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contents forewords 6
President’s message Executive Director’s message
Industrial Relations Director’s message
WHS Advisor’s message
industry information Procurement Policy
Apprentices discuss canberra’s future
on-site construction manager course
ten years for cpsisc
Master Builders Association of the ACT 1 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609 PO Box 1211, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: (02) 6247 2099 Fax: (02) 6249 8374 Email: email@example.com Web: www.mba.org.au Advertising enquires Senior Manager - Marketing & Membership Services – David Leitch Tel: (02) 6175 5970 Mob: 0437 379 391 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent builders network
ccf earth awards winners
Annual charity golf day
Master Builders Executive Council
Master Builders Management team
President – Valdis Luks
Executive Director – John Miller
Treasurer – Frank Porreca
Deputy Executive Director – Jerry Howard
Commercial Builders Council Chair – Valdis Luks
Director Industrial Relations – John Nikolic
Civil Contractors Council Chair – Andy Crompton
Work Health & Safety Advisor – Philip Edwards
Residential Builders Council Chair – Frank Porreca
Senior Management Accountant – Louise MacCallum
Professional Consultants Council Chair – Hans Sommer
Senior Manager – Marketing & Membership Services – David Leitch
Suppliers & Subcontractors Council Chair – Graciete Ferreira
Master Builders Group Training General Manager – Wendy Tengstrom
© This publication is copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical photocopy, recording or otherwise without the permission of the Master Builders Association of the ACT. Disclaimer: readers are advised that the Master Builders Association of the ACT cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of statements made in advertising and editorial, nor the quality of the goods or services advertised. Opinions expressed throughout the publication are the contributors own and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the Master Builders Association of the ACT.
president VALDIS LUKS
President’s Message I’d like to start this message by thanking John Haskins AM for his guidance and leadership in the role of President over the past number of months and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. Secondly I’d like to thank the membership and Executive of MBA (ACT) in having the confidence in me to represent the organisation as its incoming President. Currently there are a number of issues we are working on and below I’ve briefly outlined a couple of them. Procurement On the 21st of May we released our Procurement Policy paper in relation to ACT Government funded projects in particular. Some of the major issues we highlighted in the paper are:
One centralised delivery body for all ACT Government funded projects to help ensure a consistent approach to infrastructure procurement and management.
The role of a Coordinator General for infrastructure and capital works ensuring a coordinated framework and approach to the delivery of projects throughout the ACT. We strongly recommend this role has regular meetings and input from industry and its representatives.
Safety in design and safety on the worksite with best performers rewarded. The ACT Government has already started to address this in their tenders and we are keen to continue to work with them on the refining and implementation of this.
Allowance in Infrastructure tenders for ACT based SME’s in terms of local content and prequalification requirements. Currently the ACT Government has weighting criteria in regard to local content when tendering for Goods and Services and we believe this should apply to the delivery of Infrastructure projects as well. The MBA supports the application of tender criteria in regard to long term commitment to the ACT and region.
Safety in our industry
The MBA fully supports cooperation with the ACT and Federal Governments, as well as other industry stakeholders, in improving safety performance and outcomes in the local industry. We have, together with a number of our members, been working hard to actively improve the culture and attitudes within our industry. Over the past two years a number of initiatives have been instigated and implemented by the organisation and its members, including:
The recruitment of a full time WH&S manager to advise, support and give guidance to our members.
Representation and input into a number of safety advisory groups, working closely with Government and other industry organisations.
An MBA (ACT) working group made up of safety managers from a number of member companies.
Regular consultation with Worksafe ACT and its Commissioner
Working with the University of Canberra in research studies.
Regular information and training sessions to address specific issues.
The setup and implementation of training programs addressing soft skills such as communication and observation on our building sites. These also look at the culture and attitudes toward safety on building sites and how best these can be improved. Often the standard approach to changing attitudes is to wield a big stick. We are of the opinion that often it is more appropriate to reward companies for their positive initiatives and in turn encourage continual self-improvement rather force improvement by way of large penalties and the like.
The MBA Onsite Construction Manager course. This training course has been specifically developed in consultation with MBA members and other interested parties. It is intended to address the skills needs of individuals engaged in the onsite management of projects on behalf of builders: commercial and residential, civil and subcontractors.
Lastly, I’d like to congratulate the ACT Government on showing the initiative to hold the recent roundtable meetings with the various industry groups from the ACT and region. It’s the continual cooperation and commitment from the ACT Government and these groups that will help ensure the local region, its businesses and associations and in turn its families and workers are looked after first and foremost when looking to get “bang for our buck”. When looking at investment and building opportunities for this region we have to ask ourselves the question, “how much of the money we spend in this region, stays in the region”? With the next few years forecast to be challenging, keeping $’s within the ACT and region to support local businesses, families, schools, clubs, community organisations and other associations will be so important.
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executive director John Miller
Building for the times There have been fewer critical moments in the Territory’s history than being faced at the moment. At least that will be our current view as it always is when things are getting a bit testy at any given time. We have been confronted with numerous challenges, pre and post self-government, and we have survived. In many cases we have emerged all the better for the contest although it keeps getting harder. At a time when many parts of the building and construction industry is in need of work, the latest federal budget has not been particularly kind to the ACT in terms of a forward program of capital works. This is after all the government for infrastructure. So they couldn’t support us for any more roads, our ports aren’t economic drivers and our water situation is better than most. We know what’s going on around Commonwealth office space and the spectre of further personnel cuts will test that need into the future. It’s not about building for the sake of building but at least building for the times. In trying to deal with the times, one of the bigger disappointments for the industry, and the local conference and meetings industry, is the continued intransigence on building a much needed new convention facility for the city. If we want to diversify our economy we need projects like this to create the activity and opportunity. Sure, we have heard big hotels will come with the convention centre. Others are better placed to comment on that but it would seem that unless a significant new facility to support the conference and meeting market is forthcoming, the big hotels are likely to stay away. A lot of comparisons have been made about the current situation we face and the arrival of John Howard into the Lodge back in 1996. The economy is different now and many would argue the ACT is better placed to deal with the challenges. I would agree that some things are different than almost 20 years ago. When the Howard government came to power the ACT had an aligned Carnell government in power. There was also a more obvious plan to deal with void created by the restructuring to the public sector. Infrastructure was at the forefront of that plan with the upgrade to the Federal Highway around Lake George, preparations for the National Museum of Australia and airport privatisation paving the way for investment. This certainly represents a challenge for the ACT Government who will be looking to use its own 2014-15 budget to help kick
start activity. Again, this will create its own issues as the ACT budget has been under significant pressure with falling revenues particularly associated with land and property and, like everyone else, cost increases across the health and education portfolios. A lot of work is going to be required by the ACT Government to convince the Commonwealth that they do have a continuing role to support the Territory. Projects like a new convention centre and possibly the long awaited upgrade to the Barton Highway can go some way to underpinning confidence in the ACT and region. The road will open up better and safer access to the Capital for the growing populations to the west and the convention centre will bring its own new markets. Whilst there is a lot of in-principle support for the Light Rail project, the question being asked is can we afford it at this point in time? No doubt the Commonwealth will be considering this question should the ACT Government seek any support for other infrastructure projects. The coming months will be critical in terms of the Light Rail project to understand all of the mathematics associated with the proposed biggest single investment since the advent of self-government. Far from talking things down, there is a lot to like about the future. People don’t leave the city like they once used to. Those baby boomers nearing the end of their careers, especially within the public sector, are more likely to stay than take the once well beaten path to the coast. The facilities in the ACT are a million miles ahead of many other places. There’s growing choice for the retirees albeit with room for improvement. The aspiration around City-to-Lake, a burgeoning education market, and bigger and better health facilities all say that despite the difficult times, there is a lot to look forward to and benefit from by living in Canberra and the region. Confidence is brought up in many discussions as the biggest factor that will see the ship turned around in the ACT. There is no question that confidence is one of the keys and maybe we need to take stock for a moment, see that we have been in these changing times before and survived to tell a great story. Our time has come again and we all need to come together to think and act as one to write the next successful chapter in this city’s history.
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director industrial relations john nikolic
Draft Commonwealth Procurement Code Although the Coalition took a minimalist industrial relations policy to the 2013 federal election, it was firm in its intention to return the rule of law to the building and construction industry. The central policy in that space is the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC)1, which would replace Fair Work Building and Construction as the industryspecific regulator for freedom of association. However, one of the most effective ways to bring about cultural change has been for the Commonwealth to utilise its vast economic power, by mandating certain industrial practices as a condition of procurement pre-qualification. On 17 April 2014, a new draft Commonwealth procurement code was released, the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014 (Draft Code)2. If passed by the Senate, it would replace the current Building Code 2013 and significantly alter the workplace relations in the building and construction industry.
