INSTALLATION OF SAFETY-CRITICAL FASTENERS ATTRACTS ATTENTION

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

INSTALLATION OF SAFETY-CRITICAL FASTENERS ATTRACTS ATTENTION

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) has recently shared information with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) about sub-standard installation of safety-critical fasteners in concrete substrates.

Inspectors from the QBCC and WHSQ work closely together and regularly exchange information about concerns or deficiencies observed on building sites.

If a safety-critical fastener fails, it may result in the collapse or partial collapse of a structure, endanger human life and/or cause considerable economic loss.

Insert-type fasteners such as expanding anchors, chemical anchors or concrete screws are commonly used now, whereas products such as cast-in anchors or through bolts were once the norm.

Whilst these ‘new age’ insert-type fasteners have many benefits, their performance can diminish by incorrect installation techniques, and many failures have been attributed to these poor practices.

Some building designers, contractors and tradesmen are not ensuring that these fasteners are correctly specified and installed to sustain the loadings intended to be applied to them over the life of the building/structure.

An example where safety critical fasteners have failed in adjoining tilt-slab panels.

In recent years, WHSQ has investigated several significant collapses of building elements, including, tragically, one incident on the Gold Coast where a man was killed and several people were injured when an awning collapsed onto a footpath.

Expert evidence provided to the subsequent Coronial Inquest in 2016highlighted concerns about the performance (when not specified or installed correctly) of the expansion-type insert fasteners used to secure the building’s footpath awning frame to its reinforced concrete masonry support beams.

The expert evidence highlighted the following deficiencies in the original installation of the insert-type fasteners, which were viewed as factors related to the failure:
• Inadequate embedment depth of fasteners
• Fasteners not sufficiently penetrating into the structural concrete-filled cores of masonry blockwork (rather, they had been installed largely into the non-structural blockwork shell
• Inadequate durability of fasteners to resist corrosion.

The failure of safety-critical fasteners due to either poor installation or inadequate durability of the fixings is worthy of consideration by building contractors.

Contractors must ensure that the fasteners are of the appropriate size, type, durability and, above all, installed strictly in accordance with the fastener manufacturer’s recommendations.

Designers and builders should also consider the benefits of providing access points to enable the viewing of safety-critical fastener points within buildings and structures, to help facilitate future inspection.

The ability to observe safety-critical fastener points both during construction and throughout the life of a building is a sensible and prudent measure to maintain building occupant and public safety. Such access allows checks of issues such as corrosion, embedment and structural soundness.

An example of an awning failure

The QBCC would recommend that on safety-critical applications, building designers and fastener installers are properly trained and competent to ensure that the specification, selection, design and installation of insert-type fasteners are appropriate.

The Australian Engineered Fasteners and Anchor Council (AEFAC) has developed an Anchor Installer Certification program to promote best practice for installation and to safeguard human life.

To be accredited by the AEFAC, an installer must demonstrate the ability to understand and execute a manufacturer’s installation instructions on properly installing anchors. The certified installer must be capable of assessing ambient conditions, concrete condition, materials, equipment, and tools for installing mechanical and chemical anchors. The certified installer must also demonstrate when it is necessary to consult a supervisor or project engineer during installation.

For more information on AEFAC’s Anchor Installer Certification Program, visit their website at www.aefac.org.au/certification.php

Designers and builders are reminded of amendments that came into effect on 1 May 2016 to the Building Code of Australia, which adopts by reference SA TS 101:2015 Design of post-installed and cast-in fastenings for use in concrete, as the objective measure to design fasteners that will be used to transmit loads to concrete for safety-critical applications.

When considering specifying or purchasing safety-critical fasteners to be used in concrete, practitioners should ensure that the manufacturer/supplier of such fasteners can provide you with documentary evidence, such as assessment reports evidencing compliance with SA TS101:2015.

The QBCC trusts that going forward, industry participants will properly consider the selection and installation of fasteners used in concrete for safety-critical applications to ensure the ongoing structural performance of buildings and structures.

Gary Stick – Manager, QBCC Technical Standards Unit

PRODUCT SPECIFICATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION

Thursday, 15 March 2018

PRODUCT SPECIFICATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION

Please be advised that the WaterMark Administration has recently received a number of proposals for amendments to Product Specifications for adoption into the WaterMark Certification Scheme. These include the following:-

• WMTS-050 Prefabricated bathroom modules
• WMTS-012 In-line valves for use in plumbing water supply system: Miscellaneous types metallic and non-metallic
• WMTS-028 Food waste disposal unit

In accordance with the Manual for the WaterMark Certification Scheme, Appendix 4, Protocol for Developing Product Specifications, the amended draft documents are now released for public comment. Details are provided on the Product-Specification-Consultation page.

