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Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

16 July 2020

#Construction & Infrastructure

Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

In the media

Differing impacts of COVID-19 on Australian construction markets
According to the Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) 2nd Quarter 2020 Australia Report, the impacts of COVID-19 being felt by Australian construction markets and associated tender costs differ around the country (09 July 2020).  More...

Australian capital projects - risk management, project controls and COVID-19
How has the Australian construction industry been impacted? KPMG Australia Director and NSW President of the Risk Engineering Society Pedram Danesh-Man lifts the hood on the industry (09 July 2020).  More...

Sharing a fresh look at Faster Rail with Government
Faster Rail in Australia can provide more substantial community benefits than currently recognised, but success requires an integrated approach to planning, design and delivery, and a ‘cocktail’ of funding, Arup told a Federal Government inquiry (08 July 2020).  More...

New funding for research hub to lead steel innovation in Australia
The Federal Government has announced an additional $5 million in funding for the University of Wollongong-led, ARC Research Hub for Australian Steel Innovation (Steel Research Hub). The Steel Research Hub will be funded for five years (2021-2025) (03 July 2020).  More...

PM greenlights Snowy 2.0, thousands of jobs to be created
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given the environmental approval for Snowy Hydro 2.0, Australia’s largest ever renewable energy project (01 July 2020).   More...

HIA: First home buyers receive another boost: HIA
The release today of 10,000 new guarantees under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme will provide another boost for home buyers looking to move into their first home.. The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme allows home buyers to access a home loan with a smaller (5 per cent) deposit with 27 lending bodies operating under the Scheme (01 July 2020).  More...

HIA: Building approvals data begins to reflect COVID-19 shock
“Building approvals in May fell by 16.4 per cent nationally as the impact of COVID-19 restrictions impeded the flow of new building projects to be undertaken”, stated HIA Economist (01 July 2020).  More...

Framework to improve registration of building practitioners
A discussion paper on a draft National Registration Framework (NRF) for Building Practitioners has been developed in response to BCR recommendations 1 and 2. The NRF, if adopted, is expected to enhance public confidence and improve national consistency in the registration of building practitioners (30 June 2020).  More...

New laws to register engineers in NSW  
Due to similar changes in Victoria last year and the long-standing laws in Queensland, from 1 July 2021 registration will apply in NSW, Victoria and Queensland – covering the three largest states for engineering work and roughly 75% of the Australian economy. (30 June 2020).  More...

New South Wales

Coffs Harbour bypass a step closer to construction
The Coffs Harbour Bypass is a step closer to construction, with the public release today of two reports detailing how community feedback has shaped design (08 July 2020).  More...

Construction underway for new schools at Meadowbank
More than 1500 school students are closer to learning in multi-purpose and flexible learning spaces now that construction has started at the Meadowbank Education and Employment Precinct. Together, the schools and TAFE projects will support almost 1900 construction jobs (02 July 2020).  More...

HIA welcomes new NSW Planning delivery unit
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) welcomes announcement by Treasurer Perrottet and Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to introduce a new Planning Delivery Unit to work with government agencies and industry to unblock planning projects stuck in the system (01 July 2020).  More...

NSW Government bushfire clean-up meets initial 30 June 2020 target as rebuild begins
The bushfire clean-up program undertaken by the NSW Government has met the initial 2800 property clearing target and today announced further support for communities through a rebuild and housing strategy (30 June 2020).  More...

$1 billion to unlock thousands of infrastructure jobs in NSW
The Federal and State Liberal and Nationals Governments will support nearly 5,500 jobs across New South Wales through a joint $1 billion investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and road safety upgrades (29 June 2020).  More...


Aria Property Group proposes a 30-storey, 1000-tree apartment tower in Brisbane
An inner-city suburb on the Brisbane River could be home to the “greenest residential building in the world” with ambitious plans currently under review by the city’s council (09 July 2020).  More...

Low building numbers highlight need for grant acceleration
The impact of COVID-19 is seeping into Queensland’s construction industry, with the latest ABS building approvals showing a nosedive for new home construction (09 July 2020).  More...

$29 million for Bruce Highway safety south of Ingham
Work is scheduled to start in August on a $29.2 million safety package on the Bruce Highway south of Ingham, focusing on a 7.3-kilometre section of the highway between Hechts Road and Easter Creek (06 July 2020).  More...

Planning decision protects jobs at Narangba Innovation Precinct
Queensland state Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick has signed off a Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) for Narangba Innovation Precinct (East) to drive economic recovery through business growth and greater job creation (06 July 2020).  More...

Safety net tightens for resources workers
Australia’s toughest mine safety laws take effect from today with executives facing up to 20 years’ jail if Queensland resources sector workers die because of their criminal negligence. Queensland resources sector workers die because of their criminal negligence. A new independent statutory body – Resources Safety and Health Queensland (01 July 2020).  More...


Fire Safety Engineer to boost VBA fire safety programs
The VBA has appointed respected fire engineer Dr Weng Poh to the position of Principal Fire Safety Engineer to extend its fire safety programs. Victoria’s State Building Surveyor Andrew Cialinis said the appointment will raise the  profile  of fire  safety engineering amongst the state’s 24,000 builders, building surveyors and other practitioners (10 July 2020).  More...

Geelong set for economic boost as major civic project gets the green light
Geelong is set to receive an economic and employment boost as diversified property group Quintessential Equity’s development plans for the City of Greater Geelong’s new Civic Precinct, with the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne today giving the project the green light (07 July 2020).  More...