Previous Codes The first Commonwealth procurement code, the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry (Code) was adopted by the Australian Procurement and Construction Council in 1997. Purely a policy document, that Code was then left to be implemented by the various States and Territories under implementation guidelines. The Howard Coalition government adopted the Code with gusto, introducing a range of comprehensive federal implementation guidelines in 1998, 2003, 2005 and 2006. Following the ascension of the Rudd Labor government in 2007, the federal implementation guidelines were again amended in 2009, before being converted from a policy document to delegated legislated in 2013, with the introduction of the Building Code 2013. Importantly, Labor’s 2009 implementation guidelines and the Building Code 2013 both provided for significant relaxations in relation to the content of enterprise bargaining agreements and union rights of entry.
Draft Code As the Explanatory Statement3 to the Draft Code explains, it is intended to:
promote an improved workplace relations framework for building work to ensure that building work is carried out fairly, efficiently and productively for the benefit of all building industry participants; and
assist industry stakeholders to understand the Commonwealth’s expectations of, and requirements for, entities that choose to tender for Commonwealth funded building work, are awarded Commonwealth funded building work, or both.
It is clear that, if passed by the Senate, the Draft Code would restore the Code to its former rigour as well as introduce some novel elements.
Legislative status and application The Draft Code is delegated legislation made under the Coalition’s Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, which aims to restore the ABCC. Both the Draft Code and that Bill are likely to be rejected by Labor and the Greens in the Senate until late August / early September 2014, when the balance of power is expected to shift to the Coalition. However, once in force, members will have to comply with the Draft Code in order to tender for Commonwealthfunded construction work.
Under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 (Cth). See: http://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/fair_and_lawful_building_sites_code_2014.pdf. 3 See: http://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/advance_release_building_and_construction_industry_fair_and_lawful_building_sites_code_2014_-_ explanatory_statement_-_12_may_2014.pdf 1 2
This was a backward step for freedom of association in the construction industry. As the then Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, John Lloyd stated in 2009, ‘the Code [was]… a crucial lever for change across the industry. Its impact on changing conduct can be easily underestimated’.
The Draft Code will apply to members who tender or place an expression of interest for work where: • • •
the Commonwealth is the sole funder; or the Commonwealth’s contribution is at least $10 million; or the Commonwealth’s contribution is at least $5 million and 50% of the total funding.
If members tender for such projects, they would also need to be Code-compliant on privately-funded work. The Draft Code would cover commercial, residential and civil construction, including demolition and landscaping. The Draft Code would apply to principal contractors, subcontractors and, in a change to the previous Code, may also potentially apply to manufacturers. Master Builders understands that the Draft Code will not apply to projects for which expressions of interest or calls for tender were made prior to the enactment of the principal legislation (the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013) which as noted is likely to be late August / early September 2014.
Enterprise bargaining Importantly, although the Draft Code is unlikely to take effect until late August / early September 2014, it will have a retrospective effect in relation to enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs). The Draft Code specifies that any EBAs made after Wednesday 23 April 2014, must be Code-compliant. The Draft Code prohibits a range of content in EBAs, much of which is contained in the CFMEU’s template agreement, such as: •
subcontractor ‘jump-up’ clauses (which dictate subcontractors’ terms and conditions of engagement) external monitoring of the EBA by third parties; restricting ‘when and where work can be performed to meet operational requirements’ (e.g. by imposing fixed RDOs); and granting additional union rights of entry beyond those provided at law.
More generally, the Draft Code also indicates that EBAs must not include terms which ‘impose limits on [an employer’s] right ... to manage its business or to improve productivity’. Master Builders has sent a copy of the template CFMEU EBA to the Commonwealth Department of Employment for its assessment of whether any changes will need to be made to ensure compliance with the Draft Code.
Union rights of entry Importantly, the Draft Code will also mandate strict compliance with right of entry laws under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) or the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) (WHS Act). For example, it would be a breach of the Draft Code to invite a union official onto a site where they did not have a lawful right to enter.
Workplace Relations Management Plans For certain projects (i.e. where the Commonwealth’s contribution to the project is at least $10 million, or $5 million and 50% of the funding) the Code will also require principal contractors to have a ‘Workplace Relations Management Plan’ (WRMP). The WRMP will need to detail the ‘systems, processes and procedures’ that the principal contractor has in place to show how: • • • •
the Draft Code will be complied with; a lawful, efficient, and productive workplace will be achieved; and the project will be delivered on time and on budget. Additional factors, such as how industrial action and employee grievances are to be dealt with, histories of cost overruns and delays due to workplace relations disputes, communication plans and productivity measures may also be required in WRMPs for particular projects.
A principal contractor would need to comply with a WRMP during the life of a project and also require subcontractors to abide by it.
Administration by FWBC / ABCC The Draft Code would be managed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) which is likely to be rebranded as the ABCC later this year. As with the current Building Code 2013, any breach of the Code (including a WRMP) would need to be notified to the FWBC / ABCC within two days, while any actual or threatened industrial action would need to be reported within 24 hours. Master Builders is liaising with government about the requirements under the new Code and is aiming to host a seminar on its requirements closer to its commencement date. If members have any queries about the new Code, please call Master Builders Industrial Relations Department on: T 02 6247 2099
Master Builders’ advice to members who may be in negotiations for a union EBA is to wait until advice from the Commonwealth has been received about its compatibility with the Draft Code, and then to only agree to a Code-compliant EBA. Otherwise, members face the real risk that, come August / September 2014, they may be unable to tender for Commonwealth government work.
Work Health & Safety advisor Philip Edwards
Asbestos Awareness - Compulsory from 1 July With the Australian community focused on asbestos and the increase in asbestos-related diseases, and the occurrence of mesothelioma not expected to peak until 2020i , the effort should now be on minimising exposure and introducing safe handling procedures. This increased awareness and community concern over asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM) has brought attention to the current Work Health and Safety legislative requirements. In the past, exposure to asbestos usually occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing ACM or using those products, mostly in construction; however, the main source of exposure to asbestos and ACM currently is older buildings undergoing renovation or demolition where maintenance, construction and demolition workers are employed. In the ACT, non-residential buildings built before 31 December 2003 may have ACM. The majority ACM used in buildings were phased out in the 1980s. With the range of products once manufactured using asbestos fibres, it can be difficult to determine whether a product or material contains asbestos just by looking at it; however, there are some areas of a building where ACM were more commonly used:
• • • • • • • • • •
asbestos cement piping (e.g. heater flues); asbestos rope/fabric in expansion joints, heaters and other exhaust flues; behind tiles in wet areas; bituminous waterproof membrane (on flat roofs); electrical duct heater units (millboard); electrical switchboards; fire doors; flat, patterned or corrugated asbestos cement sheeting (also known as fibro) used for walls and roofing; lagging on wall pipes; and lift motor rooms.
Still, other ACM continued to be used in HVAC plant rooms and other equipment until recently. These can also be found internally and externally, and in wet and dry areas.
The most accurate way to detect whether or not asbestos is present is to have a licensed asbestos assessor inspect and test the product or material where necessary. It is mandatory for ACT non-residential buildings built before 31 December 2003 to have an up-to-date Asbestos Register on the premises. This is part of the package of responsibilities of a PCBU, and includes an Asbestos Management Plan. The plan sets out how asbestos or ACM identified in a workplace will be managed (e.g. what, when and how it is going to be done). An Asbestos Management Plan must include:
• • • •
the identification of asbestos and ACM (e.g. a reference or link to the Asbestos Register for the workplace), and the locations of signs and labels; decisions, and reasons for the decisions, about the management of asbestos at the workplace (e.g. Safe Work Procedures and control measures); procedures for detailing accidents, incidents or emergencies of asbestos at the workplace; and workers carrying out work involving asbestos (e.g. consultation, information and training responsibilities).
Other information that may be included in the Asbestos Management Plan is:
• • • • •
an outline of how asbestos risks will be controlled, including consideration of appropriate control measures; a timetable for managing risks of exposure (e.g. priorities and dates for any reviews, circumstances and activities that could affect the timing of action); identification of each person with responsibilities under the Asbestos Management Plan and the person’s responsibilities; procedures, including a timetable for reviewing and, if necessary, revising the Asbestos Management Plan and Asbestos Register; and air monitoring procedures at the workplace, if required.
The PCBU should also appoint an Asbestos Register Controller, as the person responsible for looking after asbestos issues in your workplace. They induct, train and support workers in asbestos matters.
i The Australian Asbestos Network, “Asbestos at Work”, http://www.australianasbestosnetwork.org. au/Asbestos+Today/Asbestos+at+Work/default.aspx (accessed 7 May 2014).