Please forward any comments on the proposed drafts to watermark@abcb.gov.au using the WaterMark-public-comment-response-sheet by the nominated closing dates.

WaterMark Administration

BANNED BUILDER MATTHEW GEOFFREY RIXON JAILED

Friday, 2 March 2018

BANNED BUILDER MATTHEW GEOFFREY RIXON JAILED

Banned builder Matthew Geoffrey Rixon has been sentenced to 18 months jail for contempt of court, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said today.

Rixon, 33, pleaded guilty to contempt of court for breaching NSW Supreme Court orders made in April 2013 that permanently banned him from working in the home building industry.

In September 2013 Rixon was charged for breaching those orders and a year later was given a suspended sentence of 18 months jail.
However, within five months of being sentenced, Rixon accepted $10,000 from an Allawah man to carry out fencing work that was never finished.

Mr Kean said the jail term was a great outcome, considering Rixon’s repeated shocking behaviour, which had left another unsuspecting consumer out of pocket.

“Despite knowing full well he could not operate as a builder, Rixon took this poor man’s hard-earned money, and left him high and dry,” Mr Kean said.

“Rixon certainly has form in this type of offending – yet he continued to behave badly despite a suspended sentence hanging over his head.
“I want to see consumers being put first, and this result sends a strong message to other traders not to break the law.
“This is also the culmination of hard work and commitment by NSW Fair Trading officers in bringing him to justice.”

The sentence follows the extradition of Rixon by NSW Police from Queensland last month, after the NSW Supreme Court issued a bench warrant when he failed to appear in court.

Matt Kean – Minister of Innovation and Better Regulation

MEDIA: Brooke Eggleton 0437 472 455

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FALSE CLAIMS UP IN FLAMES AS COMPANY PAYS PENALTY (QLD)

A Sydney based company and its director have entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), for alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Between 2 July 2015 and 20 January 2016, Peter Jones, director of Fire Combat Australia Pty Ltd (which previously traded as Modakboard), imported and sold fire-resistant magnesium oxide boards which were marketed as being Codemark certified to meet international safety standards.

Mr Jones obtained CodeMark certification in 2011, via an authorised independent certification company known as CertMark International. However, in 2015, CertMark International suspended, then cancelled the Modakboard CodeMark certification.

Mr Jones failed to remove all references to the Codemark certification of the building product from his website, and later made further misleading representations about the products his business sold.

Fire Combat Australia agreed to enter into an undertaking to demonstrate its commitment to its obligations under the ACL.

The enforceable undertaking will remain in force for three years and requires Fire Combat Australia to supply documentation to the OFT if requested at any time to substantiate any claims made regarding product certification.

A penalty of $12,960 has been paid by Fire Combat Australia.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said businesses must not take shortcuts and make inaccurate claims to consumers.

“Making misleading representations about a product, particularly ones which are supposed to offer protection from fire, is reckless,” Mr Turner said.

“Purchasers of building products should be able to rely on the representations being made by traders, as misleading representations about certification may potentially inhibit or delay the final approval of the building.”

Associations and consumers may report misleading representations to the OFT by lodging a complaint at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

An enforceable undertaking by the OFT is an alternative to court action where a breach of legislation is alleged. It is considered a legally binding agreement, which if broken can result in court action being commenced for breaking a term or condition of the undertaking, as well as seeking orders from the court to enforce the original undertaking.

APARTMENTS IN SYDNEY SUBURBS 2017-2023 MARKET BRIEF (NSW)

The Sydney suburban apartment market has experienced a significant rise in purchaser activity and price growth in recent years. Strong population growth and an existing dwelling undersupply, coupled with low interest rates supported strong dwelling demand. Rising prices attracted significant investor activity to the
market and drove robust off-the-plan sales volumes. However, there are challenges emerging as new supply increasingly comes on line and banks continue to tighten funding to investors.

Apartment development has increasingly moved from inner Sydney suburbs to the city’s middle ring. After accounting for around 29% of total apartment building approvals in 2010/11, middle ring Sydney suburbs comprised 40% of apartment building approvals in 2016/17.

This analysis draws from our annual Apartments in Sydney Suburbs report, which covers the Local Government Areas of Sydney to the right, and profiles indicators relating to demand, supply, rents and prices.

