Audio Visual Design Guidelines

General Overview

2558 views August 13, 2018 October 17, 2019 aetm 8

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Scope, Purpose, and Application

The Design Guidelines assemble national and international benchmarks for audiovisual systems in a tertiary education context and draw upon the collective experience of members of the association of Audiovisual & Educational Technology Management (AETM), the primary industry association representing audiovisual professionals in the Asia-Pacific education sector.  

The Design Guidelines have two objectives. 

  1. To provide usable advice for architects, engineers and consultants in the essential requirements for successfully integrating audiovisual systems in learning spaces.  
  2. To guide academic staff, project managers and administrative staff, in both best practice and minimum requirements for the deployment and management of learning spaces. These sections have been developed by surveying the membership to bring together a consensus across more than sixty organisations.

The Design Guidelines do not define architectural, electrical, or acoustic standards, nor do they replace the use of applicable Australian and International standards and building codes.  However, because audiovisual presentation and communications facilities are essential to teaching and learning environments (as well as modern workplace settings) the successful provision of AV functionality places specific requirements on the design of physical spaces and provision of building services.

By providing an underlying framework of design principles, the Design Guidelines supplement the technology-specific AV design guidelines and specifications developed by individual organisations. 

The guidelines will be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure their continued relevance.  The current version will be stored online, freely available, and open to comment for all AETM members.


Balancing Form with Function

The AETM wish to acknowledge the importance of architectural aesthetics and design as part of the development of learning spaces. However, of greater importance is ensuring the architectural  elements enhance the function of a space, and increase end-user satisfaction. Successful AV projects consider many elements of design; room layout, aesthetics, acoustics, lighting, lectern & joinery integration as well as the placement of projection systems and other types of display, to name a few.

For a design to be successful it must first and foremost consider how the rooms are intended to be used by the occupants and what functionality is required. Support and accessibility need to be considered as part of the overall solution, so that systems can be easily maintained and kept functional at all times. 

Finally, cost and the effort required to deliver a solution must be taken into account. Often there are multiple ways to meet a user’s requirements, and each may have different cost and time implications. These factors all need to be considered to achieve a successful outcome for all involved.  


About the association of Audiovisual & Education Technology Management (AETM)

The AETM represents the audiovisual professionals employed in the tertiary education sector, one of the largest and most active segments of the AV industry in Australasia.  Our members are responsible for the technology in teaching spaces which cater for more than a million students. These comprise over 10,000 spaces which have significant AV systems installed.

The AETM was formed in 2001 to develop cross-university links to share expertise and provide opportunities for training and professional development. 

The association currently organises a national conference each year at which members present on important projects and new developments in their sector.  Major suppliers are invited to present technical sessions relevant to the AV market. The association maintains an active mailing list and discussion forum which members use to share expertise and information. 

The association also functions as a focal point for links with other AV organisations such as AVIXA (formerly ICIA and InfoComm). In 2008, AETM has established a formal link with equivalent UK professional body SCHOMS, as well as CCUMC in the USA, and more recently extending relationships to organisations globally.  

To find out more about the AETM, visit 


AETM Design Guidelines Developers

AETM Working Party – Design Standards for Teaching Spaces
Committee Composition:

First Edition

Derek Powell, University of Queensland – Chair
Robert Bull, University of Newcastle
Jason Wheatley, University of Sydney
Selwyn Cathcart, Massey University
Reg Collins, University of Technology Sydney

Second Edition

Jason Wheatley, University of Sydney – Chair
Selwyn Cathcart, Massey University
John Vikstrom, Queensland University of Technology
Robert Cameron, Swinburne University of Technology

Third Edition

Scott Dukeson, University of Sunshine Coast
Nathan Ashmore, University of Sydney
Nathan Gardiner, University of Canterbury
Richard Hallam, Victoria University of Wellington
Jack Tindall, University of Sunshine Coast



Use of these Design Guidelines by any organisation or person is entirely voluntary. Users are solely responsible for the application of these guidelines and AETM does not assume responsibility for any loss or dispute arising from any use or misuse of these guidelines.  Compliance with the provisions of the Design Guidelines in whole or part does not confer certification or endorsement by AETM of any such complying specification, design, installation or system. 


Publishing and Copyright

These Design Guidelines were first published in November 2010.

This edition © 2019 AETM. 

No copying of these Design Guidelines is permitted (except for any purpose falling within the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act 1968) without prior written permission of the AETM.  For permission, contact the President, AETM via the website at

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