The existence of asbestos in a building doesn’t mean the health of building occupants is endangered. When asbestos is contained in a bonded form (e.g. asbestos cement sheeting), maintained in good condition and left alone, it presents no health risks; however, asbestos materials can become hazardous when, due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration over time, they release asbestos fibres into the air. Under these conditions, when ACM is damaged or disturbed elevated airborne asbestos concentrations can create a potential hazard for workers (and other building occupants). Common work situations in which fibres may be disturbed and released into the air include:
• • • • • •
air conditioning maintenance, repair and installation; building renovation, maintenance and repair work – commonly taking place as kitchen/laundry and bathroom renovations, replacement or repair of wall and ceiling linings, and other additions or alterations work; demolition; electrical maintenance, repair and installation – including work on electrical meter boards; flooring maintenance, repair and installation; painting and coating/sealing of ACM; plumbing and hydraulic systems maintenance, repair and installation; and removal and disposal of ACM.
If ACM is damaged or in poor condition, arrange for the appropriate maintenance or have it removed by a licensed asbestos removalist. Materials containing friable asbestos can only be removed by an A Class Licensed Asbestos Removalist. Friable asbestos is crumbly, dusty or powdery, or when dry can be reduced to powder by hand pressure, usually found in lagging. A PCBU has obligations to its workers if they might be exposed to asbestos or an ACM. These obligations include:
• • • •
providing and maintaining a safe workplace and safe systems of work; ensuring the safe use, handling, storage and transport of substances, including asbestos; monitoring the work safety of workers, and the conditions at the workplace, to ensure that work-related illness and injury are prevented; and providing appropriate information, instruction, training or supervision to workers and other people at the business or undertaking to allow work to be carried out safely.
Under the current Work Health and Safety Act, a PCBU must provide information and training to protect all workers from risks to their health and safety arising from their work. WorkSafe ACT considers, given the widespread presence of ACM in older buildings, and the tendency for workers to work across the various sectors within the industry, all construction workers should be provided with training in respect of asbestos awareness. From 1 July 2014 Asbestos Awareness training is compulsory for any PCBU invloved in work that may expose their employees to asbestos. MBA Group Training offers an Asbestos Awareness courses that provides participants with an ability to identify and understand the dangers of asbestos, an awareness of its possible locations and the procedures followed if asbestos or ACM is identified. ACM may have been used in the construction of the building you are working on – you’re entitled to see the building’s Asbestos Register!
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ASBESTOS AWARENESS The aim of this one day course is to provide participants with an awareness of the hazards and health effects of asbestos and its possible location in ACT homes and the community. Under the current Work Health and Safety Act an employer must provide information and training to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from their work. This course provides participants with an ability to identify and understand the dangers of asbestos, an awareness of its possible locations and the procedures followed if presence is detected.
For more information contact MBA Group Training on: T 02 6280 9119 F 02 6280 9118 E email@example.com W www.mba.org.au/training
Procurement Policy - Supporting local industry John Miller executive director
The local building and construction industry needs much more opportunity through the government procurement process in order to help the ACT economy ride out the financial volatility it is currently facing. Master Builders ACT released its Procurement Policy paper on 21 May to coincide with a construction and propety roundtable hosted by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher to discuss the impacts of the 2014-15 Federal Budget on the city and the economy. •
The policy on procurement was developed because of the significance it has for the construction industry. Firstly, the way infrastructure and capital works is procured by the public sector in particular has a significant impact on the efficiency of the industry, its capacity to deliver infrastructure and capital works and associated objectives such as employment and economic development. The framework of rules; policy on competition and local involvement; procurement planning and procurement processes; contracting methods; and relationships and communication with authorities have profound (positive and negative) effects on project outcomes and industry growth, stability and sustainability. Secondly, the investment in infrastructure and capital works in the ACT is considerable. ACT Government investment in infrastructure delivered by the construction industry was $552.4m in 2012-13, $775.5m was budgeted for 2013-14.
Thirdly, efficient procurement should lead to better outcomes for the community for the dollars spent. The ABS has estimated that “for every $1m spent on construction output (houses, non-residential buildings, etc.) … a possible $2.9m in output would be generated in the economy as a whole, giving rise to 9 jobs in the construction industry (the initial employment effect), and 37 jobs in the economy as a whole from all effects” such as extra output and employment from other industries and extra output and expenditure by wage and salary earners.
Executive Director of Master Builders ACT, John Miller, said any move to bring forward projects through the budget process to stimulate activity across the Territory risk being minimised in terms of economic impact unless local industry has the opportunity to secure a large proportion of that work. “Regrettably it has become a feature in some areas within the procurement process to ignore long-standing local companies in favour of external contractors and unless this situation is reversed the local employment base will contract as the dollars continue to escape from the Territory’s economy,” said Mr. Miller. “New prequalification requirements around many projects are ruling out local contractors who have amply demonstrated over a long period of time their capability and capacity to deliver expensive, high-standard and technically difficult projects.
“Unless consideration is given to arrangements for local companies to bid on projects it is going to have a cascading effect on many smaller operations as competition for work becomes more intense. “The Chief Minister has consistently shown a willingness to listen to industry’s concerns and if something good can come out of today’s roundtable with the construction and property sectors it would be that far more attention is given to local industry development to underpin a future workforce.” The construction and property roundtable conducted was one of a series that the Chief Minister convened to hear from various sectors of the economy to develop ideas that could be quickly implemented to overcome structural changes resulting from the Federal Budget process. Views expressed included more positive outcomes in terms of the restructuring which will see the winding back in some areas but new growth in other areas which will be needed to service the Abbott Government agenda. This will include administration around NDIS and Paid Parental Leave policy. Roundtable participants encouraged the ACT Government to help pick up the slack in parts of the building and construction
sector by looking at a range of smaller community-based projects that will deliver amenity to communities and maintain critical employment. Projects in the $1m -10m range were mooted. It was also proposed that the Light Rail project be deferred to ensure planning was complete and give certainty to potential investors. This would also free up capital works funding in the short to medium term. The roundtable was reminded by participants of responses at the time of the last slash and burn with the arrival of the Howard Government in 1996. Strong incentives are needed to fasttrack re-use of older office building stock and older community facilities such as schools to support densification in the city and aged care in the suburbs. The ACT Budget will be delivered on 3 June and the building and construction industry will be watching very keenly to see what messages are delivered that will provide some encouragement over the coming years as the economy adjusts. Any winding back in public sector employment can only be met with private sector strength to absorb any shocks. It makes it vital for the budget to release the full potential of the private sector.
What are the issues?
Changing contract models
Uncertainty of safety management evaluation Early release of tenders prior to planning clearances
Release of work packages which are too large for local contractors
Long time to evaluate and award contracts
No weighting or preference for local contractors
Adversarial project management methods and inadequate sharing of risk on projects
Lumpiness of tender releases Circumventing prequalification requirements through contract splitting
Lack of incentives for certification Inappropriately high requirements for guarantees
Prequalification levels which exclude smaller local firms from competing for tenders
Multiple uncoordinated compliance audits
Uncertainty of safety management evaluation
Accuracy of information in Call Tender Schedule
Inadequate timeframes in projects
Security fails due to incorrect registration on PPSR Christine murray Meyer vandenberg
The recent New Zealand High Court decision of Polymers International Limited v Toon & Ors highlights the importance of ensuring security interests are registered correctly on the Personal Property Securities Register(PPSR). The Australian personal property securities regime is very similar to the New Zealand regime. Errors or omissions in financing statements may result in a party losing out to other creditors who have secured (and correctly registered) interests on the Australian PPSR.
Background Polymers supplied plastic products to Interworld. The parties entered into a credit arrangement in 2002 under which products were to be supplied by Polymers. Payment for the products was to be secured by Interworld granting a security interest in favour of Polymers. Between March and May 2012, Polymers supplied more than $750,000 worth of goods and services to Interworld. On 30 August 2012 Interworld went into liquidation. Polymers lodged a proof of debt claim form with the liquidators for the amount it was owed. The liquidators refused to recognise Polymers as a secured creditor on the basis that Polymers had made three errors when registering the financing statement on the NZ PPSR: 1. Interworld Plastics N Z Limited was misspelt as it did not include a gap between the N and the Z 2. The registration did not include the debtor companyâ€™s unique incorporation number (equivalent to an ACN/ABN in Australia) and 3. Interworld was not classified as a company (also required for Australian PPSR registrations).
NZ High Court decision Under the New Zealand legislation an error must be seriously misleading for it to invalidate the registration of a financing statement. The test adopted by the court was whether the information provided in the statement allowed an effective search
using NZ PPSAs search criteria. The Court found that whilst there was a mistake in not putting a space between the letters N and Z in the name of Interworld, this was not seriously misleading. A person searching the PPSR would not be mislead by such an omission. However the failure to include Interworldâ€™s unique incorporation number and to classify Interworld as a company on the NZ PPSR was found to be seriously misleading. It was held that the financing statement was not validly registered on the NZ PPSR and Polymers was not asecured creditor.
