Green Walls & Rooftop Gardens Project

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Case for change

Population growth in Australian cities is influencing government policies around sustainable living and urban greening within high-density living areas. The growing interest has been encouraged by increasing availability of technologies that make their construction easier and more economical. As such, there is an increasing demand for skills in developing rooftop gardens and green walls.

Industry consultation has identified the need for skills standards and training in the design, construction, installation and maintenance of green walls and rooftop gardens in Australia.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2019-2022 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Skills Impact and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping and Conservation & Land Management Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal

Project Plan

Green walls and rooftops help to cool our cities, manage storm water and improve air quality. These ‘living’ roofs and walls are growing with popularity, as they offer city residents healthy, environmentally responsible buildings. The growing interest is encouraged by government policy, as well as increased availability of technology that makes their construction and maintenance easier and more economical. This is opening up job opportunities in industry, with skills and knowledge adapting to respond to the needs of this specialised sector.

Landscapers are familiar with building constructions, such as garden beds and tree landscapes at ground level. However, the skills and knowledge required to design, construct, install and maintain these sorts of infrastructure on walls and roofs is specialised. Consideration needs to be given to drainage and filtration systems, soil/media and plant selection, waterproof barrier selection, nutrient requirements, working at heights on elevated work platforms, and local government legislation. Knowledge of environmental factors and microclimates is also important, as well as how much weight a structure can bare. The unique skills requirements of workers in this sub-sector will be identified as part of this project and reflected in the national skills standards, to support the skills development and career opportunities in this growing occupation.

Australian city dwellers will be all too familiar with the fierce heat that can be experienced on a hot summer’s day, when surrounded by closely constructed buildings, concrete and other solid surfaces. Green walls and roof tops can offer respite from these ‘urban heat islands’, where space for traditional parks is limited.

In recent years, Australian city councils have pledged to increase green walls and rooftop gardens to reduce the urban heat island effect. Melbourne has a Green Our City Strategic Action Plan, Sydney has the Green Roofs and Walls Policy, and Brisbane has introduced a non-statutory New World City Design Guide – Buildings that Breathe.

Project Scope

Units of competency will be reviewed and revised if necessary to address the additional skills and knowledge required for the design, construction, installation and maintenance of green walls and rooftop gardens in Australia.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

Relevant Occupations

Green walls and rooftop gardens designers, and those involved in construction, installation and ongoing maintenance.

 

Timeline

Aug 2019
Initial scoping

Sept 2019
Development of drafts

Nov 2019
Drafts available for broad consultation

Feb 2020
Validation of final drafts

Mar – Apr 2020
Finalisation of Training Package components

June 2020
Submission for endorsement

 

Project Team
Lucinda O’BrienIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact lucinda@skillsimpact.com.au
Kate VansonIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impact kate@skillsimpact.com.au
Maree ThorneIndustry Skills Standards Contractor

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in November 2019, and again for validation of final drafts in early February 2020. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the training package materials. It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill sets and units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact encourages your input and help. Please feel free to register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Lucinda O’Brien on 03 9321 3526 or lucinda@skillsimpact.com.au.

 

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations during the development of this project to seek their involvement and their views on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units.

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Of course, all and any interested industry participants are encouraged to engage in the consultation of this project, when the draft qualifications, skill sets and units are available for feedback via this webpage and workshops that take place around Australia. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list. This list simply helps us to identify those organisations that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project.

 

Development

Green walls and rooftops are increasing in popularity for their capacity to cool our cities, manage storm water and improve air quality. Thanks to the encouragement of government policy and improved availability of the technology to construct and maintain green walls and rooftop gardens, job opportunities are opening up.

Specialised skills and knowledge are required to design, construct, install and maintain these sorts of infrastructure. As part of this project, work is now underway to review skill sets and units of competency to address these skills needs.

In September, a workshop was held with stakeholders and subject matter experts who work directly in this field. At this meeting the required functions, roles and tasks involved to create and maintain green walls and rooftop gardens were discussed. It was identified that the skills required for design vary to those needed for construction. Education for the maintenance of green walls and rooftop gardens was also identified as an important area.

Consultation Workshops – Registrations Open!

Thank you to those stakeholders that have been involved and provided feedback and advice so far. The draft skill sets and units of competency will be made available on this webpage for public consideration and feedback early November 2019 (under the ‘Drafts Available’ menu above). Face-to-face consultation workshops will also take place across states, with a webinar planned for those unable to attend in person. Registrations for these workshops are now open. Register for a workshop near you by clicking the corresponding link.

Face-to-face consultation workshops

Wed 13 Nov 19, 9:30am to 11:30am ACST – Adelaide – register here

Thurs 14 Nov 19, 9:30am to 11:30am AWST – Perth – register here

Tues 19 Nov 19, 9:30am to 11:30am AEST – Brisbane – register here

Wed 20 Nov 19, 9:30am to 11:30am AEDST – Sydney – register here

Tues 26 Nov 19, 10am to 12pm AEDST – Melbourne – register here

Consultation webinar

Tues 26 Nov 19, 2pm to 3pm AEDST – register here

 

Proposed skill set and units of competency for development

Following input during workshops with subject matter experts, the following skill sets and units of competency are proposed for development. Drafts of these documents will be made available early November 2019.

