Vabasis architects

community architecture


to create architecture that
welcomes all people.

we work with organisations
that promote equality, dignity and
social progress within communities.


value-based architecture

a design service that delivers
through certainty, creativity,
conformity and clarity
driven by our social
conscience & compassion.


community architecture

schools, social housing, tertiary
education, neighbourhood centres,
amenities & workspaces to further the
futures of all queenslanders.

a different approach

modular construction

no matter the location, our clients strive towards architecture that makes communities thrive.
for over 10 years Vabasis has been supporting our clients to deliver for remote communities through modular construction collaborations.


community focused

organisations we work with to promote
equality, dignity and social progress
within communities

TAFE Queensland

client feedback

"We now have a beautiful, welcoming complex with outdoor areas that are making a big difference to people getting together and socialising,"

Feedback from a Resident from a social housing upgrade in Greenslopes

"That’s great work from
Formula Interiors and credit to the architect, Vabasis in producing a fresh and airy design."

Client feedback regarding the Cleveland Courthouse lobby refurbishment

"I spoke to a number of tenants
and they are so excited by the
finished product.
What a great outcome."

Client feedback regarding an external works upgrade for social housing residents

Vabasis Community

your architectural team

architects, designers, project leaders
focused on fulfilling vabasis' mission and vision
for architecture in all regions of queensland.

Mission & Vision

To understand how Vabasis will deliver your project, first it is important for us to highlight our Mission and Vision. They are the driving forces behind the projects we take on, the people we employ and the approach we bring to each project.

Our MISSION is to work with and support
organisations that promote equity, dignity and
social progress.

We collaborate to create architecture that
welcomes all people. This is our contribution to
setting the scene for a sense of belonging.

Our VISION is a place where
communities can grow their identity.

Architectural Approach

Founded in 1997, Vabasis has over 20 years experience providing a value-based architectural service.

Our Mission and our Vision are WHY we are architects. HOW we deliver for our clients is our design services called, Valued-based Architecture. While some of our project stage names vary slightly from yours, we believe there are nine key stages to achieving a positive design response. By moving through these stages, Vabasis can deliver evidence-based solutions with CERTAINTY, CREATIVITY, CONFORMITY and CLARITY.

CERTAINTY of achieving quality, time, cost and lifecycle performance through Quality Management. This results from agreed performance standards by confirming, planning and preparing through research. It is delivered through the Pre-Design process.

Pre-Design is the process of planning delivery. It involves extensive research, input and advice to comprehensively define the design problem. The purpose of Pre-Design is to outline the planned approach to solving the problem.

Pre-Design ensures that the right questions have been asked, the correct answers found, and a precise plan created.

CREATIVITY revealing the optimum design outcome through Collaboration and Innovation. This results from first principles investigation by exploring, testing and defining through iteration. It is delivered through the Schematic Design and Design Development processes.

Schematic Design is the process of testing options. It involves an exhaustive exploration through which creative solutions are revealed. The purpose of Schematic Design is to arrive at a preferred solution.

Schematic Design ensures that the right explorations have been completed, the best choices tested, and the preferred solution confirmed.

Design Development is the process of defining the preferred solution. It involves advancing the value of opportunities and responding to risks. The purpose of Design Development is to arrive at a preferred solution that is both creative and feasible.

Design Development ensures that the preferred solution is understood in detail, maximises value and can be delivered.

CONFORMITY ensuring community acceptance, safe design principles and buildability through Completeness and Compliance. This results in approval by checking, rectifying and executing with corrective actions. It is delivered through the Development Approval, Building Approval and Contract Document processes.

Development Approval is the process of complying with the conditions of land use. It involves refining the preferred solution to align with the conditions that guide context, use and community expectations. The purpose of Development Approval is to gain community acceptance for the proposed solution.

Development Approval ensures that the solution responds to the benefits and challenges of its broader context.

Building Approval is the process of complying with policies, codes, standards and legislation. It involves checking and updating to satisfy acceptable solutions or achieve performance solutions. The purpose of Building Approval is to confirm safety.

Building approval ensures that safety in design is integral with creativity and feasibility.

Contract Documents is the process of executing a coordinated and integrated set of instructions for the construction of the approved solution. It involves describing the timing, scope and responsibilities for the construction. The purpose of Contract Documents is to define the basis for procuring the solution.

Contract Documents ensures that a complete solution will be delivered.

CLARITY reducing variations through Coherence and Precision. This results in streamlined procurement and construction by evaluating, monitoring and assessing with preventive actions. It is delivered through the Tendering, Construction and Post-Construction processes.

Tendering is the process of evaluating the completeness, accuracy and alignment of the builder’s offer with the contract documents. It involves reviewing, questioning, comparing and negotiating to determine the best fit. The purpose of tendering is to commission the right builder.

Tendering ensures that the contractual relationship is based on understanding and agreement.

