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nicola Grayson Expert Witness in Litigation

winter 2010


caroline ostrowski Achieving a Step Change in Energy Efficiency


caroline ostrowski The Skills Shortage that won’t go away


jonathan cartledge Populate (and build) or perish



official magazine of consult australia

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Contents WINTER 2010 p18. Guidance released for project sponsors, clients and owners on project initiation The Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (the peak council of government procurement departments) and the Australian Construction Industry Forum have worked in collaboration to develop a guide to project initiation...... NICOLA GRAYSON


Achieving a Step Change in Energy Efficiency In our recent submission to the Prime Minister’s Task Group on Energy Efficiency, Consult Australia has argued that energy efficiency is inextricably linked to energy security and must be considered in a coherent manner with a range of other factors...... CAROLINE OSTROWSKI


The Skills Shortage that won’t go away Australia has been suffering a skills shortage of engineers for many years. Engineers and related professionals can be identified as being one of the largest occupational groups possessing the skills contributing to the recovery of our nation post the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and therefore critical to Australia’s prosperity...... CAROLINE OSTROWSKI


Populate (and build) or perish The appointment of the Hon. Tony Burke MP to the newly created position of Minister for Population in the Federal Government follows a high-profile debate about how large a population Australia is comfortably able to support...... JONATHAN CARTLEDGE


From the President


From the CEO


Industry News


State News


Practice & Procurement




Road Safety


Contracts & Liability








Risk and Recovery


Economics & Taxation


Skills & Resources






winter 10 National Outlook


from the president Paul Reed is the President of Consult Australia and WA Regional Director for consulting firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia

august 2010 As we hit the middle of 2010 it is interesting to look at a few of the many issues being dealt with by your Association. I and many of the Consult Australia Board members were fortunate to recently attend what has become the annual Built Environment Meets Parliament event in Canberra. For those who are not aware Consult Australia is one of five industry bodies that present thought leadership on the built environment to the Federal Government at ministerial level. This year’s event was focused on the role of cities in the future of Australia and how long term strategic planning is being progressed across all our major cities. In reflecting on the outcomes of the day, it is my view that this event now has a very strong profile with all sides of Government at the Federal level and that there is genuine interest in the

combined views of the industry servicing the Built Environment. There was a strong sense of engagement from the several senior politicians present for parts of the day and a genuine interest in what was being presented. Consult Australia is recognised for its part in the planning and delivery of this important opportunity for our industry to actively influence policy thinking. The National Office team have also had some recent success with the publishing of the “Liability Risk Assessment Guide for FMA Act Agencies” by the Commonwealth Government. The Guide is for use by Federal procurement agencies to determine the most appropriate approach to liability in Contracts as part of the risk assessment process. The availability of this Guide means that member firms can use it as a basis for negotiation where it is considered that inappropriate risk allocation and liability requirements have been included in a proposed Contract. I would encourage you to become familiar with the Guide and its application. Consult Australia has confirmed that our members are, in principle, supportive of registration for engineers in Australia. To this end we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Australia and APESMA to support a collective position that a uniform registration scheme be introduced and implemented across all State jurisdictions. We have agreed that this should be achieved through the National Engineers Registration Board (NERB).

Our position on this important topic is based both on the outcomes of a members forum held late last year in Brisbane and also as a consequence of discussions held with the large firms CEO’s recently in Sydney. Consult Australia holds the view that unless the industry takes a pro-active approach to the establishment of a pragmatic and cost effective registration system it is likely that a disjointed, State-by-State system will be imposed on us by the political desire to provide consumer protection. At this stage there is a considerable amount of work required to fully define a workable registration system and it is my intention that member firm consultations will be an integral part of any future progress towards an outcome. I have made it clear to the other parties that it is essential that the industry supports a registration system if it is going to be effective in delivering to expectations of Government and the community. These are but a few of the many activities being undertaken by your Association. To get a broader coverage of all our efforts on your behalf, I would encourage you and your senior personnel to regularly read the Chief Executive Update that is issued every fortnight.

Paul Reed Consult Australia President

National Outlook

Editor Julia Lemercier Communication & Production Coordinator Matilde Ejlertsen Advertising Enquiries Brandon Vigon (03) 8844 5822 *112 Email:

National Outlook is produced by Consult Australia. Phone: (02) 9922 4711. Website: and MediaEDGE Communication Australia. Phone: (03) 8844 5822. Fax: (03) 9824 1188.

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National Outlook winter 10

President Paul Reed Chief Executive Megan Motto National Operations Manager Julia Lemercier Director of Policy Nicola Grayson Senior Policy Officer Jonathan Cartledge Business Relationship Manager Benjamin Jung Events Manager Nicole Pusic Education & Training Coordinator Daniel Condon Finance & Membership Coordinator Yingying Lin Executive Assistant (CEO & Policy) Kerri Clifford Executive Assistant (Operations) Morgan Bailey Immigration Officer Svetlana McNeil Editorial Submissions GPO Box 56, Sydney NSW 2001 National Outlook © 2010. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, internet or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publishers accept no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in this publication.

from the ceo Megan Motto is Chief Executive of Consult Australia

august 2010 As I write this quarter’s column Australia has just sworn in Julia Gillard as the first female Prime Minister in the country’s history, and Australian’s are gearing up to go to the polls to either return her to power or not. Whichever way the election goes it will represent a significant event in Australian politics - either the Australian public will vote in their first female PM, or they will throw out a government after serving only one term in office. The implications of this for Consult Australia and its members are important, and sends some strong messages to the community regarding our changing attitudes to women in the workforce and in leadership (something our industry still has to work on) and it also reminds us of the need for long term policies despite what can sometimes be short term politics. Over the next few months we will be spending time to develop a relationship with the office of the new PM and gauge her views on a number of key issues. It will also reinforce our need to work with both the government of the day as well as the opposition to achieve key outcomes.

Never was this more the case than with our recent win on retaining the exemption from fitness for purpose in the Trade Practices Act (Australian Consumer Law) Bill (No. 2) 2010. The originally proposed Bill removed the exemption for engineers and architects to provide a fitness for purpose warranty in all work done for consumers. This would have, we believe, resulted in significantly higher costs for small businesses who regularly service the residential market, due to increased litigation, risk and higher PI Insurance premiums. Consult Australia was able to secure the support of the Coalition to reintroduce the exemption into the Bill during its passage through Parliament. This was, in the end, unnecessary as the Coalition successfully negotiated with the Government on our behalf and the Government’s Minister for Consumer Affairs agreed to republish the Bill to include the exemption. The Minister agreed to do this on the understanding that the exemption should be the subject of a review in three years time, a fair compromise under the circumstances. This is a great win for all members of Consult Australia - directly for small firms and also for large firms, because it reinforces the principle that fitness for purpose is a concept that is

inappropriately applied to design professionals who provide advice rather than the development of a finished product. I would like to particularly thank all the members who took the time out to write to their local member to assist us in this campaign, and also to thank all those who took time out to send a congratulatory message to the Consult Australia team. Your ongoing support and interest are incredibly valuable to us and make the work we do on your behalf all the more “real”. In closing, I would like to remind members (and others) about the existence of BEL (Built Environment Legal). This is a subsidiary that was set up to assist businesses in our industry to get the best legal advice on consultancy agreements from the consultants perspective. We realise that many members outsource their legal work to construction divisions within other law firms, but we have been becoming increasingly concerned that the specialist expertise required to understand and negotiate these agreements based on the consultant’s perspective is limited in the market - so we set up BEL to do just that. It is also a highly subsidised service for Consult Australia members so you will be getting specialist advice at a great rate! I highly encourage members looking to check their commercial terms to contact Susan Isho, Solicitor Director on 02 8252 6718.

Megan Motto Chief Executive

I would like to particularly thank all the members who took the time out to write to their local member to assist us in this campaign, and also to thank all those who took time out to send a congratulatory message to the Consult Australia team. Your ongoing support and interest are incredibly valuable to us and make the work we do on your behalf all the more “real”.


National Outlook winter 10

industry news

consult australia NEWS Consult Australia Outlook 2010




With the world economy still reeling from the Global Financial Crisis and a fragile recovery still in its infancy, what is the outlook for consulting firms in the built and natural environment? With the economic recovery still in its infancy Consult Australia’s annual profile of the industry is more relevant than ever. Consult Australia Outlook 2010: An economic forecast for consulting in the built and natural environment was launched in Sydney on the 12 May followed by launch events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. Outlook 2010 continues Consult Australia’s unparalleled annual profile of the industry and analysis of the market for consulting firms operating in the built and natural environment in Australia. Firms are now operating in an increasingly complex economic and policy environment. While the global economy is now growing, the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis continues to be fragile. While Asia continues to provide for strong domestic growth, Government stimulus measures are only slowly being withdrawn as recessionary forces






M AY 20 10 6/05/2010

continue to flow through the economy. The Federal election further complicates the current economic and policy landscape requiring firms to compile a detailed picture to plan for the year ahead. What is the economic outlook in Australia? What are the implications as Government’s begin to withdraw support from the economy? Which consulting markets are most vulnerable and which might see some growth.

1:44:01 PM

In this context Consult Australia Outlook 2010 is a critical instrument for firms as they manage ongoing risks in the operating environment while seeking new opportunities and competitive advantage as national and global economies strengthen. The events launching this year’s Outlook were a great success, and feedback from firms indicates our Outlook report continues to be part of their strategic planning. Consult Australia Outlook 2010 can be ordered at Jonathan Cartledge

Early Bird Tickets Now available! $155 per person members only To purchase please contact Nicole Pusic on (02) 9922 4711 or via email on

winter 10 National Outlook


industry news

An engineering sister-act Is engineering still a man’s world? Not if Brisbane’s Rankine sisters have anything to do with it. Kirralee (30), Briony (30) and Kelda (29) are all pursuing geotechnical engineering careers at Golder Associates in Toowong, Brisbane. Working alongside two of your siblings would not be everybody’s cup of tea, but the Rankine sisters love it and also spend much of their spare time together. “We’re all best friends. We love to go rockclimbing, swimming or jogging beside the Brisbane River together,” said Kirralee. The sisters will admit to a healthy touch of sibling rivalry. But any rivalry that does exist is serving them extremely well – they each have a PhD and are highly respected by their clients and peers. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have three of the Rankine sisters as part of our team. They are great people and are developing into terrific consultants,” said Manager for Golder in Brisbane, Ian Lipton. As part of the growing wave of women choosing to pursue a career in engineering, the Rankine sisters are enjoying a work environment where gender is rarely an issue. “Female and male engineers face the same sorts of challenges. If you are clear about what you will and won’t tolerate on a job site, then contractors respect you for it. The higher numbers of female engineers coming through universities means that to see a woman on site isn’t as odd as it used to be,” said Briony.

Kirralee adds that “it is nice that in this day and age I can put on a set of florescent orange coveralls and climb around a landslide during the day and put on a dress and heels and go out for dinner at night and it doesn’t feel strange.” The engineering gene is not confined to women in the Rankine family, the ‘Golder sisters’ share their passion for the profession with their father and two of their brothers – bringing the Rankine family engineering tally to grand total of six. For Kirralee, engineering was the right choice “because the application is only limited by your imagination and I was bound to find my niche with that breadth of opportunity.” Golder in Brisbane has been putting the talent of the Rankine sisters to good use. Briony and Kelda have had much of their time consumed by Brisbane’s landmark Clem7 tunnel, where Briony was involved in the preliminary design phase of the project and Kelda in the latter stages of design and construction supervision. The 4.8 km tunnel is Australia’s longest road tunnel and passes under the Brisbane River. “Being part of the Clem7 project is definitely a career highlight. We were able to see our design work materialise into something that will make life a lot easier for Brisbane motorists,” said Kelda.

Sister act (l to r): Briony, Kirralee and Kelda.

Golder Associates is taking every opportunity to encourage young women and men to pursue a career in engineering. The Brisbane branch of the global employee-owned firm has recently sponsored the ‘SKIRTS’ annual dinner for 2010. ‘SKIRTS’ is a University of Queensland group which aims to build a social network for female engineers. In partnership with the University of Queensland, Golder in Brisbane has also created the Golder Geomechanics Centre. The Centre specialises in a range of subjects in ground engineering and environmental science. Golder Associates

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industry news

Consult Australia Congratulates Andrew Bagnall Consult Australia would like to congratulate GHD mechanical engineer, Andrew Bagnall, on being named one of Australia’s Most Inspiring Young Engineers for 2010. Motivated by ethical and sustainable outcomes, Mr Bagnall’s work on green buildings has inspired many within the industry to consider sustainability as a priority in their daily work. “Five years ago I began to pursue an ESD consulting role at GHD and have since developed a substantial team of specialists. Back then it was the exception to include ESD as a design service on a typical building project, yet now it is the norm.”

The award is part of the 2010 Year of Engineering Leadership, aimed at celebrating the achievements of motivated inspirational engineers who display technical excellence, creativity or innovation, exceptional leadership or mentorship, or have made an outstanding contribution to the profession or society. Mr Bagnall, who works in GHD’s Newcastle operations, was selected for his work in growing the practice and integrating ecologically sustainable design (ESD) and energy efficiency concepts into building design.

“We have experienced a shift in focus from our clients justifying green initiatives on a purely economic basis, to a feeling that it is now imperative.” Mr Bagnall added.

On receiving his award at the Engineering Leadership Conference Dinner on Thursday 6 May 2010 in Brisbane, Mr Bagnall said, “To be acknowledged at a national level for my work with green buildings is an exciting achievement. Innovation and new technologies continue to make green buildings more viable, and many of our clients have already realised the economic and operational benefits of investing in green initiatives.”

Tasos Katopodis, GHD Operating Centre Manager for Newcastle said, “This recognition is duly awarded to Andrew for his drive in developing our services in this niche market. His dedication to improving understanding and adoption of ESD is inspiring. Andrew’s ability to continually apply new methods to benefit the triple bottom line for clients in the built environment sector and within GHD is highly commendable.”

Andrew’s philosophy on achieving sustainable outcomes extends beyond his client-focused work. Even though demand for his work is high, Andrew prioritises time for community pursuits. “It is important that engineering graduates’ knowledge of ESD is expanded. To this end, I have enjoyed being a guest lecturer at universities, and actively participate in attracting new graduates to GHD.” “I have also been lucky enough to mentor aspiring Indigenous engineers through the annual Engineering Aid Indigenous Summer School. Working with a large group of year 11 Indigenous students was rewarding for me, and more importantly beneficial for the students,” Mr Bagnall added. GHD

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winter 10 National Outlook


industry news

Taking water engineering skills to Nepal This August Scott McDonald sets off to volunteer his skills as a water supply engineer in Nepal, supported by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB). Scott’s role involves assessing existing water supplies for townships in the region of Humla and working with the local community to improve their access to a clean and reliable source of water. The opportunity is through Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB), which is a PB Corporate Responsibility partner offering PB employees a variety of volunteering opportunities. EWB works in partnership with developing communities both within Australia and overseas, assisting them to gain access to the knowledge, resources and appropriate technologies they need to improve their livelihoods. They focus on developing the capacity of the local technical sector through small-scale, grassroots engineering programs to ensure that innovative, appropriate and sustainable solutions to issues that impede development

Photo courtesy of © Shariff Che’ Lah

are locally generated and driven. EWB has an ongoing partnership with a Nepalese based non-profit Rural Integrated Development Services (RIDS). RIDS has been working in the region for the past ten years predominantly in the north-west region of Nepal known as Humla. Humla is considered to be the one of the poorest regions in Nepal and in distressed need of infrastructure upgrades to help improve quality of life. RIDS focus is to improve the living conditions in the local community via four means; installation of solar power for the townships, smokeless stoves, improved sanitation/sewerage system and the supply of potable water. Scott will work with EWB for five months and will be based in the township of Dharapori, Humla. There are a number of small townships surrounding Nepal which can be accessed by walking trails and are in need of upgrades to their water supply.

Scott’s role involves: • Proposing amendments, repairs and improvements to existing town water supplies • A feasibility study for the construction of a new water supply for the village of Chala • Developing a water quality monitoring program • Assisting the local community to maintain their water infrastructure • Assisting with hygiene and sanitation issues where possible Scott is based in PB’s Melbourne office, which has provided support to Scott by covering his time to attend pre-departure training programs and with the purchase of specialised equipment needed for the project. If you would like to learn more about EWB please visit

National safety award goes to GHD One of the world’s leading engineering, architectural and environmental firms, GHD, was awarded the nation’s Best Workplace Health and Safety Management System – Private Sector honour at the Safe Work Australia Awards at Parliament House in Canberra on April 28. The awards, in their fifth year, recognise demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement of workplace health and safety through the implementation of an integrated systems approach. Finalists in the private sector for 2010 included Crowne Plaza Australia (ACT) Perth Clinic (WA), Rio Tinto Alcan (TAS), S&N Civil Constructions Pty Ltd (QLD), Transfield Services (NSW) and GHD (SA). GHD’s South Australian operations won the state award, qualifying the company for national recognition. Speaking at the event, GHD Health & Safety Manager Clayton Harrison said “This is a tribute to a diverse and dedicated team. We have developed a safety culture within GHD, extending through our projects, to clients and far beyond the workplace for our people.”


