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Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

23 March 2021

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

In the media

$2.4B boost to the economy as Government cuts red tape for tradespersons
The Federal Government will provide a $2.4 billion boost to the economy by cutting red tape to allow for a uniform scheme for automatic mutual recognition of state and territory based occupational licences and registrations (18 March 2021).  More...

Government-funded university team set on creating robotic construction solutions
The Australian Research Council has given more than half a million dollars in funding to an interdisciplinary research team looking to improve the quality and productivity of the construction industry using robotic technology (17 March 2021).  More...

Calls for rail reform to meet predicted boom
The Australasian Railway Association is calling for swift policy reforms to ensure Australia can capitalise on the imminent rail construction boom and has recommended nine areas of action to drive growth across the rail supply chain (17 March 2021).  More...

Construction sector gains momentum with Brisbane leading the charge
 Australia and New Zealand Market Insight Report Q4 2020 from global professional services consultancy Turner & Townsend, highlights the road to recovery for construction markets around Australia. Brisbane’s construction market is expected to have the quickest recovery, driven by a strong pipeline of pre-existing projects, followed by Sydney, Melbourne, Perth then Adelaide (17 March 2021).  More...

Inflation slumps in construction as pandemic hits
The pandemic has put a dampener on building activity and price growth, with Rider Levett Bucknall slashing its predictions for inflation across the country, while builders reduce margins, even as their labour and materials costs rise, in a bid to keep workbooks full (17 March 2021).  More...

Strong market confidence carries new home sales into 2021
New Home Sales increased in February 2021 to be 1.7 per cent higher than February last year, prior to the impact of COVID restrictions on new home sales,” stated HIA’s Economist. HomeBuilder was the catalyst for improving consumer confidence in the housing market (12 March 2021).  More...

Apartment made from waste glass and textiles showcases “green” ceramics
Industry leaders have had a glimpse into the future – flooring, wall tiles, kitchen and lighting features, and furniture and artworks, made from waste glass and textiles. The ‘green ceramics’, used for the first time as a construction material, are the result of a collaboration between Mirvac and the UNSW (SMaRT) (11 March 2021).  More...

Commonwealth pours $1.2 billion more into Apprenticeship Subsidy
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister of Employment, Michaela Cash have announced that the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy program will shift to becoming demand driven and will be expanded for a full twelve months for new apprentices and trainee places. To be eligible, employers will need to engage apprentices who will need to commence before September 30 2021 (09 March 2021).  More...

New South Wales

Trades without borders
The NSW Government is slashing red tape and removing barriers for tradies to work across state and territory borders, delivering a major boost for jobs and the economy (18 March 2021).  More...

Sydney Metro West receives two major planning approvals
Planning approval has been granted for the Sydney Metro West Project Concept, from Westmead to the Sydney CBD, as well as station excavation and tunnelling between Westmead and The Bays (17 March 2021).  More...

Turning grey to green in Sydney’s urban jungle
Under a new plan Greening Sydney 2030 released, the City of Sydney will plant 700 new street trees each year and aim to cover 40 per cent of the city in greenery by 2050, including ambitious canopy targets and innovative plans to increase green roofs and walls and streetscape gardening (17 March 2021).  More...

Barangaroo Station construction contract awarded
Australian construction company BESIX Watpac has been handed the $217 million contract to build the new Barangaroo Station, designed by a combined team of Architectus and Foster + Partners architects (17 March 2021).  More...

Lendlease boots on ground at North Sydney’s transformative Victoria Cross development
North Sydney’s transformation is set to accelerate with works now underway on the Victoria Cross integrated station development – bringing the business district’s new commercial, retail and transport hub to life (15 March 2021).  More...

Roadmap to reform rolled out for infrastructure contributions
The NSW Government will undertake major reforms to the infrastructure contributions system, unlocking up to $12 billion in productivity benefits through changes to how public facilities and services are funded through the planning system (05 March 2021).  More...

Queensland

Gold Coast forges on with hinterland cableway despite petition
Gold Coast Council will continue discussions for the hinterland cableway, despite a petition against it gaining thousands of signatures. A recent petition is arguing that the money could be better spent elsewhere in the hinterland, without impacting local residents and the environment (18 March 2021).  More...

