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Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

15 June 2021

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

In the media

ACIF forecasts show that the construction industry is an engine in powering Australia’s recovery
The forecasts released by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) reveal that the Australian building and construction market is bouncing back. The new forecasts project growth of 2.7 per cent, bringing the level of building and construction work up to $243 billion in 2021 (10 June 2021).  More...

New Monash image generating technology to streamline construction sites
Researchers at Monash University have filed a patent for new technology that could generate thousands of images of construction machinery, train deep neural networks and automate monitoring processes – with the images then analysed using artificial intelligence (08 June 2021).  More...

ABF to dust off and seize asbestos
The ABF is undertaking a targeted period of action against imported building products at risk of containing asbestos. Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, Jason Wood said the intention of the ABF’s Action wasn’t to hold up any legitimate and safe building materials, but to protect the Australian community from asbestos (07 June 2021).  More...

Home-building at breaking point
A construction supply crisis is affecting key development projects across the country as builders deal with a critical shortage of building materials (06 June 2021).  More...

REA insights: Energy efficiency housing report
Australian property-hunters are increasingly valuing energy efficient homes, with close to three quarters of recent buyers saying an energy rating was important to them, according to the REA Insights Energy Efficiency Housing Report by REA Group (04 June 2021).  More...

Achieving a carbon-neutral mining operation
The mining sector is believed to contribute between 4-7 per cent of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions globally and up to 30 per cent if Scope 3 emissions are considered. Recent articles in the Australian Financial Review and other media outlets such as Mining.com provide commentary on BHP linking executive bonuses to accelerated plans for reducing climate emissions by 30 per cent in 10 years (04 June 2021).  More...

Home loan commitments rise to another new high
New loan commitments for housing rose 3.7 per cent in April 2021 (seasonally adjusted) to a record high of $31.0 billion according to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.The HomeBuilder grant was reduced from $25k to $15k effective from 1 January 2021 and was closed to new applications from 14 April 2021 (04 June 2021).  More...

Major road and rail projects to face skills shortage
Roads Australia and the Australasian Railway Association are calling on the Federal Government to update the Priority Skilled Occupations List to include specialist skills that are critical to the delivery of major road and rail construction projects, as these sectors will be impacted by the lack of access to skilled overseas workers (01 June 2021).  More...

Infrastructure Australia: Progress since the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan
Australia has received a mixed scorecard on infrastructure reform, according to recent analysis commissioned by Infrastructure Australia. The report finds that governments across Australia are at varying stages of progress against the reform recommendations in the 2016 Plan (01 June 2021).  More...

Detached dwelling approvals break another record in April
Detached building approvals reached a record level for the third consecutive month in April 2021, stated HIA Economist. The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its monthly building approvals data for detached and multi-units data covering all states and territories (01 June 2021).  More...

Australia’s housing boom rolls on with national home values lifting another 2.2 per cent in May
Housing markets around Australia continued to surge in May with CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index up 2.2 per cent over the month. CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless, observes that growth conditions remained broad based both geographically and across the housing types and valuation segments (01 June 2021).  More...

National leadership to unlock massive productivity savings from construction
Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies said the report highlights the urgent need for the Federal Government to lead a coordinated reform program. The 2016 recommendation for the Australian Government to establish infrastructure reform incentives is even more important now with high levels of government debt but no less of a requirement to construct infrastructure (29 May 2021).  More...

New South Wales

Delivering greater water security in southern New South Wales
NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the project will construct a new 3,000 mega litre off-stream water storage facility and a new 26 mega litre per day river pumping station (10 June 2021).  More...

Terminal contract awarded for Western Sydney International Airport
The contract for the construction of the terminal at Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport has been awarded to Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd (04 June 2021).  More...

Bermagui community rallies behind historic timber bridge, pleading for restoration
Timber specialists say the retention and restoration of old timber bridges across New South Wales could be cheaper than demolishing the structures as planned (03 June 2021).  More...

NSW productivity white paper offers infrastructure guidance
The NSW Productivity Commission has released its productivity white paper, Rebooting the economy, which provides recommendations for smarter use of infrastructure and natural resources. The report showcases numerous recommendations for the infrastructure industry, stating that investing in the right infrastructure is a powerful lever by which the Government can raise productivity (03 June 2021).  More...

Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in New South Wales Central West
The Australian Government is committing $10 million to deliver three projects in Central West New South Wales, to strengthen economic growth and drive Australia’s recovery from COVID-19 (31 May 2021).  More...

Queensland

$183 million announced for Bruce Highway upgrade
Funding for a four-lane road project on a notorious stretch of the Bruce Highway in south-east Queensland has been announced by the Australian Government (09 June 2021).  More...

New funding for four-lane Tiaro bypass
The Australian Government has announced up to a further $183 million towards the construction of a four-lane bypass of Tiaro on the Bruce Highway, which takes its total commitment to $268.6 million. The project’s Business Case is expected to be completed by late 2021 and will inform the delivery schedule (09 June 2021).  More...

No winners in building materials shortage as builders, rich, vulnerable all impacted
A nationwide shortage of building materials is putting pressure on Queensland's construction industry, with fears the building boom will claim several casualties. On top of costs for materials, Mr Butler said, builders were also at risk of having to pay liquidated damages of $50 for each day a house was delayed after the contractual end date (03 June 2021).  More...

Wandoan BESS Project to be connected, in Queensland battery first
The Wandoan BESS project, Queensland’s largest battery, will be connected to the transmission network nearing completion at Wandoan, via Vena Energy and government-owned Powerlink. The $120 million Wandoan BESS project is the first to connect a large-scale battery directly to the state’s grid (02 June 2021).  More...

Construction time blowouts force deadline extension for new home-buyer grant
New home projects in Rockhampton are facing construction delays of up to six months due to nationwide shortages of building materials and a skyrocketing demand for labourers (31 May 2021).  More...

Victoria

Non-compliant roof light design highlights fire danger
The Victorian Building Authority has received reports that building permits are being issued for buildings with roof lights that do not meet the Performance Requirements under the National Construction Code (NCC). Building surveyors must make sure they are correctly applying the NCC when reviewing and approving building permits (10 June 2021).  More...

Proactive inspections helping to drive change
The Victorian Building Authority’s (VBA) Proactive Inspection Program is making a difference, with building and plumbing practitioners working cooperatively with the VBA (10 June 2021).  More...

Regional Victorian infrastructure fast-tracked
Infrastructure projects are being fast-tracked throughout regional and rural Victoria, in a bid to help the state’s recovery and support local communities. The new Investment Fast Track Fund is open for applications, as part of the State Government’s program to support regional areas (08 June 2021).  More...

World-first ‘solar hydro’ power plant addresses need for longer duration energy storage
On behalf of the Australian Government, the ARENA has announced $15 million in funding to RayGen Resources Pty Ltd to construct its first of a kind ‘solar hydro’ power plant comprising 4 MW of solar PV generation and 3 MW / 50 MWh (17 hours) of dispatchable storage capacity in north-west Victoria (08 June 2021).  More...

Development Victoria certified for carbon neutral operations
The carbon neutral status – which applies to Development Victoria’s head office – is also an important step towards meeting the goals of the Victorian Government’s Climate Change Act 2017 which sets a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for the state by 2050 (04 June 2021).  More...

Practice and courts

ABCB Consultation open: Involvement of fire authorities in building design
A discussion paper in response to the Building Confidence Report is now open for public comment.
The BCR Implementation Team has developed a discussion paper seeking views on the issue of fire authority involvement in building design. Responses to questions in the discussion paper are welcomed until 7 July 2021. (09 June 2021).  More...

Progress since the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan
28 May 2021 – this report examines the progress of infrastructure reform since we released the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan. EY was commissioned to undertake this work to inform development of the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, which is being released mid-year. The report finds that governments across Australia are at varying stages of progress against the reform recommendations in the 2016 Plan

ABCB: Improvements to the code’s structure and format will be implemented for NCC 2022
To guide users through the changes, the ABCB has developed a range of supporting resources that will be released in stages leading up to the publication of the NCC 2022 Public Comment Draft on 10 May 2021.
The first stage of articles and resources are being released here.