National Outlook winter 10

GHD’s Operational Health & Safety Management System incorporates an electronic network accessible to all employees. It contains a workflow element to ensure that the necessary safety analysis and reporting is undertaken across every stage of the project lifecycle. During the tender process, specific responses may identify significant risk and the electronic system will not allow for the tender to continue. The technical prowess of this system is supported by an innovative training curriculum that is rolled out via e-learning, web-based training and face to face sessions delivered by the GHD Business School. The award winning system has allowed GHD to secure national and international certification (AS/NZ 4801 & OHSAS 18001) and perform for periods of 2.8 & 3.5 million hours without

Lost Time Injury (LTI). GHD proudly reports a 67% reduction in LTIs and a 69% reduction in Medical Treatment Injuries since June 2007. GHD was also a finalist for the Best Safety System Award (NSW) in 2010. The Safe Work Australia Awards form part of a safety campaign driven at government level that includes Safe Work Australia Week; a national week to focus attention on workplace safety issues around Australia. It aims to encourage all working Australians to get involved in, and concentrate on safety in their workplace to reduce death, injury and disease. GHD


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Much more than a passport needed to help in a crisis The delivery of humanitarian assistance after disasters and emergencies is complex and complicated. Even with the best possible planning and maximum field coordination by key players, it is clear that more people will be affected by natural disasters and ongoing conflict, more often, in the decades ahead. It follows that more engineers will be needed to respond – consulting engineers may be right up the front of the queue. Humanitarian agency, RedR Australia, facilitates the opportunity for skilled professionals to apply their knowledge to emergency and disaster relief work. RedR Australia maintains a Standby Register of highly skilled personnel for United Nations agencies and other established frontline aid organisations to draw on for short-term emergency and disaster relief work. To prepare people to serve in the field RedR Australia provides humanitarian response training courses aimed at: • Skilled professionals and technical experts who want to participate in emergency humanitarian work • Organisations wanting to send staff or volunteers to areas affected by crisis • Current aid workers who wish to enhance their skills Alan McLean, CEO RedR Australia states, “We recognise that it would be irresponsible to send an engineer who has worked a career to date in the CBD into downtown Khartoum without preparing him or her for the realities of what they may find in the field. The bleak reality is that aid is often delivered in some of the most harsh and complex environments on earth.” Field context varies significantly, RedR Australia training aims to give participants a level of knowledge and skills which may be 10

National Outlook winter 10

applicable to low-risk areas right through to highly unstable contexts. This allows participants to react appropriately should the security situation deteriorate during their time in the field. RedR Australia also recognizes that people whose lives are shattered by natural disasters, or imperiled by manmade emergencies or health crises, deserve the best possible assistance. Help should be provided by people carefully selected based on experience in their field, professionally prepared and trained for the task, and in all senses ready for the sometimes-rapid mobilisation to respond to those crises. RedR Australia training identifies the major factors associated with aid delivery. It strives to equip people with knowledge, skills and attitude to maximize their subsequent

effectiveness and efficiency all aimed at best possible performance in the field. All trainees need and deserve this awareness. Through the training programme RedR introduces participants to internationallyaccepted humanitarian standards for food, water, shelter space, and their application in the field. “Training recognises that few if any emergency relief programmes follow a textbook or a script. Our methods of delivery incorporate practical scenarios, simulations and role-plays within adult styles of participatory learning, to develop trainee flexibility. Surprise elements in courses require adaptability and judgement, in consultation with team members, ” said Alan McLean.

Top: Threats to personal security in the field will always exist, but each individual has the responsibility to be aware and prepared. Left: Site visit at SPC Ardmona during Humanitarian Logistics in Emergencies training.

Training recognises that few if any emergency relief programmes follow a textbook or a script. Our methods of delivery incorporate practical scenarios, simulations and role-plays within adult styles of participatory learning, to develop trainee flexibility. Surprise elements in courses require adaptability and judgement, in consultation with team members, - Alan McLean.

The skills I learned in both the Essentials of Humanitarian Practice and Personal Security and Communications came in very handy during my RedR Australia deployment to Mindanao in the Philippines. After both formal and informal discussions with other participants, I’d packed the appropriate necessities. I was immediately comfortable and confident with radio procedures and the exposure to civil-military coordination assisted my understanding of working in a complex emergency where I was often required to have a military escort. Having covered the Sphere standards in the courses, I was able to identify where there were installations or practices, particularly in sanitation and protection that were not of a suitable standard, and subsequently inform the appropriate organisations.

Upcoming RedR Australia training courses: Essentials of Humanitarian Practice 12 – 17 August 11 – 16 November Personal Security & Communications 19 – 22 August 18 – 21 November Humanitarian Logistics in Emergencies 5 – 10 September Water, Sanitation & Hygiene in Emergencies 4 – 10 October For more information please visit:

Carly Sheehan RedR Australia Standby Register member winter 10 National Outlook


state news

vic DIVISION The divisional committee has been reinvigorated and energised following a structural change whereby individual members are responsible for different activities. This encompasses CPD, contractual conditions, increasing profile, sponsorship and membership, OH&S, sustainability & environment, FutureNet liaison and strategy. The Victorian Division is pursuing a strategy to promote consulting businesses in the built and natural environment in Victoria, especially with respect to the Victorian Government. Extensive lobbying and advocacy has also taken place which is particularly important in an election year. Meetings with ministers, parliamentary secretaries, ministerial advisors, senior public servants, a government agency, senior shadow ministers and the leader of the opposition have kept the division busy. Whilst contractual conditions have been a central theme, other issues have been discussed particularly relating to business efficiency. The meetings have been positive with further discussions planned throughout the year. A positive start has also been made with VicRoads with a view to developing a strong ongoing relationship. Currently, the proposed areas for discussion encompass information sharing, business efficiency, sustainability, growing capability and safety in design. In July, a small group of young professionals and their managers will meet with the VicRoads executive as part of a FutureNet initiative.

as the speaker who provided valuable guidance on the new regime particularly the design provisions. In April the Minister for Planning spoke of the proposed changes to the planning laws and the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill. Held as a roundtable forum, the Minster also provided an update on the Melbourne 2030 policy in the context of infrastructure. Many of those present asked questions and gave feedback. Also in April, a successful FutureNet event was held at Clayton Utz where a senior associate spoke about project risk in the context of time, cost and quality and how these risks are allocated under a construction contract as well as tips on how to manage these risks during the contract administration phase. We wish to thank BST Global and MTU Detroit Diesel for their continued support as sponsors. We also thank URS for its continued hospitality and generosity in providing an office for Consult Australia Victoria.

We also wish to thank those firms who have kindly sponsored individual events:

The drafting of the Drill Rig OH&S guidelines are progressing and it is currently proposed that they will be used as a prequalification for those drillers working on consultant sites. We have had several seminars. The first was about the model laws with a senior manager of WorkSafe Victoria

tas DIVISION Now that the state election has been and gone, work will begin on introducing Consult Australia to the newly elected government and its ministers. A meeting with the incoming infrastructure minister is proposed to take place in the coming months. With a view to establishing a positive relationship, it is hoped that we are able to move forward on the issue of contractual conditions and enjoy an ongoing and fruitful relationship with the Department. In March, Coffey sponsored a well received and informative seminar on the Model Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations. We were fortunate to have Neale Buchanan, the Director, Operations of Workplace Standards Tasmania to provide the talk in a roundtable setting which encouraged valuable discussion and feedback. Mr Buchanan advised that one of the


National Outlook winter 10

biggest changes for Tasmania is the substantially increased fines in addition to a more detailed and prescriptive approach than what is currently in place. He went on to say that some of the key features of the new Act are the adoption of the Robens style approach, the concept of the person conducting a business undertaking and the reference to worker as opposed to employee.

We wish to thank Coffey who kindly sponsored our last event:

state news

NSW DIVISION NSW Division would like to extend a warm welcome to Erin Hickson as the NSW Executive Assistant. Erin will be working three days per week and can be contacted at Further to our four gold sponsors for 2010, the Division would like to announce St George Bank as its Platinum Sponsor from May 2010. We look forward to having St George on board and look forward to a successful working relationship with them. The 2010 FutureNet Business Leaders course was launched on 21 April at The Park Hyatt, Sydney. There are 36 participants on this year’s course and the launch was attended by participants, the FNBL committee and Chris Lock, CEO of TIDC. Wayne Pearce spoke on Leadership at the first session and the course will continue to run fortnightly through to November. The NSW Division Annual Dinner was held on 20 May, 2010. Here, guests heard from previous Civil & Environmental Scholarship Winner, Joel Lewis, Consult Australia Life Member recipient, Richard Green, the newly announced FutureNet Business Leaders Chair, Jai Reddy and NSW Division Chairman, Mike Thackray. Guests were entertained by Australia’s leading magician Phil Cass, Sydney’s very own Piano man Scot Finnie and the MC, 2GB radio presenter Mark Levy. Various events have been held in the first quarter of the year. The Project Management branch started the year with their Networking Event which focused on the name change to Consult Australia and invited members to give their feedback on the branch and what they believe it should be focusing on. The Civil & Environmental Committee ran a seminar on climate change and the Association of Consulting Structural Engineers (NSW) held a seminar which focused on three interesting projects entered in the 2009 ACEA Awards. The Mechanical & Electrical Branch held a very successful seminar on 29 April which focused on future M&E systems for tunnels. The committees have an exciting calendar of events planned for the remainder of 2010 and we look forward to continued support from NSW Division members. The annual University Bridge Building Challenge is being held on Friday 6 August at Customs House Square. Should your firms have any budding undergraduates who would like to enter a team into the event or learn further information, please email The ACSE held their annual seminar on Timber Design held on Friday 2 July, 2010 at the VIBE Hotel, Milsons Point. FutureNet Sydney recently held a ‘Green Building Debate’ at the newly built six green star building ‘Ark’ in North Sydney. The top level of the Ark is yet to be tenanted and over 100 guests attended the debate and enjoyed drinks and canapés overlooking the city. FutureNet Business Leaders has formed a Chairman role for its committee. Jai Reddy, a 2007 participant on the course and employee at RTA was named as Chair and the committee consists of eight members.

Act DIVISION The Division Committee is running well with twelve committee members. Max Bomben from Brown Consulting was elected as Chair of the committee and John Randall from Bill Guy & Partners Vice Chair. Alan Edler was elected as Treasurer and the committee meets on a monthly basis. Consult Australia has put together a formal response on the ACT Procurement Solutions draft recommendations in regards to the contractors issues with the standard of documentation being produced by the engineering fraternity in ACT. Consult Australia will be meeting with the Land Development Agency CEO John Robertson as well as five of their Board Members. Outcomes of the meeting will be published in the next edition of National Outlook. Consult Australia is being represented on numerous ACTPS committees. We are in the process of informing government bodies and associations that there is now an active ACT committee. The committee is planning CPD seminars for 2010 and topics include the economic outlook for consulting engineering, the new security of payments act being introduced in ACT and green buildings. Some members within ACT have voiced concern over the ACT Government Professional Services Agreement. Whilst a lot of issues have been addressed in the draft AS4122, the Division will be putting together a formal issues paper. FutureNet is holding an event on the Planning of Canberra’s newest area ‘Molonglo’ in May. They are planning an economic outlook event in July, a personal development event in September and a trivia night in November. The committee meets bi-monthly and event numbers continue to grow.

Consult Australia has put together an issues paper on the Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) Professional Services Contract. A sub committee has been formed which will focus on the Sydney Towards Tomorrow report and getting as much exposure out of it as possible. NSW is currently seeking committee members for their Project Management Branch and Education & Training Committee. These committees meet on a monthly basis and discuss topical issues and develop seminars and events (as well as much more!). For further information, please contact Erin Hickson on (02) 9966 4966. winter 10 National Outlook


state news


New Committee Members appointed We would like to welcome Bruce Tanner, Arup, and Craig Burrell, AECOM who have recently joined the Queensland Division Committee. If you would like to be more involved in Qld Division activities, or have any feedback for the committee, please email

Events 22 June – Industry Breakfast - Coordinator Generals Post Budget Update July – Industry Breakfast - Asset Management July – FutureNet Event 24 August – Industry Breakfast - Queensland Rail Update. Meetings with Stakeholders Department of Transport and Main Roads senior executives met with Consult Australia on 14 April. Highlights of the meeting included: Aligning of QT & MR contracts – this is still a work in progress, but is a priority Confirmation of a Tunnelling workshop to be jointly run with DTMR, BCC and Consult Australia (which was held on 18 May 2010) Notice that the Main Roads RIP, has been expanded to incorporate Qld Transport planning projects and will be renamed QTRIP (Queensland Transport Roads Investment Plan). The planning cycle has been reduced to 4 years to match Treasury’s planning and the first QTRIP will be released about the same time as the budget Forward Workload – they are hopeful of shifting money into the regions, there will be less very large projects, with more of a focus on bundling of smaller projects and staging of larger projects. In addition, the Department of Transport and Main Roads have advised that the ‘Long Term Relationship Based Contracts’ Project, which Consult Australia members provided comments on last year, has been put on hold. A meeting was held with Queensland Rail in March. Jeff Wimberley provided Consult Australia with an update on the proposed new structure and outlined that the resource requirements will increase as a result of both the planned projects and the organisational changes. Paul Hoffman, Group General Manager, will address our members in August to provide an update on the forward projects that are to be delivered over the next 2 years and how the change from QR Network to QR National and QRail will impact on delivering these projects.


National Outlook winter 10

Mike Marley

The Qld Division continues to engage with relevant stakeholders to lobby for better conditions for our members. Committee members are involved in many taskforces and working parties including: SEQ Industry Taskforce Professional Engineers Act Review Working Party.

Board of Professional Engineers Mike Marley appointed An election by postal ballot for the election of a registered professional engineer for appointment as a member of the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland was held on Monday 22 March 2010. We would like to congratulate Consult Australia Queensland Division committee member, Mike Marley (RPEQ#1268) on being appointed to the position of ‘representative of registered professional engineers’. Mike has a long history with the Board, having previously served 8 years (two as Engineers Australia’s representative in 1994 and 1995 and six as an elected representative from 1996 to 2002). This new appointment also follows a four year term as the National Engineering Registration Board Chairman (2005 to 2009). Mike is looking forward to taking up his three year term commencing on 1 July this year. Regional Engagement The Queensland Division committee were once again appreciative of the contributions made by our regional members at the teleconference held in April. The feedback provided by the regional members has been useful in providing updates to the Department of Transport and Main Roads about regional workload and also to LocalBuy in relation to their tendering process. The regional members also highlighted issues in relation to clients requiring RPEQ sign off for items that fall outside of the engineers control. We are asking for further member feedback on this issue. To register your interest in participating in these informative sessions, please contact Stacey Rawlings on 07 3020 3403 or email

FutureNet Last year FutureNet Qld focused on optimism in an economic climate that was uncertain and at times unpredictable. This year the clouds seem to be parting and it’s time to focus on professionalism within our industry which will equip us as young professionals to become leaders in the future. This of course mixed in with the usual cross discipline FutureNet Events. The year was kick started with an event last month that focused on Business Etiquette and the art of networking. For those members who had ever gone to a function and then the next day all they had to show for it was a sore head and a pocketful of business cards, then this session was a winner, with everyone coming away with great tips and techniques to take back into their everyday practice. The next event is scheduled for July, so if you are not already a FutureNet member, please email to stay informed about upcoming events. Fidic Competition Entries are now open for the 2011 competition. Closing date is 23 July 2010, with the winner being announced in Late August/

state news

SA DIVISION The SA Division team have been hard at work putting together a program for the 2010/2011 financial year, with a greater focus on the consistent rollout of industry update breakfast functions, as well as a selection of workshops tailored to our SA member firms’ business needs. Jan Irvine, State Manager SA/NT has been meeting with our member firms, with the view to hear more about what our members want from Consult Australia on a state level and whether these needs are being met, how we can build on what we do in this state and keep growing as a vibrant and involved division. Jan very much welcomes member communication be it good news or members keeping in touch to flag issues they believe need attention.

Events Industry Breakfast – Update on TPA Amendment & the Risk Assessment Guidelines for Commonwealth Contracting, 14 July 2010 Boardroom Luncheon (members only) with Jim Hallion and Rod Hook, 20 July 2010 Business Writing Workshop – August date TBA FutureNet Breakfast - The Six Super Schools, 11 August Our 2010/11 Calendar of Events is on the website for members to peruse and mark dates in their diary for the coming year.

Recent Events The April Breakfast Briefing was well attended and the guest speaker, Ian Nightingale, Chief Executive, Department of Planning and Local Government delivered a briefing of the key points of the 30 Year Plan for Adelaide, with particular emphasis on the built environment, outlining the opportunities for our industry to engage with the plan and an overview of what the plan will deliver in its current form. The briefing was followed by a Q & A and open discussion of future strategies for Adelaide’s commercial and infrastructure development.

early September. The winner will then have 12 months to work with Consult Australia to make arrangements to travel to the 2011 FIDIC conference in TUNISIA! This is a fantastic opportunity for young professionals in the built environment to represent Consult Australia – Queensland Division at the FIDIC International Conference in Tunisia 18 - 21 September 2011. Consult Australia – Queensland Division will provide return flights to Tunis; six nights accommodation at one of the conference hotels; young professionals registration for the full conference; contribution towards other miscellaneous expenses associated with attending the conference*. Attendees will meet and hear from an impressive array of speakers discussing key issues impacting professionals in the built environment throughout the world. *Check the FutureNet website for further eligibility and full prize details.

