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In the media

Finance rate comparison site for construction businesses launched
Australia’s first asset and equipment finance comparison website, Finnovate, is set to empower businesses with choice and trigger competition among lenders through total rate transparency.  The web-based business finance model allows businesses to access and compare the rates and fees of nine major lenders and apply for equipment and vehicle finance and leasing online (10 July 2012) More...

Regional Infrastructure Funds and Guidelines released  
Prime Minister has released the Federal Government's guidelines for the $6 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund as part of the proceeds of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax to pay for major road, rail, ports and other economic infrastructure to support growth . The RIF guidelines are available at: (11 July 2012) More...

Engineers Australia releases comments on the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry
Currently floodplain management is the responsibility of local authorities, with some input from state and federal advisors. This approach is inconsistent across the state, resulting in varying flood management, according to the Engineers Australia report findings (05 July 2012) More...

Builders Support Crackdown on Phoenix Activity
The building and construction industry has welcomed new research released today by the Fair Work Ombudsman into phoenixing activity in Australia and has called on the Government to be proactive in stamping out the practice (04 July 2012) More...

Unions Show Disregard to Fair Work’s Rules
Two industrial disputes orchestrated by the CFMEU show that unions continue to display a total disregard to the rules administered by the Fair Work Building and Construction agency which replaced the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) (04 July 2012) More...

Another NSW builder in administration
Baseline Constructions, another NSW builder, has gone into voluntary administration. The company was founded in 1993 by civil engineer Nicholas Bettar from small Bankstown/Canterbury foundations. In peak construction years it has had $65 million-plus revenues (11 July 2012) More...

Workers reminded to renew high risk work licences
WorkCover NSW is reminding workers qualified to operate high risk plant and equipment to review, and if necessary renew, their licences.  The three different WorkCover high risk work licences will be combined into one easily recognisable card. All affected licences must be renewed before the end of this year, 31 December 2012 (09 July 2012) More...

NSW Building Approvals Trending Upwards
The approval figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for housing and non-residential buildings show a welcome improvement for NSW on recent months, says the Urban Taskforce. This bears out the Census data that indicated that Sydney now has 27.6% apartments and 12.5% terraces and townhouses leaving only 58.6% of housing units as detached houses (04 July 2012) More...

NSW Government launches Hunter Infrastructure Call
The NSW Government has called for infrastructure projects to be considered for funding through the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIIF). Projects that enhance productivity could be public roads, railways, port, energy, water, public schools or TAFE, public hospitals and health care facilities, emergency services, recreational, sporting as well as major cultural and entertainment venues (04 July 2012) More...  

Historic NSW plumbing reforms have started
The Commissioner said the new Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011 and adoption by New South Wales of the Plumbing Code of Australia heralded significant improvements to the health and well being of consumers and industry efficiency. Under the new Act, Fair Trading becomes the single regulator for plumbing and drainage in New South Wales, replacing more than 100 individual agency arrangements (02 July 2012) More...

Procurement simplified for state rail link
Improved outcomes from simpler procurement for the Moreton Bay Rail Link will come from managing the project by one agency instead of two.  The project delivery will be brought under a single entity with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and the principal for the contract (12 July 2012) More...

Queensland Cockatoo coal project takes next major step
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning announces Cockatoo Coal has been given the green light to prepare an environmental impact statement for the North Surat-Taroom coal project. This project has the potential to create up to 1000 construction and 550 operation jobs, with further regional jobs from flow-on economic development (09 July 2012) More...

Federal infrastructure funding for Queensland
Federal Government had committed $1.66 million for the North Queensland Resources Supply Chain–and $1.5 million for the Central Queensland Resources Supply Chai. The funding will also provide certainty in terms of the Queensland Government’s priority infrastructure projects and outcomes  (09 July 2012) More...  

Queensland Royalties for the Regions' applications open soon
Councils in regions impacted by resource developments will soon be able to seek funding for critical infrastructure projects with applications for the LNP Government's 'Royalties for the Regions' program opening in September  (04 July 2012) More...