Adoption of NCC 2022 to be delayed
The delayed adoption will also see adjustments to key dates in the amendment cycle process for NCC 2022 to allow stakeholders time to participate. These adjusted dates include:
May – July 2021: NCC 2022 Public Comment Draft released for public consultation
May 2022: NCC 2022 Preview published at ncc.abcb.gov.au
If you have any questions regarding the delayed adoption of NCC 2022, please submit an online enquiry.

Comcare Consultation: Proposed change to plant registration – removal of a condition
Comcare is considering removing its imposed condition on all plant registrations that “a registration holder must notify Comcare annually of any maintenance, repair, inspection or testing of an item of plant”. Plant includes items such as cranes, machinery, vehicles, forklifts, lifts, boilers, gas cylinders, Comcare invites submissions on the proposed removal of the condition until 24 June 2021.  More...

New South Wales

The draft Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2020
The NSW Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 provisions of the Act will commence on 1 July 2021.  More...

Have your say on changes to how building design and construction is regulated in NSW
The development of supporting regulations is the next step on delivering on this piece of the Government’s building reform agenda, with the scheme commencing on 1 July 2021. In response to your feedback, we've drafted a report that explains the changes that were made to the draft Regulation (May 2021).  More...

Conflicts of interest – savings and transitional arrangements
Clause 71 of the Regulation introduces savings provisions for certain conflict of interest situations where the certifier was appointed before 1 July 2020 and the work will be completed before 1 July 2022. The provisions relate to council-certified developments and to developments where the certifier gave advice on how to comply with the BCA deemed to satisfy provisions. For all the changes, access the Amendment Regulation here.

Queensland

Master Builders Qld: Have your say – digital trade licences
Click here to complete our snap survey before 14 June and have your say about building and trade licences going digital.  More...

QBCC: Reminder to install interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms
31.May.2021 – From 1 January 2022, landlords must install interconnected smoke alarms in residential rental properties. Similar rules apply to owner occupiers. All other dwellings must transition to full compliance by 2027. Whether you’re a landlord, owner occupier or tenant, visit qld.gov.au/smokealarms to find out more about your obligations.  More...

QBCC reminder: Extension to PI insurance cladding exemption
The Building (Professional Indemnity Insurance) Amendment Regulation 2020 commenced on 18 September 2020, giving effect to the extension of the external cladding exclusion. Now, certifiers can continue to obtain a licence to operate with PI insurance containing exclusions in relation to non-compliant external cladding until 30 June 2022.  More...

Build-to-Rent update – approved projects
The Queensland Government has approved two Brisbane-based affordable housing projects by developers following a Request for Detailed Proposals from shortlisted applicants from the Expression of Interest Phase of the Pilot Project. It is anticipated construction will commence mid-2021 following the finalisation of designs for the projects, with operations expected to commence in 2023.  More...

Victoria

Advancing Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy
Rebates of $4,000 per home are now available for builders who take on the development of 7-star NatHERS rated homes. The 7 Star Homes program forms part of the Victorian Government’s 1.6 billion Clean Energy package and will support Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy to cut emissions by 28 per cent to 33 per cent by 2025 and 45 per cent to 50 per cent by 2030. To learn more about the program or to register for a rebate or training opportunity, visit 7 Star Homes Program (updated 02 June 2021).

Consumer Affairs Victoria: Engineers have their say on proposed registration fees – news alert
The Victorian Government is inviting feedback before new fees are set for the registration and endorsement of professional engineers under new laws starting on 1 July 2021.The proposed Fees Regulations and RIS and are now available for public consultation – visit Engage Victoria. Comments and submissions closed on 3 May 2021. For more information, view Professional engineers.  More...

VBA: Fire protection equipment servicing registration/licensing deadline extended
Anyone working on the routine servicing of fire protection equipment must be registered or licensed with the VBA. After 31 July 2021, unregistered or unlicensed practitioners carrying out this work will be subject to VBA enforcement action. Due to COVID-19, the date for registration/licensing was extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 July 2021.  More...

VBA: Carpenters selected for first stage of trades registration
Carpenters will be the first group of trades registered under Victoria’s recently developed trades registration framework. Provisional registration and licensing for carpenters is expected to commence in mid-2021. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, refer to the Engage Victoria website.

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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