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The Procurement Seminar held in May was well received and feedback from this event was very positive. Our guest speakers each presented their perspective on current procurement practices and this was followed by a moderated panel discussion. Our very personable MC for this event was Tony Pilkington and a lively discussion followed the presentations of out guest speakers: Legal Practitioner - Tony Horan LLB, BA (Hons) Barrister Construction Industry - Andrew Millar, Director, Leed Construction SA Government - Wayne Buckerfield, Procurement Mgr, DTEI Defence Procurement - Bob Baird, Director Construction Contracts The afternoon was rounded off by an hour of networking drinks and canapés, all in the beautiful surrounds of the National Wine Centre Exhibition Hall. The Outlook 2010 Breakfast provided an unparalleled annual profile of the industry and an analysis of the market for consulting firms operating in the built and natural environment in Australia. Geoff Bills, Consult Australia Economist, delivered an engaging presentation to members covering the outlook for consulting both on a national level and in South Australia. He explained the implications as governments begin to withdraw support from the economy and which consulting markets are most vulnerable and which might see some growth. We look forward to seeing Geoff again next year.

FutureNet SA recent Events April Breakfast – Glenelg to Adelaide Project - Challenges within the Alliance Model, saw our guest speakers Andrew Steere, Program Director – National Water Security Program, SA Water Corporation together with Chris Hewitson, Manager Design Group, United Water explain the history of the GAP project, alliance model challenges and the structure of the alliance contract, as well as an insight into the design and function of the plant – the lessons learned through the design process and what to look out for with other similar projects. The recently completed Glenelg to Adelaide Parklands (GAP) project provides a long term sustainable solution for irrigation of the parklands through re-use of high quality treated water from the Glenelg Waste Water Treatment Plant. The GAP project team was formed under an alliance structure from design stage through to construction completion. The June Cocktail Event saw David Dercho, Marketing Director of HLB Mann Judd deliver his presentation on personal branding – the art of successful marketing. Issues covered included How do you develop your most important asset? Are you an effective networker? David outlined how to develop and manage your personal brand, demystified the art of networking and highlighted the importance of achieving a return on your networking investment. This event was held at the National Wine Centre and all our guests instantly practised their newly aquired skills while they enjoyed a relaxing drink or two with delicious canapes after the week’s hard work!

winter 10 National Outlook


state news

wa DIVISION BMW Works Reform Business Solution Plan Consult Australia remains actively involved in the WA BEDP Committee. In 2009 Building Management & Works (BMW) released its work Reform Program BEDP has provided a formal written response to BMW and has had ongoing discussions with BMW regarding the Works Reform Program setting out 55 recommeded reform initiatives to improve the delivery of new buildings and the maintenance and management of new and existing buildings. The BEDP is generally supportive of the Works Reform program.

“Greening the Grey Fields” - FutureNet presenters Professor Peter Newton, Professor Peter Newman and Dr Mike Mouritz

BEDP strongly supports those recommendations relating to:

BEDP is keen to continue to work collaboratively with BMW to assist in achieving the aims of the Works Reform Program.

Central role for BMW Increased focus of business case for projects Support of CEIID Industry liaison Role of Government Architect Improving procurement procedures and guidelines

BEDP has concerns in relation to those recommendations relating to: Use of non-traditional procurement strategies BEDP supports the proposal that non-traditional models of procurement for new buildings are explored but notes that all procurement models involve risk and some proponents of nontraditional procurement strategies present the relative benefit but are silent in relation to the relative challenges. Building BMW Capability and Project Management Role. BEDP strongly supports the need for BMW to rebuild and sustain the skills necessary to function as an educated client able to effectively and competently implement the Government’s capital works program. However, the focus should be on developing the high level skills necessary to guide the development of business cases, oversee the delivery of projects (the client representative/project director role) and the development of policies, procedures and guidelines. BEDP does not believe it is necessary or beneficial for BMW to attempt to take all project management functions for all capital works projects in-house and that the majority of the day-to-day project management of the individual projects can be more effectively delivered by the private sector. The competitive tensions in the private sector for quality of services and cost effectiveness, over time, will continually drive improvement. If BMW was to bring the majority of project management in-house then, even with the best intentions, the quality and cost effectiveness of project management of government projects will erode over time. BEDP also notes that it will be very challenging to progress all 55 recommendations simultaneously and suggests that the recommendations are prioritised.


National Outlook winter 10

FutureNet Greening the Greyfields – Friday 18th June 2010 The June FutureNet event was held over breakfast at the Old Brewery and featured three presenters – Professor Peter Newman of Curtin University, Professor Peter Newton of Swinburne University and Dr Mike Mouritz of HASSELL. The presentation was entitled “Greening the Greyfields” and detailed the unique challenges faced when attempting to redevelop existing middlesuburban areas in a sustainable manner, as well as current Commonwealth Government-funded work by the three to develop a model for such redevelopment in Australian cities. Thank you to the presenters for an eye-opening discussion of what was, judging by the attendance, obviously a popular topic. Consult Australia’s National Conference Sydney hosted this year’s Consult Australia national conference from 18th -19th March 2010. I joined guests from around Australia and overseas to listen and learn from our industry leaders and inspirational speakers; hearing their thoughts on where they see the new opportunities and how they see our firms being able to benefit. Embedding sustainability within our businesses and actively listening to what a client says were strong themes that ran through the conference. The event also brought together FutureNet members from represented states to discuss what is important to us and how we will grow FutureNet with Consult Australia. I would recommend that you try to join the conference next year. Stewart Buxton, WA FutureNet Chairperson Next FutureNet Event FutureNet Breakfast Friday 13th August 2010

Consult Australia Breakfast Friday 14th May 2010 “No Customers, No Company” Shirley Anne Fortina, Principal at POD Consultancy is very sucessful and she discussed the need to remember to look after the customer, How do we look after them? What is the customer care factor across your entire organisation? Are you consistent? What strategies do you have in place around your customers? The event was very well attended. Outlook 2010 Breakfast Friday 4th June 2010 The presentation by Geoffrey Bills, economist Consult Australia, was very informative and made what could have been a very dry topic entertaining. He provided evidence illustrating the mining industry and related services will be driving our economy in the foreseeable future. It was not particularly good news for the building sector but very good news for civil engineering and those providing support to the mining sector. Consult Australia Breakfast 6th August 2010 “Working Internationally” A group of leading local practitioners will discuss their views working abroad post global financial crisis.

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PRACTICE & PROCUREMENT Nicola Grayson heads the policy team at Consult Australia’s National office in Sydney. Her portfolios include Procurement, Contracts & Liabilities and Workplace Health & Safety. Nicola can be contacted at

Guidance released for project sponsors, clients and owners on project initiation The Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (the peak council of government procurement departments) and the Australian Construction Industry Forum have worked in collaboration to develop a guide to project initiation. This guide aims to facilitate better service delivery from capital works assets by encouraging all stakeholders to consider how, by doing some things differently, we can all take even greater pride in the contribution we make to the built form of our communities. The guide recognises that the use of rigorous information analysis at the beginning of a project has the greatest potential to significantly improve the whole project, including: Better value for money; The establishment and maintenance of good working relationships; Better functional design and environmental outcomes; Improved time and whole-of-life cost performance; Fewer variations; Reduced complexity; and Project success for all parties involved in the project. The guide is delivered in four sections, the client procurement decision-making; concept development; evaluation; and definition. Each section is underpinned by the following principles, which should ideally be included in all project initiation: Recognition of the idea or opportunity; Effective client sponsorship of the methods and outcomes to achieve efficient project implementation; Use of good team processes to ensure clear and shared objectives are achieved; Maintaining continuity in the key elements of the team; Formulation of service and functional needs and objectives; Project option evaluation to identify a robust concept; Proper definition of the concept; Effective construction planning during design; and Identification of a clear project implementation and procurement plan including clear project stages with defined outcomes.


National Outlook winter 10

The use of rigorous information analysis at the beginning of a project has the greatest potential to significantly improve the whole project. This guide sets out a framework of leading practice methods for achieving those improvements.

Consult Australia welcomes this initiative and was pleased to contribute to the Guide’s development. The problems and costs associated with poor project initiation and scope definition have been well documented. For example, the Blake Dawson Waldron Scope for Improvement report findings in November 2008 showed that scoping inadequacies have resulted in 26% of the $1 billion+ capital value projects surveyed for the report being more than $200 million over budget and that the situation was getting worse. More recently the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation released its findings on disputation in the

building and construction industry (Guide to Leading Practice for Dispute Avoidance and Resolution, November 2009), which finds that the total waste (direct and indirect costs of disputes) exceeds $7 billion per year. A principle cause of disputation is the failure of clients to adequately specify project scope, i.e. adequately define the purpose and the services required. This Guide is a step towards addressing some of the deficiencies that have been identified. A copy is available from the Procurement & Practice policy pages on the Consult Australia website or from Nicola Grayson


The Roles and Duties of an Expert Witness in Litigation Consult Australia members looking for information about the roles and duties of an Expert Witness in litigation can reference Practice Note 4.01. The duties of the Expert Witness in litigation are very defined and if you are approached to act as an Expert (or are considering taking up the role of an Expert Witness) in court proceedings it is important to familiarise yourself with these duties.

The Expert Witness owes a third duty to the party which has sought his or her advice. That duty is to provide the advice in the context of the first and second duties above, which implies that the Expert Witness should not be an advocate for a party.

The primary duty is that the Expert is in fact an adviser to the Court and not an advocate for the instructing party. The objective of an Expert Witness is to assist the Court in arriving at a just decision. The Expert may be required to give opinions on matters under the consideration of the court whether or not they are favourable to the instructing party.

A court may require the assistance of an Expert Witness to give the court access to knowledge that it does not possess in order to arrive at a resolution of the dispute. It is important therefore that the Expert Witness conduct is above reproach. This requires observance of the Expert’s: Duty to the Court; The Courts’ Code of Conduct; and The Code of Ethics of the Profession.

The Expert Witness owes a second duty to the body of knowledge from which his or her expertise is drawn. This means that person acting as the Expert must provide an opinion or factual information based on the Expert’s area of competence, skill and experience (which should be the case in all their dealings).

The Practice Note sets out the recommended content for the report of the Expert, how to manage their relationship with other Experts and briefings with the instructing party. It also looks at the different classes of Expert.

Members can access the Practice Note which has been revised and was republished in May 2010, by logging on the Consult Australia website, click the ‘Practice Note’ quick link from the home page. Nicola Grayson

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WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR COPY OF NATIONAL OUTLOOK MAGAZINE National Outlook is consult australia’s quarterly print publication. Subject areas covered in National Outlook include a broad spectrum of industry issues relevant to the Consulting Engineering and related service industries and consult australia activities and services





PLEASE FAX COMPLETED FORM TO consult australia: 02 9957 2484 OR MAIL TO: GPO BOX 56 SYDNEY NSW 2001


National Outlook winter 10


The AirVolution of Technology It is only 11 years ago that the Canberra Airport was purchased from the Federal Government. I use the word ‘only’ as in that time an enormous amount of investment and development has gone into the airport. Initially, the existing airport terminal and its operations were upgraded in a number of phases. Masterplanning for the future operations of domestic passenger, international passenger and freight transport then took place. A major step was then taken to extend and upgrade the runway facilities.

Photo courtesy of Ginette Snow

An aerial view of the redevelopment of Canberra International Airport showing the multi- stage nature of the project at work.

At the start of 2005, the airport embarked on an ‘AirVolution’. This involved planning and developing a whole new series of airport buildings to completely replace the existing airport buildings and operations. In January 2005 GMB Architects were successful in a design competition for the new facilities and so began the planning and development of: A new passenger terminal in the order of 60,000 square metres; a joint investment with the ACT Government to upgrade the roads leading to and past the airport; two new structured carparks with 1,200 car spaces each; two 5,000 square metre office areas; two surface-level car parks; an elevated axial road system; a new taxi road facility; a new apron to the terminal; and the redevelopment of a number of buildings to allow for the construction of the new terminal. All of this is taking place while the existing airport remains open and operational. This is a significant achievement in itself as all the new works are taking place over the footprint of the existing operations. The demolition and staging of the works has therefore been a major task for the airport project team. Currently, the works are approximately half

way through completion and construction is advancing at a very significant pace. Early in the design and documentation phases Construction Control recognised the value in appointing an experienced shop drawing consultant to the project team; namely MultiCAD. The value in this approach was to enable a single co-ordinated approach to shop detailing whilst also allowing consistent and reliable communications with the project team; the facilitation of a timely response to construction phase priorities; the coordination of electronic file exchange in a consistent manner; and the provision of early feedback to the architects and engineers before any major issues are able to arise. There have already been a number of significant advantages shown with this approach. For example, the structured carparks have facades of perforated metal and stairs of exposed steelwork. As exposed structures, the coordination of detailing throughout is vital to achieve a high quality architectural outcome. MultiCAD have built their 3D models and exported these to GMB Architects in Tekla Webviewer format for scrutiny before shop

drawings were completed. The architects were able to navigate around and through the 3D models. This has been an invaluable interactive tool in identifying a number of elements that required adjustment before shop drawings are completed. The result has been that the project has an accurate set of shop drawings that align with the design’s architectural intent; detailing issues in the early shop drawing phase have been resolved; costly and time consuming site corrections to steelwork have been eliminated; and the final finish of the exposed steelwork is better due to site patching being eliminated For the city of Canberra, ‘AirVolution’ will be a major part of the city’s economic infrastructure for growth in passenger and freight transport. The airport’s aim is to develop the best ‘small’ airport in the world. The architecture of the new buildings has aspired to this aim and the first phases of construction are already showing that this extraordinary aim will be realised. Canberra Airport is becoming a high quality and very appropriate gateway into Australia’s capital. Paul Mutton, Guida Moseley Brown Architects winter 10 National Outlook



Web Based Resources to Aid Product Selection As more and more products become available online, and while buyers and end-users have less time dedicated to select them, there is an increased need for simpler product selection procedures. An effective means to dealing with this is to offer customised search options to source building products specific for each building project. As an example; when a customer enters specific product criteria, only the products that meet these will appear. This is not a new invention, particularly the consumer industry, such as travel providers, eBay and retailers have used this method for years to aid customers finding the right solutions. Ironically, in the B2B sector, where products are more technical and require careful selecting, this method is not as widespread. An example of a company that has embraced the technology is KSB, a Victoria based supplier of innovative pumps, valves and systems. With a wide selection of products to be used in building services, in water and waste water, and in the energy and mining sectors, the company needed a straightforward solution

to help their clients select the appropriate products from their large portfolio. As a result, the company has developed new software to give customers round-the-clock assistance in finding the perfect solution to their requirements. The KSB EasySelect software offers customers a quick and easy way to search through the company’s range of pumps by providing user-friendly dropdown menus to navigate customers through a simple step-by-step process to identify the pump’s specific required application. Generally, there are two ways of finding a product using the system: 1. Entering parameters for a specific application, or 2. a rapid direct search via the product name or identity number. KSB EasySelect also gives customers the choice to pre-select preferred specific type series or pump designs. Based

on the information entered, KSB EasySelect provides customers with an optimum product recommendation as well as downloadable clearly-structured summaries of all the data, including documents, typical tenders and characteristic curves for their configurations in PDF format. Criteria such as price, efficiency and energy costs are considered by the program. The program also enables data exchange of services specifications via GABE DA XML, with the option for CAD files in various formats to be ordered via email. As such, the software application goes one step further than aiding product selection; it provides prospective customers with documents for product application and usage estimations. If only eBay had that. Buddhika Arlyagama KSB

Energy Recycling in Action In our increasingly energy-conscious world, maximising the efficiency of business operations has become a key priority for many manufacturers and service providers. liquid waste, to recover energy from that waste by using the hot, outgoing fluids to heat up clean, incoming fluids. This is done through heat exchangers. There are basically two types of heat exchangers; plate and tubular. Tubular exchangers are ideal for any sort of waste with particles in it, but they are also larger units. For services dealing with just liquids, plate exchangers are a smaller and more efficient option. Traditionally with plate heat exchangers, the only item that tended to be variable was the number of plates you shoehorned into your application. However with the new generation exchangers like the Mueller Accu-Therm, it’s now possible to custom designer heat exchangers to the exact requirements of a specific products or process. For heat exchange services dealing solely with liquids, plate exchangers like the Mueller Accu-Therm provide a more efficient, and physically smaller option

This has lead to considerable advancements in energy-recycling technology, particularly in the area of Heat Transfer. Heat Transfer allows a vast range of industries that generate hot 22

National Outlook winter 10

These advancements have now extended to comprehensive software programs that can account for the various pressure drops and flow rates that a system will be subjected to, in order to maximise the efficiency of the heat exchange process of those systems.