Infrastructure to support Queensland’s economic recovery
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, has, detailed that a new State Infrastructure Strategy, supported by seven Regional Infrastructure Plans will be released later this year (17 March 2021).  More...

New roads, schools to be mapped out under 10-year Queensland blueprint
How to tackle Brisbane bottlenecks and safeguard drinking water in regional Queensland will be part of a review into the state’s long-term infrastructure strategy (16 March 2021).  More...

Central Queensland mine reaches rehabilitation milestone
A former open cut mine in Central Queensland has been transformed into natural and productive land thanks to an impressive rehabilitation program (15 March 2021).  More...

New advisory council to build a more accessible Queensland
The Palaszczuk Government has announced the members of an independent advisory council to advise the government on building better accessibility on transport and roads projects across Queensland (11 March 2021).  More...

More funding to raise Rookwood Weir
The Australian and Queensland governments have each committed another $7.5 million for Rookwood Weir to unlock 10,000 additional megalitres of water for Central Queensland (11 March 2021).  More...

Victoria

Victoria takes major step to modernise road funding
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia welcomes the move by the Victorian Government to introduce legislation into Parliament that will modernise Victoria’s road funding system through a modest distance based charge on zero and low emission vehicles (17 March 2021).  More...

New projects boost Victorian tourism industry and jobs
The Andrews Labor Government is backing growth in Victoria’s nation-leading tourism offering with 30 new infrastructure projects to break ground across the state (10 March 2021).  More...

Upgrades to deliver more train services for Gippsland
A contractor has been appointed to deliver the Gippsland Line Upgrade’s major package of works, rail upgrades between Pakenham and Traralgon to enable more frequent and reliable train services (16 March 2021).  More...

Building permit bounce back a sign of industry rebound
Victoria’s building industry had a strong 2020, despite being impacted by COVID-19, recording the highest level of permit approvals in the last two decades. The Victorian Building Authority issued 10 per cent more building permits in 2020, 113,430 up from 101,998 the previous year (15 March 2021).  More...

Practice and courts

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.  More...

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.

New South Wales

Infrastructure Australia concludes evaluation of North Coast Connect and Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport
Infrastructure Australia has completed its independent evaluation of the business cases for North Coast Connect and Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport. Based on the business cases and evidence submitted to us, Infrastructure Australia has determined that both proposals require further development to demonstrate sufficient return on investment. Detailed business case evaluation summaries are available here (12 March 2021).  More...

NSW revenue: Land Tax Build to Rent
The NSW Government is introducing a land tax discount for new build-to-rent housing projects until 2040 and a new Housing Diversity SEPP to provide more housing options, greater surety for renters, boost construction and support jobs during the COVID-19 recovery.

NSW revenue: Extension to HomeBuilder grant
On 29 November 2020 the Australian Government Announced an extension to the HomeBuilder program until 31 March 2021.  More...

Queensland

QBCC releases project trust account tool
The QBCC has designed a trust account tool to help industry determine whether a particular project requires a project trust account. This follows reforms under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017, with a new trust account framework being phased in, and currently including eligible State Government contracts valued between $1 million and $10 million as of 1 March 2021. When fully implemented by 1 January 2023, trust accounts will apply to all projects (public and private sector) valued over $1 million.

QBCC Message for accountants – the lodgement deadline for Self-certifying licensees is 31 March 2021
If your building industry clients belong in the QBCC Self-certifying 1 (SC1) or Self-certifying (SC2) categories, they must lodge their annual financial reporting by 31 March 2021. SC1 licensees have annual turnover up to $200,000 and SC2 licensees have an annual turnover between 200,001 and $800,000. Visit the QBCC website for more information on annual financial reporting including detailed FAQs. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Master Builders Qld: Proposed changes to Fair Work laws – what you need to know
The Federal Government has recently introduced to the Parliament the Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill that proposes a series of changes to the Fair Work Act and related laws. The changes are only proposals and will not come into effect until they have passed the Parliament, which will be in March 2021 at the very earliest.  More...