More than half a billion dollars to unlock infrastructure jobs in Victoria
The Commonwealth and Victorian governments will support construction jobs across Victoria by jointly investing an additional $525 million to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades (06 July 2020).  More...

New Code to lift the standards of Victorian building surveyors
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is lifting the standards of conduct for building surveyors, boosting competency in the industry and driving behavioural changes that puts the safety of Victorians first (29 June 2020).   More...

In practice and courts


In response to industry feedback, transitional arrangements have been changed and the eligibility criteria has been expanded (01 July 2020).
Broader alternative pathways to Mechanical Service – Medical Gas licence
Broader alternative pathways to Mechanical Service – Plumbing licence

QBCC: Safer Buildings program enters final stage
The QBCC is administering the three-part Safer Buildings program to understand the extent of combustible cladding use in Queensland’s private buildings. The Safer Buildings program has advanced considerably with Part 3 of the combustible cladding checklist now underway. The deadline for building owners to finalise the Part 3 assessment is 3 May 2021. For more information on the Safer Buildings program, click here


Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors
State Building Surveyor - The code clearly sets out examples of inappropriate conduct and establishes eight key areas of professional conduct that building surveyors in Victoria must follow. The building surveyor code commences on 1 January 2021 (29 June 2020).  More...

Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV): rectification of buildings with dangerous flammable cladding
Participating builders must pass rigorous government checks and have no relevant or significant pending or past disciplinary action on their records. Owners who do not want to work with the original builder do not have to participate in the fast-tracked program, however they will still have their buildings rectified by CSV. For more information about the program visit here (23 June 2020). 

VBA reminder:  regulation of the routine servicing of fire protection equipment
If you carry out the routine servicing of fire equipment and want to continue doing this work, you need to obtain a restricted registration or licence in the relevant class from the VBA by 31 December 2020. To find out how to apply, see here. A random selection of completed routine service work will be audited, and non-compliance will be dealt with under the VBA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

VBA: Engagement begins for engineers' registration scheme
The new Professional Engineers Registration Act 2019 will initially require structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and fire safety engineers to be registered. The scheme is due to commence from 1 July 2021 and has been designed to include other engineering disciplines over time.  Public consultation will occur via Engage Victoria .

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. 


New South Wales

East End Projects Pty Ltd v GJ Building and Contracting Pty Ltd [2020] NSWSC 819
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION - Progress payments – Where right to present payment claim contingent on the provision of a draft payment claim on a certain date – Whether contingency void for unduly restricting the operation of the Building & Construction Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW)


Budulica v Optima Construction Services & Ors [2020] QCAT 235
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – where contract of sale included condition requiring rectification and additional improvements – where purchaser alleges rectification and additional improvements were either not performed or were defective – where purchaser claims loss because rectification and additional improvements were defective
Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 Qld s 77(1), Schedule 2; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 47 

Somerset Civil Pty Ltd v Sugarbag Road Pty Ltd [2020] QSC 203
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – PLEADINGS – STRIKING OUT – EMBARRASSING, TENDENCY TO CAUSE PREJUDICE, SCANDALOUS, UNNECESSARY ETC OR CAUSING DELAY IN PROCEEDINGS – where the plaintiff claims payment of approximately $1.1 million from the defendant for work performed – where the defendant says that the plaintiff did not hold the requisite licence and therefore, pursuant to s 42 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991, it is not required to pay the plaintiff and is entitled to a return of moneys already paid – where the plaintiff says that the amended particulars allege a number of matters that support a finding that the defendant knew or ought to have known that the plaintiff did not hold the licence – where the defendant brought an application to strike out some of the particulars which contain allegations about a contract between the defendant and another company – where the plaintiff issued a notice of non-party disclosure under r 244 of the UCPR seeking disclosure of the contract – where the plaintiff contends that the contract will tend to prove that the defendant was in pari delicto with the plaintiff by the defendant’s actual or imputed knowledge, by the defendant’s carelessness or recklessness in having the knowledge to check and understand licencing issues but not properly checking the licensing regime before entering the contract, or otherwise that the defendant intended to pay the plaintiff for the work notwithstanding any licence issues – whether the particulars provide a basis for the plaintiff’s argument and whether the court should strike out the particulars pursuant to r 162 of the UCPR
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – DISCOVERY AND INTERROGATORIES – DISCOVERY AND INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS – PRODUCTION AND INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS – OTHER MATTERS – where the plaintiff issued a notice of non-party disclosure under r 244 of the UCPR seeking disclosure of a contract between the defendant and another company – where the defendant objected to the production of the contract – where the effect of r 246 of the UCPR is to act as a stay of the notice of non-party disclosure – where the plaintiff seeks an order lifting the stay under r 247(2) – whether the court should order that the stay be lifted
Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 Qld s 42; Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 Qld r 162, r 244, r 245, r 246, r 247(2) 

Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited v Arup Pty Limited [2020] QSC 202
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – SEPARATE DECISION OR DETERMINATION OF QUESTIONS AND CONSOLIDATION OF PROCEEDINGS – SEPARATE DECISION OR DETERMINATION – OF LIABILITY AND DAMAGES – where the defendant applies for a separate trial on liability issues – where the dispute concerns alleged defects in the design of an airport apron and taxiway where both liability and quantum are contested – where the quantum case is in a state of flux due to uncertainties about early rectification works and altered operational restrictions related to reduced air traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic – whether a separate trial on liability would result in savings in time and costs to both parties – whether a separate trial on liability would enhance the prospects of resolution – whether a separate trial on liability would be just and convenient. 

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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