AIB Applauds Figures for NT, but Warns Quality Must Not Suffer

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today warmly welcomed the figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday which showed that building work in the Territory grew by 15% in the December quarter of 2011, but cautioned that this rapid growth in construction work must not come at the expense of quality construction standards.

These figures are a wonderful result for the Northern Territory. Its a win for the NT economy, a win a NT building professionals and a win for the NT public. said Mr Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer.

However, there is the danger that this increased activity could threaten quality because it puts pressure on the construction workforce, and may lead to sub-standard builders being employed.

Mr Hunt added, We urge the NT Government to ensure that the highest and most rigorous standards are maintained for building professionals and technicians, to ensure that these new construction projects are of the highest quality. This is essential to ensure the safety, integrity and longevity of these new structures.

In future years, standards for national building licensing will be harmonised across Australia, and the Northern Territory must be in a position to easily integrate into these national standards.

The AIB national office and AIB members in the Northern Territory will readily assist and advise the NT Government on these matters, should that be required, said Mr Hunt.

Building Professionals Group cautions Government on US Skills Deal

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today cautioned the Australian Government on its plans to import so called skilled construction project managers from the US to fill local demand that can be easily accommodated locally with astute forward planning.

The peak Australian building professional institute has not been consulted on this US plan and only heard of it in the media late yesterday says Mr Hunt Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Building (AIB).

There is a lot of hard work being done to maintain high standards of senior construction project managers and you cant just import people without consulting with the local profession to ensure a similar or better standard will be achieved says Mr Hunt.

Whos going to assess the skills of these individuals? What criteria are you going to set to ensure they are adequately prepared for the Australian conditions, laws and customs and how will these imported workers fit the framework being developed by the COAG taskforce looking at National Licensing of the Building Professions? says Mr Hunt

There is no doubt the building industry needs more workers but we must ensure that any recruitment drive is based on the proper fundamentals and protects the Australian economy say Mr Hunt

The AIB is disappointed that the Government has made such an announcement without consulting with the key building groups who may well have other solutions that focus on up skilling the Australian workforce within the industry.

The Australian Institute of Building calls on the Government to consult with its own professional building professions to ensure that such a proposal doesnt back fire and cause damage to the economy and the Built Environment says Mr Hunt.

WA Governments Building Act 2011 A Positive Step

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) welcomes the Building Act 2011 coming into effect in Western Australia today.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, stated that, The AIB fully supports this legislation, and has been working closely with the Building Commission in Western Australia on this and other matters. We will be monitoring how the Act works in practice, and its management. However, we are confident that any issues can be sorted out with adequate consultation with organisations like the AIB.

AIB is behind the changes that mean that a private sector building surveyor or local government can be chosen to check compliance with building standards. The new standard application forms and prescribed time frames will also make things easier for builders.

Mr Hunt added, While there are some minor points regarding this legislation that we would like to have clarified, overall we are satisfied that this legislation is a step in the right direction.

Demise of ABCC Reopens Old Wounds and the Australian Economy will Suffer

The demise today of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) via legislation passed in the Senate will reopen wounds of the past on building sites across Australia, stated the CEO of the Australian Institute of Building (AIB), Mr Robert Hunt.

The AIB has worked to bring professionalism to building and construction for over 60 years, which will be harmed by this short-sighted decision. The work and dedication of the tens of thousands of professionally qualified construction managers have been made that much harder, and the repercussions could be detrimental to the Australian economy, Mr Hunt said.

The latest forecasts for the industry in some states are not bright, and the added burden of dealing with unprofessional practices on building and construction sites will add to the costs of construction. These practices may also potentially delay vital infrastructure projects and jeopardise attempts by AIB members to deliver quality outcomes for clients.

The abolition of the ABCC is a retrograde and dangerous step. However, the AIB and its professional members will work with the Government to get the best out of the new regulator, despite its limited powers.

AIB Welcomes Commencement of Victorian Construction Industry Watchdog

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today cautiously welcomed the commencement of Nigel Hadgkiss as Director of Construction Code Compliance at the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance.

Given the level of lost productivity due to industrial action on construction sites in Victoria, both in past years and increasingly again at the moment, the appointment of Mr Hadgkiss is a welcome development said Mr Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer.

However, we look forward to receiving more information about the role and powers that Mr Hadgkiss and his office will have. The AIB feels very strongly that Mr Hadgkiss must have the necessary legislative authority to ensure that industrial relations on construction sites in Victoria do not deteriorate following the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.

Mr Hunt added, Mr Hadgkiss three years as the Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner makes him the right person for the job.

