Firstly this week, I appreciate the positive feedback we have been receiving for our new Professional Excellence Awards website. It would seem that the approach of a one stop site for all Awards information including the ability to purchase event tickets, coupled with a fresh new look has been well received. Thanks again to those who have commented – we certainly have received quite a few hits with again, quite a few people starting their submission for next year!

Recently, I attended the Building Confidence Report (BCR) National Framework Industry Leaders Consultative Group Meeting in Canberra. In essence the meetings are designed to assist with a national framework with regard to the implementation of the Building Confidence Report (Shergold-Weir Report).

Some of the issues that were raised included:

  • The need for compliance and consistency across jurisdictions
  • Workshopping four (4) immediate deliverables from the BCR
  • Discussion around potential regulatory change
  • Discussion around potential changes to the NCC

As a member of this group of industry stakeholders, it is important that we continue to contribute to this piece of ongoing work. These meetings are vital so Government understands (through the Building Ministers Forum) that we are committed to the Building Confidence Report and the reforms that are necessary for the industry. I acknowledge that state and territories will have difficulty with ‘harmonisation’ across the country, however as I mentioned earlier, compliance and consistency is something we must strive for.

I believe it is time that states and territories stop looking in the rear vision mirror and contemplate what we need for positive reform/s as we head into a new year.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.
Greg Hughes


Better Regulation: A Ten Point Plan From The Australian Institute of Building

The AIB supports a cooperative and productive building and construction environment based on consultation between government, industry and academia through formal mechanisms, and appropriate appointment of risk and responsibility owned by the various parties. It supports a coordinated unified system of regulation for the construction industry based on the following principles:

  1.   Code of Ethics 
  2.   Single Regulatory Agency
  3.   National Construction Code
  4.   Formal Education for Builders
  5.   Licencing of Key Building Professions and Trades
  6.   Registration System for all Builders and Trades
  7.   Building Quality Manager
  8.   Documentation Review
  9.   Building Surveyor Sign Off
  10.   Insurance System   

 More information about each point – click here.


We recently met up with the new NSW Government Building Commissioner, David Chandler. Both National President, David Burnell, myself and one of the AIB’s NSW Chapter Vice President’s had an initial free flowing discussion around a number of points including:

  • How the AIB can assist with the reform that David’s Department will be committing to over the next five years
  • The ongoing negative media coverage of the industry and how we can do our bit to put some balance into this issue
  • Some of the key outcomes of the recent Constructing Our World conference in Sydney
  • Key meetings that the AIB has had with Tier 1 firms and their feedback etc

Once David’s future planning becomes more public, I will be sure to pass this on. With the end of the year fast approaching and Christmas mere weeks away we have been preparing for next year and have opened submissions for the 2020 Professional Excellence in Building Awards!!!

In addition, we have launched a dedicated website for our much talked about annual program. Features of the site include:

  • A photo gallery of previous winners and events
  • Links and news for all upcoming state, territory and national awards programs
  • Spotlight on previous Building Professional of the Year winners
  • One stop shop to buy Award function tickets online
  • Copies of past Awards magazines covering both nominations and finalists

See the site here. Many thanks to Awards Coordinator, Abbey Czudek for creating the new site. I believe it is long overdue and will make quite a difference in the way we market and generally communicate the events.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.
Greg Hughes


The newly elected President of the nation’s peak building and construction industry advocacy organisation has urged the Senate to pass the Ensuring Integrity laws.

Simon Butt was elected National President of Master Builders Australia on the weekend at a meeting of Master Builders Associations the building and construction industry in each state and territory.

“There was an overwhelming consensus from Master Builders’ members around the country that the Ensuring Integrity laws are vital to protecting building businesses from union bullying and restoring the rule of law in our industry,” Simon Butt said.

“Our industry for years been afflicted by the bullying, intimidation and thuggery of construction unions and their officials, some of whom repeatedly flout the law and bully small building businesses almost every day. We need the Ensuring Integrity laws to make sure there are real consequences that will act as a deterrent for these flagrant reoffenders,” Simon Butt said.

Simon Butt has more than 30 years of experience in the building and construction industry. Simon is highly regarded in the ACT and ‘Canberra Region’ where he is a former President of Master Builders ACT .

Simon is Chief Executive of Manteena, an award-winning Canberra based construction contractor with a track record of working on some of the most iconic projects in the nation’s capital including Parliament House, and completing construction projects across Australia and internationally in 23 countries.

Simon is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building and Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2018 he was appointed an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra.

For further information contact: Ben Carter, Director Media & Public Affairs – 0447 775 507






Australian Building Codes Board are seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) for a secondment opportunity in the role of Senior Project Officer (EL1) in the NCC Education and Awareness team at the ABCB.

Click here to download the “how to apply” document

Download advert here. 

