Untitled design - 2023-02-10T093345.208

Reflections on ‘Renovate or Detonate’

“The conversation has to start very early.”

That is according to David Cowdery, General Manager of Property at BaptistCare NSW & ACT. Speaking at the ‘Renovate or Detonate’ webinar hosted by The WEEKLY SOURCE and facilitated by Christopher Baynes, CEO of DCM Group, David noted the key to a successful redevelopment project is to start communicating with residents early.

David emphasized that building trust with residents can take a year of consultation, and transparency is crucial in showing that the operator has their best interests in mind.

Callum Ross, Head of Developments at Levande shared his own experience, stressing the importance of being transparent and upfront about the project from start to finish, and putting strategies in place to minimize any disruptions, such as providing areas of respite, organizing bus trips, and communicating construction schedules.

Jeff Ross from Total Construction added to this by sharing how they put viewing platforms in place to allow residents to inspect the construction process and feel engaged with the project.

Callum noted that renewing communities is a big opportunity for the industry, and as professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure its success. Whether it be a renovation, renewal, or full community redevelopment, engaging residents and bringing them along for the journey is crucial.

To achieve this, the following tips can be considered:

  1. Be proactive: Start communicating with the residents as early as possible to ensure that everyone has ample time to ask questions and provide input.
  2. Use clear, simple language: Avoid technical jargon and use clear, simple language to communicate the details of the project, including scale, scope and timeframes.
  3. Utilise multiple channels: To reach as many people as possible, consider using multiple communication channels, such as email, newsletters, social media, and public meetings.
  4. Be transparent: Be transparent about the goals and process of the project, being honest about any challenges or limitations you may face.
  5. Address concerns: Address any concerns that residents may have about the project, providing clear and concise answers.
  6. Highlight the benefits: Highlight the benefits of the project, such enhancement to resident experiences through improved amenities, and desirability of the community for future residents.
  7. Encourage participation: Encourage residents to participate in the process and provide feedback. This can be done through resident meetings, online surveys, or other engagement methods.

The WEEKLY SOURCE’s ‘Renovate or Detonate’ webinar looked at the tough choice between renovating and extending the life of a building asset, or demolishing and building a repositioned village. Lead by DCM Group CEO, Chris Baynes, panel discusses what to consider, the potential challenges, and the outcomes you can hope to achieve through an architecture and design, construction, project management and operator lens.


  • Mahi Lau | Principal, Stanton Dahl Architects
  • David Cowdery | General Manager Property, BaptistCare NSW & ACT
  • Jeff Jones | CEO, Total Construction
  • Calum Ross | Head of Development, Levande 
  • Anthony Felice | Sector Lead, Aged Care and Retirement Living NSW, TSA

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