A peer reviewed paper by Dr Neil Thompson, Design Integration Manager, Ashburner Francis Consulting Engineers, East Brisbane


Both small and large regional tourism developments alike are similarly exposed to financial and strategic risk through capital and operating cost escalation together with the social and environmental harm that results from the prevailing design & construct (D&C) procurement model for the built environment and associated utilities and transport infrastructure. Examples of this risk can be quantified via use of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) protocol that monetizes not only financial risk but also strategic risk via detailing the cost of associated social problems such as “sick” buildings and road fatalities together with environmental problems including water table pollution and petrochemical smog.

The dominant D&C model has exacerbated the adverse and antagonistic relationships that plague all participants in the construction industry supply chain today resulting in increasing contractor bankruptcies whilst at the same time it has exposed the developers, host communities and end-users of regional tourism facilities and associated infrastructure to increasing levels of economic, social and environmental risk.

In response to these issues, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) partnered with leading industry practitioners, clean technology manufacturers, consulting engineers and government to undertake research and testing of new place based design protocols that reduce not only financial risk but also strategic risk in terms of social and environmental outcomes from the construction and refurbishment of regional tourism facilities and associated infrastructure.

This paper provides an easy to use integrated design protocol incorporating current best practice elements in place based design and systems thinking as illustrated via a number of local and international case studies on recent “SymbioResort” regional tourism projects in conjunction with the renowned resort master planner Mr Paul Ma that have restored the wellness of host land and people whilst reducing risk for the facility developer, operator and guests.