QBCC audit of category 2 licensees
The QBCC is in the process of auditing contractors to check compliance with their obligations in respect of payment schedules under the BIF legislation. The audit program covers both builders and trade contractors. The audits will be completed by 30 April 2021 – it's expected that 200 licensees will be sent notices (out of the approximate 5,000 licensees in Category 2).  More...

QBCC Reminders

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...

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 visit www.saferbuildings.qld.gov.au.

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

VBA: Importance of working within your registration or licence class
With 2021 underway, the VBA is reminding all practitioners of the importance of not only being registered, but also following the rules of your registration and only working within these parameters. More information about the different categories of registered builders and registered and licensed plumbers is available on our website. Practitioners can visit the eToolbox to check the status of their registration (18 March 2021).  More...

SRO: HomeBuilder applications extended until 14 April 2021
You now have until 14 April 2021 to submit your HomeBuilder application, regardless of which grant you are applying for. Our website has now been updated with the revised HomeBuilder guidelines to reflect the extension of the program and the two grant amounts.  More...

Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy
We have released Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy and are inviting all Victorians to have their say. Community consultation ended on February 26, 2021. The final 30-year infrastructure strategy will be presented to the Victorian Government in mid-2021. To read the draft strategy, or participate in community consultation opportunities visit https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/draft30-yearstrategy

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.

Cases

New South Wales

Harmon International Holdings Pty Ltd v Pashon Electrical Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 230
CONTRACT – construction – expert valuation – where contract provided that expert determination of current day market value is final and binding save for manifest error – whether errors in valuation principle, application of valuation approaches and factual matters amount to manifest error – manifest error found
Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW), s 66G.

Victoria

Re DST Project Management and Construction Pty Ltd (ACN 623 076 031) [2021] VSC 108
CORPORATIONS – winding up – application to adjourn hearing of an application for an order to wind up a company pursuant to Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 453Q – where creditor opposes application on basis restructuring plan proposed to use creditors ‘friendly’ to the company to pass the restructuring plan to the detriment of trade creditors – where creditor claims there are reasons to doubt the information provided to the restructuring practitioner – restructuring practitioner’s obligations to make reasonable inquiries into and take reasonable steps to verify the company’s business, property, affairs and financial circumstances – ‘best interests of the creditors’ – ‘excluded creditor’ – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) Pt 5.3B – Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cth) regs 5.3B.18, 5.3B.21.

Yuanda Vic Pty Ltd v Facade Designs International Pty Ltd [2021] VSCA 44
BUILDING CONTRACTS – building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 – payment claim indicating claimed amount – principal liable to pay claimed amount after failure to provide payment schedule – application to court by claimant to recover claimed amount – Court required not to give judgment for claimant unless satisfied claimed amount does not include any excluded amount – whether court must be satisfied on face of claim or may look more widely – whether excluded amount may be deducted from claimed amount and judgment given for balance – whether excluded amount can be severed from claimed amount – Gantley Pty Ltd v Phoenix International Group Pty Ltd [2010] VSC 106, Seabay Properties Pty Ltd v Galvin Construction Pty Ltd [2011] VSC 183, John Beever (Aust) Pty Ltd v Roads Corporation [2018] VSC 635, considered – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 ss 4, 14(2)(d), 15(4), 16(2), 16(4)
BUILDING CONTRACTS – Whether claimed amount included non-permitted variations – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 s 10B(2)
BUILDING CONTRACTS – whether claimed amount included items based on alleged fraudulent settlement agreement – whether claims individually substantiated – relevance of alleged fraudulent settlement agreement – whether ‘fraud unravels everything’
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – consequences of non-compliance with statutory requirement not to include ‘excluded amount’ in ‘claimed amount’ – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 evinces policies of preventing recovery of excluded amounts and encouraging adjudication to resolve disputes – Court role limited to enforcement of statutory liability – Enforcement unavailable where ‘claimed amount’ non-compliant
WORDS AND PHRASES – ‘claimed amount’ – ‘excluded amount’.

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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