Please note titles are to be confirmed

Proposed new skill sets

  • Plan and Design Green Walls and Rooftop Gardens Skill Set
  • Build or Install Green Walls and Rooftop Gardens Skill Set
  • Maintain Green Walls and Rooftop Gardens Skill Set

Proposed new units of competency

  • Develop and apply knowledge of green infrastructure to the designing of rooftop gardens and green walls
  • Build or install rooftop gardens and or green walls
  • Maintain rooftop gardens and or green walls

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

Drafts Available

Green walls and rooftop gardens offer city residents healthy, environmentally responsible buildings, helping to cool our cities, manage storm water and improve air quality. With city councils encouraging this trend through policy and the increased availability of technology, these features are becoming more common, opening up job opportunities in the sector. As industry adapts its skills and knowledge to the unique requirements of green walls and rooftop gardens, it’s important to ensure this is captured in the skills standards for the sector.

Three new skill sets and three new units of competency have been developed as part of this project, covering the skills and knowledge required for individuals to design, construct and maintain rooftop gardens, green walls and green facades.

Thank you to those who provided feedback on the draft units of competency and skill sets that were made available on this webpage for feedback from 30 October – 1 December 2019. 

During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, five face-to-face consultation workshops, a webinar, and email. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below.

Feedback will inform the work on the final drafts which are expected to be available for industry validation in February 2020. A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

Skill Set code and nameRationaleLink
AHCSSXXXX1 Plan and Design Rooftop Gardens, Green Walls and Green Facades Skill SetCaptures skills standards for ensuring designs are compliant with building codes and structural principles, that they meet client requirements, and are costed appropriately. This takes into account ongoing maintenance and sustainability of green walls and rooftop gardens through selection of appropriate infrastructure, plants, growing media, irrigation and drainage systems and provision of access for maintenance.View draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX2 Build or Install Rooftop Gardens, Green Walls and Green Facades Skill SetCaptures skills standards for the building or installation of green walls and rooftop gardens from plans and specifications to meet building codes, select suitable plants, systems and materials (including fixings and tools), work safely at height and install growing media and plants.View draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX3 Maintain Rooftop Gardens, Green Walls and Green Facades Skill SetCaptures skills standards for working safely at heights, maintaining the sustainability of green walls and rooftop gardens, keeping maintenance records, and monitoring climatic conditions, irrigation and drainage systems, and other horticultural factors.View draft skill set

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

 

Unit code and nameExplanationLink
AHCGRIXX1 Design rooftop gardens, green walls and green facadesCaptures the skills and knowledge required for the construction of green walls and rooftop gardens, including compliance to building codes, weight loading, site features and access, impacts of environmental considerations, and planning and designing sustainable infrastructure to meet client requirements.View draft unit 
AHCGRIXX2 Build or install rooftop gardens, green walls and green facadesCaptures the skills and knowledge required to comply with building regulations, standards and codes and meet design plans and specifications. Includes calculating costs and material quantities, sequencing building or installation tasks, identifying and controlling site hazards, undertaking building or installation work at heights, and installing waterproofing, irrigation and drainage systems.View draft unit 
AHCGRIXX3 Maintain rooftop gardens, green walls and green facadesCaptures the skills and knowledge to carry out maintenance work on rooftop gardens, green walls and green facades, including working safely, using personal proactive equipment, monitoring plant health, pest management, keeping maintenance records, and monitoring drainage and irrigation system performance.View draft unit

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Feedback is also being sought on the placement of new units within qualifications existing in the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package. The new units are proposed to be included as electives in the qualifications as shown in the table below.

AHCGRIXX1 Design rooftop gardens, green walls and green facadesAHCGRIXX2 Build or install rooftop gardens, green walls and green facadesAHCGRIXX3 Maintain rooftop gardens, green walls and green facades
AHC30716 Certificate III in Horticulture

 

Yes
AHC30916 Certificate III in Landscape Construction

 

Yes
AHC40416 Certificate IV in Horticulture

 

YesYes
AHC42016 Certificate IV in Landscape

 

YesYes
AHC50416 Diploma of Horticulture

 

YesYes
AHC50616 Diploma of Landscape Design

 

YesYes

Summary of consultation to date

The draft skill sets and units have been drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts through a workshop in September, emails and phone calls. People working directly with rooftop gardens, green walls and green facades participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for individuals to design, construct and maintain these types of infrastructure. Site visits were undertaken to observe the benefits and features and to better understand the importance of ongoing maintenance for these spaces.

Thank you to those who provided feedback during these activities.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

Validation

This stage has not yet commenced

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced