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Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

27 January 2021

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure

In the media

PCA: HomeBuilder the workhorse of economic recovery
The success of the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder grants program demonstrates the power of residential construction in supporting jobs and driving economic activity. According to new figures from Treasury, more than 75,000 households have applied for the HomeBuilder grant with around 80 per cent of these for new construction (20 January 2021).  More...

Managing large-scale construction projects to avoid cost overruns
Researchers from the University of Stavanger, University of Melbourne, and University of Wisconsin-Madison have published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that examines how major projects undertaken by temporary organisations can be better managed so that cost overruns are minimised. Such cost overruns are a common outcome of major engineering and construction projects (19 January 2021).  More...

New app streamlines application process for Green Star rating
Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) announces the launch of the first phase of Green Star Online, a new platform that allows projects to easily apply for a Green Star rating. Green Star Online streamlines the application process and improves customer experience for project managers and GBCA members (19 January 2021).  More...

New home sales go through the roof in December
New Home Sales reached remarkable heights in December, nearly doubling compared to the number of sales recorded in November, according to the latest HIA New Home Sales report. This is the second strongest month of New Home Sales in the 20 year history of the survey, only exceeded by March 2001 (19 January 2021).  More...

Applications open to fund lifesaving Driver Reviver upgrades
Owners of Driver Reviver locations across the nation can now apply for a share of $7.3 million in Australian Government funding to upgrade their lifesaving rest sites (15 January 2021).  More...

Chinese company withdraws bid for Australian builder after Government flags security risk
A $300 million offer by a Chinese company to buy an Australian builder is withdrawn on the back of advice that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the Foreign Investment Review Board will declare the transaction a risk to national security and contrary to Australia's interest (12 January 2021).  More...

HIA: Detached building approvals go from strength to strength
ABS Building Approvals data for detached houses rose for the fifth consecutive month in November. While HomeBuilder was the catalyst for improving consumer confidence in the housing market, the strength of detached building approvals is due to several factors including low interest rates (07 January 2020).  More...

New South Wales

Planning approval for Western Harbour Tunnel
The Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade has received planning approval from the NSW Government, in a major step towards delivering the third road crossing of Sydney Harbour (22 January 2021).  More...

Momentum builds for Singleton bypass
The Australian and New South Wales Governments are now seeking industry feedback on the best way to deliver the bypass so we can get shovels in the ground and construction happening as quickly as possible. The Australian Government will continue to roll out these types of major projects across the nation under our record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan (20 January 2021).  More...

Homebuilder – a testament to the job creation power of the property construction sector – lessons for New South Wales
NSW saw a significantly lower take-up of Homebuilder than other States (given the relative size of the populations of the States and Territories). This was firstly because early on the thresholds were too low. But secondly, it was because the performance on planning approvals has been appalling since 2019 and fell by more than any other State during COVID (20 January 2021).  More...

Central Pier closure came suddenly, urgently, but after years of warnings
The Victorian government agency in charge of the shuttered Central Pier at Docklands knew for almost a year that the 100-year-old structure was at "extreme" risk of collapse before it shut it down abruptly, but delayed acting in an apparent attempt to avoid spending tens of millions of dollars on repairs and compensation payments to businesses (19 January 2021).  More...

Tweed Valley Hospital a step closer for the community
Major construction works have commenced at the site of the $673 million Tweed Valley Hospital, delivering up to 650 construction jobs for the local community in addition to a world-class health facility (19 January 2021).  More...

Biggest infrastructure investment in history of New South Wales national parks
More than 750km of new and upgraded walking tracks, 33 campground upgrades and 61 new and improved picnic areas are set to be delivered, as part of a record investment in community infrastructure in NSW national parks (17 January 2021).  More...

The building projects set to transform Sydney
Analysts say there are high hopes for the long term viability of Sydney's construction industry with billions of dollars promised for projects including a $500 million 50 storey high-rise two blocks from Circular Quay (11 January 2021).  More...

Queensland

Roads, transport put pedal to the metal on economic recovery, jobs
Major road and transport projects across Queensland are set to drive the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery and jobs with billions of dollars’ worth of upgrades set to start or finish in 2021 (23 January 2021).  More...

'Unlawful' night works see cranky Brisbane residents go months without sleep
A construction company has subjected residents to months of sleepless nights, noisily working well into the early hours of the morning. Statements from both the Brisbane City Council and the State Government indicate that no permit has been approved under the Environmental Protection Act by either body (21 January 2021).  More...

Road safety funding flows to Queensland
New road safety upgrades and jobs will be delivered right across Queensland with the Australian and Queensland Governments unlocking close to $300 million in additional funding (18 January 2021).  More...

Build-to-Rent developer sought to transform former court site
Two new affordable housing projects are set to be built in inner Brisbane after the Palaszczuk Government started two more procurement processes under its Build-to-Rent Program (15 January 2021).  More...

Victoria

Middleton Prison expansion to deliver regional jobs
The project is expected to create 165 jobs during construction, including around 50 in the Bendigo area and generate opportunities for a range of local contractors. As part of the Labor Government’s contract with successful tenderer, Bendigo-based construction firm Fairbrother Pty Ltd, the project will also see targeted investment in social enterprises (20 January 2021).  More...

Builder fined for failing to comply with permit
A Victorian builder has been fined more than $4000 for carrying out work outside of the scope of his permit and leaving a homeowner with an unfinished property that he failed to fix when instructed to (14 January 2021).  More...

Practice and courts

ABCB: A new look for NCC 2022
As part of the ABCB's commitment to delivering an NCC that is user-friendly and modern, some important changes are being implemented in NCC 2022. The ABCB will be releasing a range of supporting material and useful resources prior to the 2022 Public Comment Draft.  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

Practice Standard is a condition of registration
Clause 9 of the Regulation requires all certifiers to work in accordance with chapters 1 and 2 of the Certifiers Practice Standard. Clause 9 also requires certifiers registered as a ‘building surveyor – unlimited’ or ‘building surveyor – restricted (all classes of buildings)’ to work in accordance with the entire Certifiers Practice Standard.
You can access the Certifiers Practice Standard here.

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.
The draft Design and Building Practitioners Regulation includes registration schemes for design and building practitioners and engineers who work on multistorey, multi-unit residential apartment buildings.
The Government will finalise the Regulations in early 2021, ready to be implemented on 1 July 2021.  More...

New mandatory standards for building rectification
The standard will be reviewed and updated prior to the 1 July 2021 commencement of the Government’s game changing building reform agenda underpinned by the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020.
The first Practice Standard will initially apply to certifiers working on residential apartment buildings, where the majority of problems and complaints have been received. The Practice Standard for registered certifiers is available on the Fair Trading NSW website.

Engineers Australia
Now is your opportunity to provide feedback on new laws requiring statutory registration for professional engineers, plus a range of reforms to the process of designing and constructing buildings.
Engineers Australia have compiled information compiled information on what's happened so far and a policy paper.

Queensland

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 alert: Roof flashings
Inadequate construction of roof flashing is a major cause of leaking roofs. The QBCC considers flashing and accessories defective if they leak under weather conditions anticipated by the BCA. Both the Australian Standard 1562.1 Design and Installation of metal roof and wall cladding and the SA HB 39 Metal roof and wall cladding installation offer a comprehensive guide. Manufacturers also provide installation specification for their products (12 January 2021).  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...

Changes to payment laws – updated
The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (BIFOLA) Introduces some important changes to these payment laws to increase payment protections for contractors. Provisions due to commence in 2021 are now outlined here.

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 Safer Buildings Queensland.

Victoria

VBA: Use licensed professionals to stay cool
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and Energy Safe Victoria are urging Victorians to only use licensed plumbers and electricians to install and connect refrigerated air-conditioning units. A fact sheet on air conditioner installation is here. You can also visit vba.vic.gov.au/check to find a registered or licensed plumber and esv.vic.gov.au to find a licensed electrician (14 January 2021).  More...

VBA: Important announcement for holders of Building Product Accreditations
If your building product accreditation was issued prior to January 1, 2019, please visit the Building Product Accreditation page for more information (12 January 2021).

Draft 30-Year infrastructure strategy
The draft strategy takes an integrated, cross‐sectoral view of infrastructure planning, making 95 draft recommendations to the Victorian Government across both metropolitan and regional Victoria.
Community consultation ends 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 visit Infrastructure Victoria.

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

Queensland

Wagners Cement Pty Ltd & Anor v Boral Resources (Qld) Pty Limited & Anor [2020] QCA 289
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – INTERPRETATION OF MISCELLANEOUS CONTRACTS AND OTHER MATTERS – where the parties entered into a long term contract under which the first appellant (“the Supplier”) agreed to supply cement products to the first respondent (“the Purchaser”) – where the contract contained a price adjustment mechanism which allowed the Purchaser to serve a notice on the Supplier containing market pricing evidence – where such a notice would have the effect of reducing the price of products under the contract unless the Supplier elected to suspend supply for six months – where the Purchaser served a notice containing market pricing evidence that consisted of a quotation for supply commencing at a future date, rather than at the date of the notice – whether this was a valid and effective pricing notice under the clause
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – INTERPRETATION OF MISCELLANEOUS CONTRACTS AND OTHER MATTERS – where, in response to the purported pricing notice served by the Purchaser, the Supplier gave the Purchaser a notice stating that the notice was invalid and referring the matter to the dispute resolution process under the contract – where this notice also stated that if, as the Purchaser contended, the notice was valid, the Supplier elected to suspend supply under the contract – whether the Supplier waived any invalidity in the Purchaser’s notice by its notice electing to suspend supply – whether the Supplier’s notice was effective to suspend supply under the contract
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – INTERPRETATION OF MISCELLANEOUS CONTRACTS AND OTHER MATTERS – where the price adjustment clause provided that if, during a suspension period, the Purchaser ceased to be able to or chose not to procure supply at the price specified in the pricing notice giving rise to the suspension, the Purchaser was obliged to resume purchasing cement products from the Supplier at the prevailing prices under the contract – whether “supply” in this clause referred to supply of the quantity of cement products the Purchaser was obliged to purchase from the Supplier under the Agreement or supply of a lesser quantity set out in the pricing notice – whether any suspension period was brought to an end pursuant to this clause
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – INTERPRETATION OF MISCELLANEOUS CONTRACTS AND OTHER MATTERS – where the Purchaser gave a further pricing notice during a later suspension period – whether, upon the proper construction of the clause, the Purchaser was permitted to serve a pricing notice during a suspension period – whether the pricing notice was effective to reduce the price under the contract.

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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