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2021 Core Values Awards Winner | Infrastructure (Planning and Design)

IAP2 Australasia Core Values Awards Case study

Mental Health Beds Expansion Program | Victorian Health Building Authority

Highlights at a glance

  • Innovation | Codesigning the future of Victoria’s mental healthcare facilities.
  • Sector | Victorian Health Building Authority, Department of Health (State Government Victoria).
  • Objective | To engage lived experience including clinical, health professionals, consumers, families and carers in codesigning the future of Victoria’s mental health system.
  • Purpose | To create acute mental health facilities that meet the needs of consumers, carers and families now and into the future.
  • Scope | Schematic and detailed design phases of the Mental Health Beds Expansion Program – delivering 120 acute mental health beds across four metropolitan locations.
  • Spectrum level | Collaborate

Engagement  methods

  • Key stakeholder design workshops conducted with health service clinicians and lived experience users
  • Project prototype – full scale/full specification mental health bedroom based on workshop outputs, constructed to enable stakeholder visits and facilitated discussions of final room design. All visits preceded by walk through video, highlighting key design aspects. A video tour and survey were also created to capture the opinions of stakeholders who could not physically visit the prototype
  • Virtual planning using the Big Plans facility to project 1:1 floorplans of proposed facilities onto a large space to enable clinicians and lived experience consumers to navigate life sized layouts of proposed facilities
  • Targeted online surveys of clinicians and lived experience consumers utilising the Engage Vic Victorian Government online engagement platform.


  • Key design changes made to individual bedroom and facility design to reflect stakeholder input
  • High levels of stakeholder buy in evidenced by high participation numbers and positive feedback
  • Fit for purpose design incorporating stakeholder feedback prior to final design phase reducing requirement for subsequent redesign/alterations.


  • The effectiveness of early engagement to allow key recommendations to be incorporated in detailed design
  • The central role of the workforce and consumer and family/carer lived experience in the design process
  • The value of ensuring appropriate support is provided to lived experience consumers to participate in the process
  • Offering meaningful engagement opportunities to stakeholders creates high levels of buy in, high levels of trust in the process and a product that is fit for purpose.