How does it affect you? The NZ and Australian PPSR regimes are quite similar, as are the laws with respect to defects and errors inregistrations. The Australian legislation says that a registration will be ineffective if data with respect to the registration is seriously misleading or if there is a defect in accordance with section 165 of the Personal Property Securities Act. As illustrated in the New Zealand case, if a debtor goes into liquidation and a security interest has not been correctly registered on the PPSR, a creditor is at risk of losing priority to secured parties with correctly registered security interests.
Things you can do now It is essential that security interests are correctly recorded on the PPSR to ensure creditorsâ€™ interests are adequately protected. Security interests must be registered correctly and within time. Information regarding the secured property must be obtained from the debtor. If you are unsure how to use the register, we can register your security interests for you, or give your staff advice and training on registering securing interests. Christine Murray Partner Property, Commercial and Finance T (02) 6279 4402 E Christine.Murray@meyervandenberg.com.au
The Master Builders that built Canberra Personalised Dust Jackets
Under Construction – The National Library under construction. Just one of the many projects featured in the book.
The Master Builders that Built Canberra a publication to commemorate 100 years of building in Canberra. The publication of The Master Builders that Built Canberra has generated a great amount of interest and unearthed wonderful stories of many of the building projects and builders across the Nation’s Capital within the 200 pages of this beautifully presented, hard-cover book. Our Members’ support of this publication is greatly appreciated and now the Master Builders has a very special offer where Members can purchase personalised versions of the book. The limited edition dust jacket design allows members to have their company logo on the dust jacket cover and spine. This offer includes a box of eleven books all with the personalised dust jackets for a total cost of $600.00 incl GST. For further information please contact David Leitch on T 02 6175 5970.
MBA apprentices have their say on the future of Canberra mary-anne waldren mentor - Speaker - event creator
“I do think we need to think more boldly, to move past, ‘should we’, ‘how should we’ and be bold.”
Above– Mary-Anne Waldren presented the event at the MBA training rooms in Fyshwick in April.
MBA Executive Director John Miller attended other Landry events and joined Landry in meetings with government ministers, industry leaders and developers in April. He supported Landry’s trip and is one of a consortium of industry, private and ACT government organisations that has commissioned a report by Landry on Canberra’s future. The report, tentatively titled The Collaborative Imperative, is due for release within the next couple of months. Landry’s trip and events were organised by Mary-Anne Waldren. The MBA event was fun, vibrant and thought-provoking. Above – MBA apprentices
Five MBA carpentry and plumbing apprentices were special guests at a recent workshop dedicated to rethinking Canberra’s future. The workshop, sponsored by the MBA and held at its Fyshwick training rooms, involved five high-profile thought leaders, including the flamboyant and fabulous international guest Charles Landry. Trilingual British-based Landry coined the term “the creative city” in the 1980s. The creative city has since become a global movement to rethink imaginative urban change. The Canberra Times coined the terms “the city whisperer” and “Canberra’s critical friend” to describe Landry’s brand of brilliance. Charles advises governments and cities around the world and is the author of many books. 18
Five thought-leaders presented their ideas about collaborating and communicating in Canberra. Some spoke about what it means to live in cities, what they like about Canberra and what they would like to see done differently. About 30 participants with vibrant ideas and backgrounds attended. Participants included IT specialists, retailers, small business owners, people from not-for-profits, energy and design specialists, academics, consultants, self-starters from diverse industries and the apprentices. Participants were surveyed about the event. Comments about ecological sustainability included:
“Those who embrace the new energies of the future will be the winners.”
Above – ACT Minister Shane Rattenbury, Village Building Company CEO Bob Winnell and MBA Executive Director John Miller attended a private dinner during Charles Landry’s visit to Canberra, his fourth visit in ten years.
Above – John Miller and Charles Landry
• “We have some regulatory blockages in Canberra. To give a small example, the Territory Plan does nothing to encourage natural ventilation.”
“The cost-benefit analysis needs to be much wider so we are valuing the intangible.”
“A Town Hall, possibly on City Hill, which would transform that space…”
“We are all facing some wicked problems, for instance, energy-efficiencey versus affordability.
“I want to see more things like food vans etc.”
“The importance of bold ideas was a hallmark of this event.”
“I do think we need to think more boldly, to move past, ‘should we’, ‘how should we’ and be bold.”
“Think as big as Burley Griffin did. Why don’t we dare to do it?”
The inevitable conclusion that most participants arrived at was that connectivity was needed. Connections were needed physically, between spaces, between individuals, different sectors, disciplines and so on.
“The connection point is the key.”
“It’s that co-creation challenge.”
“I think there’s a gap between what we do and what we say.”
“There’s little groups of people doings things everywhere and they don’t know about each other.”
“I think we’re getting a bit bolder, a bit cheekier and I’m really excited and energised by what I saw today.”
“We need to build a conversation about what really matters.”
The group critiqued Government but there were many positive comments: Comments included:
The MBA apprentices had some great ideas as well. Their surveys included comments such as:
“Sky Whale has to go.”
“It would be great to see some bipartisan action in this town.”
“We need to be recruiting better leaders for the future construction industry.”
“The Government is clearly showing leadership on the sustainability front.”
“More public transport is needed.”
“There’s a misalignment between what we say and what we do and the rules haven’t kept up with our inspiration.”
“You’ve got great ideas. You want to do something but you get held up all the time.”
The list of Big ideas discussed was long.
“We need at least one light rail, preferably between Civic and Gunghalin.”
“We need to pursue regional opportunities.”
On the question of “How could we make the program better?” one apprentice joked: “Longer lunch”. When asked, “What important things did you learn from the Masters?” another apprentice wrote: “That I should have worn a suit.” The apprentices enjoyed the lunch and the ideas exchanged and added much to the event. One summed it up when he wrote, “I felt privileged to be invited.”
Master Builders ACT partnership
Hand-in-hand towards excellence in research and education for the greater Canberra.
Research Centre – Changing construction safety culture.
The University of Canberra and Master Builders Association of the ACT are considering and planning the establishment of a joint “Canberra Research Centre for WHS and Sustainability”. The proposed Research Centre, for which the University and the MBA are seeking cash and in-kind support from the building, construction and civil engineering industry is the latest development in a partnership which has produced many benefits for the ACT building industry, including a continuing increase in student enrolments in the Bachelor of Building and Construction Management (BBCM) degree, improvement of students’ learning experiences and outcomes and the implementation of joint research projects that add value to building and construction business and projects. More than 220 students have enrolled in the University of Canberra BBCM program and BBCM and BLaw double degree program. Some of the new intakes are articulated from the MBA’s Diploma course. A multidiscipline research team has been established to undertake a major research project: “Getting Home Safely:
Changing construction safety culture and improving safety performance by design thinking and co-production”. The team includes three professors from UC, a PhD student, the MBA Deputy Executive Director Jerry Howard, and key personnel from the ACT Government. UC and the MBA have had their first joint research paper accepted for presentation and publication in the CIB W99’s “2014 Achieving sustainable construction health and safety” international conference to be held in Lund Sweden in June 2014. This conference is considered one of the best in the field of workplace health and safety research world-wide. UC has been contracted by MBA to evaluate ‘safety leadership observation and conversation skill training in the ACT’. The preliminary research results have shown that this research will provide much needed insight regarding ACT building and construction industry safety. It is expected that the results and recommendations for the way forward will be published in June. For more information, contact University of Canberra BCM Chair Prof Patrick Zou (Patrick.Zou@Canberra.edu.au ) or MBA Deputy Executive Director Jerry Howard (JHoward@mba.org.au) For more information on these developments see the next edition of Canberra Building News.
First Home Saver Accounts Scheme abolished As part of the 2014-15 Budget, the Federal Government will abolish the First Home Saver Accounts scheme using a phased approach, starting from Budget night. Treasurer Joe Hockey said the scheme was being abolished as it had had limited effectiveness in improving housing affordability because of the low take-up of accounts since their introduction by the former government in 2008. At December 2013, there were only 46,000 accounts open with a total combined balance of $521.5 million. “Any new accounts opened from Budget night will not be entitled to the existing Government co-contribution or any tax or social security concessions,” Mr Hockey said.
these changes by the account provider. Existing account holders would continue to receive the Government co-contribution and all tax and social security concessions associated with these accounts for the 2013-14 income year. Mr Hockey said the Government co-contribution would cease from 1 July 2014 and the tax and social security concessions associated with these accounts would be withdrawn from 1 July 2015. As of that date, account holders would be able to withdraw their account balances without restriction. “Once the First Home Saver Accounts scheme is abolished from 1 July 2015, these accounts will be treated like any other account held with a relevant provider,” the Treasurer said.
