result in new facilities being planned closer to population/lifestyle hubs, in more technology being introduced, and in good design becoming a premium.
  5. Tech makes a big entrance in the retirement living and aged care space. Some key solutions are recognised as essential services, just as mechanical, electrical, hydraulics. Engineering experts and architects will start paying attention to the benefits of certain IT systems earlier in the design process.New projects will start receiving more significant tech funding as a result. Larger Australian multi-disciplinary engineering firms will follow suit and start offering software engineering services, following the trend currently underway in other advanced economies. Fear of technology still persists with the customer however, and the architect must think of ways to manage those concerns in areas where quality of life can be improved.
  6. Specialist providers are thriving. More Australian seniors are retiring, and they are healthier, wealthier, more diverse, and increasingly sophisticated.New offerings range from theme retirement such as golf course living, coastal living, mountain living, high-rise super luxury living, as well as a gamut of denser and more affordable multi-generational options including shared high-rise living. All promise a smoother easier transition to an attractive lifestyle. Aged care and specialist care such as dementia or end-of-life care will get more attention, and start experiencing good design.

Charles Fortin, Managing Director, Collard Maxwell Architects, said: “The old way of looking at aged care is broken. Today’s Seniors are focussed on adding life to days, not days to life; and those looking for a lifestyle upgrade find their retirement or options so limited that they might as well stay home alone.” Katrin Klinger, Director of Retirement Living and Aged Care, says: “successful providers will be those focused on lifestyle and service innovation”. We are starting to see such offers, but barriers to entry are still high and the industry needs more latitude to innovate within this wider transitioning market. As a result, new opportunities, new contenders and new leaders will inevitably emerge.

About Collard Maxwell Architects

Collard Maxwell Architects (CM+A) is a leading Sydney-based architectural practice focused on the Design and Delivery of Complex project types including Lifestyle Retirement, Aged Care, and Dementia Care facilities. This knack for Complexity and Design Delivery has led the company to a wide range of exciting projects since 1947. CM+A architects strive to be thought leaders in their field through regular contributions to various Publications, Research, and Industry Summits.

Today, CMA is a member of the APEC Architect Project which is intended to facilitate the provision of architectural services between participating economies around the Pacific Rim.


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