BUILDING MINISTERS’ FORUM

The third Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) for 2017 held in Brisbane on Friday, 6 October 2017, continued to drive decisive action on potentially hazardous aluminium cladding and other efforts to improve the compliance and safety of Australian buildings.

BMF Ministers recognise the public safety concern and clear risk arising around the use of cladding that does not comply with the National Construction Code (NCC). All Ministers agreed that they will use their available laws and powers to prevent the use of aluminium composite cladding with a polyethylene (PE) core for class 2, 3, or 9 buildings of two or more storeys, and class 5, 6, 7 or 8 of three or more storeys, until such time as they are satisfied that manufacturers, importers, and installers, working in collaboration with building practitioners, will reliably comply with:

  • the newly established standard setting test against which fire retardant cladding products are deemed to be reasonable for use in high rise settings; and
  • an established and implemented system of permanent labelling on cladding products to prevent substitution.

For its part, the Commonwealth will regularly provide the states and territories with import data on aluminium composite cladding and other building products. This will help reduce the information barriers and support states and territories to track movements of cladding and ensure these products are used in ways that comply with the NCC.

The BMF has tasked the Senior Officers’ Group, in consultation with industry and regulators, to provide further advice in respect of other materials.

In addition, the BMF agreed to address inappropriate advertising and labelling of PE aluminium composite cladding utilising available laws and powers, and to ask the Consumer Affairs Forum to create a national information standard for these products.

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CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FINED OVER WORKER’S SPINAL INJURIES (NSW)

A Sydney construction company has been fined $300,000 for failing to properly manage a faulty gate which fell on a worker, fracturing her lower spine and pelvis, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said.

It is the third time SafeWork NSW has prosecuted Ceerose Pty Ltd for failures in workplace safety, including one incident which resulted in a worker’s death in 2013.

In the most recent case, the woman was working at a Ceerose Pty Ltd site in Camperdown as a traffic controller when she was injured in May 2015.
Sydney District Court was told the site was secured by a heavy steel gate, which operated electronically on a sliding track. As power to the site had been disconnected, workers were opening and closing the gate manually.

On the day of the incident, it was the worker’s job to lock the gate when the last trucks left the site. As she pushed the gate closed, it came off the track and landed on her.

Mr Kean, who is responsible for SafeWork NSW, said an investigation had found Ceerose failed to conduct a proper risk assessment, or develop a safe system of work for the manual operation of the gate.

“Ceerose also failed to engage a mechanic or engineer to service the gate, even though this poor woman had informed a supervisor in the months leading up to the incident that it was getting increasingly difficult to open and close the gate,” he said.

“Alarmingly, an inspection of the gate revealed that it was missing a piece that was vital to its correct operation.

“Every NSW worker has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and SafeWork will continue to take decisive action against businesses that fail to provide this.”

In handing down the penalty, Judge Andrew Scotting took into consideration that this is the third SafeWork NSW prosecution against the company.
In this week’s judgment, Ceerose was also ordered to pay SafeWork’s legal costs. The company has 28 days to lodge an appeal.

LATEST ACIF FORECASTS RELEASED

Construction Industry Leaders Forecast a Healthy Recovery in Non-Residential Building Activity

The latest industry forecasts to be released today by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) foreshadow that the decline in the work done in the building and construction industries will slow over the next three years, with an upswing predicted from 2019-20. After some years of decline, a recovery in Non-Residential Building activity is expected, which includes an uplift in commercial building, including offices, retail and industrial building. This reflects increased business investment as well as in building required to support the underlying transition in the economy and employment towards the provision of services, including in tourism, accommodation, education as well as in health and aged care.

Full Article Here

NEW INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITY INITIATIVES FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE (SA)

Major public transport projects, metropolitan and regional road projects, and a large-scale expansion of Australia’s first GigCity network top the State Labor Government’s 2017 Infrastructure Australia submission.

Infrastructure Australia – the Federal agency which prioritises national infrastructure projects – is preparing to publish a new Infrastructure Priority List in February next year.

The projects nominated by the South Australian Labor Government will underpin the State’s economic growth and jobs into the future.

They include:
Integrated Public Transport Initiative
– A program of works including extending the Seaford train line to Aldinga, Park’n’Rides, interchange upgrades, increased public transport frequency, first mile/last mile access
Network Optimisation
– A program of works (aligned to the National Network Optimisation Initiative) including upgrades to major intersections and level crossing removals at Park Terrace, Salisbury; Commercial Road, Salisbury; Womma Road, Elizabeth; Brighton Road, Hove; Goodwood Road, Goodwood; Marion Road/Cross Road, Plympton Park
Improved Access to the State’s Far North & West
– A program of works (aligned to the National Freight and Supply Chain initiative), including sealing and upgrading the Strzelecki Track, road upgrades from Adelaide to Port Augusta, and Port Augusta and beyond, duplication of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in Port Augusta, key freight route upgrades – including resilience and access treatments to Yorkey’s Crossing, and regional aerodrome upgrades
Improved Access to Adelaide Airport
– A program of works including intersection upgrades and new access to the terminal precinct for taxis, buses, freight and commercial vehicles, upgrades to public transport options (such as new tram link to the Adelaide Airport terminal) and more cycling and walking options
Large-scale expansion of broadband infrastructure (GigCity Expansion)
– With the successful implementation of Stage 1 of the GigCity Program, there now exists the opportunity to significantly expand Adelaide’s ultra-fast internet network to give access to even more data intensive companies.