Plate heat exchangers are also now available in multi-stage units which can allow them to service all of a manufacturer’s cooling, regeneration and pasteurising requirements. Other advancements such as double-wall plates can also be used to enhance integrity for processing critical quality products and increasing assurance against product/service fluid cross contamination. With a broad range of fittings and connections including BSM/ RJT, BSP, Triclover, Table Flange ANSI Flange & Camlock, it’s possible to precisely tailor a heat exchanger to the specific requirements of any project. Heat exchangers can also be constructed from stainless steel, which can improve on conventional powder-coated units in a number of ways. In a lot of food plants, or anywhere producing dairy or beverage products, stainless steel provides a considerably more sanitary option, as it removes the prospect of the paint contaminating any of the food products. And in chemical industries, corrosive chemicals can strip the paint off an exchanger, contaminating the chemicals as they are processed. Greg Haak Teralba Industries

road & safety

The key to effective Tunnel and Underpass Lighting The increasing demand and focus on tunnels has seen the development of an Australian Standard specific to Tunnels and Underpass Lighting, expanding the AS1158 Series to include “Lighting for Roads and Public Spaces Part 5: Tunnels and Underpasses”. This is an important addition to the Australian Standard, governing the minimum requirements for safe and effective Tunnel and Underpass Lighting in Australia and New Zealand. Design Principle When designing a Tunnel or Underpass, the following principles need to be considered: 1. Why do we need Tunnel / Underpass Lighting? To ensure drivers can approach, pass through and exit the tunnel / underpass with a degree of safety commensurate to that of the approach road. Unlike an uncovered road, the approaching driver’s adaptation level is significantly higher in comparison to the lighting level within the tunnel /underpass and therefore limits the driver’s ability to view the road surface, surrounds and other objects.

2. How much light is required to limit this “black hole” effect? In principle, the lighting level required within the tunnel entrance (technically titled the threshold zone) is determined by the approaching driver’s adaptation level and speed. After the threshold zone, the lighting level within the tunnel or underpass is gradually reduced as the driver’s adaptation level also reduces. The following diagram details the rise and fall of the lighting levels throughout a typical tunnel

While these lighting levels satisfy all of the requirements of the Australian Standards to ensure safety of the drivers, they also lend themselves to significant energy savings over time which is of high importance in satisfying the environmental conscience of Australian society. Scott Powell Roadway Product Manager Sylvania Lighting Australasia

Interior Zone Threshold Zone


Access Zone

Exit Zone

Transition Zone

This phenomenon is commonly known as the “Black Hole” effect.

Direction of

Travel Stopping Sight Distance


Length of Tu



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CONTRACTS AND LIABILITY Nicola Grayson heads the policy team at Consult Australia’s National office in Sydney. Her portfolios include Procurement, Contracts & Liabilities and Workplace Health & Safety. Nicola can be contacted at

Major step forward in campaign towards a better understanding of risk and liability allocation in Commonwealth contracts Consult Australia has been working with the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) on an initiative to develop a toolkit for Commonwealth procurement officers on risk and liability, which would include a model indemnity clause for use across Commonwealth agencies. This has been an important collaboration between industry and the Commonwealth to get a better understanding about the allocation of risk and liability in government contracts. The Commonwealth has now published the Liability Risk Assessment Guide for Financial Management and Accountability Act Agencies. The guide has been designed to assist procurement officers in the liability stage of the risk assessment, and to help Commonwealth agencies to consistently treat risk and liability in Commonwealth contracts. While the principal aim of the guide is to assist in less complex procurement with small business, the issues are shared across all suppliers and are not specific to small business contracts. It will assist procurement officers to understand the risks associated with a procurement and how they might be addressed through various mitigation strategies including the appropriate type and justifiable level (if any) of insurance to require of suppliers. Excessive risk transfer and insurance requirements increase the costs for the Government and suppliers. This guide is intended to assist in reducing costs for both, and reduce barriers to small businesses accessing the Commonwealth Government procurement market.

Consult Australia congratulates the DIISR for the development and release of this Guide...

The guide consists of three elements: Part 1: A simple risk assessment guide to assist procurement officers through the liability risk assessment process for a procurement, to correctly allocate liability, assess any proposal from a supplier to limit liability and to arrive at justifiable levels of insurance to require of suppliers; Part 2: Case studies to assist in showing procurement officers how issues may arise in different contracting situations and how they may be handled to correctly allocate liability and set justifiable levels of insurance; and Part 3: Model liability clause that sets out an explanation of what the supplier will be liable for under the contract and reflect the allocation of liability. The Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs) provide direction to Commonwealth agencies on the process for purchasing goods and services (procurement). The CPGs state the general principle that risks should be allocated to the party best placed to manage them. Where an agency is best placed to manage a particular risk it should not seek to inappropriately transfer that risk to a supplier and similarly, agencies should generally not accept financial liability for risk which another party is better placed to manage. Some FMA Act agencies may seek to transfer risk to suppliers, without properly assessing which party is in the best position to manage that risk. This can lead to requests for levels of professional indemnity and liability insurance that is considered higher than industry standard, is cost inhibitive and difficult to obtain for business.

A risk assessment should be undertaken at the start of a procurement process, prior to a Request for Tender (RFT) being issued. The tools within this guide are designed to assist agencies and may be customised to suit individual agency requirements or used to supplement existing risk assessment tools. The case studies and templates used in this guide should be adapted to reflect the context of the operations of the applicable agency. By following this guide, and undertaking appropriate risk assessment to justify the level (if any) of insurance required, contract negotiations may be easier further down the track.

How you can use this guide While this guide has been developed for use by procurement officers within FMA Act agencies, suppliers (particularly small business suppliers) can also benefit from gaining an understanding of its existence and contents. When negotiating procurement contracts with FMA Act agencies, the benefits for business include: a better understanding of the management and allocation of liability risk within Commonwealth contracts; and the ability to ask questions of procurement officers and point to the model clause and case studies within the guide if they feel they are being asked to assume unjustifiable levels of risk and insurance. Consult Australia congratulates the DIISR for the development and release of this Guide and believes it is an important step towards a better understanding of risk and liability allocation in contracts. Ultimately the success of the guide will be judged on the level of take up by the procurement agencies, something that Consult Australia will be monitoring. For a copy of the Guide see the Consult Australia website: policy/contracts and liability. Nicola Grayson


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Consulting engineer claims on the rise Unlike many other classes of professions, consulting engineer claims have risen markedly over the last few years. Consultant engineers are especially prone to disputes arising from the complex nature of the projects they are engaged in, the need to work alongside other sub contractors and the fact that the nature of the work usually results in changed circumstances from the original contract. This inevitably culminates in an unusually costly and lengthy claims process. The trend towards dispute resolution in the engineering classes of insurance is to issue a claim, engage experts to determine liability, proceed to resolution by way of alternative means or through a hearing. Unfortunately, the entire process can take months or sometimes even years. Even though the consulting engineer believes they have done nothing wrong, costs will inevitably be incurred to retain experts who can represent your position.

Recent claims examples The following cases of recent claims scenarios highlight the complex issues faced by various types of consulting engineers. Structural engineer Defective workmanship Approximately 10 years ago, the insured structural engineer was retained for a project involving the conversion of a double storey warehouse. As part of the brief, the insured was instructed to: advise whether the existing building was sufficient for the proposed conversion; advise whether modifications were required to accommodate the project; advise whether the existing footings were sufficient for the project; draw the necessary structural design plans; and prepare design computations for building permit purposes. The respective owners of units of the warehouse together with the body corporate have made claims under their home owners warranty insurance policies in relation to the loss and damage arising from the defective workmanship of the builder causing foundation movements. The insured is one of the multi parties brought into the proceedings and is sued in negligence. The main allegations against the insured is that it overlooked that the footings at the eastern end of the building have been founded on rock with minor distress evident in this area, whereas the footings at the western end, where the damage has occurred, were founded in clay which is subject to drying and swelling. Damages sought in this claim are in the hundreds of thousands. 26

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Mechanical engineer Defending a Complex liability claim An insured mechanical engineer was retained to provide engineering services including site assessment, installation, supervision and documentation design and installation and design of machinery to operate the pumps for a bleach mixing plant. The claimant alleged that the machinery was inadequate as the pumps cracked and burst on their sides. The claimant now seeks recovery from the insured for the costs of replacing the cracked pipes throughout the plant. The insured provides that all the pipes fittings were purchased from a specialist plastic piping company and it appears that the particular type of plastic selected was in accordance with the manufacturer guidelines. Initial inspection and initial preliminary review of the design documentation indicates that the materials selected were appropriate for the duty. The insured has inspected the site, taken two samples of the failed fittings and two pumps and has engaged an expert corrosion consultant to provide a report on the cause of the failure. Although the claim of liability against the insured was weak, unfortunately a significant amount of time and costs were incurred in defending the claim and retaining experts to support the insured’s position. Electrical engineer Settling dispute over cause of fire An electrical engineer was retained to design the circuitry and wiring of a new wing of a local technical college. Two years later, a fire occurred and the wing of the technical college was destroyed. The damages were estimated in excess of $2M. The electrical engineer was joined to the proceedings issued by the college. Although the insured engineer maintained that they were not liable, they agreed to make a commercial contribution of $150,000 to the settlement of the claim as the costs of the defence were exceeding rapidly.

Civil engineer Claim of negligence A civil engineer was joined to a class action issued by the litigation guardians of 15 minors who were seriously injured when the bridge they were crossing at the local park gave way and collapsed. Among the injured were two children who suffered paraplegia. The allegations made against the civil engineers (who was one of four parties to the proceedings) was that it had negligently designed the bridge as it failed to take into account the maximum weight allowed on the bridge. Overall general damages sought were in excess of $5M. Due to the intense media attention given to this case, the claims settled at mediation for the amount of $3.5M with the insured engineer agreeing to contribute $750,000 plus costs. Hydraulic engineer A case of flawed design An insured hydraulic engineer had designed fire hydrants, fire house reels and the below ground portion of the sprinkler main in a large scale residential building development. A leak occurred in the underground sprinkler main which caused the engines driving the water pumps to fail. Expert evidence determined that the engineering designs were blatantly inadequate and flawed. The case settled at mediation with the insured engineer agreeing to pay the amount of $220,000 plus costs without any admission of liability. The above examples clearly illustrate the sheer complexity, cost and time consuming nature of consultant engineering claims. What typically begins as a complaint with an estimated low quantum suddenly increases to a full blown claim where proceedings are issued, expert reports are exchanged and costs are incurred. The trick to preventing a fully blown claim is managing the claim correctly from the outset. Early intervention and claims mitigation may greatly assist with minimising the costs of settling the claim as well as minimising the time the engineering consultant needs to spend defending the claim. Josie Gonzalez, National Manager, Professional Risks Proclaim Management Solutions This article was sourced by Marsh Pty Ltd on behalf of Consult Australia.


Buying or renewing PI insurance? PI insurance is an important part of financial planning for any professional consulting business and it is important to source the right type and level of cover for your company’s practice and to inform key staff of the principles involved in being insured. Consult Australia has revised its Practice Note, which provides members with practical guidance on how to go about making the right decision for your business.

Basic professional indemnity insurance is designed to provide you with cover, as a provider of professional consulting services, for claims arising from actual or alleged breaches of your professional duty associated with your business activities and caused by you as a practitioner, your partners, directors, firm, employees and consultants.

Basic professional indemnity insurance is designed to provide you with cover, as a provider of professional consulting services, for claims arising from actual or alleged breaches of your professional duty associated with your business activities and caused by you as a practitioner, your partners, directors, firm, employees and consultants. An acceptable PI policy must indemnify you and/or your firm against any liability for breach of professional duty and provide general cover for liability arising out of the conduct of the professional business under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the relevant state and territory Fair Trading Acts. The scope of the cover should include property damage, economic loss and death or bodily injury arising out of the conduct of the professional business.

on what to do if you are retiring from practice and contains information on how your clients might evaluate and appropriate sum of insurance in their contractual requirements.

Practice Note 2.01 PI Insurance, will give you information on the different types of policies on offer and what as a minimum the policy should offer. It also provides some information

Consult Australia would like to thank its PI Pathway Partners, Marsh Pty Ltd, Planned Professional Risk Services and Bovill Risk and Insurance Consultants (BRIC) for their

assistance in the development and revision of this Practice Note, which has now been republished. It is available through the Consult Australia website, click the shortcut link found on the home page marked, ‘Practice Notes’. Nicola Grayson

Safety in design Australia’s only comprehensive training on Safety in Design This course applies to all stakeholders who have control over the design of buildings or structures including but not limited to engineering consultants from all disciplines,Project Managers, Building Designers, Planners,Architects, Safety Managers, Contractors involved in the construction industry. This is an interactive national seminar to ensure you: • Know your obligations and responsibilities under current legislation • Monitor and review the effectiveness of your • Safety Management Systems • Raise OH&S standards by using functional documentation procedures • Develop strong Safety in Design credentials to ensure compliancy and raise your competitive edge For more information and to register please contact Daniel Condon at the Consult Australia Office or visit us on winter 10 National Outlook



A National Building Energy Standard-Setting, Assessment and Rating Framework In March 2010, the Federal Government invited interested individuals and organisations to engage in the consultation process for the development of the national building energy standard-setting, assessment and rating framework. Consult Australia submitted its views, contending that a framework for assessment, rating and standard setting for the Australian building sector is integral to providing industry with time to develop and implement innovative, practical and cost effective solutions for application in residential and commercial buildings. In our submission, which was presented to the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Consult Australia has conveyed that in order to grow Australia’s green economy, business needs certainty to plan and innovate, and a national framework for energy standard setting, assessment and rating has the potential to be a mechanism for all stakeholders to engage and contribute to a truly efficient built environment. Consult Australia has outlined in our submission that increased energy efficiency measures for the building sector are the simplest and lowest cost options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However energy efficiency needs to be balanced with indoor environment quality (IEQ) needs as well as water efficiency. To promote energy efficiency, a mix of strategies which take a long term approach to planning, funding and developing our energy capabilities in addition to a focus on new technology and skills development will ensure Australia is well positioned for prosperity in the future. A framework which brings all of these components together will allow for a wider uptake of energy efficiency upgrades in the building sector. The combination of growing demand for energy and Australia’s response to climate change will transform the way Australians think about and use energy. Increased energy prices will undoubtedly push all sectors of Australian society to look to the fastest and least expensive options to keep costs down – this search will certainly uncover that using energy more efficiently is one answer. A Framework which aids building owners, facility managers and designers to increasingly seek and realize energy efficiency opportunities should be the aim of the exercise.


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It is widely recognised by Consult Australia that energy efficiency opportunities exist across a wide range of sectors. The efficiency opportunities for the building sector are perhaps the best investigated and understood in comparison with other sectors due to the many reports in existence1 which outline the building sector’s potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operate more efficiently. Consult Australia contends that there is a need for a National Framework to align the intended efficiency of a building at design stage with measurable results once the building is operational. The Framework should also act as a goal setting mechanism which will drive Australia’s building sector to strive for better design and operational outcomes. One of the first tasks in establishing a National Framework for the building sector is to create a baseline by which we can measure success of energy efficiency strategies. The Framework must also seek to reduce and simplify regulatory requirements and should introduce conformity and alignment of the many facets that exist in relation to building design regulations, rating and operation to provide industry with less burdensome administration. Consult Australia has also commented that the proposed Framework should be outcomes based. We prefer a ‘combined outcomes’ model which encourages a range of improvements to design, construction and operation. One possibility for a combined outcomes based approach would see a reduction in energy use by the building sector, translated to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved through increased energy efficiency design standards and operational controls. Importantly the Framework must identify that energy efficiency is just one element of sustainable building design and operation. Understanding that energy efficiency must be considered in tandem with an array of other design options will encourage and facilitate greater recognition of industry innovation regarding sustainable design.

Finally the Framework needs to be practical and link with the range of other measures in the National Strategy for Energy Efficiency (NSEE). Consult Australia’s views regarding the proposed national Framework can be summarised by the following: 1. All buildings should be covered by the National Framework. Goals for energy efficiency standards should be tailored for different climate zone and building types. 2. The Framework needs to be practical and link with the range of other measures in the National Strategy for Energy Efficiency (NSEE). 3. A National Framework should be outcomes based to link the intended efficiency of a building at design stage with measurable results once the building is operational. 4. Efficient administration of the Framework and careful dispersal of public funding to encourage energy efficiency is essential. A whole of government approach is needed to drive efficiency in the building sector. 5. Energy efficiency is just one element of sustainable building design and operation, considerations regarding energy efficiency must occur within the context of sustainable design, construction and operation, not in isolation.


Caroline Ostrowski

See Second Plank Report and McKinsey and Co.


