14 May 2019

This has been a busy time for institute activities, our Chapters are well advanced on preparations for the various Professional Excellence Awards presentation events. In the last few weeks our AIB representation and promotion opportunities have seen a bit of travel for both the CEO and myself.

We have also looked at the opportunities to advance the work of the NBPR with building regulators; in raising the profile of the register we show and how this may assist each jurisdiction to better utilise an external reference point for licencing and renewal checks. We firmly believe the holders of any form of building licence should also belong to a professional body like the AIB and be committed to annual CPD as part of the licence renewal / retention requirements.

All jurisdictions however still operate silos of licence holders and the adoption of a National Licencing approach under the work of the Building Ministers Forum would go a significant way towards addressing recommendations 1, 2 and 3 of the Shergold – Weir report which has now been in circulation for 15 months.

Presidential duties in the last period has included:

  • involvement in an NBPR briefing with our National Chair – Tony Avsec FAIB;
  • review of the Constructing our World program and assisting our Conference Chair – Dr. Robyn Hardy FAIB with speaker material and content to finalise the line-up of presenters;
  • a visit to Perth for meetings with the Head of School at Curtin University;
  • meeting with the WA Building Regulators office to discuss Shergold-Weir and general industry issues for the local market;
  • attendance at the WA Chapter annual Industry Leaders Dinner:
  • attendance at the local WA Chapter committee meeting presentation on the WA perspective for AIB activities, and to provide some information and context for the National AIB activities to support the WA Chapter;
  • planning and teleconference meetings for the DesignBUILD conference which commenced today, 14 May – 16 May in Sydney. I am presenting on an industry panel on Wednesday 15th discussing Building Australia Together.

Personally work and home duties also make up a significant part of my time outside of AIB commitments. I happen to be moving house this week to downsize from a large family home. In the required cull of stored material, I came across a presentation I made as a representative of the building industry in 1987 (some 32 years ago) this month.

The event was a week-long Forum at Melbourne University that gathered 100 young leaders from around Australia to discuss the current issues facing Australia and the possibilities of solving them in the future.

The Forum was specifically developed to:

  • promote standards of excellence and achievement in education, training and development of young Australians in their chosen vocation, and to develop a sense of purpose among individuals,
  • involve young people in the life and welfare of the community by assisting them to render service where need, hardship and distress exist, thus increasing their sense of responsibility and their awareness of the interdependence between themselves and the community,
  • assist the funding of projects or activities of organisations which benefit young people, particularly those aimed at developing qualities of self-reliance, initiative and leadership

One of the QE II Trust’s projects is the “Future Perspectives” apolitical Forum for young Australians who are perceived to be the potential leaders of this country.

Objectives of the Forum included:

  • to draw together potential leaders in the 22 – 28 years age group from widely diverse working background;
  • to develop in these young Australians a better understanding of the complex issues facing Australia today and the possibilities of solving them in the future;
  • to encourage them to work for the future of Australia;
  • to develop in these potential leaders a sense of unity and understanding, which can be communicated to others.

My summation for the final session as the leader of Syndicate 2 included some hauntingly familiar observations taken from our group discussions about the times we were observing then in 1987. While time moves on, these are still lessons and comments that could be applied to the Building Industry today.

… The economy. Australia has historically had dependence on primary industry and we are now seeing a trend towards developing our service industries. This feature will become more important as our product Australia develops in the future. Our energy should be focused towards this industry to ensure we are skilled and this places us in an advantageous position in the market place.

… Our economy is on a gradual downward slide and we have experienced it before, and as a country we must tighten our belts, work more intelligently rather than harder and educate people on the workings of the economy, and why we are suffering economically.

… Militant unions should not be capable of holding businesses or the country to ransom, nor should they try to be capable of manipulating foreign policy by selective trade bans.

… In   conclusion, we believe that all major changes which need to be made in Australia are in the area of education and we are not talking about the education system and mechanics as such, but about the ongoing holistic process of community education beginning at birth and involving all aspects of society. We see a need for Australians to be educated to act and to think as a community, not just as individuals. We need to strive for a society made up of caring individuals who are aware of their important individual role as part of the community. We believe Australia should set an example to the rest of the world and we have been reassured this week by many speakers that Australia is one of the better societies of the world.


How do we communicate this message to those outside our professional network that an AIB member is a Chartered Building Professional who understands the need to deliver a consistent professional service to both the building industry and the end consumer. We see opportunities to work with designers, builders and other professions that can improve how they work together on projects that provide a better result for the end user – and are easier to deliver for everyone involved.

We believe all jurisdictions must recognise this significant National Opportunity is currently wasted as it continues to operate in a multiple regulatory framework, which was largely tailored on small scale circumstances historically. We have innovators utilising improved building materials and practices but regulation and historical attitudes are still focused on 1980’s methods of management and delivery; to a 21st century consumer who sees the better alternatives on the world market that he can now access.

