CONTRACTOR APM ISSUED EXCLUSION SANCTION FOLLOWING BUILDING CODE BREACH

 

 

 

Media Release 10 April 2019

A Victorian building company has been issued a one-month exclusion sanction for its failure to comply with state security of payments legislation.

The exclusion sanction, imposed by the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, Kelly O’Dwyer, means APM Group (Aust) Pty Ltd (APM) and its related entity APM Holdings (Aust) Pty Ltd are excluded from expressing interest in, tendering for, or being awarded Commonwealth-funded building work for the one-month exclusion period, 1 May 2019 to 31 May 2019.

APM was found to have breached the Building Code 2013 by failing to pay a subcontractor over

$40,000, and failing to resolve a payment dispute with a subcontractor in a reasonable, timely and cooperative way.

In the course of its dealings with the subcontractor, APM’s conduct included:

  • Threatening to ‘cash’ the subcontractor’s bank guarantees if it proceeded with an application for adjudication;
  • Applying pressure on the subcontractor not to exercise its statutory rights to suspend works; and
  • Withholding the subcontractor’s retention amounts (bank guarantees) from prior projects beyond the defect liability period to pressure the subcontractor to perform works on a current project.

APM failed to pay progress payments to the subcontractor even after an independent adjudicator had determined the claim should be paid.

ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said subcontractors deserved to be paid on time and that in many cases their livelihood depended upon it.

“In this instance, APM’s conduct had a significant impact on the subcontractor both emotionally and financially,” Mr McBurney said.

“APM’s failure to pay the subcontractor compromised the ability of the subcontractor to pay their bills and put pressure on their relationship with suppliers.

“APM’s failure to abide by the independent adjudication outcome also undermines the statutory regime implemented to address security of payment issues.”

There are a number of requirements placed on code covered entities that are intended to help ensure progress payments are made in a timely manner. Code covered entities must also report disputed or delayed progress payments to the ABCC.

The APM sanction is the first exclusion sanction relating to non-compliance with security of payments laws since the ABCC launched its Security of Payment campaign in July 2018.

THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT – WEEK THAT WAS …

4 April 2019

This last period has seen our awards submissions close and early bird registrations for Constructing our World in September open. Our full Council face to face meeting in March has now set some programs in place to work on recently approved initiatives.

We have a trial now running with a small cohort of matched students and industry mentors running and this has kicked off with the first implementation meeting. At the conclusion of this trial in July this year we will have some feedback on next steps to move this forward for implementation in more Chapters in the future. The National Council acknowledges the great work of Bob Wildermuth FAIB in Queensland, who completed the substantial amount of framework documentation up to the point of implementation.

Our Chapter judging panels have now commenced the process of reviewing and marking the Professional Excellence Award submissions to get to a list of finalists and winners ahead of the first Chapter Awards night which kicks off in Canberra on 23rd May so members should start booking tickets and tables for the various events running from May until July around the country.

Membership subscriptions have now been out for a couple of weeks and I would encourage members to contact the National Office on 02 6253 1100 next week if you have not yet seen an email from us with your invoice attached. In an effort to responsibly manage the institutes’ resources our first round of invoicing has been intentionally delivered electronically. If you have recently moved address or changed your contact details we would also ask that you update these by logging on using the website to check your current record. You can also pay directly by logging into your Membership and clicking Pay Membership Fee.

Finally this week I was privileged to attend as an observer the Deakin University – School Advisory Board. I was impressed that the school takes very seriously their commitment to monitor and continuously improve the content and delivery for the building degrees on offer at Deakin. The AIB is actively involved in supporting and accrediting some 15 degree courses around the country and we are pleased to see our comments on maintaining industry relevant content.

The balance of the week has included teleconferences and preparations for the various PEA dinner venues, responding to Industry commentators on ‘Shergold-Weir’ report progress across different States, Opal Towers and Cladding Issues to discuss facts and findings to better inform some of the forums about the detail rather than erroneous headlines.

So I look forward to seeing you at an AIB event soon.

David Burnell FAIB
National President, Australian Institute of Building

SECTIONS OF OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN’S 2019 BUDGET REPLY RELEVANT TO CONSTRUCTION

Ending Negative Gearing on Older Investor Properties

If you’re currently negatively gearing the rules won’t change. If you want to use it on new homes, you still can. But we cannot have property investors playing with loaded dice against our young people, Generation Y and the Millennials. And instead of patronising millions of young Australians with lectures about cutting back on smashed avo. Why don’t we tell them the truth: Getting together a 20 per cent deposit – plus stamp duty – is so much, much harder than it was 20 or 25 years ago.