Achieving a Step Change in Energy Efficiency In our recent submission to the Prime Minister’s Task Group on Energy Efficiency, Consult Australia has argued that energy efficiency is inextricably linked to energy security and must be considered in a coherent manner with a range of other factors. Consult Australia has asserted that in order to promote energy security, a mix of strategies which take a long term approach to planning, funding and developing our energy capabilities in addition to a focus on energy efficiency, new technology and skills development will ensure Australia is well positioned for prosperity in the future. Therefore our submission discussed broad energy and sustainability principles and issues to contextualise the linkages to energy efficiency. Energy efficiency means different things to different sectors of the community. There exists a need for a widely accepted and shared view of what energy efficiency is. Simply stating energy should be used in a more efficient way ignores some of the fundamental issues associated with energy use and production. Consult Australia considers that once a shared view is established, a baseline should be created to measure progress. This will require an agreed national metric by which we can measure energy efficiency improvements and performance across all sectors. Australia’s substantial fossil fuel resources of coal and gas (including coal seam gas), along with Australia’s growing renewable energy market, are capable of meeting both domestic demand and increased export demand over the coming decade. However, petroleum supplies are limited and Australia is increasingly reliant on imports for transport fuels. Australia’s energy use is growing, and total demand for energy is projected to continue to increase with growth in Australia’s economy and population which is predicted to reach 35.9 million in 20501. This growth will require substantial investment to maintain and update Australia’s electricity infrastructure (with more than $42 billion of investment either approved or proposed over the next

1 The 2010 Intergenerational Report, Australia to 2050: future challenges. Commonwealth of Australia, January 2010

five years). This investment is already having an impact on electricity prices and will continue to do so. Increasing world demand will also push up the prices of petrol, coal and gas - in a world thirsty for resources, our world competitiveness may be influenced by how energy efficient we are. The Government also has to consider that community expectations exist about the production, transformation and use of energy, the use and development of technology, and the consequent social, environmental and economic impacts that arise, which all need to be taken into account when devising strategies for energy. Consult Australia believes there are complex and possibly not well understood links between energy, social harmony, health and well being, education, economic prosperity, land use, transport and ecology. Consult Australia recognises that the carbon emissions that have given rise to predictions of climate change have been generated by unsustainable practices adopted by past and current generations. We contend that it is not appropriate for the costs and impact of this change to be borne entirely by future generations. We see an opportunity to create an energy security strategy that does not limit the solutions available to the community to address energy security issues. Currently not all policy positions taken by both Federal and State Governments effectively encourage the adoption of available technologies that have the potential to secure Australia’s energy supply in a sustainable context.

Consult Australia views that the priorities for action which will support and drive energy efficiency should include: 1. A national energy strategy that takes a holistic view of our energy future and that ties together all aspects of Australia’s aims, definitions, incentives, funding, metrics and measurement related to energy use and production. This will help the Government in their decision making activities relating to energy and help industry plan for financial investments and also the types of skills required to implement the various strategies and commitments. 2. An agreed definition of energy efficiency alongside a baseline to measure progress and an agreed national metric(s) by which we can measure energy efficiency improvements and performance. 3. A more coordinated national demand management effort and investment focus on energy efficiency improvements to the commercial building and households sector. 4. An increase in Australia’s skills capacity in the areas related to energy generation and distribution, energy efficiency and engineering for sustainability. This is being partly addressed by the Energy Efficiency Skills Committee (EESC), however further work needs to be completed on sustainability skills more broadly and the strategy will need to address the role of skilled migration and an increase in the number of females and other underrepresented groups in the consulting sector. 5. Efficient administration and careful dispersal of public funding to encourage energy efficiency, sustainability and energy security strategies. A whole of government approach is needed to drive efficiency.

Caroline Ostrowski

Energy efficiency means different things to different sectors of the community. There exists a need for a widely accepted and shared view of what energy efficiency is. Simply stating energy should be used in a more efficient way ignores some of the fundamental issues associated with energy use and production. winter 10 National Outlook



Faster: the Possibilities of Precast The Australian precast sector has a world leading tradition that stretches back to Walter Humes’ original pipe patent in 1910, so it should come as no surprise that our local industry has also come up with a patented solution to deliver dramatic time savings to multi-storey projects. floor levels to ensure the concrete has attained sufficient strength to develop the required brace capacity, a technique which requires full-depth voids in floor slabs - hardly an ideal solution. As a result, the industry called out for a safe and effective means of fixing the slotted feet of precast concrete wall panel braces into low strength concrete. Recognised with a High Commendation in the Concrete Institute of Australia’s 2009 Awards for Excellence in Concrete, Reid Construction Systems responded to that call with the patented RapidBrace system, which is designed to improve site efficiencies by reducing both floor cycle times and the risks associated with using bracing systems in concrete below full strength, as well as minimising the requirements for costly voids to brace to lower floors and the additional costs associated with high strength concrete.

concrete has exploded over the past twenty years – namely, multi-storey commercial and residential construction.

An extension of Reid’s proven ReidBar and foot anchor technologies, RapidBrace is a pre-installed system that develops full bracing capacity in concrete with a characteristic strength as low as 8 MPa. This enables a floor cycle of pouring your floor slab on day one, and erecting your wall panels on day two – dramatically compressing the overall duration of projects.

Thanks to the development of a range of safe and efficient lifting systems, like Reid Construction Services’ patented JAWS edge lift anchors, thin, precast concrete structural and architectural wall panels are a routine sight, suspended from cranes on multi-storey projects worldwide. These lifting systems have given builders the ability to construct the walls for an entire floor in a day or less, and have removed a number of historical choke points from project programs, including brick and block laying.

A current example of this technology in action can be found at the UTS Student Housing Tower, currently under construction in Harris Street, Sydney. Designed by architects Nettleton Tribe, this thirteen-storey tower is being built by Hutchinson Builders. The completed structure will provide accommodation for 720 students, and new teaching, learning and social spaces for staff and students. Precast wall panels are supplied by Advanced Precast, who have operations in each of Australia’s east coast capitals.

However, as with every advance in construction techniques, there are trade-offs associated with the adoption of precast concrete wall panels. The biggest of these is the requirement to brace concrete panels against wind and construction loads until such time as the floor, core and roof structures advance to the point where the panels are “locked in” to the final structure. In turn, one of the limiting factors in brace performance is the strength of the concrete in the floor slab that panels are braced to. On projects with very short floor cycles it has been necessary to brace through

The RapidBrace also has applications beyond panel bracing, as it can be used to allow the early installation of hand rails and safety screens, which can help to deliver safer projects, and deliver them faster.

Photo Courtesy of Nettleton Tribe

A rendering of the new UTS Student Housing Tower currently under construction in Sydney. The tower is utilising RapidBrace technology to enhance the speed of construction on the upper floors.

Precast reinforced concrete gained its original acceptance in the world of civil and municipal engineering, where Humes’ precast spun concrete pipes and precast pits and culverts replaced clay pipes and laboriously constructed brick pits. The introduction of the quick-release SwiftLift foot anchor lifting system in the 1970s, enabled ever-larger precast concrete elements to be manufactured and installed, leading to the giant Super-T bridge beams that have become a common sight on road and rail projects worldwide. Some of the beams on Melbourne’s award-winning Eastlink project weighed in at over 90 tonnes. Precast concrete offers a range of benefits compared to traditional, in-situ forms of reinforced concrete construction, including better quality control, greater architectural freedom, improved structural and material efficiencies, and an enhanced ability to economically effect changes or rectifications. Whilst all these factors have contributed, it is probably fair to say that the increased speed of construction offered by precast concrete construction has been the most significant driving force behind its dramatic growth over the last fifty years. Certainly it is the case in the market sectors where the use of precast 30

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Simon Moore Development Manager Reid Construction Services


THE LATEST PATHWAY TESTIMONIAL Heggies’ range of environmental engineering and scientific services has broadened considerably over the past several years. As we continue to grow, new services are being introduced, new offices open and other consulting practices are being acquired. Our overseas work on significant international projects has also increase markedly. As a consequence, greater focus on managing the technical and commercial risks of our multi-disciplinary service delivery was required. Significant changes to our Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance cover became necessary. We realised that professional risk management advice well beyond that

provided by a normal PI broker was required – we needed an insurance advisory service with considerable consulting industry experience. Heggies selected a broker associated with Consult Australia PI Pathway, as the services provided seemed an ideal match. The broker was able to ensure continuity of cover, broadening the scope of cover and negotiating a reduced premium. Their contract review service and ongoing staff risk management training have proven invaluable to our business, enhancing the professional standard of our client contractual relations and improving the quality of our service delivery.



Heggies Pty Ltd


To get a quote please visit:

Consult Australia’s PI Insurance Pathway gives Consult Australia members access to the PI market through a Panel of Brokers selected by Consult Australia. Consult Australia is providing a referral service only and is not providing any form of financial advice or offering a financial product. Consult Australia does not guarantee the value, price and terms of cover that may be received from any member of the Panel of Brokers. Any agreement entered into through use of the PI Insurance Pathway will be expressly between the Panel Broker and the Consult Australia member firm.

winter 10 National Outlook



Reinforcing the Nation’s Future Around Australia, ageing post-war bridges and buildings are coming to the end of their usable lives. It’s a wave of obsolescence which poses a challenge for engineers and an opportunity for innovative new construction materials. Now, the new pressures of ageing infrastructure and tougher environmental standards mean there is a clear imperative for the future research direction of a centre such as CIES, says Professor Foster. “In the structures field, there are three areas where the industry needs to look and where we need to be focusing: new materials and advanced materials in construction are one, lowering the carbon footprint of the building construction industry is another and extreme events such as impact, blast, fire and seismic loadings the third. For me, they are the three big issues for the structures group over the next 10 years”.

Professor Stephen Foster Director of the Centre for Infrastructure and Engineering Safety (CIES), University of New South Wales.

Professor Stephen Foster is the new Director of the Centre for Infrastructure and Engineering Safety (CIES), in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales. He heads a team of researchers who are investigating all aspects of civil engineering infrastructure – from buildings and bridges to tunnels, dams and roads – to develop vital new knowledge aboutmaterials and processes to meet future demands. “We have a lot of structures that are about 50 years old, and are coming to the end of their usable lives, so if we can extend that by 10 years it’s going to save a lot of money” Professor Foster says.

A second and equally important focus of the CIES is in geotechnical engineering. A research team led by Professor Nasser Khalili is undertaking groundbreaking research into geosequestration and soil erosion. ”The directions of his team in geotechnical modelling and in road research are worldleading” says Foster. CIES researchers are investigating new applications of materials such as carbon fibre-reinforced polymers in the repair of infrastructure and new materials such as geopolymer concrete, which offers advantages of high strength and less energy-intensive manufacture through its innovative use of waste products such as slag from smelting processes and fly ash from coal-fired power stations.

“A lot of the driving force comes from a lack of information – where there are advantages to be had from new materials and the use of existing materials more efficiently and in new applications” Foster adds. “Industry links are an important characteristic of the centre: we currently have, for example, ARC Linkage Grant projects with Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia, Bluescope and BOSFA, from Fielders Australia and PCDC, and from the RTA and ARRB to research these and other issues of structural and geotechnical importance”. “Growth in industry-led research collaborations is important to the Centre’s future, there are also technologies available now, such as carbon fibre-reinforced polymers and our work may be on how to use those products in new ways in rehabilitation work”. Foster says embodied energy looms as a growing issue for construction and materials industries worldwide, and materials such as geopolymer concrete and ultra-high performance ductile concrete have a significant role to play in making construction more sustainable. With the recent delaying of the ETS, the pressure has been relieved somewhat in Australia, but Foster believes that it will come back over time and, as such, says that we need to prepare for the potentially significant pressures it will place on the materials industries, which are very energy intensive. Peter Trute University of New South Wales

“The rehabilitation of structures and of bridges in particular, is a big issue”. Professor Foster, a specialist in high-strength and fibre-reinforced concrete, says new materials have brought about enormous benefits in construction in the past two decades. “The biggest change in the concrete construction industry in recent years has been the use of higher-performance materials such as highstrength concretes and steels” he says. “Concrete strengths have doubled in the past 20 years or so, which has meant smaller concrete members and, as a result, more rentable floor space in commercial office buildings. In fact the research out of UNSW in the 1990s had a significant of impact on the 2009 Australian Standard for Concrete Structures”. 32

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CIES researchers are investigating new applications of materials such as carbon fibre-reinforced polymers in the repair of infrastructure and new materials such as geopolymer concrete, which offers advantages of high strength and less energy-intensive manufacture through its innovative use of waste products such as slag from smelting processes and fly ash from coal-fired power stations.

Land Access and Compensation Specialists Easement Negotiations, Valuations/Assessments of Compensation, Landholder Liaison, Paralegal/Document Preparation, Management of Land Acquisition Programs, Site and Corridor Selection, Community Consultation, Cultural Heritage, Planning and Approvals, Land Tenure Audits, Construction Line Lists

Contact: Jamahl Waddington Mobile 0402 148 160

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Adelaide Head Office Level 2/135 Fullarton Road Rose Park SA 5067 Phone (08) 8333 2722 Fax (08) 8333 2755


Focus on Global Risks Recent events in Greece have highlighted the ongoing fragility of the world economy and the continuation of those risks, and the interdependencies between risks, that characterised the Global Financial Crisis. The World Economic Forum report, Global Risks 2010 provides an overview of the global risk landscape and a view of those risks that share the potential for wide systemic impact, and that can be linked to long-term trends. The report provides a framework against which to consider the relative impact of global risks and their interconnections, probability and impact. The objective of the report is ‘to raise awareness of the level of interconnections among risks and the global impact of those interconnections. The report offers a framework for decision-makers to look at risks in an integrated manner and to provide an impetus to different stakeholders to focus on ways to manage systemic risks more effectively.’ The Report explores three main themes as the basis for discussion: A higher level of systemic risk: A greater need for an integrated and more systemic approach to risk management and response by the public and private sectors. The underestimation of slow failures or creeping risks which emerging over a long period of time and carry a high level of potential impact. Global governance gaps arising from the short-term pressures on governments, business and individuals.

Against these themes the report provides an insightful analysis of risks and interdependencies including: Fiscal crises In response to the financial crisis, many countries are at risk of overextending unsustainable levels of debt, which in turn, will exert strong upwards pressures on real interest rates. Underinvestment in infrastructure Multiple studies across the world repeatedly highlighted that vast segments of our water, energy or transport infrastructure are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, requiring considerable annual investments to avoid catastrophic failure.

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Chronic diseases As a consequence of profound sociodemographical transitions among large sections of the world population, changing physical and dietary habits, chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory disease are continuing to spread rapidly throughout the developed and developing world, driving up health costs while reducing productivity and economic growth. Asset price collapse The risk of an asset price collapse remains the strongest risk on the landscape. [This] illustrates the continuing uncertainty about the resilience of the global economy and the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary response, governance and regulation. A useful tool to underpin risk management and analysis, Global Risks 2010 is available to download at Jonathan Cartledge

The report offers a framework for decisionmakers to look at risks in an integrated manner and to provide an impetus to different stakeholders to focus on ways to manage systemic risks more effectively.



LOOKS LIKE A ROCKET MAKES YOUR PROJECT GO LIKE ONE ● High strength anchoring in low strength concrete ● Secure fixing of panel braces ● Eliminates propping through floors ● Fast erection of temporary hand and guard rails ● Quick fixing of safety screens ● Reduced risk ● Faster floor cycle times ● Saves time and money 1300 780 250 ITW Construction Systems Australia Pty Ltd ABN 48 004 297 009 t/a Reid TM trademarks of ITW Construction Systems Australia Pty Ltd ©2010



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The Skills Shortage that won’t go away Australia has been suffering a skills shortage of engineers for many years. Engineers and related professionals can be identified as being one of the largest occupational groups possessing the skills contributing to the recovery of our nation post the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and therefore critical to Australia’s prosperity.

Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard and Consult Australia’s CEO Megan Motto

Consult Australia’s 2008 Skills survey results revealed that two-thirds of engineering consultancy firms across Australia delayed projects in the year the prior because of staff shortages. When surveyed in 2009 Consult Australia’s member firms reported that whilst the financial downturn had slackened skills demand in sectors such as commodities, fluctuations in the economic cycle had not alleviated the pressure of inadequate levels of skilled labour in critical engineering disciplines. A shortage of engineering skills will compromise Australia’s ability to deliver on its objectives. Australia still has no national strategy for the engineering profession, in spite of the crucial job-multiplying role of the engineer and the necessity of engineering skills for major nation building projects.


National Outlook winter 10

To address this issue Consult Australia has formed an alliance with the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers (APESMA), Engineers Australia (EA) the Australian Council of Engineering Deans (ACED) and The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). The Alliance, now known as the Australian National Engineering Taskforce (ANET) has received Federal Government support, from the now Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard for two projects targeted at unveiling the supply and demand of engineers within the road and rail sectors and articulation between VET and Higher Education for engineering education. It is hoped that outcomes from these projects will inform advice to Government, industry and the Education sector and will guide future ANET projects in the areas of immigration, recruitment and retention strategies, contracting and procurement models and on the job skills development in areas like energy efficiency. Whilst it is understood that problems with Australia’s domestic engineering services capacity derive from systemic issues, a lack of detailed modelling and knowledge of supply, demand and skills development of the engineering workforce across the economy

hampers effective responses. Project One aims to fill this gap by modelling engineering skills supply in two key sectors: road and rail. This will provide, as a first step, detail for two key infrastructure sectors, and will create a model to inform parallel or future mapping of other sectors (for instance in water with the Water Industry Skills Taskforce and in the resources sector with the National Resource Sector Employment Taskforce). Consult Australia views that this exercise will be critically important in order to meet the expected increase in demand for engineering and related services over the coming years. These services include helping prepare the nation for a carbon constrained economy and improved cities design as we plan for a population of 35.9 million by 2050. In additional to our work with ANET, Consult Australia takes a holistic view to all aspects of skills development important to the success of our member firms. Consult Australia continues to work with a wide range of government departments and industry stakeholders to collectively build Australia’s engineering and related occupations skills capacity. Caroline Ostrowski

Consult Australia’s 2008 Skills survey results revealed that two-thirds of engineering consultancy firms across Australia delayed projects in the year the prior because of staff shortages. When surveyed in 2009 Consult Australia’s member firms reported that whilst the financial downturn had slackened skills demand in sectors such as commodities, fluctuations in the economic cycle had not alleviated the pressure of inadequate levels of skilled labour in critical engineering disciplines.


