MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

How we live and work is changing as Australia enters a new era following COVID-19 pandemic. Most topical is more people having to work from home (WFH). ABS figures end of May, 46% WFH.

During the pandemic social distancing requirements closed many businesses, with people having to set up home offices, attend meetings via Videoconferencing and manage best way possible. How many conversations have you heard, “you’re on mute, unmute yourself”!

Feedback from those WFH has enabled insights into physical aspects of WFH and duty of care required by employers. However, we’re now seeing physical and mental health issues arise that need to be addressed.

Current estimates range from 20% to 40% WFH to some extent. Post pandemic, we may see one in five employees embedded into WFH at different levels and in an environment that should be conducive to work life balance. However, travel time is now work time, internet world and videoconferencing has impacted family and social time.

Not forgetting the social impact, implications of people being at home longer, from a building perspective, will see increases in repair and maintenance, renovating and re-purposing homes in many areas. Opportunity for architects and home builders to “standardize” a purpose-built W&LFH home (work and learn), that’ll become the norm.

How new is WFH? We know people have worked from home for a long time, but some jobs can’t be. Australian Census has included a question on this since 1991. The 2016 Census recorded 503,581 people working at home on Census day: 4.7% of the total workforce, or around 1 in 20 people, up from 4.4% in 2011. Although the prospect of widespread remote working has been discussed for many years, there’s no indication of a significant move to this style of working prior to COVID-19.

This shows that working from home – before COVID-19 – was the exception rather than the rule. So, up to 2016, the likelihood of an employee WFH or elsewhere was low. This makes the change we’re seeing with COVID-19 more remarkable. We don’t know how many are working from home, but even the lowest estimates of 20% would represent approximately a 4-fold increase over 2016 figures, while upper range estimates indicate an 8-fold increase.

Could a virus be what makes WFH mainstream? By 2025, we may see 30% of the workforce WFH, to various degrees.

Cheers,

Geoff Dart
Executive Director

AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF BUILDING: RESPONSE TO NSW GOVERNMENT RENT TO BUY INITIATIVE

The Australian Institute of Building welcomes the initiative of the Berejiklian government in recognizing the importance of investors to the vital residential building sector.  Geoff Dart, Executive Director, comments.

”With occupied home ownership in long term decline, not enough recognition has been given to the growing number of folk choosing to rent their homes for a number of socio-economic reasons. Rented households account for more than one-third of Australian households and expected to surpass those occupied by owners by 2050.

Paralleling European trends, we are now seeing  the emergence of the “Rowner”, the folk who enter into a longer term lease and prepared to do make-overs in order to personalise what they regard as home, and quite rightly so.  Landlords generally lag in this regard with the build-to-rent model of long term leasing gaining traction.

We need to encourage investment in our housing sector and recognize social needs as the driver of change.”

Geoff Dart
Executive Director
Australian Institute of Building

MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT

23 JULY 2020

This week I am happy to advise Geoff Dart our new Executive Director has successfully relocated from Melbourne and commenced work with the Australian Institute of Building. Geoff is currently available with remote office access as he complies with the 14-day isolation requirement before he can circulate in the Canberra community. If you want to introduce yourself, Geoff is available by email on ed@aib.org.au

It has been a busy week for AIB activities with Chapter judging of our 2020 Professional Excellence Awards completed we are now finalising the Chapter Awards book. Our members and entrants are very keen to know when award presentations will occur. I can confirm we have some States with more relaxed COVID restrictions; and the Chapters and National office have been working hard over the last month to secure new venue dates where live presentations can be held in larger groups. We are anticipating any face to face events will be allowed to start in late September or October so I would ask you to have just a little patience as many organisations like us are competing for dates and venues to fit 4 months of non-activity into the next few months before Christmas.

We will get details out to entrants directly, as well as Chapter Members so you can all celebrate your outstanding projects for 2019. For Chapters like Victoria we are planning latest possible dates however the recent state lockdown may now require a change of format to allow us to get these awards presented before the end of 2020.

