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Two-storey homes at Woodville West at dusk with illuminated windows.

A state government initiative to improve home affordability by investigating ways of lowering apartment construction costs begins today following the completion of two key appointments for a design team and a builder.

The Apartment Construction Cost Demonstration project, managed by Renewal SA, will explore alternative construction techniques and designs to reduce costs and increase affordability, enabling more South Australians to afford homes in areas of their choice.

Following two separate Expression of Interest processes held between May and August, leading Adelaide architectural firm Studio Nine was appointed today to join multi-award-winning building company Mossop Construction + Interiors, selected in July.

Renewal SA Chief Executive John Hanlon said that over the next four to six months, Studio Nine and Mossop would embark on the critical research, design and documentation phase of the project.

“The success of the demonstration project depends a spirit of innovation and strong collaboration between the design team and the builder,” Mr Hanlon said. “Together they will explore elements to reduce apartment purchase costs including building and site layout, construction methodology and choice of materials.”

If the right design and the right price are achieved, Renewal SA will fund construction in 2015 of a four-storey apartment building at The Square at Woodville West, an urban renewal project managed by Renewal SA. It is anticipated that the 16 to 20 apartments in the completed building would each sell for prices in the high $200,000s to low $300,000s.

“That price range is within the budgets of most households looking to purchase a home and we are confident that the lessons learnt through the demonstration project will be considered by designers and builders of other apartment buildings in South Australia,” Mr Hanlon said.

Mr Hanlon said Renewal SA selected Studio Nine as the preferred design team partner from an impressive field of applications from South Australian architectural practices which all had to nominate a team of consultants for engineering and design-related services.

“Studio Nine was able to demonstrate significant expertise and experience in cost-effective apartment design in a range of Adelaide locations including Lightsview, St Clair and Mawson Lakes. Their innovative and flexible thinking will complement Mossop’s vast experience in multi-storey construction,” Mr Hanlon said.

Studio Nine Managing Director John Galluccio said his firm would bring to the project considerable knowledge and expertise in compact and affordable housing.

“Studio Nine is excited by the opportunity to work in a collaborative partnership with Renewal SA and Mossop Constructions + Interiors,” Mr Galluccio said.

“The multi-disciplinary, collaborative research and development approach provides a greater variety of design opportunities which will be key to achieving the goals of this innovative program.”

To ensure that the greatest number of people will benefit from the project, Renewal SA, Studio Nine and Mossop Construction + Interiors will conduct a series of industry briefings as well as work together on a design manual to showcase cost-saving techniques.

The project is also receiving advice from representatives of major industry bodies through an Industry Reference Group.

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