The Government would make regulations to ensure that anyone seeking to open a new account from Budget night is informed of
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Slim construction pickings from Federal Budget
The Federal Budget contained little positive news for the ACT economy and little in the way of new projects or opportunities for the building and construction industry. The industry will look to the ACT Budget on 3 June for positive news to cushion the impact of the Federal Government’s staff and spending cut backs, which are likely to slow the ACT economy. Among the few positives in the Federal Budget were:
$26.8 million over three years (including $18.5 million in capital funding over two years) towards fit-out, project management and other costs to enable the Department of Social Services to relocate to a new tenancy in the Australian Capital Territory by the end of 2016, when the current lease on its building at Tuggeranong Office Park expires. The Government will provide $1.7 million in 2014-15 to the Department of Parliamentary Services to undertake a building condition and assessment report and strategic accommodation review to support the development of a first stage business case for a 10 year programme of maintenance and asset replacement at Parliament House.
The proposed merger and closure of numerous Federal Government agencies may provide some fit-out and construction opportunities – yet to be announced and no funding in the Budget – but is also likely to result in surplus office space on the ACT market.
The consolidation of the back office functions of the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, Old Parliament House, National Film and Sound Archive, National Museum of Australia and the National Archives of Australia may also yield some opportunities. A new customs and immigration agency called Australian Border Force to be headquartered in Canberra may also produce some opportunities. The Budget contained funding for new road infrastructure projects in all mainland states but not for the ACT. Funding for the Majura Parkway construction and ramp metering on the Tuggeranong Parkway/Cotter Road interchange announced in previous Budgets was maintained. Shortly before the Budget the Federal Government rejected an ACT request for $8 million to kick start plans for a new convention centre in Canberra. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the Federal Government initially expressed interest in the project but shortly before the Budget she received a letter rejecting any funding. The ACT Government and the local business community have been working to get the proposal ready for private sector investment and Ms Gallagher said there had been interest from Chinese investors.
Superannuation changes Unlike many previous Budgets there were relatively few changes to superannuation. However the Government did announce a proposed freeze on the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee payment and concessions on the Superannuation Excess Contributions Tax. As with the cut in the company tax rate, the change to the SG rate may not proceed because of Senate politics, despite its inclusion in the Budget. The Government announced in the Budget that the increase in the SG rate from 9.25 per cent to 9.5 per cent from 1 July 2014 will proceed. This increase is part of the schedule of annual increases to raise the SG to 12 per cent by 2019-20, legislated by the previous Labor Government. The Government announced that it will legislate to freeze the SG at 9.5 per cent until 30 June 2018 and then increase it by 0.5 percentage points each year until it reaches 12 per cent. It had previously planned to freeze the increase for two years. The four year freeze (as with the previously proposed two-year freeze) will form part of the Government’s mining tax repeal legislation which has so far been blocked by the Senate and remains before parliament unpassed. The proposed four-year freeze could (like the company tax cut) be caught up in Senate negotiations over repeal of the mining tax and may not proceed in the proposed form. The Government also announced that it will proceed with concessions on excess superannuation contributions which it had foreshadowed during the election campaign.
of the non-concessional contributions cap made from 1 July 2013 and any associated earnings, with these earnings to be taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate. Final details of the policy will be settled following consultation with key stakeholders in the superannuation industry. “This measure delivers on the Government’s election commitment to develop an appropriate process that addresses all inadvertent breaches of the contribution caps where the error would result in a disproportionate penalty.” The measure is estimated to have a cost to revenue of $40.1 million over the four-year forward estimates period. Finance Minister Matthias Cormann said, “The Abbott Government today has made the taxation of excess superannuation contributions fairer. Currently, superannuation contributions that exceed the non concessional contributions cap are taxed punitively at the top marginal tax rate. After the Budget on the ABC’s Q & A program, Treasurer Joe Hockey said the Government, could, during the current term of parliament, review superannuation rules against the planned increase in the age pension eligibility age to 70 in 2035. Mr Hockey’s comments suggest the Government will examine a possible increase in the superannuation preservation age, raising the age at which superannuation savers can access their funds.
The Budget said the Government will allow individuals the option of withdrawing superannuation contributions in excess
Certificate IV in Work Health Safety August Session Enrolling Now!
Mick Peterson and Associates have been working in the Health and Safety field for over 25 years and have the qualifications and experience to assist your business.
Who should undertake this training?
Managers or Directors or a member of their team. Recent changes to Work Health Safety laws place great emphasis
on demonstrating due diligence in managing health and safety. Significant penalties now apply to individuals. People who have Work Health Safety as a part of their duties or who wish to move into this field of work. Businesses that want a competitive edge when responding to tenders.
The course fee (normally $2200) is heavily discounted for people working in the construction industry at a cost of $1100. For further information ring Mick Peterson 02 6161 1119 or 0421 076 822
Member Profile Canberra Contractors
Building Canberra – Canberra Contractors Pty Ltd 20th Anniversary Party 2003, Pasquale Cerullo, Michael De Simone and Frank Macor.
As was explored in the recent MBA publication ‘The Master Builders that Built Canberra’ creating a successful family owned business from the ground up is not unusual in Canberra. Canberra Contractors Pty Ltd is one such story that continues to thrive as a result of a commitment to long-term relationships and old fashioned family values. The business was established in 1983 by four friends, Frank Macor, Pasquale Cerullo, Michael De Simone and Geremia Pino. More than 30 years later two of the original directors Pasquale and Michael still remain with the business and two members of the next generation Paul Macor and Angelo Cerullo are both directors and senior employees. There are several employees who have been with the company since it was established. Paul Macor, Managing Director, is the son of foundation director, Frank Macor and started with the business in 1989. A graduate of civil engineering from CIT, Paul learnt the company business from the ground up, starting on site as a labourer. He recognises that being a business that treats its employees as almost family members comes with challenges. ‘The market is cyclical and maintaining a steady flow of work is important. We work hard to ensure we always have enough to keep the crew going’ Paul says. Part of the strategy to keep the work flowing through the ups and downs of the Canberra construction sector, has been 24
the establishment of long-term relationships with key clients. Relationships are established with client and partners that encourage open lines of communication, so that when there are questions or challenges, the client, be they a government agency or a private developer, feels comfortable ringing senior members of the firm for a chat. This has been a particular feature of projects such as the current civil works associated with Campbell Section 5, Amaroo Group Centre and Ngunnawal 2C Stages 1 to 9. Village Building Company has been a valued client and partner of Canberra Contractors for almost 25 years. Nick Hueso recalls one of his first projects with the company was working on a housing project in Gordon some 24 years ago. Today the
work with Village Building is focussed in the Gungahlin area and Canberra Contractors could claim to have provided the civil construction that underpins almost half of the residential suburbs in the area. Currently they are working on new estates in Ngunnawal.
Amaroo – A recent project by Canberra Contractors.
of the office, accounts and payroll. She finds the culture of a family business to be very nurturing. ‘They are good people, and take care of each other’. In her role managing the accounts, Kylie is also committed to establishing good relationships with the clients and the contractors, recognising the importance of making sure the paperwork is right. ‘There have been lots of changes in administration as a result of the community focus on Work Health and Safety; lots more paperwork and record-keeping. Once when people came to work for you, you watched them; if they could do the job to your satisfaction you were happy. These days you need to check up on people and keep evidence of their training, ensure regular training is scheduled etc’. In the family – Paul Macor, Sylva Macor, Kylie Adams and Angelo Cerullo.
Nick Hueso is now the Field Superintendent at Canberra Contractors and his son Adrian Hueso a foreman. ‘The company always tries to do the right thing by our clients and we are proud of our work. It is small enough that you are not just a number, it is accommodating of people when personal issues come up’. In many respects the family approach to business operations has also extended beyond the employees of Canberra Contractors. Michael De Simone notes that some of the highlights during his 28 years as Managing Director has been getting to know and work with other Canberra businesses. He recalls successful projects that include joint ventures with Woden Contractors and has enjoyed working with Ross Barrett and Peter Middleton. In particular, Canberra Contractors has been involved in three significant large joint ventures with Woden Contractors and Guideline ACT in the case of the Barton Highway Duplication and two stages of the Gungahlin Drive Extension. ‘Joining forces with the likes of Ross Barrett, Peter Middleton, Gavin McArdle and the late David Jones has been one of the pleasures of running a business in this town’ Michael De Simone said.
While the commitment to remaining local and maintaining family values is strong, Paul Macor is making no promises about whether there will be a third generation of family members joining the business any time soon.’ I am father of two daughters, uncle to five nephews and Angelo will be starting a family in the near future, so you never know!’