For more information please contact:
Clare Wright – Group Manager, NCC Education and Awareness
02 6276 17700 or email 


The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) forecasts that the decline in Residential Building will be so deep that it will dominate the outlook for building and construction, dragging down economic growth and employment. The outlook has been detailed in the latest Australian Construction Market Report, released today. ACIF indicates there have been recent signs of improvement in some markets, but it will take time for the impact to be felt throughout all building and construction markets.

“The lowest interest rates on record have been reduced even more, despite this access to finance and credit has presented a significant hurdle to developers, builders, investors and owner occupiers. Market adversity has encouraged builders to withdraw from development of new projects; we witnessed new dwelling approvals plummet last year and commencements have also fallen. A fall in residential building activity is locked into the pipeline and this will take a while for this to be put into reverse,” said ACIF Construction Forecasting Council Chair Bob Richardson.​

Residential Building Activity
Residential Building work fell 0.4% last year (2018-19). A much deeper contraction of 8.4% is expected this year (2019-20), dragging the value of work done down to $96 billion. The rebound in building activity is expected to be delayed until 2021-22. The drop in activity will be difficult to avoid despite recent improvements in house prices because it will take time to restore approval numbers, secure land and commence new projects and address other ‘lags’.

Building and Construction Work Done ($ billion)

Non-Residential Building Activity
In marked contrast to Residential Building, Non-Residential Building activity is midway through a growth phase. Expanded business investment in Accommodation, Industrial and Offices, and Public sector investment, especially in Education and Defence. Growth is expected to continue through the remainder of this year and into 2020-21. This will raise activity to peak at $45 billion.

Infrastructure Construction Activity
Work done in Infrastructure Construction contracted by 5.5% last year to $62 billion. This reflected the completion of large projects, and delays in shifting to new projects which are often in different sectors and geographies. Infrastructure construction activity is expected to return to growth in line with expanded plans and programs, raising work done to $66 billion in 2019-20 and $68 billion in 2020-21.

Total Building and Construction Activity
While the downturn in Residential Building activity is expected to deepen this year, the depth of the decline will be offset by increases in other building and construction activities. The expected rebound in Infrastructure Construction spending will be too little too late to prevent a fall in total building and construction activity this year. Growing Infrastructure Construction spending will be sufficient to stabilise the amount of building and construction work to be done in 2020-21 and lead to a return to growth in 2021-22.

Employment in building and construction
Construction employment is projected to fall 2% to 1,159,000 jobs over this year, reflecting the significant decline in Residential Building activity that will be difficult to avoid. This is a concern because Residential Building is the most labour-intensive type of building and construction. Construction employment is projected to track sideways for 2-3 years based on relative stability in the level of total building and construction activity.

Building and Construction Activity in Summary 






Industry Outlook
Total building and construction work fell 8.2% last year to $233 billion. A further fall of 1.7% is expected this year (2019-20). Most, of the large losses in Residential Building activity are expected to be offset by increases in Infrastructure Construction and Non-Residential Building.

Download PDF Media Release here.

About Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF)
Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is the trusted voice of the Australian construction industry. ACIF facilitates and supports an active dialogue between key players in residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction, other industry groups, and government agencies. ACIF’s focus is on innovation, collaboration, equity and sustainability for the industry. More information on ACIF is available from ​​.


It seems that my column of two weeks ago about negative media coverage with issues surrounding our profession sparked quite a bit of interest. Make no mistake that we will continue to give this a positive push wherever and whenever we can and equally, bring the issue up with relevant Ministers and others at a senior level.

Just on this note, if you have a positive story to tell from your business and about how you are perhaps making ‘a positive change’, we would love to hear from you and potentially give some coverage to.

In other news, we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with both the University of Pretoria as well as The South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP). As we (AIB) continue to explore new opportunities around the globe, we see these two signings as creating stronger ties with not only our neighbours in South Africa but also as the organisation broadens its reach globally. It is hoped that in this vein, we will continue to explore new opportunities for potential accreditation of appropriate teaching institutions (universities) of construction management programs.

Have a great weekend everyone,
Greg Hughes


Builders Raise Concern About Manslaughter Law

A key building industry lobby group has raised concern about new legislation which could see bosses who negligently cause death of their workers facing up to 20 year’s jail or up to $16.5 million in fines, saying that the new offence should apply to all parties in workplaces and will adversely impact small business.

The Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBAV) has raised concerns about three aspects of proposed new laws which were introduced into the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday that will create a new offense for workplace manslaughter under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

Under the proposed changes, employers who negligently cause a workplace death will face fines of up to $16.5 million and up to twenty year’s jail in the case of individuals.

The offence will apply to employers, self-employed people and ‘officers’ of the employers (such as company directors).

The legislation will also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of a member of the public.

The new laws follows recommendations contained in the final report of a senate inquiry into industrial deaths released in October 2018 for the nationally consistent implementation of an industrial manslaughter offence.

The inquiry called for states and territories to use as a starting point existing Queensland laws which were introduced after fatalities which occurred at the Dreamworld Theme Park and the Eagle Farm construction site in 2016.