I look forward to working with Mr Hadgkiss to ensure the best possible industrial relations outcomes on construction sites in Victoria.

Building Professionals Support Work of ABCC in the Northern Territory

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today spoke in favour of the work of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) in the Northern Territory, and its efforts to crack down on building firms that underpay their staff.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer said that, We strongly support the work of the ABCC in the top end, and we endorse its actions to recover wages for employees that have been incorrectly paid, whether by oversight or design.

Eligible members of the AIB are entitled to use the term Chartered Builder which is an internationally recognised sign of professional qualified and experienced senior builders who have been independently assessed by the profession. As an AIB member Chartered Builder are bound by a code of ethics.

If we find that any of our Chartered Builder members have been acting dishonestly we will not hesitate to remove them from our Institute. The work of the AIB is to promote professionalism in the building and construction industry and we will not tolerate behavior in the industry that reflects in a negative way on professional builders.

AIB Supports Release of NATSPECs BIM Management Plan Template

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today welcomed the release of NATSPECs Building Information Modelling (BIM) Management Plan (BMP) Template, and emphasised the importance of BIM for the building and construction industry.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, commented The AIB is fully behind the terrific work that NATSPEC and its partners are doing in this field. The release of the BMP template will record agreements about how BIM is to implemented and encourage a nationally consistent approach. Thus, it is a very positive development.

BIM has the potential to greatly improve the working lives of building professionals by providing a platform for integrated project delivery and increasing productivity by decreasing variations during construction, and these are just some of the benefits.

We will certainly be doing our utmost to communicate to our members the benefits and importance of Building Information Modelling.

New Ministers Have Their Work Cut Out to Assist Building Professionals

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today welcomed Fridays appointment of the new ministers in the Gillard Government, but warned that the new ministers should not be complacent when it comes to the myriad of issues facing building professionals.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, stated I congratulate the new ministers, and urge them – in particular, Greg Combet, Minister for Industry, Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills, Brendan OConnor, Minister for Housing and Small Business, and Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations – to improve the working and educational lives of current and future building professionals.

The quality of current and future building professionals is the key to ensuring the best standards in the building and construction industry in Australia. This is too important to leave to chance, and the AIB seeks the active support of the new ministers to ensure the highest standards in the industry.

Issues such as the health and safety of building professionals, harmonising building licensing and creating an industrial relations environment in which productivity does not suffer are further issues for the new ministers. I look forward to speaking to them and working together on these and other important matters, said Mr Hunt.

Building Professionals Slam Government Decision to Scrap ABCC

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today joined the recent comments by industry and other professional groups to condemn the Governments decision to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC).

The AIB strongly endorses yesterdays statement from Master Builders Australia that the planned abolition of the ABCC will result in a significant decline in productivity in the building and construction industry said Mr Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer.

Since the establishment of the ABCC in 2005, building sites across Australia have seen a massive cultural shift. The level of industrial action has sharply declined to a level that is comparable with other industries. Clear rules were put in place that managers and workers understand, and all parties became clear about their rights and responsibilities.

Mr Hunt added, It is baffling and frustrating that the Government is legislating to dismantle a system that has been working so well. We urge the Government to reconsider, and for other parties to block this legislation in the Senate. Without strong sanctions against illegal behavior in the construction industry, and regulation to compel people to speak about such behavior that they have witnessed, then we will see a return to this behaviour. The ABCC also protects workers by enforcing that employers pay them the correct pay scales, so everybody benefitted.

The legislated changes will make life more difficult for our members in the construction industry and send the wrong message to those considering professional careers in the industry that the sort of behaviour seen in years in gone by is acceptable by watering down the sanctions against it.

Overall, this is a very bad move by the Government. The $100 billion construction industry will suffer, and therefore will have significant flow on effect into the rest of the Australian economy, said Mr Hunt.

AIB welcomes SA Governments Training Initiative

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) welcomes the South Australian Governments announcement that employers in industries with skills shortages in jobs critical to the States future economic growth can now apply for funding of up to 90 per cent of the cost of training.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, stated that, This announcement makes a great deal of sense for South Australias construction industry. In particular the Olympic Dam Expansion, as well as upcoming mining work in South Australia, will require many skilled workers. However, this will also drain the local construction industry of skilled labour. Therefore, there is a need for further training to make up the shortfall.

Mr Hunt added, There are major infrastructure projects underway and soon to start in South Australia, such as the Southern Expressway, the Adelaide Oval, and the New Hospital. These will create pressure on the existing workforce. There is also the need to up-skill the workforce in the latest techniques.

There is also a large manufacturing base in South Australia, and retraining will help the employees in this sector will help them face the challenges of the future said Mr Hunt.