Construction is the process of monitoring the quality of progress against the building contract. It involves inspecting, interpreting, clarifying and reporting on progress. The purpose of Construction is to streamline the running of the contract.

Construction ensures that maximum effort can be focused on progressing the building.

Post-Construction is the process of assessing the effectiveness of the
Valued-based Architecture platform to deliver the proven best solution. This involves identifying opportunities from lessons learned. The purpose is to continually improve the Value-based Architecture platform to generate the best solutions effectively and efficiently.

Post-Construction ensures that improvements are implemented so the next solution will be even better.


Vabasis has over 20 years’ experience providing architectural services to a diverse range of clients. Our focus on community architecture is driven by Dennis Butler’s personal and professional focus on producing architectural outcomes that support communities and help them to thrive.

Vabasis’ clients include the Australian Government, State and Local Governments, Universities, Research organisations and not-for-profit organisations. The projects have included, schools, courthouses, libraries, public housing, university buildings and refurbishments, student accommodation, health facilities, emergency services centres, office fitouts and disability housing.

Vabasis has an extensive and ongoing history with new builds and refurbishment projects. We are proud of this ongoing collaboration with our clients. We believe a project’s success is a combination of successful established working relationships with both our clients and our sub-consultants.

We believe that the long term viability and acceptance of a project in the community is its key contribution to the built environment. We understand that every project should be sensitive to its natural environment, complement its built surrounding and provide sufficient design flexibility to remain relevant to the uses of the people who occupy it.

Community Focused

Social Housing

Tertiary Education

Primary Schools

High Schools

Work Spaces

Modular Design

Vabasis’ working knowledge of modular construction and understanding of the challenges of building remotely has supported the documentation and delivery of 70 modular projects. These projects range from the tip of Australia on Thursday Island, to rural coast towns to the remote desert of Western Australia.

Recent modular projects are Genesis Specialist Cancer Centres. For Hutchinson Builders, Vabasis performed the role of Design Manager to work with specialist health architects (STH and MODE) to make their designs modular. The two centres were delivered in parallel at the Mater Miseridordiae Hospital in Bundaberg, and St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay. Construction was conducted while both hospitals remained fully operational. Sophisticated cancer treatment centres of this type would normally take anywhere from 12 up to 24 months to complete. Both facilities were delivered in four months.

Other standout projects include, the Central Queensland University Mackay Student Accommodation received 3 QMBA awards, including ‘Project of the Year.’ As well as, the Meridan State College classrooms that were built and installed in 10 weeks.

Genesis Specialist Cancer Centres

Student Accommodation

School Classrooms

The Vabasis Modular Process

1. Design

To review the detail and priorities around a project’s objective, design principles and confirm a clear understanding of the project
To establish an understanding of the practical impact of the project objective, design principles and project aspirations.
To define the design delivery strategy including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
To assess the design delivery strategy success in producing a building which is fit for purpose, scalable, installable, certifiable, reliable, safe and environmental sensitivity.
To reduce complexity by removing and consolidating elements from the design delivery strategy to more efficiently support the project objective, design principles and project aspirations.

2. Endorse

To define the design delivery
process including method, order and outcome.

To confirm the market place
acceptance of the documented design delivery process.

To construct the offsite components according to the documented design delivery process.

To simulate onsite conditions to test and refine design delivery process.

To test and collect evidence confirming the compliance of incorporated elements, the pre-certification of the assembled buildings and the likely ability to certify the finished facility.

3. Validate

To deliver and land the building components and equipment at the site.

To complete the site works prior to the re-assembly of the components.

To complete the building works.

To test, go live and train users in the
operation of the facility.

To inspect for completeness and warrant for compliance.

To remove all waste.

To report on the performance of the facility to achieve the project objective, design principles and project aspirations.

Our People

Dennis Butler


Registered Architect
QLD # 3216

Dennis gained his Architectural Degree from the University of Queensland in 1997. Within a year of graduating he established
BSA Architects (as a partnership). In 2010, the business was re-structured as a Company (Vabasis Pty Ltd), with Dennis as the sole Director.

Together with a background in humanities and the arts, Dennis’ expertise lies in identifying how the disparate elements of a
project can relate and be brought together. Dennis’ role in the practice is to provide leadership in a creative environment where clients and the team can come together to make architecture.

Catherine Woodward

Lead Architect

Registered Architect
QLD # 3857

Catherine is a registered architect with a broad set of skills to produce inspiring and functional architecture. Catherine's balanced approach fulfils the needs, aspirations and budget requirements of clients.

Catherine's front end project skills ensure the client's brief and consultants are managed effectively to reduce issues during construction.

Sonia Lowe

Lead Designer

B. Architecture
B. Built Environment (Architectural Studies)

Sonia has a broad range of experience in architecture. Prior to a career break, Sonia worked as a Registered Architect for nine years .