And it’s even more difficult, when your government uses your taxpayer money to subsidise the property investors bidding against you. The intergenerational bias that the tax system has against young people must be called out. A government has to be brave enough and decent enough to stop the bias against first home buyers and young Australians.

Extra TAFE Spending

And when everyone has an equal chance to fulfil their potential. This is why investing in the future, always begins with education.

This is where the difference between Labor and the Government could not be more stark. Nine out of ten new jobs created in the next four years will require either a university degree or a TAFE qualification. Only a Labor Government will be prepared to properly fund both. We’ll uncap university places, opening the doors of higher education to an additional 200,000 Australians. And when it comes to vocational education, Labor is backing public TAFE all the way. I’ve been fortunate to have visited about 30 TAFEs around Australia since the last election. The teachers and students are inspirational. So tonight I’m pleased to announce that we are going to double the size of our Rebuilding TAFE fund – up to $200 million to renovate campuses in regional and outer-suburban Australia. This will mean:

  • This will mean new facilities for training nurses in Caboolture and Devonport.
  • New workshops in Midland and Bellevue, to make sure the METRONET train carriages work goes to apprentices.
  • A new construction centre for tradies in Chadstone and Frankston.

And so much more. Labor will also pay the upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE places to get more Australians training in high-priority courses.

Building Program

Building an economy that works for everyone means a massive building program, right across our nation. We will reinvigorate jobs in the construction sector:

  • With our Build-to-Rent plan.
  • Targeting Negative Gearing to new housing.
  • Renovating the national energy grid with new pipelines, interconnectors, hydro and storage.
  • Launching the biggest affordable housing program since the Second World War – building a quarter of a million new homes.

And we will invest in safe accommodation for women fleeing violent relationships. Because too often, when the worst happens, people still say: “Why didn’t she leave?” What we should ask is: “Where would she go?” Mr Speaker Labor has transport plans and projects ready to go in every state and territory:

  • Cross River Rail in Brisbane
  • Western Sydney Metro
  • Suburban Rail Loop in Melbourne
  • The Bridgewater Bridge in Tassie
  • South Road in South Australia
  • METRONET in Perth
  • Upgrading the roads around Kakadu
  • And Phase 2 of the ACT light rail.

And – thanks to Albo’s hard work – the work is just beginning. Labor will continue to develop and support the development Northern Australia: including overdue upgrades for the beef roads and the Rocky ring road. And tonight I can announce we will deliver $1.5 billion to upgrade the Gateway Motorway from Bracken Ridge to the Pine River – and the next stage of the Bruce Highway from the Northern Suburbs to Caboolture. There’s another big difference between Liberal and Labor on infrastructure. In their budget you have to vote for the current Prime Minister at this election… … then you have to vote for whoever is their leader at the next election… …and that’s before anyone even digs a hole. Our projects are not on the never-never, they are locked in to our first budget.

Infrastructure Australia to be Non-Partisan

There’s another difference that I offer the Australian people, frustrated by the constant short- termism in the infrastructure debate. If we are elected, I will invite the then-Opposition Leader to be involved in nominating directors to Infrastructure Australia, so we take the politics out and we make generational decisions in infrastructure for once and for all time. And every time we invest Commonwealth dollars in infrastructure projects.

Apprenticeships

We’ll make the rule that 1 in 10 people employed must be an Australian apprentice. Mr Speaker The bad news is that over the last six years under the Liberals, apprenticeships have fallen by 150,000. The good news is because of our vision:

  • in infrastructure housing construction
  • the NDIS
  • TAFE and training
  • early childhood education
  • energy
  • and the digital economy

…a Labor Government can repair the damage done. Tonight, I say we will help train 150,000 apprentices for the jobs of the future. We will provide additional support for businesses which take them on – both young people and mature age workers looking to re-train and to learn new skills.

And we’ll create an Apprentice Advocate – because the tragic death of an 18 year old apprentice on the Macquarie Park site last week, reminds us that we’ve got to protect our apprentices and they have the same right to come home safe as everybody else.

Wages and Security of Payment

Only Labor has a concrete, practical plan to get wages moving again.