The State Government submission also includes updates for the North-South Corridor and AdeLINK Tram Network initiatives.

Background

The 2018 Infrastructure Priority List will build on the current list and update existing initiatives, with the State Government proposing new projects to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across South Australia.

Currently 11 South Australian Government projects are included on the priority list including:
– North-South corridor upgrade (remaining sections)
– AdeLINK Tram Network
– Gawler Line Upgrade
– Adelaide – Tarcoola Rail Upgrade Acceleration
– Eyre Infrastructure Project
– Northern Adelaide Plains Water Infrastructure development
– Strzelecki Track upgrade and mobile coverage
– South Australian regional mineral port development
– Sturt Highway High Productivity Vehicle capacity enhancement, including Truro bypass
– Gawler Craton rail access
– Melbourne-Adelaide-Perth rail upgrade

Quotes attributable to Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan

The State Government is investing at record levels to build modern, safe and accessible infrastructure which supports thousands of jobs and makes South Australia an ever better place to live.

Over the next four years the State Government will invest $9.5 billion in infrastructure which will unlock economic opportunities, sustain the construction industry and create a lasting and beneficial legacy for the people of South Australia.

The State Government stands ready to partner and work with the Federal Government to deliver these critical infrastructure projects, just as we did with the Northern Connector, Darlington, Flinderslink and Oaklands Crossing.

Our Government has allocated its share of funding for Stage 2 of the Gawler electrification and to deliver another section of the North-South Corridor between Pym Street and Regency Road.

Both projects are “shovel ready”, with tendering process already underway for the electrification of the Gawler line, while the current Torrens to Torrens project could be extended to include the Pym Street to Regency Road project.

We continue to call on the Turnbull Government to come to the table with funding so these projects can be delivered to address the Adelaide’s capacity constraints identified in the Australian Infrastructure Audit.

NSW GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY WORK TOGETHER TO CUT POWER BILLS THROUGH BETTER ENERGY EFFICIENCY (NSW)

3rd October 2017

The insulation industry has welcomed the opportunity to work with the New South Wales Government to reduce household power bills through improved energy efficiency in the state.

Through a partnership with the insulation industry, the NSW Government will ensure installers taking part in its programs are fully qualified to install insulation safely and to the highest standards.

NSW Government and Industry work together to cut Power Bills through Better Energy Efficiency

BUILDING QUEENSLAND INVOLVED IN MORE THAN DOUBLE THE PROPOSALS (QLD)

2nd October 2017

Building Queensland has been involved in the development of approximately 50 proposals – more than double that of the previous financial year, its 2016-17 Annual Report shows. Acting Minister for Infrastructure Leeanne Enoch said the demand for Building Queensland’s advice and assistance was growing. “Building Queensland continues to work closely with government agencies on business case development and we expect they will be able to report on many more in the next financial year,” Ms Enoch said.

Building Queensland involved in more than double the proposals (QLD)

 

ADELAIDE WILL BE GREENER AND COOLER THANKS TO WATER SENSITIVE URBAN DESIGN GRANTS (SA)

4th October 2017

Adelaide will be cooler, greener and more resilient to climate change thanks to urban project grants worth more than $710,000.

The projects promote water sensitive urban design (WSUD), an innovative approach to incorporating the whole water cycle in our towns and cities, including capturing and re-using rainwater to help prepare our communities for hotter, drier summers.

Adelaide will be greener and cooler thanks to water sensitive urban design grants (SA)

VIBRANT NEW PRECINCT FOR RHODES EAST (VIC)

15th September 2017

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts has announced a new plan for Rhodes East, creating a vibrant place to live and work.

The draft Priority Precinct Plan for Rhodes East has the potential for up to 3,600 new homes, including affordable housing close to transport, a new school, community facilities, shops, cafes and new pedestrian and cycling paths along the Parramatta River foreshore.

Vibrant new precinct for Rhodes East (NSW)

SCHOOL HOLIDAY CONSTRUCTION BLITZ (VIC)

14th September 2017

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan says drivers and public transport passengers are being urged to plan ahead these school holidays, with work ramping up on major transport projects across Victoria. The Andrews Labor Government will use the quieter school holiday period for another construction blitz on the Metro Tunnel, CityLink-Tulla Widening, the Monash Freeway upgrade and level crossing removals. As part of the Metro Tunnel works St Kilda Road will be reduced to one lane city bound from 25 September to 14 October to continue service relocation and early works for the new underground station at Domain.

School holiday construction blitz (VIC)

GIVING OUR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS THE TOOLS TO BE OK (WA)

14th September 2017

This R U OK?Day, the McGowan Government will fly the MATES in Construction flag at Parliament House and provide $310,000 in funding to raise mental health awareness among construction and FIFO workers.

MATES in Construction, a charity established in 2008 to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers, will provide support and assistance to individuals and families affected by suicide in the construction industry, including FIFO sites across Western Australia.

Giving our construction workers the tools to be OK