Sonia has worked on all aspects of the design, documentation and construction phases. Sonia's attention to detail and high level of accuracy make her the perfect Lead Designer during the Pre-Design, Schematic and Design Development phases.

Jacques du Plooy

Project Leader

M. Architecture

Jacques is a designer with Vabasis. He quietly and diligently applies the BCA and Australian Standards as well as the BCC codes and legislation to his projects.

Jacques was born and raised in South Africa and has been in Australia for 18 months. He finds Australian slang somewhat incomprehensible and relies on google to get through many a conversation. He is a keen competitive cyclist and joined the Brisbane City Cycling Club on arriving in Australia. For him, Architecture is about communities engaging in the spaces he has created and defined.

Manuel Pedro

Project Leader

M. Architecture

Manuel has been working in Brisbane since 2018 with 4 years of post-graduate experience as a registered architect in South Africa. Manuel develops and maintains successful and professional working relationships. His verbal communication skills and positive attitude makes him an effective communicator. This a crucial skill as a Project Leader in the stages of Development and Building Approval and into Contract Documentation.

Joe Harris

Documentation Manager

Dip. Civil Engineering (NZ)

Joe is a Senior Documentation Manager with Vabasis. He is responsible for delivering clean, correct, compliant and coordinated documentation.

He has studied civil, worked previously as a survey technician and civil/structural drafter before realising architecture was the thing for him. He is a proud kiwi and is appreciated for his dedication and skilful contribution to Vabasis. He brings a sense of humour with him that generates much laughter in the day.

Vivien Lee


M. Architecture

Vivien is an Architectural Graduate at Vabasis. She is responsible for supporting the senior staff at Vabasis and spends her days on the tools documenting under the guidance of Dennis and Joe.

Vivien is a keen photographer and has established her own photography business. Through her photography she aims to capture the spirit of a place and the spirit of the people she photographs. She takes this same approach to her architecture and in this way contributes to Vabasis’ vision of a place where communities can grow their identity. Vivien’s love of dogs is evident when some of Vabasis’ furry friends visit the office.

Gene Cridland


M. Architecture

Gene recently made the leap from being a Student of Architecture to a Graduate of Architecture. It is his role to support the senior staff . The real goal before him now is to make the leap from the student world to the real world of architecture.

Gene has a Community Spirit, which sits well with Vabasis’ community focused Mission and Vision. Gene has been a Volunteer Surf Life Saver on the Gold Coast for 13 years. There are now 10 people that have Gene to thank for safely delivering them from the surf to the beach. Vabasis is proud to provide him with the training and support he needs to become an Architect in his own right.

Bernadette Kerby

Office Manager

M. Environmental Management

Bernadette is the Office Manager for Vabasis. She is responsible for ensuring that Vabasis maintains its QA Certification under ISO 9001:2015. She also looks after Vabasis’ Finances.

Bernadette’s background is a long way from Architecture. She studied Natural Resource Management and spent 17 years in the Queensland public service managing Queensland’s Fisheries Resources. Although there are no fish to manage at Vabasis, her experience in financial management and business management processes means that things run smoothly.

frequently asked questions


Vabasis transitioned from a partnership started in 1997 to a privately held company in 2010. In 2016, Vabasis under went rebranding. This is where the journey to clearly defining our Mission & Vision began.

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1997 Logo

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2010 Logo

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Current Logo

Long working relationships

Vabasis is a preferred supplier for Queensland Government Department of Education and Training (DET).

Vabasis has an ongoing Standing Offer Arrangements with QLD Government departments such as Building Asset Services (BAS).

Vabasis is registered with the Queensland Government's Pre-qualification (PQC) System with Queensland Government's Department of Housing and Public Works.
PQC Registration Number: 3308A
PCQ Rating: Level 3

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Business Details

Vabasis Pty Ltd
ABN 42 143 897 787

Office Address
Suite 12/541 Boundary Street
Spring Hill, QLD 4000

Postal Address
PO Box 771
Paddington QLD 4064


Vabasis practises architecture in Queensland under Dennis Butler's Registration #3361 with the Board of Architects of Queensland since 2000.

Vabasis is an A+ Practiceof the Australian Institute of Architects since 2010. Practice number E3216.

prefabAUS is the peak body for Australia’s off-site construction industry and acts as the hub for building prefabrication technology and design.


Green Building Council of Australia
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is committed to developing buildings, cities and communities that are healthy, livable, productive, resilient and sustainable.


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Quality Assurance

Vabasis has established and maintains a quality system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 (AS/NZS ISO 9001:2016) for

Provision of architectural design and documentation, contract administration and project management services.

Vabasis has adopted the Quality Management Principles of:
• customer focus
• leadership
• engagement of people
• a process approach
• improvement
• evidenced based decision making
• relationship management


Vabasis maintains the following:
• Professional Indemnity
• Public Liability
• Product Liability
• Work Cover