Infrastructure Australia backs East West Link
Infrastructure Australia (IA) has today backed the Victorian Coalition Government's plan to build an east-west road connection for Melbourne with a recommendation funding be given to develop the project further (13 July 2012) Infrastructure Australia backs East West Link

New workplace guidelines in force for Victorian construction industry
The new guidelines to the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry will help to deliver value for money for the State’s infrastructure projects, eliminate unlawful activity on construction sites and promote a safe and productive culture across the industry, according to the Victorian Government (03 July 2012)
New workplace guidelines in force for Victorian construction industry

Victoria claims major share of building approvals
The Victorian Coalition Government has welcomed new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing the state's building approvals continue to rise. Victoria accounted for almost 40 per cent of housing approvals nationally  (03 July 2012)
Victoria claims major share of building approvals

Published – articles, papers, reports

Civil Infrastructure Metric
The Infrastructure Metric, a new major series of research reports being produced by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), in collaboration with business research and forecasting firm, BIS Shrapnel. Each quarter, the Metric provides a timely indicator of civil commencements for the following segments: Total civil infrastructure; Civil infrastructure excluding direct mining and heavy industry construction; Transport infrastructure and Utilities infrastructure (July 2012) More...

Integrating Australia’s transport systems: A Strategy for an Efficient Transport Future
Author: Booz & Co: July 2012
This paper explores the benefits of including alternative transit modes in strategic transport corridor evaluation and identifies practical steps governments can take to ensure policy makers have the best information available when making modal and whole of network decisions More...

Engineering Construction Activity, Australia, March 2012
Author: Australian Bureau of Statistics
The trend estimate for the value of total engineering construction work done rose 5.4% in the March 2012 quarter. The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of total engineering construction work done rose 13.3% in the March quarter to $29,846.6m. The value of work commenced in the March quarter was $20,806.6m, an increase of 4.7% from the December quarter. (04 July 2012) More...

Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry’s Final Report: analysis of the implications
Engineers Australia releases comments on the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry
Source: Engineers Australia’s Queensland Division Flood Committee
The report, collated by senior engineers and flood-experts from, highlights the intense and highly complex challenges faced by the dam engineers responding to the flood crisis in 2011 (July 2012) More...

In practice and courts

Regional Infrastructure Fund Guidelines
The Guidelines for the Regional Infrastructure Fund will apply to both Stream 1 and Stream 2 funding. The Guidelines contain detailed information on how projects are sourced for funding, how funding decisions are made and the conditions for funding (July 2012) More...

GECA - Environmentally Preferable Paint Standard for Australia
A new national paint standard has been developed by ASBEC member, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) which excludes solvent-based paints, all carcinogenic and mutagenic substances
The standard, ‘GECA 23-2012 Paints and Coatings’, recognises best-practice, environmentally responsible products and was developed in consultation with leading industry figures (06 July 2012) More...

APVMA study - New restrictions in place for arsenic-treated timber
New restrictions on the use of copper chrome arsenate (CCA) for treating timber have begun as of 1 July 2012. CCA has been used to preserve wood in a variety of situations such as for telegraph poles, decking and fencing. It was also used for children's playground equipment (03 July 2012) More...


Owners Corporation Strata Plan 72535 v Brookfield [2012] NSWSC 712
[BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION] - strata titles - whether development was adapted for commercial use as a tourist holiday or overnight accommodation - whether owners corporation is entitled to the benefit of the statutory warranties implied under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) - whether appropriate for a trial judge to determine a common law duty of care owed to an owners corporation - whether defendants owed a common law duty of care. [PROCEDURE] - civil - interlocutory issues - severability of issues - whether court should order the separate and prior determination of issues proposed by the notices of motion - leave sought to withdraw admission - whether admission is contrary to the actual facts - whether interests of justice favour application for leave being granted - no question of principle. [WORDS AND PHRASES] - dwelling. More...

Lane Cove Council v Michael Davies & Associates and Others [2012] NSWSC 727
Referee, adoption of report, Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) r 20.24, Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) s 52, misleading and deceptive conduct, relationship with contract, alleged misrepresentations under contract, time limitation, limitation period in contract and negligence, latent defects, res judicata-  corrosion damage within the Lane Cove Aquatic Leisure Centre (the Centre) - claims in relation to design and construction deficiencies. More...

Napier Constructions Pty Ltd (Subject to DOCA)(Receivers & Managers Appointed) -v- Christopher Honey (in his capacity as Joint and Several Receiver and Manager of Napier Constructions Pty Ltd) [2012] NSWSC 762
CONTRACT - Construction of deed recording agreement as to the basis upon which a party would assist companies and their receivers in prosecuting proceedings against certain third parties - where another party (the bank) makes available funds to facilitate prosecution of proceedings and is owed money under secured facilities - construction of formula for the sharing of settlement proceeds (between the companies and the bank) where provision is capable of two meanings - construction of clauses providing for the taking into account of interest More...