  1.  If we win the election we will legislate to restore the arbitrary cuts to Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in our first 100
  2. We will stop companies using sham contracts and dodgy labour hire arrangements to cut people’s pay
  3. Our Tradie Pay Guarantee means that subbies working on Commonwealth projects get paid on time, every time.

2019 FEDERAL BUDGET SUMMARY FROM INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIPS AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

With thanks to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia for providing the 2019 Federal Budget Summary.

Click here to view full summary

THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT WILL PROVIDE FUNDING TO SUPPORT NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS FOLLOWING LAST NIGHTS FEDERAL BUDGET

The Australian Government will provide funding to support national infrastructure projects following the release of last night’s Federal Budget.

Download the Budget 2019-20 Federal Financial Relations Budget Paper No.3 here

DISCUSSION PAPER ON ALUMINIUM COMPOSITE PANEL PRODUCT LABELLING

Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) have been at the centre of a number of investigations in Australia and around the world. The development a permanent labelling system for ACP has been identified as a necessity. Standards Australia is seeking advice from industry and other stakeholders on the proposed approach for labelling of Aluminium Composite Panels.

View the Labelling of ACP products discussion paper (PDF). 

FIRST FINANCIAL DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING FOLLOWING LAW REFORMS

 

 

 

25 March 2019

Large construction companies with an annual revenue of more than $30 million have until the end of March to get their financial reports to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), or risk court action.

QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said the first deadline for new reporting reforms was at midnight on 31 March 2019.

“Under the laws which came into effect on 1 January this year, all QBCC licensees with a turnover of more than $30 million must submit their audited financial reports for the 2017/18 financial year to the regulator by the end of March,”Mr Bassett said.

“By the end of 2019, every other licensee will be required to meet new financial reporting rules.

“These new requirements help the QBCC to monitor the viability of licensees. Viable construction companies offerbetter stability for the industry and improve the security of payment for subbies and suppliers.

“Those who don’t follow the law could be subject to prosecution, financial audits and, where appropriate, licencesuspensions or cancellations.”

The Commissioner said that of the 855 licensees in categories 4 to 7, who have an annual revenue of more than $30 million, the QBCC had so far only received financial reports from 171 licensees.

Many of these licensees are large multi-national companies operating across the country. “Earlier this month we suspended the licence of construction giant Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd forfailing to meet minimum financial requirements,” Mr Bassett said.

“Let me be clear – if you are operating outside of the law, we will take appropriate regulatory action.

“Part of our job is to ensure Queensland’s building and construction industry is safe, stable and sustainable, and if big companies are operating with unacceptable financial risk, then we will be taking regulatory action.

“We must work to protect the sector from serious financial harm. When big companies collapse, it has a devastating impact on the industry.

“The new annual financial reporting requirements will help the QBCC to better protect subbies, suppliers, othercompanies, homeowners and investors from potential financial detriment when licensees are operating with poor financial health.”

For instructions on how to submit the financial documents, visit www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/financial-reporting-licensees. The QBCC website also has a licensee search function for consumers.

The QBCC will also send reminders to licensees who are yet to provide their information.

© Queensland Building and Construction Commission 2014. ABN 88 568 500 260 Queensland Government

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

Our National Council Meeting was held last Saturday here in Canberra. Of particular note, we discussed:

  • Ways that we (AIB) can better engage and deliver benefits to our students and graduates in the industry
  • A review of the Institute’s delivery of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and are we hitting the mark?
  • Discussion/next steps around the trial of the National Mentoring Program

Our membership renewal notices have gone out and on behalf of the National President, David Burnell we both strongly encourage you to re – engage with us for another year. As you are aware, the strength of this organisation lies with it members. Can I assure you that all of us here at National Office and on our National Council as well as Chapter Committees continue to work extremely hard to advocate for the profession and deliver services and events in order to be able to help you grow professionally. If for any reason you may be having difficulty in paying, please contact the membership team.

Finally this week and some good news, due to numerous requests we have extended the date  for entries in the 2019 AIB Professional Excellence Awards. That means you have until tomorrow Friday 22 March (11.59PM AEDT) to finish up and submit your entry through our new system – Award Force and be a part of this exciting national program.