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ECONOMICS & TAXATION Jonathan Cartledge is a Senior Policy Officer for Consult Australia. Jonathan represents the needs and interests of Consult Australia member firms across the Economics/Taxation, Infrastructure and Sustainability portfolios. Jonathan can be reached at

All about Henry On the 2 May 2010 the Government released the final Report from the Review of Australia’s Future Tax System (the Henry Review) in conjunction with the Government’s package of measures responding to the Review recommendations. While the Review sets out a bold agenda for future tax reform, the Government’s response was not as ambitious as expected. The centre piece of the Government’s reform the Resource Super Profits Tax has now been consigned to the history books with the change to Prime Minister Gillard and the adoption of the Minerals Resources Rent Tax. Though the additional revenue still provides funding for changes to superannuation for low income earners and the establishment of a regional infrastructure fund. Amongst the Government’s other reform measures, reductions to the company tax rate to 29% is an important win for business, but does not go far enough and falls short of the Review recommendation for a reduction in the company tax rate to 25%. This measure is further undermined by increases in compulsory superannuation contributions by employers, with the superannuation guarantee increasing from 9% to 12% by 2019/20. This change will hit the bottom line of professional services firms hard where wages are usually the largest component of their balance sheets. Consult Australia supports increases to superannuation, but considers this should

be done through measures that are fair to business. The Review recommendation for increased superannuation contributions funded through changes to the tax on compulsory contributions is advocated by Consult Australia as a fairer measure. Increasing the pool of superannuation is to be applauded insofar as it increases the funds available for potential investment in much-needed infrastructure projects - cited by the Government in their response as a major benefit of the initiative. However, to be truly effective these increases should occur alongside reforms to incentivise investment in infrastructure projects by these same funds. Consult Australia supports the creation of a State infrastructure fund as a longterm mechanism ensuring investment in infrastructure as a guaranteed component of state and federal budgets. However with estimates of a national infrastructure deficit in the vicinity of $700 billion, the initial $700 million allocated to this fund is far short of the funds needed in the longer-term.

instant write-off for small business assets worth up to $5000 (though the Review recommends that assets costing less than $10,000 be written off ). This means many small business investments will be able to be written off in the year of purchase. Small businesses will also be able to depreciate all other assets (other than buildings) in a single pool, at a rate of 30 per cent. Small business companies will also move straight to the new 28 per cent company tax rate from the 2012/13 income year. A further recommendation from the review not yet adopted by the Government was to move the small business entity turnover threshold from $2 million to $5 million. Overall, the breadth and depth of the Review Recommendations are welcomed: many of the Review recommendations recognise the burdens imposed on business by the existing tax system and the opportunity to improve productivity and competitiveness of business through a simpler, fairer approach. The Review Report provides a strong foundation for a broader debate about the changes required to the tax system to help ensure Australia’s longterm economic competitiveness. The initiatives outlined by the Government in May are just the first wave of a decade-long reform agenda. We will be hearing a lot more about Henry in the months ahead. Jonathan Cartledge

Small business is a winner from the reforms set out by the Government who will introduce

Reducing government reporting Interested in reducing the time spent reporting to government? The Australian Government has launched a blog providing businesses with an opportunity to participate in the development of the Government’s Standard Business Reporting program.

The standard business reporting blog has been established to provide a forum for businesses, reporting professionals, software developers and other members of the public to discuss the SBR online.

Current reporting requirements impose a significant burden on business. Standard Business Reporting (SBR) is an Australian Government initiative to reduce the business-to-government reporting burden. SBR has been co-designed by Australian, state and territory government agencies in partnership with software developers, business and their accountants, bookkeepers, tax agents and payroll professionals.

To participate, simply go online at


National Outlook winter 10

Some examples of reports SBR is targeting include the Business Activity Statement (Australian Taxation Office), financial statements (ASIC), and payroll tax returns (State and Territory Government revenue offices). SBR is to be fully implemented from 1 July 2010. Adoption of SBR will be voluntary and no legislative changes will occur as a direct result of the initiative.

For further information on SBR, go online at Jonathan Cartledge


Budget 2010: Investing for the Future The 2010-11 Federal Budget saw the Government implement unprecedented fiscal discipline with a planned return to surplus in 2012-13, three years earlier than expected. During a period of continuing economic uncertainty the Budget has highlighted Australia’s remarkably strong economic position relative to other developed economies, a product both of the Government’s ambitious and disciplined fiscal strategy, and a continuing resource boom. The Government has rightly made much of Australia’s record as the best economic performer of any advanced economy in 2009, and has forecast a continuation of that trend with 3.25 per cent growth forecast in 2010-11 and 4 per cent growth forecast in 2011-12. The good news continues with unemployment, already the second lowest compared to the major advanced economies, expected to fall further to 4.75 per cent in 2011-12. Adopting a conservative approach to spending to achieve this early return to surplus, the Budget contains relatively few new initiatives or spending promises outside those already announced in response to the Henry Review, or as part of the National Health and Hospitals Network. The $5.6 billion investment (over ten years) in the State Infrastructure Fund is a continuation of the commitment made in response to the Henry Review which flagged an initial down-payment into the fund of $700 million in 2012-13. A significant new investment of $1 billion in the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), funding a package of rail projects along the Brisbane-Melbourne, MelbourneAdelaide and Sydney-Perth rail corridors, is welcomed as a much needed boost to rail freight infrastructure. Similarly, the allocation of a further $71 million to conduct planning for the development of an intermodal terminal precinct at Moorebank in Sydney should ease congestion on Sydney roads and could be operational as early as 2016. Equally, $200 million over four years to establish the Critical Skills Investment Fund is welcomed to help deliver training places and boost the number of workers available in skill shortage areas of national significance, including the resource and construction sectors. The Critical Skills Investment Fund will leverage industry co-investment, providing support for 50 per cent of the cost of training for large firms and up to 90 per cent of the cost of training for small firms. It is estimated that up to 39,000 training places will be delivered over four years. This appears to be a similar program to the Enterprise Based Productivity Places Program (EBPPP) that some Consult Australia members have recently received funding for.

A plan to return to surplus in three years should be commended, both for the real economic gains it will bring once realised, as well as the immediate confidence it builds in the broader business community.

Renewable energy has also received a boost with $652 million in savings made through the deferment of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme invested in a Renewable Energy Future Fund. The Fund will be used to provide further support for the development and deployment of large and small scale renewable energy projects including wind, solar and biomass. In a tight budget, all these initiatives should be applauded, but with many of the recommendations from the Henry Review sitting on the shelf, notably the reform of road transport taxes, there remains significant scope for a more ambitious policy agenda that could still operate within the Government’s selfimposed fiscal discipline. The IMF estimates that for every dollar spent on infrastructure, the productivity returns are as high as $1.80. While our major cities struggle to compete under the weight of increasingly congested roads and public transport, investment is essential to support broad-based economic growth. Opportunities to more effectively leverage the growth potential of greater investments in infrastructure appear not to have been taken up as enthusiastically as is perhaps necessary, particularly for the broader economy where the benefits of the resources boom are less evident. The emphasis in the application of the state infrastructure fund to the associated infrastructure demands of the resource rich states is of some concern, particularly when our major cities are suffering with increasingly congested roads and public transport. It also remains to be seen how this new infrastructure fund will be managed in the context of Infrastructure Australia’s assessment framework and pipeline of projects.

The additional investment in skills is vital to ensure capacity to respond to the resources boom is maintained. However, this investment focuses strongly on the development of vocational skills: the Government's measures exclude critical professions and tertiary skills development, particularly in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In the Government's stated priority 'hot spots', infrastructure, resources, and renewable energy, engineering disciplines are amongst the top skills in shortage for industry. And there is still more scope to promote more early wins through climate change initiatives. Funding for renewable energy is essential, but additional funding could incentivise significant, broad-based energy efficiency measures, particularly those that can make a substantial difference to our GHG reduction targets. The building sector is a major contributor to GHG emissions, and significant abatement gains can be made in the short term from greater energy efficiency. Measures to encourage energy efficiency in the sector would provide an insurance policy for climate change action, and reduce the cost of the CPRS across the whole economy when it is enacted. However, in spite of these opportunities for improvement, the Government’s achievement with this Budget should not be underestimated. A plan to return to surplus in three years should be commended, both for the real economic gains it will bring once realised, as well as the immediate confidence it builds in the broader business community. Jonathan Cartledge

winter 10 National Outlook



Westpac / Consult Australia Economic Breakfast session In conjunction with Consult Australia, Westpac is holding a series of Economic Breakfast Updates across Australia on important financial topics for Consultants to the build and natural environment. While Australia has weathered the Global Financial Crisis relatively unscathed, we have received feedback that many consultants in the industry remain uncertain about how the global economy will impact their business. The series of Economic Updates will provide the latest information and expert analysis on the outlook for Australia and the world. Westpac has a long history of providing relevant thought leadership for business customers on economic issues. As Australia’s largest bank with 10 million customers, 40,000 employees and the largest branch network in the country, Westpac is also the leader in business practices.

Westpac considers the Consulting Services and Infrastructure sector as a vital contributor to the economic environment and absolutely essential to ensure the long term environmental sustainability of Australia. With Australia being fortunate to have avoided the Global Financial Crisis and winning a large number of major projects it is imperative that financial assistance is provided from banks such as Westpac to enable these projects to achieve their optimum return.

Westpac is the only Australian bank and the highest ranking Australian company in the 2010 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations, announced as part of the Davos World Economics Forum. This annual project examines corporations across a range of issues including energy, carbon and water productivity, leadership diversity, innovation capacity and information transparency to determine the world’s most sustainable companies. Westpac was judged to be the 15th most sustainable corporation in the world.

Support for Consulting Services As part of Westpac’s commitment to the Consulting Services and Infrastructure sector Gavin Burgess has recently been appointed as the National Industry Leader for Consulting Services & Infrastructure. Gavin will be supported around the country by a team of Relationship Managers, selected specifically for their expertise and experience in working with consulting engineers and Infrastructure customers.

Economic Information and Analysis To support corporate clients in their planning and strategies in all economic conditions, Westpac continually undertakes regular economic reports on the Australian and New Zealand economies: from a weekly economic update and the monthly Westpac-MI consumer sentiment survey to regular updates on employment, housing finance, wage expectations and the Australian dollar. By providing detailed, accurate information and analysis, Westpac aims to support clients in their decision making. Copies of these reports are readily available from the Westpac website.

“Westpac considers the Consulting Services and Infrastructure sector as a vital contributor to the economic environment and absolutely essential to ensure the long term environmental sustainability of Australia. With Australia being fortunate to have avoided the Global Financial Crisis and winning a large number of major projects it is imperative that financial assistance is provided from banks such as Westpac to enable these projects to achieve their optimum return. This requires a deeper understanding of the cash flows and the timings of projects and the downstream impacts. Westpac is committed to truly understanding our customers to ensure that we are able to assist them at all times so that we can foster a true partnership arrangement,” Gavin says.


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About the briefings These economic breakfast briefings are part of Westpac’s commitment to the industry. Topics covered include: Australian dollar: the outlook for its continued high value and the impact on Australian companies Interest rates: how many more rate rises can be expected over the coming year? Inflation: will capacity constraints bring this problem back? Global activity: are all our hopes pinned on China or can the US and Europe return strongly? The presentations were conducted by Economists from Bill Evans’ office, Westpac’s Chief Economist. Attendees had the opportunity to pose questions at the conclusion of the economic presentations and this provided for some excellent post-event discussions.

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Two speeds ahead “Yes, I think it is going to be a two-speed economy. I have said publicly that I think all those issues of geographical differences and industry differences are likely to re-emerge with a vengeance.’’ Reserve Bank of Australia Governor, Glenn Stevens The re-emergence of a two speed economy following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) should not come as a surprise. In many respects as the resources boom continues this can be seen as a return to the statusquo of recent years, albeit with renewed vigour. In the Economic Roundup of October 2008 Treasury observed that ‘Australia has long been a two-speed economy as a result of higher population growth in the mining states.’ Minister Emerson recently observed that: ‘from the gold rushes in the early period of European settlement Australia has always had a two-speed economy.’ The more important questions now are less about whether a two speed economy is likely to emerge, but rather in what ways this is manifest, and what the implications are for business.

In this context the challenges for government and industry are significant. For the Reserve Bank monetary policy needs to account for the increasing demand for our resources without hitting capacity constraints: the impact on the broader economy of interest rates reaching ‘normal’ levels need to be balanced against the need for higher interest rates as the country recovers from the GFC.


National Outlook winter 10

Historically, the two-speed economy has referred more often to the differences in growth between the mining states (primarily Western Australia and Queensland) and non-mining states such as New South Wales and Victoria. More recently the concept has been used more broadly with reference to industry sectors. The Treasurer recently drew this out observing that ‘with the lingering impacts of the recession we have to go out and deal with the impact of a two-speed economy where we’ll see parts of the country stronger. It won’t be just in terms of state against state. I think that’s a wrong characterisation. It will be industry sector against industry sector.’ Recent data suggests a combination of effects where the two speed economy is evident both across sectors and between states. The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index highlighted weakening demand for residential construction following the end of the first home buyers’ grant and rising interest rates. Housing Industry Association Senior Economist, Ben Phillips observed ‘Industry hopes for a sustained and necessary recovery are fading under the impact of higher interest rates and continued pressure from credit and land constraints.’ Treasury is well aware of the importance of public infrastructure and education spending during the GFC as critical in maintaining activity in the construction sector: ‘many organisations… relied on the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program to support activity during that period of weakness.’ (Treasurer’s Economic Note, 11 April 2010). The withdrawal of these initiatives will leave a further gap in this sector, particularly for the non-mining states. Tourism is also likely to suffer against the strong Australian dollar, while demand for skills will likely impact on nonmining related business services and education. In Queensland and WA the story is somewhat different. As Glenn Stevens noted last year: ‘the two-speed economy debate of a few years ago was really only a preview of what we could see if the resources sector build-up goes ahead.’’ Writing in The Australian in April, Greg Peel notes that together WA and Queensland boast 30% of Australia’s population but account for 36% of GDP compared to NSW’s 28%. They account for over 60% of Australian exports and 80% of exports to China. Including the $43bn Gorgon gas project, Australia is now undertaking record levels of construction, however WA alone accounts for 66% of all new engineering work underway, and WA and Queensland account for 82%.

The implications of these developments will be far-reaching - particularly for skilled workers who will be in demand both by those out-performing states and industry sectors riding the boom. Mercer’s Australia and New Zealand Regional Differentials 2008 report noted the two-speed economy as a ‘pressure cooker’ for the national workforce citing the resources sector driving rapid wage growth in Queensland and Western Australia, and increasing demand for workers in construction and logistics. This trend looks set to continue. The April 2010 figures from the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations report the skilled job vacancies index rising at a trend rate of 1.3 per cent per month, less than half the pace of six months earlier. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Survey of Investor Confidence released in April this year found that the Availability of Suitably Qualified Employees has moved into the top ten constraints on investment for the first time since the December quarter of 2008. While manufacturing, service and tourism sectors are struggling to regain their feet following the GFC, the issue of skills shortages has already been raised across those sectors feeding into the mining boom, while the economy has almost returned to full employment. In this context the challenges for government and industry are significant. For the Reserve Bank monetary policy needs to account for the increasing demand for our resources without hitting capacity constraints: the impact on the broader economy of interest rates reaching ‘normal’ levels need to be balanced against the need for higher interest rates as the country recovers from the GFC. The withdrawal of the economic stimulus package needs to be balanced by ongoing investment in infrastructure to open up bottlenecks, and at the same time to support those industries that do not feed into the resources sector, but account for the skills demanded across sectors. Industry must be mindful of an increasingly competitive skills market, and opportunities marked by the strong demand from mining. The recovery certainly presents new risks for member firms operating in a competitive environment - the challenge is in turning these into longer term opportunities for growth. Jonathan Cartledge

skills & resources

What could Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave Scheme mean for business? After two years of consultation, productivity commission reports and financial modelling the Federal Government has passed it’s Paid Parental Leave act. This major reform will provide up to 18 weeks of government-funded parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently $543.78 per week) for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011. The legislation provides for the following set of obligations to employers participating in the scheme: 1. The employer must provide required details to the Family Assistance Office so that it can advance the employer Paid Parental Leave funding amounts. This will include the employer’s bank account details and the employee’s pay cycle details. 2. The employer must provide Parental Leave pay to its employee for the Paid Parental Leave period. 3. The employer must provide Parental Leave pay to the employee in accordance with employee’s normal pay cycle. 4. The employer must withhold tax from the Parental Leave pay under the usual PAYG withholding arrangements and include Parental Leave pay in the total amounts on the employee’s annual and part-year payment summary (statements produced and given to the employee for tax purposes). 5. The employer must provide the employee with access to a record of their Parental Leave pay – usually a payslip. 6. The employer must keep written financial records of receipt of Paid Parental Leave funds from the Family Assistance Office and of the Parental Leave pay provided to an employee. 7. The employer must notify the Family Assistance Office: if and when an employee returns to work if and when an employee is no longer engaged with the employer if the employer changes their bank account details or the employee’s pay cycle if the employer had been advanced an incorrect Paid Parental Leave funding amount by the Family Assistance Office, or if the employer is unable to provide Parental Leave pay to the employee.