Thiess Pty Ltd & Anor v Arup Pty Ltd & Ors [2012] QSC 185
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – where applicants (“TJH”) engaged first and second respondents (“PBA”) as consultants – where TJH and PBA entered into a Collaborative Consultancy Agreement (“CCA”) for design of infrastructure project – where Schedule 7 to the CCA governs compensation of PBA for work performed under the CCA – where Schedule 7 establishes a “3-element” compensation model – where first element reimburses PBA for “actual cost” related to work performed under the CCA – where TJH contends that the words “actual cost” in cl S7-1 of the CCA bear their ordinary meaning – where TJH contends that later provisions in Schedule 7 relate only to the quantum of progress payments and do not govern PBA’s entitlement to compensation – where PBA contends that the words “actual cost” in cl S7-1 in relation to staff rates are defined by cl S7-3 – whether, upon proper interpretation of the CCA, cl S7-1, cl S7-3 and cl S7-4 specify and thereby define costs for which PBA is to be compensated by TJH
EQUITY – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – MISTAKE – EQUITABLE RELIEF IN CASE OF MISTAKE – Rectification – Particular cases – where, following negotiations, TJH and PBA entered into the CCA as a written agreement – where Schedule 7 to the CCA refers to various “multipliers” to be applied to “raw rates” in determining compensation under the agreement for cost of personnel – whether, had the CCA mistakenly recorded the parties’ agreement, TJH and PBA held a common intention at the time of entering into the CCA that the multipliers would not be “subject to audit” – whether PBA engaged in conduct lacking in good faith precluding it from seeking the remedy of rectification
TRADE PRACTICES AND RELATED MATTERS – MISLEADING OR DECEPTIVE CONDUCT – Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (“TPA”) – where TJH and PBA entered into the CCA following negotiations – where those negotiations included discussion about a 2.8 multiplier to be applied in determining cost of full time staff under the CCA – whether PBA engaged in conduct in breach of s 52 TPA by failing to disclose that it had not undertaken a specific examination of its financial records, as pleaded by TJH, prior to entering into the CCA
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – where the CCA provided for “Compliance Audits” to be undertaken by an auditor and the production of a “Compliance Audit Report” – whether the investigations undertaken by Easdown Consulting Pty Ltd (“Easdown”) constitute Compliance Audits for the purposes of the CCA – whether the report produced by Easdown constitutes the Compliance Audit Report contemplated by the CCA – whether, in the alternative, TJH is estopped from denying that the investigations undertaken by Easdown constitute Compliance Audits and the report produced by it the Compliance Audit Report
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE – Agreement to amend existing contract – where a meeting of TJH and PBA representatives with responsibility for administering the CCA purported to amend certain principles relevant to PBA’s compensation under the agreement – whether agreement was reached at that meeting – whether it was agreed that the reduced overtime rate of 1.1 would apply after 37.5 hours or 45 hours – whether, in the alternative, TJH is estopped from denying that agreement was reached at that meeting that the reduced overtime rate of 1.1 would apply after 45 hours More...

Lowseck v Queensland Building Services Authority [2012] QCAT 280
Permitted Individual – bankruptcy – failure to provide for Commonwealth taxation debts More...

Barry v Queensland Building Services Authority and Ors [2012] QCAT 264
Building matter – direction to rectify by Authority for defective workmanship – where builder followed plans and specifications for materials annexed to plans – where allegations actions by property owners affected work – where direction issued to applicant as head contractor
McNab Constructions Australia Pty Ltd v QBSA [2010] QCA 380 followed More...

Skilled Group Ltd v CSR Viridian Pty Ltd & Anor [2012] VSC 290
BUILDING CONTRACTS – Unexecuted sub-contracts - Whether binding sub-contracts entered into – Sub-contracts implied from conduct – Whether conduct of parties evidenced a concluded bargain and on what terms - Fourth class of Masters v Cameron [1954] HCA 72; (1954) 91 CLR 353 considered and applied - Whether party estopped from denying binding sub-contracts – Whether restitutionary quantum meruit available - Lumbers v W Cook Builders Pty Limited [2008] HCA 27; (2007) 232 CLR 635 considered and applied - Milestone dates for progressive completion of stages of works not agreed – Whether milestone dates essential terms - Whether free acceptance of benefit arises – Construction and effect of final certificates issued by superintendent under General Conditions of AS2124 – 1992 as amended – Entitlement for payment pursuant to final certificates.
CONTRACT - Whether conduct of parties evidenced a concluded bargain and on what terms - Fourth class of Masters v Cameron [1954] HCA 72; (1954) 91 CLR 353 considered and applied - Whether party estopped from denying binding contract – Lumbers v W Cook Builders Pty Limited [2008] HCA 27; (2007) 232 CLR 635 considered and applied - Whether restitutionary quantum meruit available. More...

Contact details


Chris Edquist, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9919


Anne Davis, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0436


Troy Lewis, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0614

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 publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.


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