For those who have entered, sincerely my best wishes and we look forward to catching up with you on the following dates:

ACT PEA                    23 May 2019 (Ainslie Football Club)
SA/NT PEA               31 May 2019 (National Wine Centre of Australia)
QLD PEA                   14 June 2019 (Pullman Brisbane King George Square)
HK PEA                      21 June 2019
WA PEA                     29 June 2019 (The Westin) 
VIC/TAS PEA          19 July 2019
NSW PEA                  26 July 2019 (Dockside Sydney)
NATIONAL PEA     19 September 2019 (Four Seasons Hotel Sydney)

Have a great weekend ahead everyone,

Greg Hughes

THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT – WEEK THAT WAS …

15 March 2019

This week I am currently in Canberra ahead of a Council Meeting tomorrow. We also learned last Monday of the passing of a past National President Mr Graham Fricker AM LFAIB. Graham served the institute with distinction for all of his building career and he was our National President from 2001 to 2003. He remained an active member in the South Australian Chapter after leaving the National Council in 2013 when our smaller format board was established.

The week has also seen a significant amount of AIB coverage for building related releases. We have now seen the implementation plans for all jurisdictions with respect to progressing the Shergold-Weir recommendations. Sadly the spread of responses and action is low in all states with some states still discussing whether they intend to adopt some recommendations (see Building Confidence Report).

The take away message may be that the regulators are leading ‘without confidence’ in multiple areas, so industry will still wear the blame because sites are identified by cranes with contractor names. Is it time to start hanging a sign for the local building minister on every site, to remind the public their confidence in the building system also includes areas outside of any main contractor having control of physical work?

I recently offered an idea to start industry thinking about the scale of our cladding rectification as a cost and resources problem with an eye watering price tag. I would welcome comments and discussion on how we can manage to pay for the repairs needed (see A National Pathway is needed to help solve Building Confidence article).

Don’t forget the Professional Excellence Awards for 2019 are nearly closed for submissions so there is less than a week left to finish off the submissions already started on line.

Finally this week has kept me on the phone and in teleconferences as we prepare for the next National Council meeting to review the last six months of AIB work since I became National President. Your National Councillors are currently travelling to Canberra or preparing for early flights tomorrow as we spend a full day on planning, presentations, budget management and final details for the Constructing our World Conference which is happening in September in Sydney.

So I look forward to updating you after the Council meeting with my next report.

David Burnell FAIB
National President, Australian Institute of Building

ACIF WELCOMES RELEASE OF THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF SHERGOLD WEIR REPORT

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has welcomed the implementation plan for the recommendations of the Shergold Weir report released yesterday.  ACIF commends the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) and the Federal, State and Territory Governments for the release of the implementation plan, albeit 13 months after the release of the Shergold Weir Report in February last year.

ACIF Executive Director James Cameron stated, “We note that no recommendations are “not supported” by any of the states. Also only a few recommendations are still “under consideration” by a few states, and these are definitely positives of the plan. “

“However, ACIF is concerned that the time frames for implementation of the recommendations are vague for many of the states, and some states say that several of the recommendations would be implemented in the “medium to long term”.”

“ACIF would like the recommendations implemented by May 2021, as recommended in the Shergold Weir Report” Mr Cameron added.

“Further, ACIF would prefer a quarterly or six-monthly update from the Building Ministers’ Forum on progress of implementation, rather than an annual update.”

“ACIF has supported greater consistency and moves towards uniform licensing in the construction industry across jurisdictions.  With the release of the Shergold Weir Report and implementation plan, this is a good opportunity to achieve greater consistency.”

“ACIF also welcomes that the implementation plan states that the BMF will work closely with industry peak bodies and professional associations to implement the recommendations, in particular those addressing professional development, career pathways, post-construction information management and the approval and review of designs/performance solutions.  In addition, the plan states that jurisdictions and coordinating bodies will engage industry as needed, including through workshops, reform working groups and written submissions, and this is encouraging.”

“ACIF and its member organisations are keen to assist the Building Ministers’ Forum and Federal and State Governments to implement the recommendations of the Shergold Weir Report by May 2021, and stand ready to discuss means to achieve this”, Mr Cameron stated.

 

About Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF)

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is the cohesive, trusted voice of the Australian Construction Industry. ACIF facilitates and supports an active dialogue between the 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.

ACIF Members are the most significant Associations in the industry, spanning the entire asset creation process from feasibility through design, cost planning, construction and building and management. ACIF harnesses the resources of its Members to research and develop initiatives that benefit businesses of all sizes, from the largest of construction companies to small consultancies. More information on ACIF is available from www.acif.com.au.