8. Employers must return any unpaid Paid Parental Leave funds to the Family Assistance Office. 9. A Paid Parental Leave employer must notify the Family Assistance Office in advance of ceasing to trade, selling the business, transferring ownership or merging with another business.1 Under the Government’s scheme, casual and part-time workers, contractors and the self-employed will be eligible for paid parental leave. From 1 January to 30 June 2011, employers can choose to provide parental leave pay to their eligible employees. This will become a requirement for employers from 1 July 2011 for eligible employees with more than 12 months continuous service. In all other cases parents will be paid by the Family Assistance Office (FAO). Consult Australia supports the introduction of a Government funded paid parental leave scheme. However we do not support employers being required to act as ‘paymaster’ and believe the paid parental leave payments and administration should occur via the Family Assistance Office (FAO). Particularly as the FAO will already be involved in the payment of funds via paying eligible employees who take less than eight weeks of paid parental leave: for example, where an eligible father takes the remainder of a mother’s Government-funded leave after more than ten weeks. The FAO has also been flagged to pay women who resign, but meet the work test.

While the Government has endeavoured to minimise some of the administrative costs on employers and small business through up front government payments and a 6 month transition before running the scheme through employer payrolls, there is a very real potential that employers, particularly small businesses will suffer unnecessary administrative burdens. Further information on the Paid Parental Leave scheme can be found on the Family Assistance Office website at: Caroline Ostrowski 1 Australian Government Paid Parental Leave: Guide For Employers and Consultation Outcomes May 2010

Employers must return any unpaid Paid Parental Leave funds to the Family Assistance Office.

winter 10 National Outlook


skills & resources

Alliancing enhances workplace appeal As the infrastructure industry grapples with the question of how to deal with Australia’s engineering skills shortage, there are clear signs that engineering workplaces are fundamentally more appealing than they were a decade ago, thanks to the influence of collaborative contracting. Twelve years of alliancing in the region has fostered inspirational leadership, enhanced management capability and created industry transformation, according to Alliancing Association of Australasia’s Executive Director Alain Mignot.

Mr Taylor said involvement in more than 20 alliances in the water sector has provided opportunities for John Holland managers to be part of and to lead alliances, resulting in much more well-rounded project managers with enhanced leadership capabilities.

technical levels where a better understanding of client needs is required. While there is conflict and difficult conversations at times, the open lines of communication mean better understanding of the issues, earlier collective engagement and quicker resolution.”

“Alliancing has had a lasting and positive influence on people, organisations and other forms of contracting,” Mr Mignot said.

“John Holland was a traditional construction company where project managers were expected to manage a contract,” Mr Taylor said.

“Many public and private sector organisations have been involved in more than 300 alliances undertaken in Australasia since the first public sector alliance, Sydney Water’s $470m Northside Storage Tunnel in 1997,” he said.

“Now we expect project managers to be objective led, not contract led. This means they have had to evolve their style to work in performance based alliances, where the challenge is to develop clarity around objectives and project outcomes and provide inspirational and visionary leadership.”

“Even when alliances have difficult times there is still much goodwill and momentum to complete the work, rather than blame other parties. There is real satisfaction in finishing the job, achieving the objectives and seeing through the commitment,” Mr Theodoulou said.

“A large pool of engineers have widened their managerial and technical capability and their organisations have grown and matured as a result. More competitive, entrepreneurial and innovative cultures have emerged.” “Constructive challenge rather than acceptance of the status quo has become the norm.” “Practitioners are equipped to approach infrastructure development and maintenance in a more productive manner, regardless of procurement model, thanks to the development of leadership and management practices and a new style of engagement culture between owners and contractors.” “This makes engineering more appealing to those who want to employ their talents in a place more compatible with their generational views or personal aspirations for quality outcomes.” Wider line of sight Mr Mignot said the ongoing evolution of collaborative contracting will continue to have a positive effect on attracting and retaining people to engineering. “Managers have broadened their project delivery line of sight through exposure to multi-disciplined teams and the need to develop working synergies with other professions,” he said. “This includes better strategic understanding of stakeholders including government, media, community and environment.” Industry leaders agree. Greg Taylor, General Manager John Holland Group’s Water business said his division has been involved in alliancing for more than ten years and more than 60 per cent of the overall group’s turnover between 2006 and 2009 came from their participation under this style of contract.


National Outlook winter 10

“From an organisational point of view, alliances are more inclusive and require each participant to respect the importance of face-to-face communication. They also help promote collaboration as a means of improving performance.” “Engineers are typically poor communicators but through alliancing they hone and develop their communication skills, particularly listening and being open to new ideas and innovation.” Management and leadership capability has also matured within the engineering design world. Alliancing accounts for approximately one quarter of the business in Australia for engineering consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and according to PB’s Regional Manager Victoria, John Theodoulou, it has deeply influenced the organisation’s focus on building a collaborative culture. “Alliancing has permeated the organisation and helped to attract new people. Practitioners see it as desirable to be in alliances,” Mr Theodoulou said. “They become more flexible and are exposed to a variety of disciplines which develop their careers as they gain skills in cost estimating, construction, programming, fast tracking and integration between construction and design. All these aspects improve the overall view of project management and increase business skills, particularly at the senior levels involved in alliance leadership teams,” he said. “Our people also enjoy the intangible things experienced on alliances - the team cameraderie, the buzz and optimism, the satisfaction of seeing a project coming together.” “Collaboration requires a higher level of communication skill, particularly at senior

Culture change Melbourne Water’s General Manager, People and Safety Mr Leigh Keath said alliances have created a climate of challenge within the organisation and have broken down silos well beyond business areas involved in delivering capital / maintenance services. Mr Keath said challenge and innovation are critical for the water sector, given the increasingly complex environment characterised by drought, uncertainty about the future effects of climate change and increased community expectations about infrastructure delivery. “We made a conscious decision to remain close to our alliances in a very practical way. Melbourne Water people are integrated into alliance leadership (ALT), management (AMT) and program teams where they tackle problems together; even when sometimes our nature and time pressures may have allowed us to do otherwise,” Mr Keath said. “Delivering value on cost and non cost KRAs would not have been possible without challenging the way we do things, not only in capital delivery, but through the owner’s support services, planning and operational activities,” he said. “The alliancing models in themselves create an expectation and forums for constructive challenge, creating the positive snowballing effect that directly and indirectly leaves the owner open to, expecting and actively seeking growth, challenge and game-breaking as a legacy.” “Imagine what more might be possible as we build further on our alliancing experience.” Alliancing Association of Australasia

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skills & resources

Jobs for the Girls – “Dream Big” Sponsorship Launched To encourage more young women to consider a career in engineering, town planning or surveying, national firm, Brown Consulting launches the Dream Big program. Brown Consulting, a 250-person national infrastructure services firm with offices in Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Singapore, would like to see more women in urban development roles.

The Dream Big initiative demonstrates Brown Consulting’s commitment to achieve a greater gender balance in the urban development industry and aims to encourage more young women to consider a career as an Engineer, Town Planner or Surveyor.

Managing Director of Brown Consulting, Gary Spence is leading this change.

“If you are in Grade 12, and interested in engineering, town planning or surveying – I’d encourage you to apply,” said Mr Spence.

“Dream Big is open to young women in Year 12 who want to consider a career in civil or structural engineering, town planning or surveying.” “If you are studying the right subjects and think one of these professions could be a possible career, we welcome your application,” said Mr Spence. Based on the success of the trial program in Brisbane, Brown Consulting is now launching the program nationally.

Scholarship participant Alexandra Kelly

“Our aim is to sponsor at least five girls – one in each of our offices – every year. If there is more than one standout applicant in each city, then we will consider extending the sponsorship to more women,’ said Mr Spence.

In each of its Australian offices Brown Consulting will offer scholarship recipients paid work experience, financial subsidies such as payments towards HECS fees, and best of all – a job on graduation. If you are interested in learning more about the Dream Big program please contact Tanya Absolon, Human Resources Manager on 07 3895 3444 or via email

Perth Airport Pavement Re-supported When the West Australian Airports Corporation discovered that the slabs at Perth Domestic Airport’s Gates 13 and 14 were pumping and cracking under the load of the 747s they were servicing, it quickly became evident that a unique solution was required. Because they’re not designed for modern day loads, the joint seals had allowed water ingress beneath the 2,000m2 worth of 350mm thick slabs, with 900 lineal metres of joints, doweled and keyed. The solution was a process called Slab Lifting, which is implemented by Uretek, and involves the injection of an expansive resin that is precisely machine mixed and chemically expands almost immediately, to exert a mould 46

National Outlook winter 10

Perth Airport being re-supported and upgraded.

pressure that fills any voids encountered and re-establishes structural support.

their aircraft schedules, and the project was completed in five nights.

The Uretek crew, comprised just five men using two injection guns, drilled tiny holes in a grid pattern over the entire area, with resin injection continued at each point until positive support was achieved, this was carefully monitored by laser and computer levelling to ensure that a millimetre of lift was achieved.

As a result the pavement is now able to support 747 usage well into the future, and a positive outcome was achieved much faster, with far less expense and without the huge traffic disruption that removing and replacing the slabs would have caused.

By having the crew work night shifts, the airport were also able to prevent any interruption to

John Wilson Uretek

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skills & resources

Driving engineering business performance through innovation Background: Engineers and Competitiveness For engineers and engineering companies wishing to achieve and sustain positions of sustainable success and profitability, there are some important facts to face into, in terms of competitive advantage. First is that we are an expensive country to operate in when it comes to the cost of labour in particular. Everyone from graduate engineers through to senior engineers, draftsmen, even our administrative people cost much more to employ and keep here than in a number of other countries. So when it comes to considering global competitiveness, we can’t compete easily at all on cost. And it’s not just labour cost: rent in our capital cities and other costs, such as travel, infrastructure, utilities etc, are all more costly in Australia than in countries such as India, China, Malaysia etc. So if cost competitiveness is tough, one then wonders if it might be possible to achieve competitive advantage through service and quality? Whereas this used to be a way of getting and staying ahead, and still is up to a point in some market segments, this is reducing in potential. Engineers in India for example, who will work for much less than those locally, are able to do good design and are prepared to work extremely hard, including long and flexible hours, such that coupled with the internet for communication effectiveness, high levels of both service and quality can be obtained from such places. Many Australian consulting engineering companies have decided that if “you can’t beat it, join it”, and have partnerships or offices in low wage countries, in order to ensure they can be cost and service competitive. And even if it is possible for your firm to be competitive in cost and service, clients will not normally pay any significant premium for this and profit margins will not be sustainably superior. This is because these capabilities are relatively easy to replicate, so they are indeed widely replicated, hence clients ultimately become the main beneficiaries of improved service and costs/ productivity improvements as they sweep through the industry, and this includes cost reductions through ‘off-shoring’ to low wage countries. Advantages from these factors, even for first movers, can last only a small number of years.

The way ahead The good news is that sustainable advantages of another kind, however, are possible. This comes from true differentiation through innovation. And while no single innovation lasts forever, what can last for a long time is advantage through 48

National Outlook winter 10

systematic innovation capability! To achieve this advantage, innovation needs to be the key focus of all the building blocks of your organisation, as is the case in leading innovation oriented firms. This means: 1. Your business strategy must be centred on finding innovative solutions to your clients’ problems. Strategies need to include looking for new and different ways to solve problems for clients and new and different ways to conduct your own business processes. This means developing brand new services too! This also allows your firm to win the ‘war for talent’, because engineers and other technical professionals have a natural affinity for innovation and will be attracted to firms which are sincerely trying do innovation well. 2. Systematic innovation needs to be properly resourced, and processes must allow for some experimentation, thinking outside the square, and taking carefully judged and calculated risks when needed. This includes stimulating creativity in all staff, which is a training opportunity. Knowledge management is an opportunity here too. 3. If a firm is serious about systematic innovation capability as against just a ‘lip service’ approach, then innovation must be measured and be a central part of the business KPI (key performance indicator) system of the organisation. Remember the truism: “What gets measured gets done!” 4. The business innovation measures are even more powerful when they are then translated into personal incentives for all staff. This means that staff are recognised, rewarded and promoted at least partly on their contribution to innovation capability and innovations. Without this, staff can get away with not ‘buying in’ which can defeat the purpose, whereas with it in place, staff get personal gains while doing great innovative things in the business and for clients. When the business measures are strongly aligned with personal and team success drivers and incentives, a huge amount of energy is unleashed in the workforce! 5. Emphatic leadership of the behaviours and culture works wonders. When we see our senior executives demonstrating some thinking outside the square, trying new initiatives, demonstrating some sensible appetite for risk and tolerating the occasional failure as a learning opportunity, then the fear is removed and people get on board, and it can become a reality.

In part 2 of this article, appearing in the next edition of National Outlook, I will document a dozen key practices of 10 Australian companies, large and small, which are very successful despite not being cost competitive with those in low wage countries. These companies, including Microsoft, Toyota, Lonely Planet, Newcrest and many others, use innovation to differentiate themselves and obtain a sound return on their systematic innovation capabilities. In the meantime, a practical starting point is to consider the 5 key organisational building blocks above and ask whether your firm is effective in these key elements, individually and together.

Going forward on innovation One thing is for sure: an innovation capability will not develop on its own; it needs to be consciously formulated, resourced and driven into place. Some key questions are: Does your firm want to succeed through innovation? Do you have a strategy in place for innovation? Do you have the right resources, skills, and systems in place to achieve systematic innovation? Does your business measurement system include prioritisation of innovation measures, including inputs, process intensity and innovation outputs? Are staff recognised and rewarded for their contribution to innovations? Do leaders talk and walk innovation, and lead innovation by example? Professor Danny Samson, University of Melbourne

Danny Samson is program director of the Consult Australia leadership development for engineers program run in May and September 2010 in Melbourne. For more information visit or via email on

Strategic Leadership and Service Excellence: Driving Engineering Business Success

A three-day residential management course focused on business excellence for engineers and other technical professionals

COURSE DIRECTOR: Professor Danny Samson

WHEN: 13 - 15 September 2010 WHERE: Melbourne Business School PROGRAM COST: $3,850 +GST, includes full residence (private) fees*, meals, materials and full program ENQUIRIES & ENROLMENTS: Enquiries or enrolments can be made to Danny Samson P: 03 8344 5344 E:

OBJECTIVE: This program addresses the core issue for engineers: how to create additional value for internal and external clients, and therefore drive the service effectiveness, outcomes, volume and price of professional services up for your firm/ department. In summary, the program objective is to clearly and concisely identify for participants, the leading edge, practical business management principles and practices that work to provide a competitive edge in the engineering market place. “The program brings ‘business maturity’ to those who attend. Leadership, service excellence and taking advantage of new technologies through innovation are important for all Engineering firms. Above all else, it is critical for such service firms to keep investing in their ‘up and coming’ people, through continually developing their managerial as well as their technical knowledge.” Participants leave with an ability to analyse, understand and put into action just how to take their businesses forward. This is based on our latest research of ‘What works’ in leadership and management. Over 1200 engineers have attended this program, many of whom are now senior business leaders! Professor Danny Samson

WHO SHOULD ATTEND, PARTICIPATE AND LEARN: Senior managers and Directors Engineers of about ten to twenty years experience Next generation of ‘up and comers’ Those who buy engineering services. KEY TOPICS: Leadership of the service focused organisation Best Business Practices in Engineering The Principles of Service Excellence Advanced Service Company Practices Marketing and Differentiated Pricing Attracting and retaining the right clients Teamwork and Service Operations Strategic Business Improvement Measuring and Reporting Performance Practical Case Studies of service excellence Financial management of an engineering business Business strategy and development.

OUR THEME IS: To be as effective in our leadership and management as we are in the technical aspects of our work.

* A fee reduction is available for those staying elsewhere.


skills & resources

Engineering change in young Australians Dubbo high school student Dakoda Bradford wants to move out of Dubbo and into the city. To travel the world, do interesting work and make something of himself. Through Engineering Aid Australia (EAA) and its Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School (IAESS) program he has seen how the pursuit of education, hard work and the drive to succeed can help him reach his goals. EAA runs two summer schools each year for a select group of Indigenous students. The purpose is to demonstrate the exciting opportunities that a career in engineering can offer and encourages Indigenous students to complete school and continue pursuing engineering studies at university. The program relies on the support of government bodies, universities and corporate sponsors. Some sponsors such as engineering consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) offer work experience and mentoring opportunities to Summer School students. One such student, Dakoda Bradford, has spent a couple of weeks undertaking work experience in PB’s Sydney office with different teams including the electrical engineering, structural engineering, and tunnelling groups. He finished his time with Project Manager Alana Burrows and PB’S Sydney-based Project Management team who shared with Dakoda their thoughts and insights on the industry and how to succeed in it. Dakoda witnessed how an engineering degree could open doors and provide opportunities that would allow him to harness his potential. Dakoda showed a love for the industry but felt he lacked the potential to go to university. The PB team took the time to show Dakoda that through persistence, he could achieve whatever he set his sights on. “It was great to see how he began to believe more in himself and his capabilities after this mentoring experience,” says Alana. Dakoda explained to Alana about his friends who weren’t interested in school and seemed to be going “nowhere”, and how he really wanted to make something of himself. “Indigenous Australians unfortunately have not had access to the education that many of us have. If people wish to learn and reach out to engineers through programs like the Summer School, then it is a wonderful thing to be able to say yes and help them,” says Alana. Parsons Brinckerhoff has sponsored the Summer School since its inception in 1998 and in recent years has extended its support to mentoring and work experience. Dr Jim Mantle, Chair of EAA and Managing Director of PB says the program “makes a difference through assisting Indigenous students and tapping into a new talent pool for engineers. 50

National Outlook winter 10

Laura Berry (Leightons), Dakoda Bradford, Jeff McMullen (EAA Director) and Leon Oriti (2007 Summer School Graduate).