In a statement, Victorian Minster for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy said no-one should die at work and that the government was committed to holding accountable those who negligently cause deaths.

“I cannot begin to imagine the pain felt by the families who have lost a loved one at work,” Hennessy said.

“All workers deserve a safe workplace and the proposed laws send a clear message to employers that putting people’s lives at risk in the workplace will not be tolerated.”

So far this year, 19 Victorians have died at work.

But MBAV has raised concern about the proposed new law.

In a statement, MBAV chief executive officer Rebecca Casson said the law should apply to anyone who engages in criminally negligent conduct which results in death in a workplace

As well as organisations and senior officers, this should include workers themselves.

Responsibility for safety, Casson said, should be shared between employers and their workers and should be approached in a spirit of collaboration.

Toward this end, she says legal responsibility where negligence occurs should apply to all involved in a workplace – not just employers and company officers.

Casson also expresses concern that the burden of the new laws will fall disproportionately on small employers, who typically have a more hands on role in company operations.

Finally, the legislation should be accompanied by education and support both for businesses themselves to provide safe workplaces and for Worksafe officials to manage the complexities associated with manslaughter cases (currently, manslaughter investigations are conducted by highly trained Victoria Police officers).

“The Victorian Government has today introduced a new workplace manslaughter law to Parliament,” Casson said.

“If passed as drafted, this law risks failing to create safer workplaces while imposing fines of around $16 million and up to 20 years jail for employers responsible for negligently causing death.

“We accept that the Government has a mandate to introduce workplace manslaughter legislation, but these laws should be fair and equitable.”

Written by Andrew Heaton 



Media Release
The Hon Richard Wayne MP
Minister for Planning
Minister for Housing Minister for Multicultural Affairs

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering greater protections for building and apartment owners under sweeping new changes introduced to Parliament today.

The Building and Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Bill will give stronger powers to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to investigate illegal phoenix activity, where companies deliberately go into administration to avoid liability for building work before re-emerging as a new entity.

The Bill strengthens the fit and proper person tests required for practitioner registration by incorporating financial probity requirements. This will allow greater scrutiny of company directors, secretaries and influential persons as part of the registration process.

The VBA will be able to refuse applications for new registration, or renewal of registration, if the applicant is suspected to have engaged in illegal phoenix activity at any time over the previous two years.

The Bill also expands existing suspension powers for building practitioners responsible for unsafe works to ensure that plumbers and architects can also face immediate suspension. This power was introduced for building practitioners in 2018 and has already been used by the VBA.

The Bill will also:

  • modernise and strengthen the Architects Registration Board of Victoria to ensure that the Board can effectively respond to present and future challenges and improve consumer protection and confidence in the industry; and
  • wind up the Building Practitioners Board and transfer its outstanding inquiries to the VBA for a more streamlined, efficient assessment.

While the Labor Government is doing all it can to identify and stop illegal phoenix activity, the Federal Government needs to make changes to national company laws for it to be properly stamped out.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“This bill is about giving Victorians more confidence in the building sector and helping the VBA to weed out those doing the wrong thing.”

“Plumbers and architects can face immediate suspension under these new laws, as well as not having their industry registration renewed.”

“We’re taking action to help curb illegal phoenix activity and it’s about time our Commonwealth counterparts did the same.”


Media contact: Nicole Bland 0417 375 623 |


Gordon Ramsay MLA
Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries & Cultural Events
Minister for Building Quality Improvement
Minister for Business and Regulatory Services
Minister for Seniors and Veterans
Member for Ginninderra 24 October 2019

Greater protection for building owners

Building owners will receive better protection from dodgy builders and developers following the introduction of laws to make company directors personally liable for building defects.

“The amendments will prevent corporations from undermining the system and deliberately avoiding their regulatory obligations by winding up their company” Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay said.

“There have been instances where building corporations have produced substandard buildings, and when called to account, they have closed their business to leave the cost of rectification to the building owners.

“We’re strengthening our regulatory regime, with new powers to allow rectification orders to be issued to the directors of licensed corporations, and to make directors liable for unpaid financial penalties.

“New provisions will also provide greater safeguards for the community by allowing the Construction Occupations Registrar to publish information about stop notices if necessary or desirable to protect the public.

“These changes are important for the ACT and further support the range of building regulatory reforms already introduced by the ACT Government to improve practices across the building industry.

“The ACT Government has an ongoing commitment to improve building quality so that every Canberran can live and work in safe, high quality buildings.”

Other amendments introduced in the bill are:

  • Powers for building inspectors to direct builders and landowners in relation to non-compliant building work
  • Provisions that allow people to enter into enforceable actions to rectify work
  • Clear requirements for licensed corporations to have an effective system of management.

For more information visit:

Statement ends

Media contact: Anton Gallacher
T (02) 6207 3795  M 0422 574 E:

ACT Legislative Assembly
Phone (02) 6205 2615   Email: