KEY BUSHFIRE STANDARD OPEN FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS TO ACCESS

Key bushfire standard open for all Australians to access

 

 

 

 

  • Standards Australia partners with the Australian Commonwealth government to jointly fund access for all Australians to AS 3959:2018 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas until 30 June 2021
  • Standards Australia joins the wider Australian communities in their efforts to rebuild after devastating bushfires
  • AS 3959:2018 will be available soon at no direct cost to users through Standards Australia’s distributors.

Today, Adrian O’Connell, Standards Australia’s Chief Executive Officer and Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology announced a joint funding agreement for access to AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, for all Australians.

“This is a difficult time for many individuals and communities. When the scale of the disaster became apparent, I wanted to make sure that Standards Australia was directly contributing to the broader Australian response,” said CEO of Standards Australia, Adrian O’Connell.

By funding access to this standard together with the Commonwealth Government, Standards Australia hopes that as communities rebuild after these most recent bushfires, they do so with access to Australia’s construction standard that deals with bushfire prone areas.

“I am very proud that we have been able to announce this today,” said Mr O’Connell.

The announcement comes just months after Standards Australia put in place a new distribution and licensing framework to provide more options for delivering access to Australian Standards. Standards Australia and the Commonwealth, through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources will be jointly funding the access until 30 June 2021 using the sponsored access pathway outlined in the distribution and licensing framework.

“When we announced our new distribution and licensing framework in November, being able to announce a partnership like this so quickly is a significant achievement for all involved. I would like to thank Minister Andrews and her Department for working with us over the last few weeks to make this happen,” said Mr O’Connell

Standards Australia’s Distribution and Licensing Framework Policy launched last year and has been paramount in the company’s ability to fund and open access to this standard and is an important example of how the new framework can support communities.

“It’s the nature of Standards Australia to support our nation and having control over our content has given us the opportunity to do this,” concluded Mr. O’Connell.

AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas provides guidance to professionals in the building and construction industry and is primarily concerned with improving the ability of buildings in designated bushfire-prone areas to better withstand bushfires.

Regarding the bushfires more broadly, Mr. O’Connell said it was too early to say what if any work needs to be done with technical standards following the bushfires.

“Everything that we’ve heard so far is telling us that houses built to the standard performed well. We’re currently looking for data about how AS 3959:2018 homes held up and working with relevant committees to support their ongoing work to help in this rebuilding phase.”

AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, will soon be available as a PDF to all Australians until 30 June 2021.

Standards Australia is working with its distributors on making the access available. Standards Australia will make a further announcement on access points in the coming weeks.

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

As we begin another year, I hope that you had a chance to have a bit of a break before the start of no doubt another busy 12 months ahead.

While our thoughts were very much with the numerous families that were and in many cases still are feeling the effects of the recent devastating bushfires, we can only hope that sense will prevail in future state, territory and federal planning to minimise the chances of something of this magnitude happening again. As David Burnell (National President) recently mentioned, many of our AIB members will also have a future part to play in the safety assessment and rebuilding phase that will follow this fire season.

A reminder for members to register their interest and expertise by email on our dedicated address fireresponse@aib.org.au so we can have a short list of skills ready when we are contacted to provide support by the newly established national relief agency.

In 2019, we worked very hard on meeting with government decision makers in pursuit of reform to the industry. This will continue again as we start a new year, with  all Chapters focusing on the AIB Ten Point Plan – a blueprint for some of the big issues facing the industry at the moment.

  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   

Our Professional Excellence Awards have opened again and we look forward to a record number of entries and some spectacular events this year where we will acknowledge some of the best of the best. All the details of how to enter are on our new website.

Two AIB members were recently bestowed honours in the Australia Day Honours list (2020).
Firstly, Bob Wildermuth received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) (General Division) for ‘service to the Building and Construction Industry’ and Robert Torrance from WA became a member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for ‘significant service to the building and construction industry’. Our sincere congratulations to both recipients – what a way to start the new year!
Finally in this column, if as a valued member you have any thoughts about how we can continue to build the AIB as a respected organisation, I would welcome your thoughts. A Value Proposition that is important to you is important to us.