Finally, a reminder that our Membership subscriptions are now due and I would encourage members to contact the National Office on 02 6253 1100 if you have not yet seen an email from us with your invoice attached. We have had several reports of payments being returned to members when the banks have not matched our account details to the BPay biller code 716597 as this was an older MYOB gateway provider used in previous years. 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 using the Pay Membership Fee link while you are logged in 

So I look forward to seeing you soon at an AIB event soon as we start our Professional Excellence Awards presentations this month in ACT and SA Chapters.

David Burnell FAIB

National President, Australian Institute of Building


A fair and balanced workplace relations system is the foundation of a strong economy and higher living standards for all Australians. We know that the key to better workplaces lies in workplace relations policies that support job creation, business growth and the rule of law.


The Morrison Government through re-calibrating workplace laws to support these areas has created over 1.2 million more jobs, and reduced the number of days lost to industrial action by 40 per cent.

Now is not the time to change direction. We need to stay the course to create 1.25 million more jobs over the next five years, including 250,000 jobs for young Australians, support more businesses to start and grow, and to uphold the rule of law in workplaces.

The Morrison Government has restored the rule of law to workplaces through reforms that encourage cooperation and workplace-level negotiation to ensure both workers and employers can build and benefit from a stronger economy.

There is more work to do to ensure this record of job creation and more cooperative workplaces continue. Now is not the time to turn the clock back to the 1970s and put Australia on strike.

The achievements of the Morrison Government to ensure productive and fair workplace relations include:

  • re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission, to ensure small contractors and subbies can access our third largest industry without fear of intimidation, bullying and unaffordable cost imposts;
  • abolishing the never-ending award review process that created uncertainty while sapping a disproportionate amount of time and money from small business;
  • ensuring union bosses are held to the same standards as company directors by establishing the Registered Organisations Commission; and
  • ending the ‘strike first, talk later’ approach to industrial relations, instead requiring that protected industrial action can only be taken once negotiations on an enterprise agreement have begun.

Bill Shorten’s Labor wants to scrap the ABCC and the ROC, legalise industry-wide strikes for the first time ever, allow unions to veto free trade agreements and allow politicians to set minimum pay rates. They want to give union bosses the upper hand in workplace negotiations by banning employers from terminating expired enterprise agreements and forcing employers to compulsory arbitration.

Their policies would stifle business, risk jobs and cause disruption across Australia. When it comes to industrial relations, the choice could not be clearer.

Commitment by state and federal governments to implement the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir Report by February 2021.

On 13 March 2019, the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) published a joint implementation plan responding to the recommendations of the Building Confidence report by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir.

The plan sets out reforms both planned and underway in each jurisdiction. States and territories have agreed that wherever possible jurisdictions will adopt reforms consistent with those in place or proposed in other jurisdictions.

While the BMF has given in-principle agreement to all recommendations in the report, the immediate focus will be on reforms to the integrity and transparency of building certification processes. The BMF will initially focus efforts on exploring a consistent approach to the registration and training of practitioners and the responsibilities of design practitioners.

Support for the Building Information Modelling Strategy of Australasian BIM Advisory Board.

Along with re-establishing the ABCC, the Coalition introduced a new function for the Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) to audit compliance with National Construction Code (NCC) performance requirements in relation to building materials.

Under the changes, compliance with the NCC is now a condition of accreditation by the FSC. Accredited companies therefore face losing access to Commonwealth funded building work if they fail to comply with performance specifications of building materials under the NCC.

The Australian Building & Construction Commission to be retained.

Getting paid on time for work done is fundamental to all businesses, including the many subcontractors who make up our construction industry. The Morrison Government is committed to improving protections for individuals and small businesses who subcontract in the building and construction industry, and to achieving greater consistency in security of payment laws across Australia.

We have re-established the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) which enforces the security of payment requirements in the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016. Under the code, contractors that have tendered for Commonwealth-funded building work must adhere to state and territory security of payment laws.

They must pay their subcontractors on time and not unreasonably withhold payment, otherwise they risk being excluded from Commonwealth funded building work for up to twelve months. This important work would be undone if Labor were to be elected, given its plans to abolish the ABCC and the Building Code.

The implementation of an effective regime to be established to minimise the use of non- conforming building products.

The Commonwealth does not have constitutional power to regulate buildings.

The Morrison Government is committed to working with state and territory counterparts to restore public confidence in Australia’s built environment.

The National Construction Code has always restricted the use of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings, and prior to fire incidents in recent years, the Commonwealth, states and territories had no reason to believe that building practitioners were not complying with the NCC.

The inappropriate use of cladding is an issue of non-compliance with the NCC and state and territory building regulations. Enforcement of these rules is the responsibility of state and territory governments.

Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) actions on cladding

The prevention of the inappropriate use of aluminium composite panels (ACPs) has been a key area of focus for the BMF.

The BMF expedited the implementation of a comprehensive package of measures by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), to prevent non-compliant use of wall cladding on high- rise buildings.

