Course Title: Design sustainable buildings

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2019

Course Code: ARCH5203

Course Title: Design sustainable buildings

Important Information:

Please read all course information and ensure you check your student emails regularly.

School: 320T Architecture & Urban Design

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6136 - Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural)

Course Contact: Catherine Ciavarella

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 9819

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: andrew rodda
skype: andrewRMIT

Nominal Hours: 90

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This course of competency specifies the outcomes required to apply the principles of sustainability to building design. It includes the application of sustainable practices to minimise negative impacts of the construction process and land use on the environment, incorporate passive design, sustainable water use and energy efficiency into a building design and select suitable materials for the construction of the building. It requires compliance with relevant legislation, Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU21593 Design sustainable buildings


1. Determine the impacts of building development on the natural environment.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Impacts of building development on surrounding ecosystems are researched to identify the benefits of sound environmental policy. 1.2 Triple Bottom Line approaches are determined for consideration in the designing of buildings. 1.3 Current government and industry responses to Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) are researched and representative organisations for ESD are identified to ascertain current policies and legislation.


2. Incorporate sustainable criteria into building design

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Location specific climates and their characteristics are identified and their impact on building design is researched to inform the design. 2.2 Basic principles and integration for building orientation, minimal site impact, thermal mass, insulation, glass exposure and ventilation are determined to maximise integration of sustainable design principles in the design. 2.3 Site influences and sun path are considered to maximise opportunities for passive heating and cooling. 2.4 Passive design principles are incorporated into a design project. 2.5 Sustainable site development practices are included in design specifications. 2.6 Appropriate form of construction is selected and documented according to client brief and specifications.


3. Select sustainable materials

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Characteristics of sustainable materials are identified and analysed to inform material selection. 3.2 Sustainability of a range of building materials is compared and suitable materials are selected for a specific building design, in accordance with current legislation and the BCA.


4. Incorporate systems for sustainable water use

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Systems for water collection, storage, use and reuse are incorporated into building design, in accordance with relevant legislation and local restrictions. 4.2 Alternative systems for reticulated water and effluent disposal are investigated and described. 4.3 Strategies to prevent run-off are investigated and incorporated into design.


5. Incorporate energy efficiency into building design

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Energy efficient design principles are identified in accordance with current legislation and the BCA. 5.2 Renewable energy sources are researched and integrated into building design and best practice options for energy conservation are recommended. 5.3 Selection and use of energy efficient fittings, appliances and services are determined and included in design specifications.

Learning Outcomes

This course supports the attainment of the skills and knowledge required for building designers to design sustainable buildings within the context of relevant legislation, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Australian Standards.

Details of Learning Activities

Arch5203, Apply Sustainable Design Principles to Building, is a face to face series of lectures.
Assessment Tasks are run external to the lecture times.

Learning activities include;

  • Lectures
  • Group Project
  • Individual Design Project
  • Online Exam

Refer to the Program timetable for lecture times and location.

Teaching Schedule

Refer to the RMIT Canvas Course Teaching Schedule. (Link opens in new page)

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Your Home Technical Manual

A Green Vitruvius


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

This course of competency could be assessed in the workplace or a close simulation of the workplace environment, provided that simulated or project-based assessment techniques fully replicate design drafting workplace conditions, materials, activities,
responsibilities and procedures. Holistic or project-based assessment with other related units is recommended.

A person who demonstrates competency in this unit must be able to provide evidence of the ability to:
• apply the principles of sustainable building design in accordance with current legislation and government policies
• evaluate and recommend sustainable materials suitable for the construction of a specific building design in accordance with client brief and specifications
• research, evaluate and report on data and findings, make recommendations and develop strategies for the design of sustainable buildings for at least one building development project that complies with the applicable local government authority, relevant legislation and the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

Assessment Tasks

3 Assessment Tasks

  1. Design and Construction Wall Project (Group Task)
  2. Design Project (Individual Task)
  3. Online Quiz (Individual Task)

Assessment tasks in this course are both formative and summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this course are graded.
Feedback throughout the course may be written, verbal or a combination of both.

All assessment must be submitted.

Students will be deemed Competent or Not Yet Competent in the assessment tasks, Satisfactory or Not Yet Satisfactory in the assessable tasks. A grading model will apply after competency has been obtained.

You will receive feedback with verbal and/or written evaluation of your progress within class time. the submitted projects will be assessed with written feedback as well as a quality indicator that relates to separate components of the project and the overall outcome.

Courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment (including apprentices)

CA Competency Achieved
NYCNot Yet Competent
DNSDid Not Submit for assessment
  Courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilise graded assessment  
CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDICompetent with Distinction
CCCompetent with Credit
CAGCompetency Achieved - Graded
NYCNot Yet Competent
DNSDid Not Submit for assessment



Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Academic Progress:

At the end of each semester student progress will be reviewed by the Student Academic Progress Review Committee. Students failing 50% of their program load or more, at this stage will be reviewed according to the University's unsatisfactory academic progress procedure.;ID=r08bgjneb22t1


Student Charter:

The Student Charter, in association with the University’s statutes and laws, indicates what the University and its students can expect from each other. The University’s mission is to create and disseminate knowledge to meet the needs of industry and the community and to foster in students the skills and passion to contribute to and engage with the world.

Student Responsibilities:

In undertaking this course students are required to be responsible for:

  • The time management of the course work in order to complete all work requirements satisfactorily and on time.
  • RMIT encourages students to attend all scheduled classes to optimise academic success.
  • To ascertain what content or assessment has been missed, and gather the information prior to next class.
  • To be proactive in mastering the academic material of the course by challenging, questioning and extending course outcomes.
  • To be responsible for the maintenance of a non-disruptive and scholastic attitude in the learning environment.

See RMIT Academic progress information, responsibilities and support for current students:;ID=nzasms4pljer

Extension of Time for Submission of Assessable work Procedure:

Students must refer to the RMIT policy for eligibility and procedures.;ID=8r23xxpe4fne

Equitable Assessment:

Students must refer to the RMIT policy for eligibility and procedures.;ID=id0959jyz9mx

Special Consideration:

Students must refer to the RMIT policy for eligibility and procedures.;ID=g43abm17hc9w

Assessment Principles:

Final assessment decisions can be reviewed and or appealed.

See RMIT Assessment Policies:

Employability skills:

Employability skills describe non-technical skills and competencies that are an important part of effective and successful participation in the workplace.

The following Employability Skills are an inherent part of this course:

Communication, Teamwork, Problem solving, Initiative and enterprise, Planning and organising, Self management, Learning and Technology.


The RMIT policy on plagiarism is referenced under Academic Integrity at RMIT.;ID=kw02ylsd8z3n;STATUS=A?QRY=Plagiarism%20-%20student%20information&STYPE=ENTIRE

Course Overview: Access Course Overview