Kylie Adams is also a long term employee of Canberra Contractors. In her own words she ‘pre-dates the furniture’. Kylie is currently the Office Manager with responsibility for management 25
A bridge to the On-site Construction Manager Simon Elderfield living dynamics
What we needed to do was design a support program that was so cheap, so inexpensive, yet comprehensive enough to enable us to provide real advice from tender to completion, that enabled a Contractor to know what risks he was signing up to and how to manage them. - Simon Elderfield
Upskilling – OSCM training at the MBA is designed to up skill Supervisors in the compliant management of their works.
On the 23 April this year I saw the results of about a years work and first steps in the fulfillment of a dream. On that day the MBA launched its new OSCM training programs, an industry based mid management training program designed to up skill Supervisors in the compliant management of their works. As part of my own commitment to “give back to the industry” I have worked with Jerry Howard and the team at the MBA for about a year to fashion a new and exciting course designed to get to the heart of the current void in mid management skill sets. Not only does it go a long way to fill the hole left in career advancement by the demise of the apprenticeship processit is designed to introduce a raft of management skills and practices that were only ever learnt the hard way- often with dire consequences. As I sat listening to the Q&A session afterwards I got the distinct impression that whilst the room was excited with what they were hearing, they wanted more, and they wanted it now especially with the advent of new contracts such as the GC21 being introduced. The next day I was meeting with a new client and was explaining to him the OSCM training program “Long term that’s exactly
what the industry needs, and I will be encouraging my guy’s to attend.” he said, then added with a sigh “The trouble is Simon, I can’t wait that long to get the critical support that I need right now to allow me to manage the works. I know that I am good in the field and can really add value to a project ... but I can’t do that and manage the compliance requirements of these modern day contracts at the same time. Something has to give, and in the past it has always been the compliance issues that are left behind, and I have seen so many others get burnt time and time again because they tried to rely on a relationship to get them out of trouble rather than understand how to manage their Contract.” This was exactly in line with my own thinking. For some time we have had a service that supports small to medium sized companies in all aspects of contract administration - especially programming and change management. The trouble has been that most Contractors generally see it as expensive, something they didn’t allow for, and come to us too late for us to be effective. The demise of a number of prominent Contractors in recent times bears testimony to that. So it was whilst I was helping Jerry and the steering committee at the MBA get this badly needed Supervisors course off that ground, that it hit me! What we needed to do was design a support program that was so inexpensive, yet comprehensive enough to enable us to provide real advice from tender to completion, that enabled a Contractor to know what risks they were signing up to and how
to manage them progressively to minimise further exposure, and in a language they could understand. So, I gave that challenge to my team and they came up with the following program that we now roll out. What they came up with is that for a “Retainer Fee” of $200.00 per contract/per month for the duration of the works (and for a minimum period of 3 months), a company will receive:
A Risk and Contingency profile of the Contract.
A monthly face-to-face review with Living Dynamics of Project Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).
A Recommendation/Action and Advice from Living Dynamics regarding KPI outcomes.
In this way a Contractor can bring a Contract to us and we can look at the terms they are signing up to and give them an idea of how much Contingency in dollar terms they ought to have in their price to manage their risk.
We see this as another step in giving back to the industry in an attempt to get people wake up to and become more professional at managing Risk. What we hate to see is people go broke for the wrong reasons, especially the family businesses that risk all to get to where they are. I can’t help repeating that, Living Dynamics have seen companies leave it far too late to take corrective action, often exposing companies to much higher losses and (when possible) costs of recovery. So in practical terms, what happens on projects is that:
Over time, Project KPI questions would alert you to the fact that they would have less time than contracted to complete residual contract works - the effect of this would be the need to supply more labour than planned.
This could be deemed an acceleration to the baseline works and enable Contractors to claim additional costs.
As a Contractor you may then instruct Living Dynamics to prepare a submission to the regarding an Order of Costs for compression (which Living Dynamics would do at our Partnership in Process Rates).
As a Contractor you would then enter into direct negotiations regarding such Compression costs BEFORE you have committed the extra resources.
Should you agree on a settlement figure for the compression costs, Living Dynamics would recover a success fee based on 10% of the settlement figure.
Conversely should a contractor choose to walk away from any submissions made - Living Dynamics would not earn any success fees. Finally should a contractor choose not to instruct Living Dynamics to prepare submission for whatever reason - the only cost to the contractor, would be the nominal retainer fee which Living Dynamics charges which enables you to become more aware of the “cost” of the ongoing relationship with your clients.
• Jerry Howard knows the value of a course such as this for both the industry and the individual.
After 30 years of doing this we have developed a model that provides us with a fair idea of the consequences of the risk a contractor is exposed to. We reasoned that if the Contractor did not have that amount of contingency in their price they would at least be aware and have choices. We know that most companies don’t have enough contingency and don’t know how to manage what they have got. That said once we show them what they need and why, they get a little more focused and protective of what they do have. Based on our experience we also know that at the heart of protecting the contingency is the series of key questions regularly asked, and tracking the answers. From those answers we can generally recommend actions that can be taken ahead of the all the contingency being eroded, and the company getting into real trouble.
We think this is a fantastic service. We see that by having access to that knowledge bank on a regular basis provides a Contractor with insight and perspective that they would not have had in the past. A brains trust that help me stay out of trouble and tell me how to comply, and if they need it, expert assistance with knowledge of the project. Whilst the new MBA course is designed to reflect “on the job” training we are very confident that this as an inexpensive bridge to the “time” gap that has to occur BEFORE the students qualify.
Offer peanuts and monkeys turn up carl olsen building surveyor & quantity surveyor
Recently there has been quite a lot of press about particular builders who have failed to execute numerous building contracts in a diligent manner. Rumours suggest somewhere in excess of 20 owners are currently affected and the outcome is the probable determination of their respective contracts.
usually leads to whole of business insolvency, bankruptcy etc. One of the key factors in avoiding project insolvency is to ensure our contract amounts are enough to leave an acceptable profit after all costs are accounted for. This will be difficult if the builder’s estimate is too low or the final negotiated contract amount has been driven too low by short sighted clients. A positive marriage of client and builder can only result where each party’s needs are delivered. For the client, a well built, on time, on budget home. For the builder, the same as for the client but also an adequate profit margin.
Usually the determination is an indication the builder is heading towards insolvency or is already there. When a contract is determined, there are substantial cost implications and considerable negative effects on the people in our industry and the broader community, e.g.:-
I am aware of the facts surrounding one recent project where the contract has been determined. On this project the winning quotation was approx $140K lower (in $750K) than the next cheapest and the builder then agreed to “throw in” another package of work which you could assume would be at least $20 - $30K more. That project proceeded on the basis that it could be built for say $170K less than the market was otherwise suggesting. The predictable outcome was a 2 year construction period (and still incomplete), many unpaid subcontractors and suppliers and a low standard of workmanship. Most of the industry is familiar with the expression “pay peanuts and you get monkeys”. Clearly the monkey turned up that day.
Builders becoming bankrupt and perhaps being unable to keep their homes and pay their bills.
Extra costs are passed on to the owners from new builders engaged to complete the original scope of work. Naturally a builder’s risk increases in this environment and therefore the price to complete escalates.
Preparation of dilapidation reports on the state of the works completed to date. This becomes necessary to obtain new HOW cover and to confirm a new builder’s extent of responsibility.
Additional fees for new building approval applications and the relevant certifier’s fees.
Direct loss to subcontractors and suppliers who are unlikely to have been fully paid by a builder who is in financial trouble.
Legal costs of subcontractors & suppliers who attempt to recover their losses from the builder’s liquidator.
Legal costs charged by liquidators appointed by the courts.
The list goes on and let’s not forget the ongoing damage done to our industry’s reputation and the distrust developed in the minds of our potential clients. It would be beneficial to everyone if this pattern of determination could be reduced. So what parts of the way we do business can be changed to reduce the risk of project insolvency and ultimately whole of business insolvency? Insolvency is basically where the debts owed by an entity exceed the assets available. You could describe project insolvency as a state where the total income from progress payments etc., is less than the total of the project costs. Repeated project insolvency 28
So why don’t builders and clients enter into contracts for a reasonable amount? Probably because they don’t know where to get good advice about what is reasonable. The industry needs reputable contract estimators with relevant experience to provide objective estimates that builders can use when they either lack the in house skills or are too busy. Clients need the same tool to assess the quotations received when calling for tenders. Hopefully the client will play their role in excluding the monkeys. If the estimators already exist, not everyone knows about them, so our association would be providing the industry and the market with a valuable service if a register of appropriate people was called for, established and promoted to the broader market. As builders, we have probably all spent days and sometimes nights pricing large projects only to hear the tender has been won on a price that is clearly underdone and you know the project will go sour. Many clients are led astray by what appears to be a “cheap” price only to end up in very difficult situations, by lack of knowledge. We could do the industry and market a great favour by providing the necessary tools to qualify quotations and contract amounts as beneficial for all parties. That way all players can take responsibility for their decisions. Pricing for profit is the only way that you can survive in business. Our clients must understand this.