Alana will continue to support Dakoda and share with him information on her approach to engineering after school. She says it is a win-win learning experience for all involved. “At PB we work on helping societies by building infrastructure to benefit the community, which I think goes hand in hand with helping the individuals that make up the community in which we live.” By the end of his time at PB, Dakoda had made the decision to further his education and get into university. He “graduated” from the 2009 Summer School, and because he has continued his studies with good grades, EAA provided him with further support by way of a $400 school scholarship. If he successfully enrols in an engineering degree at university, he is then eligible for an additional $3,000 EAA Alumni Scholarship. With the recent expansion of the Summer School program, EAA is seeking more corporate sponsors as well as ‘engineering custodians’ such as PB, who in addition to sponsorship, can also provide valuable experiences and support to students like Dakoda. For more details about Engineering Aid please visit Aditi Acharya Parsons Brinckerhoff

Dakoda showed a love for the industry but felt he lacked the potential to go to university. The PB team took the time to show Dakoda that through persistence, he could achieve whatever he set his sights on.

As this article went to print, we heard that Jeff Dobell, the founder of EAA and the Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School, had died after an accident at his home. The EAA board has vowed to continue the valuable work Jeff began over a decade ago.

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workplace health and safety Nicola Grayson heads the policy team at Consult Australia’s National office in Sydney. Her portfolios include Procurement, Contracts & Liabilities and Workplace Health & Safety. Nicola can be contacted at

Consult Australia calls for National code for safe design Consult Australia has called on Safe Work Australia to develop a national code on safe design to be developed as a priority and in time for the start date of the new Model Work Health and Safety Act laws (1 January 2012). Traditionally, most Australian occupational health and safety legislation has not regulated the role of designers of buildings and structures. Instead, it has focused on the construction phase, where the responsible parties are the principal contractor or subcontractors, with responsibilities under the employer’s duty of care. It is only relatively recently that obligations for designers of buildings and structures have been established under occupational health and safety statutes. Safe design obligations are not currently consistent across all jurisdictions. The Commonwealth and New South Wales legislation does not contain specific duties in relation to safe design, although both have produced guidance on the subject. Importantly, however, the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation does have specific duties for designers. Consult Australia believes that a model code, to sit under the new WHS legislation, must be introduced as a priority to ensure that there is practical guidance available to duty holders, consistent definitions and terminology across the jurisdictions and, ongoing education and improvement. Consult Australia’s Work Health and Safety Roundtable, chaired by Clayton Harrison, GHD, is preparing a submission setting out a framework for a national code to assist and expedite this process for Safe Work Australia. Consult Australia has also recommended to Safe Work Australia that it should from an industry advisory group, to provide advice to Safe Work Australia in the development of appropriate regulations and codes. The construction industry is characterised by a highly fragmented structure involving multiple parties, for example the project owner (the client), financiers, contractors, designers, project managers, tradespeople etc. Clients also engage parties to act in the administration and supervision of construction, this can include the roles of superintendent, site management, resident engineer, the client’s representative and, contract administrator. The client (generally on large projects) may also engage a verifier, 52

National Outlook winter 10

who signs off on the quality of work and goods supplied, etc. All of these people can and do have an influence over the design and construction processes to varying degrees. Building and construction operates through a contractual hierarchical structure, starting with the project owner. Those lower down the contractual chain often operate in silos without any opportunity for dialogue with the other parties. It is well documented that these arrangements have created an adversarial culture and the industry is known for high levels of disputation (see CRC Construction Innovation: Guide to Leading Practice for Dispute Avoidance and Resolution, November 2009), rather than the culture of collaboration envisaged by the Model legislation. In terms of work health and safety there are substantial overlapping duties in building and construction. Consult Australia believes that there is a need to account for the complexities of the building and construction industry including the contractual and cultural relationships and that these need to be explored through an Advisory Group to Safe Work Australia in order to craft appropriate regulations and codes for the industry. This Group should explore, for example, the merits of applying a system equivalent to the United Kingdom Construction, Design & Management (CDM) Regulations 2007, which requires a client-appointed CDM Coordinator. These Regulations were introduced to ensure that construction project participants are better able to consult, combine forces and manage construction and design projects to improve health and safety. The same need exists for Australian construction in Australia. Consult Australia recommends that the Advisory Group consists of the constituents of the Australian Construction Industry Forum, which comprises the peak groups involved in building and construction projects. Nicola Grayson

Commonwealth Senate calls for the new Model Work Health and Safety Law to set high standards The Senate has backed a Greens motion calling on the Government to ensure there is no reduction in occupational health and safety standards anywhere in the nation in implementing their new laws. The Greens put forward the motion saying workers, unions and the community are concerned that the Government's OHS harmonisation agenda will mean lower safety standards rather than the highest possible that we should be pursuing. Nicola Grayson

workplace health and safety

RMIT gets grant to investigate improving work health and safety in the construction industry RMIT University researchers have been awarded a $US500,000 grant by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health for a five-year project investigating innovative approaches to improving occupational health and safety in the construction industry. The grant is the result of collaboration between RMIT’s School of Property Construction and Project Management and the Centre for Innovation in Construction Safety Research at Virginia Tech. RMIT says that there is emerging evidence that a ‘whole industry’ approach is needed to address the intransigent level of injury, illness and death in construction but, despite many efforts, OHS is still not embedded as a consideration from the earliest planning stages to the completion of building projects. The research aims to identify, examine and evaluate ways to better integrate health and safety into project decision-making, throughout the project lifecycle. A team of RMIT researchers led by Professor Helen Lingard, Professor Wakefield and Associate Professor Nick Blismas will work on the project to: identify how organisational complexity within projects impacts work health and safety; examine how fragmented supply chains impede the development of a “unity of purpose” relating to health and safety in construction project teams; and evaluate how collaborative project delivery mechanisms and procurement methods can support the integration of health and safety during the entire project lifecycle

Changes to the Tasmanian Workplace Health & Safety Act 1995 The Tasmanian Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (WHS Act) has been amended to give union officials defined powers to enter a workplace for occupational health and safety purposes. A feature of the new arrangement is that a union official may obtain an OHS access card. The cardholder may enter a workplace at which one or more workers eligible to be members of the union work. The workers do not have to be members of the union.

When seeking to gain access to a workplace to discuss health and safety issues the cardholder must provide 24-hours notice in writing to the occupier of the site. If entry is required to resolve a health and safety matter, reasonable notice is required.

Certain rules and limitations apply to what an OHS access cardholder can do. In summary, OHS access cardholders may only enter a workplace during the hours when work is performed to: Discuss health and safety issues. The discussions can only take place during meals or other breaks; and/or Enquire into and facilitate the resolution of a health and safety matter.

An OHS access cardholder must not hinder or obstruct a person in the workplace. Also, a person in the workplace must not hinder or obstruct a cardholder. It is important to note that an OHS access cardholder cannot undertake the role of a WHS Act inspector and has no enforcement powers under the WHS Act. Nicola Grayson

Nicola Grayson

Major Work Safety Reforms in the ACT announced The ACT Government is overhauling occupational health and safety regulation through the establishment of a new body called WorkSafe ACT. The new WorkSafe ACT will perform a crucial function within the Office of Regulatory Services and will combine the educational and compliance roles under the Commissioner for Work Safety. An investment of $2.4m will be made over the next four years to improve management structure and enhance the regulatory presence around the ACT. The Government will now develop a detailed draft implementation plan in consultation with a range of key industry stakeholders. Nicola Grayson

winter 10 National Outlook


workplace health and safety

Is leadership in Health and Safety lacking? A survey of business safety produced by the Australian Institute of Management Victoria and Tasmania (AIM VT) and the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) has revealed that almost one third of all respondents do not believe their organisation has a well entrenched occupational health and safety (OHS) culture. 64% of respondents said that performance on OHS is considered crucial to their organisation’s success, but 34% of CEOs, Board members and senior managers did not agree with that statement. Some 50% of OHS personnel believe efforts to minimise OHS risks are impacted by concerns about reduced productivity. The survey findings highlight that 41% of survey participants believe there is a gap between the commitment shown to OHS by top level management and lower level personnel and states that, “this figure is a call to action for Australian organisations because it highlights the level of disconnect between top level management and lower level personnel. Improved performance on OHS is dependent on reducing this commitment gap. If that is achieved, organisations can expect to see flow-on benefits to other aspects of corporate performance.” 70% of OHS personnel said there is a gap on the commitment shown to OHS by top level management and lower level personnel. The conclusion drawn is that,

“Organisations looking to improve performance on this indicator will need to consider the role of middle management and whether lower personnel levels feel empowered to take on leadership roles on workplace health and safety. It appears that too many organisations have a workplace OHS culture where the ‘norm’ is for lower level personnel to wait for instruction and leadership on health and safety matters from senior management representatives.”

The good news is that the survey showed that on average, 62% of high OHS risk industries believe their continuous improvement initiatives are ‘Higher than average’. These high risk industries include; Construction/ Infrastructure/ Property, Engineering, Manufacturing/ Production, Mining/Oil, Gas, Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Transport/ Storage/ Distribution and Warehousing, Utilities - Electricity/ Water/ Gas/ Waste Service.

The CEO of AIM VT, Susan Heron and the CEO of the SIA, Gary Lawson-Smith said they were most disturbed by the survey findings that occupational health and safety (OHS) standards were being compromised by concerns about reduced productivity.

The Australian Institute of Management Victoria and the Safety Institute of Australia jointly surveyed Board members, CEOs, managers, support personnel and occupational health and safety (OHS) specialists on health and safety management in their organisations. In total 2,815 responses were used for comparing and analysing survey results. A copy of the results are available from: Nicola Grayson

“Workplace health and safety standards are being undermined by leadership teams who are too focused on short-term performance and productivity goals,” said CEOs Susan Heron and Gary Lawson-Smith.

NSW launches e-learning tool, Hazard-a-Guess, for young workers The NSW Government has launched an interactive online tool for young workers called, Hazard-a-Guess, as a free learning resource to help workers under 25 and school students aged between 15 and 18 years identify and address workplace safety risks. The program also assists employers, educators and trainers with their OHS induction responsibilities, by allowing them to track their worker or student’s progress and highlight key areas where further training is required.


National Outlook winter 10

Hazard-a-Guess is presented in an engaging game-show style format and presents a series of real workplace scenarios that include slips, trips and falls, manual handling, personal protective equipment and the workplace environment. A series of information kits have also been developed that include a CD of Hazard-a-Guess as well as work health and safety guidance material relevant to specific industries including construction, manufacturing, transport, hospitality, rural and transport.

To access Hazard-a-Guess, download free safety guidance material or order an industry safety kit, visit or call 13 10 50. The NSW Government has also launched a new look WorkCover NSW website. The WorkCover NSW website is designed to be faster and easier to use with improved access to a wide range of work health and safety and workers compensation information and services. See: Nicola Grayson

infrastructure Jonathan Cartledge is a Senior Policy Advisor for Consult Australia. Jonathan represents the needs and interests of Consult Australia member firms across the Economics/Taxation, Infrastructure and Sustainability portfolios. Jonathan can be reached at

Populate (and build) or perish The appointment of the Hon. Tony Burke MP to the newly created position of Minister for Population in the Federal Government follows a high-profile debate about how large a population Australia is comfortably able to support. Central to this debate is the forecast included in the 2010 Intergenerational Report that Australia’s population could reach 36 million by 2050. With these forecasts grabbing the headlines, Tony Burke has been given the task of developing a national Population Strategy over the next 12 months. The complexities of the population debate are easily lost with a focus on the ‘final’ figure, rather than on what happens, and how we respond, as we climb towards that figure. In an interview with the ABC, Dr Bob Birrell from the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University stated that “We’re growing at about 2.1 per cent per annum, which is way above other developed countries. For example, Canada grew by 0.8 per cent - it was less than 1 per cent - in the same period.” Our current population growth is nearly double the world’s population growth, and exceeds that of other developed countries, or other Asian countries including India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The relative speed of our increasing population demands equally rapid policy responses to provide for the economic and social infrastructure necessary to support that growth. These policy responses are required at all levels of government, and demand integrated planning and an unprecedented level of cooperation between governments, business and the community. Our report Sydney Towards Tomorrow highlights that in many cases these policy responses are now long overdue: a symptom of fragmented governance, poor planning, and a lack of leadership. In other areas real partnerships have been built: The Centre for Excellence and Innovation in Infrastructure Delivery in Western Australia being a notable example of a government initiative promoting collaboration between agencies - aiming to drive innovation and delivery across the sector.

What is now required is both reform and renewed investment in infrastructure: responding to existing capacity constraints and projected demands. We need to catch-up and look ahead. Consult Australia is leading the call for reform to help ensure governments’ make this investment in infrastructure that meets current and future population pressures. This includes not just our ongoing advocacy following the launch of Sydney Towards Tomorrow, but also future thought leadership by our Infrastructure Roundtable on models for infrastructure funding. Consult Australia has written to the new Minister for Population to discuss these issues, and opportunities to support the development of the Population Strategy in the year ahead. Jonathan Cartledge

winter 10 National Outlook



The Curious Case of Coal Seam Gas: Land Access Issues in an Emerging Industry Imagine someone driving a truck loaded with heavy equipment on to your backyard, telling you they’re going to start drilling on your property, and not being aware of your rights and what you can do about it. It’s a genuinely frightening and upsetting prospect, and it’s one of the reasons debate has leapt to the fore in regards to the burgeoning Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry in the Darling Downs region of Queensland; where various companies are drilling for coal seam gas to support proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects in Gladstone. These projects have the potential to create thousands of jobs and provide an enormous boost to the economy, however in order to support LNG, thousands of wells will need to be drilled on private land. The issue arises because landowners do not own the rights to minerals buried beneath their land, which remain the property of the Queensland Government, and gas companies are scrambling to source these rich deposits of CSG. Much of the CSG is located on private land and gas companies have to enter that land, install wells, lay pipes and build any necessary infrastructure to compress and transport the gas found there – an intrinsically tenuous situation for obvious reasons. So what do you do? On the one hand you have the needs of landowners whose lifestyle and businesses are being impacted and on the other you have the rapidly emerging CSG industry, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars. How do you balance those opposing objectives? “Understanding the impact that this is having on landowners at the moment, and managing those landowners’ expectations are some of the biggest issues the Queensland and New South Wales governments are facing at the moment” explains Maloney Field Services Director, Jamahl Waddington. Waddington specialises in providing consultation and conciliation between the gas companies and landowners, and says that the key issue is to try and develop a level of respect between the two parties, “Landowners are very aware of their rights these days,” he says, “So you have to keep the consultation process open and transparent and treat landowners with the high level of respect they deserve in these circumstances, together with ensuring that people are fairly and reasonably compensated for the impact on their land”. 56

National Outlook winter 10

While a key focus of the new Bill will be the introduction of a new legislative regime governing large-scale geothermal energy exploration and production projects, the Bill will also introduce a new land access framework that will change the way resource explorers and producers will engage with landholders in Queensland

In response to these issues, the Queensland Government has now put together a Land Access Strategy and has a Bill before parliament to amend the Petroleum and Gas Act to tighten up land access procedures.

The Bill will also require a ‘conduct and compensation agreement’ to be negotiated between the gas companies and landowners prior to the entry of private land for any advanced activities.

“While a key focus of the new Bill will be the introduction of a new legislative regime governing large-scale geothermal energy exploration and production projects, the Bill will also introduce a new land access framework that will change the way resource explorers and producers will engage with landholders in Queensland” explains James Plumb, a Partner at Carter Newell Lawyers.

As Plumb explains, this means that “A person is not permitted to enter private land to carry out an advanced activity unless all eligible claimants are party to a conduct and compensation agreement addressing the tenement holder’s compensation liability to the extent that liability relates to the proposed activity and its effects”.

The explanatory notes attached to the Bill state that the land access amendments are intended to facilitate resource sector growth whilst at the same providing a process to achieve more equitable outcomes for land access to privately held property. Plumb says that the changes, which will be applied across the various Queensland resources legislative regimes, will include a common land access code, which will state the best practice guidelines for communication between the holders of authorities and owners and occupiers of private land. They will also provide requirements for a notice of entry, which will require mining exploration tenement holders, and the holders of GHG and petroleum authorities, to give each landowner at least 10 business days notice before they can enter their land to carry out any activities.

Waddington believes that this code of conduct is a definite step in the right direction, “Other industries already have codes in place which is a good thing” he says, “Requiring conduct andcompensation agreements to be entered into before gas companies can take action on privately-held land will go a long way to reducing the tensions that are concerning everyone at the moment”. Mark Kenfield

From DeSIgn to


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National Outlook Winter 2010  

National Outlook Winter 2010

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