2019 POLICY PRIORITIES OF ACIF

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

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.

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

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.

BMF RELEASES BUILDING CONFIDENCE REPORT

The BMF commissioned the Building Confidence report, an independent expert examination of the broader compliance and enforcement problems within Australia’s building and construction system. The report concluded that there are a number of significant systematic deficiencies with Australia’s building industry culture and Australia’s governance arrangements, and made 24 recommendations to address these (see Table 1).

The BMF provided in-principle support for the report and identified national priorities. This implementation plan seeks to reaffirm Australian governments’ commitment to delivering reforms that will restore the community’s confidence in the nation’s building and construction industry. It sets out:

  • national priority reforms
  • a summary of reforms underway in each jurisdiction
  • planned reforms and proposed timeframes for each jurisdiction
  • industry involvement in the process.

Implementation of the reforms will evolve over time to respond to new, innovative approaches and emerging policy priorities. The BMF is committed to consistent and concerted effort over the next few years to devise and implement comprehensive solutions involving government and industry. As such, this plan will be regularly reviewed by the BMF, with updated reports from jurisdictions provided to the BMF at least annually, or sooner if required.

Download Building Confidence Report here 

AIB – CURRENT ISSUES COMMENT

In the first case in Australia brought against a Member’s company, in relation to aluminium composite panels (ACPs), VCAT apportioned zero costs directly to the builder.

His Honour Judge Woodward, ruled that L.U. Simon Builders Pty Ltd, the Registered Building Practitioner and AIB Fellow, Jim Moschoyiannis “did not fail to exercise reasonable care in the construction of Melbourne’s Lacrosse. “  

The case began in 2017, when the building owners launched legal proceedings against L.U. Simon Builders.  Two years later, after 22 sitting days involving 91 volumes of documents the judge apportioned 39 per cent liability to the fire engineer, 33 per cent to the building surveyor, 25 per cent to the architect and 3 per cent to the resident who caused the fire.

It was found that L.U. Simon Builders and Mr Moschoyiannis complied with project documentation produced by the consultant team and the requirements of the Building Permit.  Paragraph 301 of the VCAT findings notes:

 “The evidence in the proceeding generally clearly demonstrates that, with the exception of fire engineers, there was in 2011 a poor understanding among building professionals (at least in Australia) of the fire risks associated with ACPs. And in the overall cohort of building professionals, there is no reason to expect that building firms would have a superior understanding to, for example, that of architects and building surveyors. In fact, the reverse is probably true. Given their level of qualifications and the nature of their responsibilities, it would be fair to expect fire engineersbuilding surveyors and architects (in that order) to have a better grasp than building practitioners ofire risks and the application of the BCA to those risks.

The judge also found in favour of the builder with regard to the product selection and approval:

I have found above that the choice of the Alucobest product over Alucobond PE (as it came to be known) was not a necessary condition for the ignition of the Alucobest panels…. Thus, in simple terms, I am satisfied that LU Simon’s selection of Alucobest ACP’s as “indicative to Alucobond” did not cause the fire or fire spread.”

There is currently an Alucobond Combustible Cladding Class Action, which is a product liability claim, against 3A Composites GmbH and Halifax Vogel Group Pty Ltd (respondents), the manufacturers of Alucobond PE cladding, with possible class actions pending in relation to other manufacturers of PE core cladding products.

Since the time of the fire in 2014, our Members have endured sustained attacks and accusations, by regulators, bureaucrats and organisations, who themselves were ‘asleep at the wheel’, bringing our Members and industry participants into disrepute, impacting their professional and personal reputations.

Government regulators and their advisors all failed to act on information they had that polyethylene-core panels would not pass the building code’s combustibility requirements and ignored expert warnings going as far back as 1990.

Despite industries attempts to provide regulators with practical and reasonable solutions to deal with the thousands of buildings in similar situations to Lacrosse and Neo200, there is still no agreement on what to do with the existing cladding, as well as no clear understanding by the wider construction industry, and the consumer is still none the wiser yet here we are five years after Lacrosse.

The solution to prevent further issues relies on firstly recognising that government, regulators and industry have all played a part in allowing ACPs with a polyethylene-core and other products to be used in an inappropriate manner.  We now have to rely on the same group to address the existing buildings with cladding issues.

The AIB, at both state and national levels, is currently proactively working to find a resolution to this critical matter through our ongoing participation with bodies and forums including:

  • Building Ministers Forum
  • Senate enquiry
  • ABCB
  • ACIF
  • National Cladding Summit

Our primary responsibilities are to our member base and the building industry at large and we shall continue to work closely, update, advise, educate and advocate on behalf of all stakeholders.

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