We also have our Annual Chapter Meeting season running at the moment and many members will have advice of either ‘face to face with social distancing’ or virtual meetings being held in the next month. Make sure you confirm attendance on our Eventbrite booking form for these free events. These Chapter meetings will also provide a forum to report to members on the Awards field received by each Chapter.

We are continuing with Course Accreditation work for a number of our University partners throughout this year, and we have adjusted this program to complete reviews of course material remotely; while deferring the actual site visit component, given the operational constraints on both travel and having University staff and students in attendance with our review teams.

While those members that paid membership subscriptions by 30th June, I expect you have now received your tax deductable receipts to assist with your tax preparations. It is still not too late to finalise your 2020 / 2021 membership subscription if this was not a priority before tax time. Our 4-instalment payment plan is still available for members who want to remain connected and need some support to do so. Simply contact membership@aib.org.au and request a payment plan form to allow us to assist you.

We are also aware that NBPR subscriptions for the National Building Professionals Register commence from 1 July 2020 for those NBPR members who don’t have this association linked to their existing AIB records. You can update your contact details or request your NBPR subscription or receipts by emailing nbpr@aib.org.au

Finally, our role as your representatives advocating on behalf of ‘Chartered Building Professionals’ to Government and Building Regulators in all jurisdictions has not stopped.

We currently have members actively engaged in most Chapters, a particularly big group of work is occurring in NSW with the substantial reforms led by the NSW Building Commissioner and the six pillars working groups. Both Robert Holdom – NSW Chapter President and myself are continuing the AIB consultation input for the Building Confidence Response in relation to the Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2020.

In parallel, the ABCB – National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners Paper is out for open comment so any AIB members views on the points that should be supported for National registration should get these comments to our National Office before Monday 17th August to allow these to be considered within the AIB Submission.

Direct comments to Geoff on ed@aib.org.au

Members can access the discussion paper on https://consultation.abcb.gov.au/engagement/dp-national-registration-framework/?utm_source=NCC+subscription+list+%5BAll%5D&utm_campaign=adb4bc3c51-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_06_24_03_23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5e6389f8aa-adb4bc3c51-71141467

Have a great day and stay safe wherever you are working at the moment. If you missed my presentation on “The Future Normal” webinar last night you could track down details through our event host Mecca Events.

David Burnell FAIB
National President, Australian Institute of Building

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT FOR THE AIB

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB), the leading Institute for building and construction professionals, is pleased to announce the appointment of Geoff Dart as the new Executive Director.

Announcing the appointment, National President David Burnell FAIB, acknowledged the excellent contribution of his predecessor and now looks forward to a renewed strategic approach to allow the AIB to grow within a dynamic and changing construction industry landscape.

Geoff brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, having consulted to the building industry for thirty years in Australia and New Zealand. His previous experience includes being a director of his own consulting practice, Geoff, a social scientist, has worked with corporate and privately owned SME’s in the areas of vision setting, strategic planning and implementation, including acquisitions and divestments.

These organizations have included developers, architects, builders, retailers / wholesalers, suppliers and private equity firms. During his corporate career, Geoff has held roles as a director with Moore Stephens, Nielsen and McCann.

Honoured to be appointed to the role, Geoff is looking forward to working with the Board and the team to crystalize the vision, set direction and undertake action. This will ensure the AIB is equipped to meet the ongoing challenges facing our members and partners. The AIB has a significant role to support the necessary growth, professionalism and prosperity of the building industry as it helps to lead Australia out of the contraction across our community that is deeply impacted by the last six months of COVID-19 disrupting our daily lives.

In line with the goals of the AIB, Geoff will focus on driving growth through innovative membership strategies, strengthening ties with allied professionals and development of commercial partnerships. Underpinning this focus will be a collaborative approach to continuing professional development, education, training, events and deeper media engagement to raise the awareness and profile of the AIB.

