• BDAQ

Member Spotlight - Phil Buchanan

Member: Phil Buchanan


Branch: Gold Coast


Phil Buchanan has a long history with BDAQ - as one of our founding members, a Life Member, as our State President for two years and as an active member of our community.


Phil Buchanan

We're lucky enough to have Phil share his insights with us this week as one of our Member Spotlights!


Career Background:


My Mum got me an interview with a local Building Designer the day after I left school. No gap year. Ouch.

I obtained an open licence way back when licencing was first introduced under the grandfather clause. I had to list jobs completed and at the time had completed jobs in all classes and heights to qualify for an open licence.


Time with BDAQ

I was part of the Steering Committee so became a founding member of the BDAQ.

We got together as a group of Designers to battle the proposed changes to the Building Act to restrict non-Architects from working on certain types of buildings. (I think I am allowed to say non-Architect!)

The 1999 Management Committee with State President, Phil Buchanan, far left

BDAQ has been a major influence in my career. Taking on roles within the association including State President for 2 years, connecting me with many people who shared my career. I've learnt so much.


Burleigh Design


I have 5 staff all busy on CAD. Got them all from TAFE and most of them have been with the office around 10 years up to 15.

We use ArchiCAD but I use a pencil and drawing board for the concept design. I can’t draw on a computer but hey, why put a young person out of a job, that’s my excuse anyway!

The practice seems to specialise in multi-residential commercial and industrial projects, but my passion was always houses. Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of houses these days.

We handle difficult clients with patience, diplomacy, a cool head and a large bill.




I love being a Building Designer and always have. If you are lucky enough to have job satisfaction for 42 years, then you are in the right job.

One of the best aspects of our practice is the wide variation of projects we are lucky enough to be involved with.


At the moment we are doing a lot of work on Hamilton Island. Staff Accommodation, hotels, lookouts and walkways, desalination plant and ferry terminal amongst others. We also did a lot of childcares, aged care, crematorium, brothels, medical centres and shops. So, I think we have just about covered the human life cycle.


Design inspiration comes from lots of sources, environment, orientation, other designers (tongue in cheek). But most of all, I think inspiration always comes from the client. The skill of taking a detailed brief cannot be understated and is always inspirational.


Personal Life


My lovely wife Deb drives the ship. I have a son Travis and his wife Dani. We have 2 grandkids Patrick and Katie.

Phil & Deb Buchanan

I love fishing, diving, surfing and camping, all finished with a cold beer.


Want to find out more about Phil and his work? Visit his website: www.burleighdesign.com

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