I look forward to working with you all once again and wish you and your families all the best for 2020.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.
Greg Hughes

BUILDING MINISTERS’ FORUM

BUILDING MINISTERS’ FORUM – COMMUNIQUE – 13 DECEMBER 2019

The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) met today in Canberra to discuss progress and agree next steps with the suite of important national building reforms underway. Ministers acknowledged the extensive work done since they last met on 18 July but agreed there is more to be done.

Work to implement the recommendations in the Building Confidence Report and the path forward on professional indemnity insurance were among the many important projects discussed.

Building Confidence Report National Framework

Building Ministers noted the significant progress made by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), since the establishment of the Implementation Team to deliver a national approach to implementing the recommendations in the Building Confidence Report.

Key work already undertaken has included:

  • Development of amendments to the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) including a best practice process for the development ofperformance solutions to strengthen their consistency and quality.
  • Development of a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module on the NCC to ensure building practitioners have a better understanding of the requirements within the NCC.
  • Development of a new nationally consistent definition of ‘complex buildings’ with further consultation on the definition and targeted regulatory interventions to continue in early 2020 with a view to inclusion of the definition in the NCC.

Ministers noted the update on the work program for the national approach to implementing the Building Confidence Report of the BCR Implementation Team over the next 18 months.

The next steps include:

  1. Development of a nationally consistent code of conduct for building surveyors with consultation to commence in early 2020.
  2. Development of a detailed national specification for inclusion in a building manual for commercial buildings.
  3. Development of model provisions to set out the roles and responsibilities for documenting, approving and recording performance solutions.
  4. Work on a national data-sharing framework to support the development of a comprehensive national building data portal will also begin next year. This will draw on data from state and territory governments to support education and compliance and enforcement activities.

The Chair reaffirmed the call for industry and states and territories to contribute to the work of the BCR Implementation Team to ensure solutions can be adopted by all jurisdictions in a nationally consistent way.

Coordinated response to Professional Indemnity Insurance

Building Ministers discussed the outcomes of the consultation they commissioned in July and agreed there is no single solution and that a range of responses may be necessary.

Enduring solutions, that reduce the cost of insurance for building industry practitioners and ensure protection for consumers, must be underpinned by the systemic reforms that are being implemented through the national work on the Building Confidence recommendations. States and territories agreed to achieve greater national consistency with regards to licensing requirements for professional indemnity insurance.

Building Ministers agreed to convene a meeting in February 2020 with the Insurance Council of Australia to discuss a suite of measures to reduce the cost and improve the availability of professional indemnity insurance premiums for building industry practitioners.

Ministers called on industry associations to develop Professional Standards Schemes as a matter of priority. A further meeting in February 2020 will be convened with building surveyor and certifier industry associations to discuss their implementation plans for establishing a Professional Standards Scheme and raising standards within the industry. The insurance sector and professionals in the construction industry all have a critical role to play in developing solutions.

Aluminium Composite Panels

Ministers noted the work of the officials and Standards Australia to develop a technical specification for labelling aluminium composite panels. The technical specification is proposed for inclusion in the NCC amendment. An Australian Standard for labelling these products will now be developed drawing on the work done to deliver the technical specification.

Security of Payment

Building Ministers agreed that states and territories would seek to apply model parameters if they are considering the implementation of statutory trusts in their respective security of payment regimes, to provide a nationally consistent approach to the reform.

States and territories would continue to assess the costs and benefits of implementing statutory trusts with respect to local sector conditions and stakeholder feedback.

Digital Twins

Ministers were briefed by CSIRO’s Data61—the Commonwealth’s data and digital sciences arm—on the opportunities to use digital solutions to improve compliance in the building and construction sector, including the ability to track products in the supply chain.

Industry Qualifications

Noting the July 2019 BMF highlighted that some building practitioners did not hold adequate skills required to read and interpret relevant standards and legislation, Building Ministers were briefed by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) on their planned audits of building and construction qualifications.

Fire Safety in Early Childhood Centres

Building Ministers noted the decision of the Australian Building Codes Board to achieve enhanced fire safety measures for early childhood centres by requiring a Performance Solution for centres at upper levels of high-rise buildings. This requirement is to be included in the out-of-cycle NCC amendment.

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

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

AIB’S TEN POINT PLAN

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.