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Workers don’t have to work harder to make bigger profits Independent builders network your home - your builder
House and Land Packages available – IBN has relationships with the state’s best land agents and developers.
IBN is a professional network of local builders, working together to offer home builders a higher quality, more personal and better value for money service, through our industry network, business system and marketing.
your home - your builder IBN believe your home should be “your home” – not theirs & not your neighbours. In fact, they want you to be creative & customise our designs, or bring them your own ideas, & let IBN work with you to create a complete custom designed home, perfect for you and your family. our builders are proud and strong IBN member builders retain their individuality as stand alone businesses. They then benefit from the resources, buying power, training, systems and support of the highly professional nationally expanding network.
Design – IBN builders have access to some fantastic designs.
IBN members retain their individuality as a stand alone business and benefits from the resources, buying power, training, systems and support of the highly professional, national network. 30
new homes, units/townhouses and custom homes Unlike other project builders, Independent Builders Network is not constrained to build only IBN designs. So, talk to them about any project – from new homes, to custom projects, even renovations & extensions, to get the same personal, professional & dedicated building experience. For more information please contact the Independent Builders Network: E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.independentbuilders.com.au/
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Independent Builders Network is a professional network of local builders, working together to offer home builders a higher quality, more personal and better value for money service, than the big, impersonal volume project builders. Each member retains their individuality as a stand alone business and benefits from the resources, buying power, training, systems and support of the highly professional, growing national network.
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For more information about joining our group, or to contact your local builder, please visit us at www.independentbuilders.com.au or call 1300 IBN NET (1300 426 638).
2014 Apprentice & Cadet Awards
Awards Night – MBA Group Training held their Apprentice Awards at the Eastlake Football Club in Kingston.
MBA Group Training held their annual Apprentice and Cadet Awards at the Eastlake Football Club in Kingston. The Apprentice and Cadet Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the Master Builders Apprentices and Cadets during 2013. Awards were be presented to Apprentices from the Carpentry, Bricklaying, Plumbing, Civil and Plastering trades. Our top Cadets, Trainees and Australian School Based Apprentices also received awards for their achievements. This year’s outstanding Cadet of the year went to Benjamin Dunlop from Australian Capital Contractors. The University of Canberra outstanding student award was awarded to Elyse Francis from Hindmarsh Construction. The major award, Outstanding Apprentice of the Year, was awarded to Bradley Monkhouse, employed by Pro Style Building Group.
WorldSkills participants were also recognised on the night. The participants in this competiton were: Bradley Fleming, Bradley Monkhouse, Jethro Whalan, Matthew Ellis, Matthew Robertson, Shayne Crombie, Thomas Argaet, Murray Armour, Benjamin Mundy, Darren Ogden and Michael Bova. During the evening guests were treated to a brief presentation by Banyan Constructions founder Liam Kelly. Liam spoke of the industry, and if you commit yourself anything is possible. Liam is certainly proof of this mantra. One very lucky apprentice was the recipient of a lucky door prize on the evening - One year membership to SNAP Fitness in Fyswhick. Thank you to Paul Patti, Director of SNAP Fitness in Fyshiwck. These events are not possible without the continued support of all of our valued sponsors.
The evening also provided a chance to say thank you to MBA traininer Brian Lawrence who announced his retirement during the evening. Brian’s contribution to the industry will long be remembered, and will continue through the work of the many outstanding students he has taught. Other winners on the night were Andrew Porreca (ASBA), Dan Plohberger (Civil Construction), Michael Bova (Plastering), Christopher Gianchou (Bricklaying), Benjamin Mundy for Bricklaying, Paul Barnes (Carpentry), Jethro Whalan also for Carpentry, Jack O’Reilly (Plumbing), Ashley Crivici (Plumbing) and Benjamin Dunlop for the Outstanding Cadet of the Year. 32
Apprentice of the Year – Bradley Monkhouse was a deserving winner of this year’s 2014 Apprentice of the Year. Pictured with Glenn Carter, ACT Training Fund Authority, and Wendy Tengstrom, MBA Group Traning.
Enjoying the night – MBA Group Training’s Cecilee Miller and Jess Sorenson at the awards night.
WorldSkills – Participants from the 2014 WorldSkills competition. Signing off – Brian Lawrence announced his retirement during the evening. Brian (centre) is pictured with MBA Group Training’s Brendan Lampard and General Manager Wendy Tengstrom.
Event Sponsors ™
Commercial Host of the Year – J&J Interiors won Commercial Host Employer of the Year. Canberra
Residential Host of the Year – Acumen Carpentry and Building Services won Residential Host Employer of the Year.
Elyse Francis from Hindmarsh Construction awarded the UC Student of 2013
Student of the Year – Elyse Francis, (Centre) with Jerry Howard from the MBA and Gesa Ruge from The University of Canberra.
The Master Builders Association of the ACT and the University of Canberra have announced Elyse Francis as the UC Student of the Year for 2013. Elyse joined Hindmarsh in 2012 as a cadet and worked on the $240m College of Science project at ANU. At the conclusion of 2012 Elyse was nominated to be part of the new project team that was established to manage the construction of the new five storey office block at 1 Canberra Avenue. As a highly regarded professional who is respected by those with whom she works, Elyse has displayed a high level of work ethic, commitment and is motivated to achieve her career goals. Elyse is currently studying for the Bachelor of Building and Construction Management Degree at the University of Canberra, where she has been recognised through the granting of a number of awards and scholarships in particular the She Leads scholarship delivered by the YWCA of Canberra. She Leads is especially designed to develop young women’s skills to break through the barriers they face in the early stages of their careers and support them to achieve their leadership potential. Gesa Ruge, Assistant Professor in Building and Construction at the University of Canberra, comments “at UC we focus on developing our students’ professional, academic and management skills. This sets up a capacity to continue learning as a professional and succeed in a competitive internationalised market. The MBA’s She Leads scholarship enhances the opportunities for Elyse to develop as future leader in the construction industry”.
Elyse said “So far the course has provided me with the opportunity to network with like-minded young professionals from a range of fields and industries. I have also had the privilege of meeting with a number influential female leaders who shared their advice and stories of influencing change”. In the coming months the course will focus on career progression and the development of practical management skills. Master Builders ACT Deputy Executive Director Jerry Howard said “at the Master Builders we recognise the continuing importance of women in construction and the important role that they will play in the future of our industry. Elyse Francis, who is studying the Bachelor of Building and Construction Management at the University of Canberra, is the perfect example of the future of our industry; she has made the commitment and set a career path for herself that will place her in a frontline management role. We are delighted to grant the scholarship in conjunction with the ACT Training Fund Authority to Elyse and hope this helps her satisfy her career objectives”. The Scholarship funded by the Master Builders Association of the ACT and the ACT Training Fund Authority is aimed at encouraging women in construction. Master Builders is committed to increasing participation by women in the construction industry, which is currently just 11.7%.
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A new name and a new look to celebrate 25 years
A New Brand– Shaw Building Group company directors Roger Poels, Valdis Luks, Robert Noack, Ross Greenup and Steve Simms.
GE Shaw and Associates is one of Canberra’s most established and reputable building companies and as the team looked back over the achievements of the past 25 years it seemed fitting that the milestone would be used to launch a new name and fresh branding. Shaw Building Group is the name that has replaced the outgoing GE Shaw & Associates. ‘In terms of the branding, we wanted to maintain links with our strong foundations and continue with the Shaw name as well as place ourselves for the future’, says Managing Director Valdis Luks.
‘Some of the highlights over the years include work on the Mount Stromlo CSO administration building; several bushfire recovery projects; the ANU High Performance Computing Centre and work in the health sector including the TCH Neurological suite’, says Valdis. The future is bright with the Googong project a major focus over the next few years, and commercial projects including the Brumbies Headquarters at the University of Canberra on our agenda. The Shaw team celebrated 25 years with an informal gathering at the
‘We’re the same great team with the same values, approach and skills’, says Valdis, ‘As we celebrate the achievements of the past 25 years the timing was right to evolve our brand to set the platform for the future.’ ‘Our residential focus has increased in recent years so it was also time to introduce a brand specifically for that part of the business, this part of our business is now called Shaw Living.’ It’s a testament to the team at Shaw that they’ve maintained a strong position in the industry over time and are well regarded in the Canberra building scene. Shaw has worked on major projects covering the full spectrum of construction and construction-related services from minor refurbishments to major developments and more recently added residential construction. While the focus has been in the Canberra, market projects have been completed in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth as well as in regional areas.
Above – Graeme Shaw and Valdis Luks bringing the past and future together.