In summary, David noted the brief from the Board at the conclusion of the executive search …   “Geoff will pay close attention to our internal and external operations, ensuring that we deliver the most appropriate, best in class products and services to our members. Importantly, to ensure that we have a strong, united voice and seat at the table with regard to Government relations, policy-making and industry reform”.

MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT

9 July 2020 

AIB National Office – New Executive Director – Geoff Dart 

This week I am pleased to confirm the role of leading the Australian Institute of Building from our Canberra based office has been finalised, and we welcome Mr Geoff Dart as the new Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Building. Geoff will be joining us in the week commencing 20 July and he comes with a wealth of industry experience. We believe that this will complement the role of leading our Institute operations as we navigate the changed landscape that is evolving around the value of professional building construction needed in COVID times.

Geoff is currently relocating from Melbourne to take up this appointment, and he will quickly become a regular contributor that you will see in both our social and advocacy platforms. He joins us in challenging times when our industry is now clearly redefining construction operations and experiences focused on a ‘long term normal’ being significantly different from anything we could have imagined just 12 months ago.

I hope you take the time to contact Geoff once he settles in, and you will start to see his contributions to members and partners once he joins us officially in late July.

We wish Geoff and his family, every success for the future.

David Burnell FAIB
National President, Australian Institute of Building

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has released its paper Construction’s Bridge to Recovery (download here) on how Australia’s construction industry can successfully move forward from the coronavirus disruption. The document was created from feedback from ACIF’s member associations of which the AIB is a member and was collated from 16 organisations. ACIF will now be advocating for the recommendations to be adopted by governments around the country.

There is much discussion in the media regarding possible construction stimulus measures at the moment. ACIF recommends that stimulus spending be spread across residential (with an emphasis on quality social housing), non-residential and infrastructure construction, with much of the spending to go to small and medium-sized enterprises, and a focus on Australian-made products in construction.

ACIF’s modelling by FTI Consulting shows that the measures recommended could raise building and construction activity by $66 billion over the next five years. This would be a significant strengthening of the bridge to recovery that the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia has called for.

Finally this week and as I am sure many of you are aware by now, two prominent industry professionals were recognised on 8 June in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List.

  • Geoff Penley from South Australia was awarded a Medal (OAM) in the General Division
  • Chris Bulmer from New South wales was awarded a Medal (OAM) in the General Division

Both gentleman were awarded Medals ‘for service to the building and construction industry’ We should make mention that both Geoff and Chris have over the years made significant, personal contributions to the work of the AIB through many forums including Chapter and Committee work. The Institute relies heavily on the work of our volunteers and particularly those with significant experience and industry knowledge/thinking. They receive the awards with our sincere congratulations. Well done!

Have a great weekend ahead everyone..
Greg Hughes

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) of which the AIB is a member, met recently for the second catch up of the year.

Whilst a shorter than normal meeting, a lot of ground was covered. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews MP, joined for part of the meeting. We appreciated that she listened to the concerns and priorities of ACIF member organisations as well as giving government feedback. There was also a presentation from Equifax, who are consulting with industry on a potential star-rating system for construction companies in NSW, as part of the reforms of the NSW Government.

ACIF continues to engage in weekly roundtables with the Department of Industry, giving feedback from ACIF members regarding COVID-19. While it appears that Australia has escaped severe coronavirus health impacts compared to other countries, the economic impacts may still be challenging.

On this note, I have spent considerable time on the phone with members over the last couple of weeks and have noticed a trend in feedback. That being that there are may businesses quite actively engaged in the sector at the moment, however it would appear that there will be some significant challenges ahead as developers etc work hard to gain funding for new projects in what is a very challenging market.