The out-of-cycle amendments to the NCC include:

  • a more rigorous testing standard for determining the fire safety of external wall assemblies (AS 5113:2016);
  • introduction of a new Verification Method to demonstrate compliance with the existing fire safety Performance Requirements;
  • increased stringency for the sprinkler protection of balconies on residential buildings; and
  • stricter compliance documentation requirements in the NCC’s evidence of suitability provisions.

State Ministers agreed in October 2017 to use their powers to prohibit the inappropriate use of these products on buildings of more than three storeys.

At their February 2019 meeting Ministers agreed to expand this to a total ban in new construction subject to an impact assessment.

A number of other significant reforms continue to be progressed by the BMF, including:

  • development of a Technical Standard for permanent labelling of aluminium composite cladding products (etched or printed), ahead of development of an Australian Standard, to prevent unsuitable product substitution
  • the Building Regulators’ Forum working with fire authorities on the best method of making information available to assist them to respond to buildings with ACPs, and
  • overseeing the cladding audits and reviews being undertaken across

The BMF is also considering ways to address the cost of cladding rectification works, and has given in-principle support that building practitioners should owe a duty of care to building owners (and subsequent building owners) for residential construction work and certain commercial construction or small business.

Further, I received the following response from Pauline Hanson’s parliamentary advisor:

Thank you for your letter of 4 April and the enclosed brochure outlining ACIF’s policy priorities.  Senator Hanson has asked me to respond on her behalf that she is supportive of these and certainly that the Australian Building and Construction Commission be retained.  Together with other One Nation Senators she will do what she can to ensure this happens. 





The Queensland Government’s Safer Buildings Combustible Cladding Checklist program has cleared almost 14,000 private buildings, confirming they’re safe and secure for tenants and workers.

The program, established in 2018, was designed to ensure all Queensland buildings meet safety requirements regarding building material use and provide occupants a ‘right to know’ if their home or workplace doesn’t pass the test.

Under the program, conducted in three parts, almost 14,000 private building combustible cladding assessments have already been completed and cleared, with two more years to go until the completion of the entire audit program.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said that, to date, under Part 1 of the program, 13,715 registrants out of 20,380 successfully completed the audit at zero cost. The remaining 5026 registrants in the program will take Part 2 to rule out that the building is clad in combustible material.

“It’s been very pleasing to see that 14,000 building owners doing the right thing and clearing their building as safe,” said Mr de Brenni.

“Having almost 14,000 buildings registered means those who live and work there will now have peace of mind.

“This program was designed to crack down on careless use of building materials that put lives at risk, and building occupants have a right to know if their building is at risk.

“After several fires in other states, the Commonwealth commissioned a national review that identified failure to comply with fire engineering guidelines had become a serious issue over many years, confirming that the Queensland process was indeed required.

“The Shergold Weir Review showed that a minority in the building industry had failed to follow the rules and was putting lives at risk.”

Mr de Brenni said the building materials sector had worked hard to ensure that information about the safe use of materials was made available to consumers and builders.

“Building materials, when used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions are safe – that’s why manufacturers publish details of how they should be used. These details must be available and are usually easily identified on the manufacturer’s website.

Mr de Brenni said that Part 2 of the Safer Buildings program will give building owners until 29 May 2019 to seek professional advice to confirm if their building meets the Safer Buildings guidelines.

“We will not risk discovering the next unlawful use of combustible cladding through a loss of Queenslanders lives in a high rise building fire like those overseas.

“Building owners who already know or suspect they have combustible cladding on their building are able to progress directly to Part 3 of the program, saving the cost of engaging a building industry professional.

“So far the Safer Buildings process has done exactly what it needed to do – and thankfully owners are treating this issue seriously. It’s heartening to see that tenants’ safety is being put first, especially by those building owners going ahead to Part 3 of the program.

Building owners required to complete Part 2 of the Safer Buildings combustible cladding checklist before 29 May 2019 can find more information here:



The Australian Construction Industry Forum calls on Australia’s political parties to consider and adopt ACIF’s policy priorities.


The Australian construction industry employs over 1.2 million Australians, and in 2017-18 had a turnover of $248 billion.

Therefore, the construction industry is one of the main drivers of the Australian economy and its productivity and success is critical to the growth and success of the Australian economy.

Given the importance of construction to the Australian economy and people, ACIF advocates that the Federal Government and all State and Territory Governments have dedicated construction ministers. This would result in better outcomes for the industry, and enhance a critical sector of the Australian economy.

ACIF (of which the AIB is a current member) has the following policy priorities for 2019:

  • Commitment by state and federal governments to implement the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir Report by February 2021.
  • Support for the Building Information Modelling Strategy of Australasian BIM Advisory Board.
  • The Australian Building & Construction Commission to be retained.
  • The implementation of an effective regime to be established to minimise the use of non-conforming building products.


Download ACIF 2019 Policy Priorities

Download Australian Labor Party Official Response





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.


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


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.


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.





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 the release of last night’s Federal Budget.

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


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).