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

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

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

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

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

If nothing else, for many it has been an angst filled year with the myriad of issues plaguing the industry at the moment. What we need to do is stop and reflect on some of the positive actions that are taking place post the issues at hand.

As an example, remediation work through recladding has been underway for quite some time on the Lacrosse building in Victoria. Through L.U. Simon, significant and often either unreported or misinterpreted actions by the media has cast what the AIB believes to be an unnecessary shadow over many parts of the industry and specifically, construction businesses themselves.

In another example, Icon’s work on the Opal Tower in Sydney has undertaken many initiatives that are often not reported. These include, but not limited to:

  • There are 392 apartments in the complex
  • 350 apartments were occupied at the time of the incident (late December 2018)
  • Over 370 apartments now available for reoccupation
  • The remaining apartments are subject to investigative works which are required for Icon’s owner Kajima to fulfill their previously committed 20 year structural warranty
  • Structural remediation works were completed 17th July 2019 (10 weeks post approval) and have been overseen by two engineers, a concrete technologist and the Owners Corporation appointed Project Manager. Final inspection of the completed works has also been inspected by the Department of Planning and Government Engineers
  • To date, Icon has spent $29m including dealing with residents and undertaking works
  • Despite constant negative publicity, Icon has remained focussed on the remediation and the resident’s welfare.

I would suggest that the media overall has taken a dim and quite negative view of the issues, without appropriate research etc. It’s time for some positive stories to start emerging. Stories that are both factual and appropriately researched can lead to improvements across the profession. Isn’t it time this starts happening now?

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.
Greg Hughes

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

Firstly this week, a sincere thank you to those supporters of Constructing Our World 2019. The feedback we received was very positive across many stakeholder groups as a conference that addressed (in some cases head on) the real issues affecting the industry at the moment.

My thanks to the many speakers who gave freely of their time as well as to our sponsors including Meriton Group, Bluebeam and Infrabuild who contributed to the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also want to make a special mention of our Conference Chair, Dr Robyn Hardy. Robyn devoted countless hours into making the event what it was. Her passion and sheer determination to pull this together was without a doubt a herculean effort and wraps this up with our utmost heartfelt thanks. Photos from the conference can viewed here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincere congratulations must also go to our winners from the National Awards which were held in between the conference. It was a great night, recognising some of the country’s outstanding talent in the building and construction industry. The full list of winner can be found here. The photos from the Awards night can be viewed here.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone.
Greg Hughes

BUILDERS PARTNER AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE ON CONSTRUCTION INNOVATIONS

To improve practice, the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) and its counterpart, Australian Institute of Building (AIB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which would further develop the methodology and technology of building construction.

The pact, which is aimed at making the two bodies have a shared commitment to becoming a stronger professional educator within the construction industry, was signed in Sydney during an event, ‘Constructing Our World’, jointly organised by the New-Zealand Institute of Building, Australian Institute of Building and Singapore Institute of Building.

According to the Australian Institute of Building President, Mr. David Burnell the professionals would work together to raise the level of professionalism in the Nigerian and Australia building industry.

Speaking on the initiative, NIOB President, Mr. Kunle Awobodu explained that the collaboration among members of the two institutes would promote research in the field of construction and also encourage greater participation of members in jointly organised construction events for valuable Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Mr. kunle Awobodu said there were ongoing discussions on collaboration with the New-Zealand Institute of Building and Singapore Institute of Building to create multilateralism for greater collective drive to technologically shaped construction products.

The two parties have also agreed to exchange information relevant to the development of the building construction management profession in Australia and Nigeria to facilitate an understanding of each other’s work.

In his goodwill message to the forum, the High Commissioner of Nigeria in Australia, Ambassador Bello Kazaure Husseini hoped that the bilateral relationship would advance construction innovations in Nigeria.

Recounting his experience after a tour of building construction sites in Australia, the Vice Chairman of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Dr. Samson Opaluwah commended the level of compliance with standards, which, of course, CORBON would not relent at promoting in Nigeria.

NIOB former General Secretary, Mr. Fadil Elegbede expressed satisfaction on the new value the Sydney event has contributed to the construction knowledge of Nigerian professionals despite the cultural differences.

Source: guardian.ng