As echoed by other organisations, I sense that the way forward must be that government projects be fast tracked to keep the industry moving. The reality is that if this doesn’t happen, we risk both businesses and individuals facing an uncertain future both later this year and into 2021. Perhaps it is time that you write to your local member with these views. Remember, the more we keep the noise up, the more likely we are to be heard.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.
Greg Hughes

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

As recently reported in a Master Builders Australia (MBA) press release:

The commercial construction sector is facing a significant downturn due to the impact of COVID-19 unless governments act to provide stimulus initiatives. According to the MBA, commercial construction activity is forecast to severely decline. Compared to previous forecasts, Master Builders now expects commercial building activity to be 15.7 per cent lower in 2020/21 and 11.5 per cent lower in 2021/22. The release went on to say that the impact on the commercial construction sector (as well as residential construction) is severe because the majority of projects are not publicly funded.

It is clear that the MBA (which the AIB supports) is calling for government/s to help build the bridge to recovery with areas where the public sector dominates, such as in education, health and defence and in effect, kick start initiatives. Other initiatives should include an expansion of government construction of education, health and aged care facilities.

Finally this week, there have been two reports released recently which may well be of interest:
1.) Senate Economics References Committee’s Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products – Government Response to the Final Report: Non-conforming building products – the need for a coherent and robust regulatory regime (access here).
2.) NSW Legislative Council Regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes – Final report (access here).

Have a great weekend ahead everyone..
Greg Hughes

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

It seems that everyday we tune into the news we are confronted with both good and bad stories with regard to COVID-19. It does seem though that here in Australia and through the expert advice of senior medical advisers, we are flattening the curve and improving day by day. The commitment from each and everyone of us in achieving this should not be underestimated.

It is through our collective efforts that industry and importantly ours, will hopefully make the recovery that we are so keenly looking for. However, in saying all of this, what we can’t do is become complacent or as commentators have been saying – take our foot off the brake too quickly. You may have read that Singapore was a world role model for COVID-19 management and now cases are rapidly rising due to an outbreak in the construction industry. It is a grim warning for our industry not to become complacent.

For those people who have entered our Professional Excellence Awards, rest assured that we are working hard to ensure that we ultimately deliver an event to celebrate the successes in our industry. You will appreciate that at the time of writing this, heavy government restrictions were in place with regard to the holding of events, however we will continue to work with the relevant event venues in working through the issues that we are confronted with.

Finally, despite the challenges that we have endured already this year with drought, fires and now COVID-19, nothing is more important than your family and loved ones – remember to safe distance and wash those hands!!

Have a great weekend ahead everyone..
Greg Hughes

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

As we push through with the imposed, ongoing COVID -19 restrictions and generally living what resembles little of what was some four or five months ago, I think we must continually put things into perspective and consider ourselves ‘lucky and fortunate’ in so many respects.

While many of us are feeling the effects of reduced or even a loss of jobs in some instances, nothing compares to the utter devastation and importantly, significant loss of life that others in various parts of the globe have endured with the pandemic. I know I speak on behalf of the National President in expressing our positive thoughts with regard to the way that the building and construction industry continues to keep moving forward.

With some sites now working over more days of the week to minimise interaction as well as the practising of safe distancing, we sense that the industry will pull through this. I can say that the Institute in concert with the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has attended numerous Industry Roundtable meetings with relevant government and Federal Government Ministerial staff. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss any new sector specific supply chain issues that may have arisen.

Government staff are also keen to gain a sense of when particular industries might expect to encounter significant difficulties, if they haven’t already, and the nature of these issues. The meetings also discuss numbers of COVID-19 cases in the construction industry, and what practical social distancing and other COVID-19 health measures are being undertaken. In the meantime if you have any feedback in this area, please be sure to let me know at ceo@aib.org.au and I will pass this on and through the meetings.

Finally in the same vein this week, ACIF has released its ‘Update Report’ for April 2020. The document contains thoughts and perspectives from key industry stakeholders on the uncertain situation with regard to COVID -19. It provides information about what has been happening in different sectors of the construction industry over the past few weeks, and what may be expected over the next few weeks as Australia and the world deal with the pandemic

There is expert comment across the informative document including input from AIB National President, David Burnell.

As a member of ACIF, this is free to all AIB members and I encourage you all to read this. Click here to download. 

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.

Greg Hughes