STOCK DEFICIENCY

Underlying demand for dwellings increased over the four years to June 2017 on the back of strong population growth. Low interest rates have allowed pent up demand to be released into the market. Underlying demand rose to an estimated peak of 42,500 dwellings over 2016/17, well above the average of 32,600 dwellings pa over the previous five years. However, dwelling completions surged far ahead of underlying demand. Annual completions doubled from 23,100 starts in 2012/13 to an estimated 47,200 starts in 2016/17. This has seen the underlying dwelling deficiency slowly eroded since 2014/15. Over 2017/18, completions are forecast to remain strong while underlying demand is expected to ease as net interstate outflows rise. This will lead to a further decline in the level of stock deficiency.

APARTMENT OCCUPIERS
Two bedroom apartments account for the majority of the Sydney apartment stock, at 56% of occupied apartments at the 2016 Census. Moreover, studios and one bedroom apartments account for another 29% of Sydney’s occupied apartment stock, with the remaining 15% containing three or more bedrooms.

The households occupying apartments are reflective of the composition of the apartment stock. Studio and one bedroom apartments are dominated by lone person households (who accounted for 55% of total studio and one bedroom apartments), while two bedroom apartments have a more even split of lone person, couple without children and family with children households, at around 25-30% each. In comparison, family with children households were the most prevalent household type in three bedroom apartments (40% of households).

Studio and one bedroom apartments are dominated by rental tenants, who account for 76% of households. In contrast, only 12% were fully owned suggesting that studio and one bedroom apartments are not attracting downsizers. Around 74% of two bedroom apartments were renting. Households with a mortgage accounted for the larger share at 18%. In contrast, a high share of three bedroom apartments were owner occupied (43%), with a high percentage (18%) being fully owned. This suggests that many owner occupiers in three bedroom apartments are downsizers and are buying with full equity.

APARTMENT SUPPLY
The high density sector has benefited most in this upturn in the Sydney market. High density building approvals more than doubled from 13,500 approvals in 2012/13 to 30,100 approvals in 2016/17. While there has also been a moderate upswing in house approvals, the medium density sector has remained flat. Inner Sydney has traditionally attracted the greatest amount of high density activity, although the middle ring has begun to account for a greater share of high density dwelling approvals. The deterioration of affordability in Sydney has encouraged a shift towards both apartments over houses, and also activity from inner to middle regions.

RENTS, PRICES AND YIELDS

As the market picked up, median price growth for units averaged 9.1% per annum between 2012 and 2017. This price growth was fairly even geographically across the Inner and Middle regions of Sydney, ranging from 10.8% per annum in Eastern Suburbs to 7.3% in the Middle West.

The result has been that indicative unit yields have now fallen below their previous lows of 2005, to be 3.6% in June 2017. This would suggest little potential for further unit price growth (and eventually the possibility of price declines), as occurred during the mid-2000s. A smaller dwelling deficiency and tightening restrictions on investor activity will also add drag to market sentiment.

MACKAY COMPANIES CALLED TO TENDER FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKS (QLD)

MACKAY COMPANIES CALLED TO TENDER FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKS (QLD)

Mackay building companies are encouraged to tender to build new office space for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service under the Queensland Government’s new procurement strategy. Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said Buy Queensland, which came into effect 1 September 2017, was a fantastic initiative for local businesses looking to tender for the works. “Changing the way government procures is giving local businesses improved access to government work,” Ms Enoch said.

Please click on the following link to view full media release – MACKAY COMPANIES CALLED TO TENDER FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKS

 

2018 AIB NOMINATIONS AND SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN!

Nominations and Submissions are NOW OPEN for the 2018 AIB Professional Excellence in Building Awards! 

Nominations close 2 February 2018
Submissions close 2 March 2018

For more information, please visit https://aib.org.au/your-institute/professional-excellence-awards/

 

NSW HOUSING COMPLETIONS SMASH STATE RECORD (NSW)

12th July 2017

New housing completions in NSW have reached an all-time high, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest quarterly building activity data.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the data shows 64,824 homes were completed in NSW in the year to March 2017 – a seven per cent increase on the previous record of 60,569 set in 2016.

NSW Housing Completions Smash State Record

 

 

 

NEW CHAIR ANNOUNCED FOR NT PLANNING COMMISSION (NT)

13th July 2017

Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Nicole Manison today announced Dr David Ritchie as the new Chair of the Northern Territory Planning Commission (NTPC).

Ms Manison said the Territory Labor Government is determined to restore trust in Government and will review planning in its first term, to provide certainty for the community.

New Chair announced for NT Planning Commission