a Q&A with BCG Building Design

While many may be across the changes and trends in the residential building sphere, the commercial building world can be more difficult to get your head around. And in a year of great disruptions to office life, retail and hospitality, we thought it would be a good time to speak with powerhouse building designer and business owner Bianca Gemmill.

Bianca owns and operated esteemed company BCG Building Design, who we’re currently working with on an exciting commercial project in Queensland. We sat down with Bianca to talk about the changing commercial building landscape, a rise in sustainable building design and the importance of collaboration between builders and designers.

Keep reading to hear what she had to say.

McGowan Homes: What’s the difference between creating a commercial project as opposed to a residential project?

Bianca Gemmill: To begin with, the process is the same. You need to take down the client’s design brief and get a full understanding of how the occupant will use the space – whether it’s a business in a commercial building or a family of five in a residential dwelling.

The big difference with a commercial space is making sure the design considers disability access, wheelchair compliance, emergency lighting, fire separation, carpark standards, amenities, and is compliant with local Town Planning regulations.

MH: What are some of the most common commercial builds you’re seeing in Queensland?

BG: In my local area of Burleigh Heads, I’m seeing a real shift in creative design when it comes to commercial projects. There are warehouses and office spaces with bold and creative frontages to stand out as a place of interest, rather than just another plain building.

Business owners are creating spaces for their employees to feel happy and comfortable at work, including gyms for their workers, staff rooms that are planned out for gathering and social events within the workspace, as well as comfortable areas to move about and enjoy time at work.

MH: How is sustainability being prioritised in commercial building design?

BG: Technology has come a long way in this area. Businesses can now physically see and monitor their energy consumption and it makes perfect sense for companies to make sustainability a priority. The benefits are both financial and ethical. Systems like solar power reduce energy bills. Other innovations such as LED lighting systems, green spaces and better performing building materials create a more comfortable and well-managed workspace. 

MH: What sorts of materials are common in commercial projects, and why?

BG: Durable and versatile materials, such as metal sheeting for roof and wall claddings, because they are cost-effective, low maintenance and easy to install. Materials that can handle high traffic wear and tear such as concrete flooring, epoxy flooring, fabricated steel staircases, and aluminium sheeting. You’ll also find plenty of materials that comply with health and safety codes.

MH: How important is it for builders and designers to work together on a commercial project?

BG: With any building project it would be advisable to work closely with a team of designers and builders from the initial consultation. This way all aspects of the project are carefully considered from the beginning. Budget can be monitored closely by the builder during the design phase, and it also means that when the builder is ready to begin construction, they understand the design and client’s brief thoroughly.

MH: Do you think commercial building projects will be impacted by COVID-19? If so, how?

BG: COVID-19 has affected us all in different ways. I don’t think it will have a blanket negative affect across the entire commercial industry, as this pandemic has seen some businesses flourish with the need to expand. But on the other hand, we have seen some businesses closing.

This will balance out the demand for commercial space required and in the interim likely mean new commercial builds will not be required. However, I see a demand in alterations and extension building work within the industry, as businesses evolve and adapt to the current world.


If you’re interested in learning more about commercial building design or the team at BCG Building Design, get in touch with Bianca via bcgbuildingdesign.com.au.

If you’re ready to talk about the design and build of a new commercial or residential project on the Gold Coast, get in touch with the team at McGowan Homes today.

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