Phillip office and founder Graeme Shaw returned for the celebrations and wished the team well for the next phase of the business. Graeme left the business in 2003 to pursue a career in the wine industry and he established Shaw Vineyard Estate near Murrumbateman. The wines of choice for the celebrations were of course from Graeme’s
Professional Excellence – Shaw Building Group won the 2014 Australian Capital Territory Professional Excellence in Building Award for Commercial Construction in the $1m to $10m category for their work on the Emergency Department & Intensive Care Unit Extension at Canberra Hospital.
vineyard. The new logo and branding was unveiled as part of celebrations and many industry leaders and others joined in recognising this important milestone for the Shaw Building Group.
Building Award Success at the 2014 AIB Dinner Congratulations to Ross Greenup and his team, Andrew Curran, Gordon Smith and Kevin O’Hara for winning the 2014 Australian Capital Territory Professional Excellence in Building Award for Commercial Construction in the $1m to $10m category. Recognition of Ross’ leadership at The Canberra Hospital Emergency Department & Intensive Care Unit Extension was acknowledged at the annual Professional Excellence awards dinner held at the Canberra Hyatt Hotel on Friday evening 2 May 2014. The AIB Professional Excellence in Building Awards reflect the highest standards of building and construction management, research and development of building projects in Australia. These awards are unique as they are the only Australian awards that recognise the individual’s professional excellence in the building and construction process. We wish Ross and his team all the best as this Chapter Professional Excellence awards is judged at a National level later in the year. For more information about Shaw Building Group, please visit:
Timber - The natural flooring solution Timber flooring, available in many product types, can be laid over a variety of substrates from timber board products to concrete slabs. This makes timber flooring ideal for renovation work as well as new homes. However, with all the choice available, the task could seem a little daunting. The Australian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA) is an excellent place to start. The ATFA is the industries peak body for timber flooring and from their website you can ‘freely’ download their magazine ‘Timber Floors’, find out the benefits of using an ATFA member to do your floor and easily source an ATFA member in your local area. But before going there, let’s have a look at some of the product types and aspects that need to be considered. Traditional solid timber flooring is often chosen and is available in many Australian species from different parts of the country. For example Spotted Gum and Blackbutt from the central east coast, Tasmanian Oak and Victorian Ash from the southern eastern states or Jarrah from the west. These species provide some of the best flooring timbers in the world and can be laid on most substrates. Their natural beauty, adding both warmth and elegance, has made them the feature of many an Australian home. Recycled timber flooring provides yet another option, where perhaps an even more rusticated appearance is desired that accentuates the timbers past use as a bridge girder or the like.
Solid Timber - A spotted gum timber flloor
In addition to solid timber flooring, engineered pre-finished products play an important role. Made in either Australia or overseas, they utilise either Australian hardwoods on the exposed surface or some of the many species from around the world. These products are manufactured by bonding a number of layers of timber together and this improves stability to seasonal weather changes. These products can be laid over most substrates either as a structural floor, overlay or floating floor and have the benefit of not requiring on-site sanding and finishing after installation. 38
The character of timber floors is determined by the grade which can reflect the entire history of the tree containing striking features such as gum veins, knots and burls. In other grades the cleaner natural lines and figure of the timber will dominant, with fewer and smaller features present and with a subdued finish it almost allows you to see inside the wood. It is necessary that floor owners have an understanding of what can be expected during the installation of the floor, its ongoing performance and the care that will preserve its life. You may live in a drier location, the coastal hinterland or in the moist tropics. You may have refrigerated air-conditioning, heating systems or large expanses of glass with a lot of direct sunlight. To accommodate all these variables different methods of installation are going to be appropriate to different homes and therefore practices used in your installation will differ from others. For this reason it is important that you select the correct person to install and finish the floor and it is suggested that members of ATFA be approached. Members of this organisation have the expertise to guide you on the most suitable products and installation appropriate to your floor and the backup of the association behind them for technical advice and support. The installation and finishing should not be rushed as the condition of the timber, climate and internal environment all need to be assessed, possible building issues rectified before installation and sometimes it is necessary to just wait for the timber to settle to the installation environment. Timber is a not a man made product, it is totally natural, renewable and recyclable and as such, with seasonal changes in weather conditions, it will absorb moisture from the air and swell a little, while during drier conditions it will lose moisture to the air and shrink a little. It is therefore quite normal for timber floors to show small gaps at board edges, particularly during dry periods. This will be less so with an engineered floor. Similarly, where there is intense sunlight on a floor, a wood fired heater or air-conditioning, drier conditions will be experienced and the floor will respond accordingly. All timber flooring products require allowance for seasonal expansion that occurs and in many cases owners will be unaware of the expansion and the expansion gaps that have been provided as these are located under the skirtings along the walls. There are many simple things that owners can do to maintain the character and beauty of their timber floor. Curtains, tinted glass or similar should be used to protect floor areas from intense sunlight and mats both inside and out are an effective means of trapping grit which can scratch floor surfaces. Heavy items of furniture need to be carefully positioned without dragging them. Similarly, it should be ensured that the feet of chairs and tables etc have felt pads or protectors applied. Each solid timber floor is also unique and for this reason these floors are so valued and the feature of many homes. If you require more information on timber flooring, whether it be solid tongue and groove or parquetry, engineered, laminate or bamboo, you can visit the ATFA website at www.atfa.com.au.
general news Moisture testing subfloors
Moisture Testing â€“ Australian Flooring Supplies can provide expert advice and quality products for your flooring needs.
On 10 April Australian Flooring Supplies hosted a seminar on moisture testing of sub-floors. William Tree, Vice President of the Floor Coverings Association of NSW was there to present to the audience. Topics covered included the risk assessment that needs to be undertaken when inspecting a subfloor in determining if the subfloor is fit to receive the specified floor covering. Mr Tree talked about the conversation that should be had with the client once all deficiencies are identified along with identifying some options that may be available to rectify subfloors that are found to be defective. The requirements of the Australian Standards for both resilient and carpet installation regarding moisture testing.
For more information contact Natalie Shkolar at Australian Flooring Supplies: Canberra 126-128 Gladstone St Fyshwick P: 02 6239 1549 F: 02 6280 4282 Download the Australian Flooring Supplies catalogue from W: www.australianflooringsupplies.com.au
Australian Flooring Supplies is a distributor of nationally branded products serving the flooring industry. With 13 trade outlets in New South Wales and Victoria and the ACT, AFS is committed to offering quality products at competitive prices to the flooring installers, retailers and commercial contractors. Australian Flooring Supplies is proud to sell the biggest brands in flooring accessories. These brands are represented in their various product categories, from installation tools to adhesives and floor preparation products to finishing trims in aluminium and PVC, AFS is truly a one stop shop.
CCF Earth Awards recognising excellence in Civil Construction in the ACT
A night to enjoy – The Earth Awards provide a night to reflect and celebrate on the past 12 months of Cicil Construction.
Friday 9 May saw the presentation of the 2014 ACT Branch CCF Earth Awards. First presented in 1994, the CCF Earth Awards have set the pace in Australia’s civil construction industry evolution into a modern, environmentally responsible and highly skilled force in the Australian economy.
Guest Speaker Owen Finegan, CEO Snowy Hydro Southcare Rescue Helicopter gave a fantastic speech to the crowd, providing some hilarious insights into the world of professional rugby. Ross Barrett, MBA Life Member was thriled to present a cheque for $150,000 on behalf of the Master Builders Skills Centre Building Fund to Owen for the rescue helicopter. Category 1 - Projects valued up to $1 million was won by the team from Makin Trax for their work on the Canberra Centenary Trail.
The awards represent an excellent opportunity to showcase a company’s capabilities to industry, clients and prospective clients. Many changes and innovation first seen in the Earth Awards and then promoted by the Civil Contractors Federation have seen major advances in environmental rehabilitation and remediation, construction techniques and the implementation of higher project management skills across the civil construction industry. The approach taken by civil contractors has been followed by governments at the local, state and federal levels with regulations and legislation supporting these new and better methods in civil construction – supporting a better industry. This year’s ACT CCF Earth Awards were held at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra and attracted 250 guests. Four companies were awarded winner’s certificates on the evening for their outstanding work over the past 12 months. A Standout project was the Cotter Dam expansion by Bulk Water Alliance who won the Category Five division (Projects valued over $75 million). 40
Category 1 – The team from Makin Trax won for their work on the Canberra Centenary Trail
Category 2 - Projects valued between $1 million - $5 million was won by the team from Cord Civil for the Narrabundah Velodrome Upgrade. This was a particularly difficult job that required some skillful mathematics to get the transitions correct. Category 3 - Projects valued between $5 million - $20 million was won by Woden Contractors for the Parkes Way Widening Bridgework project. One of the biggest issues for this project was
Andy Crompton, Chair of the ACT Civil Contractors Federation gave a speech on the health of the Industry and the quality of local projects. National CCF President Tony Baulderstone also spoke of the importance of the Civil Construction Industry, praising those who produced such fantastic work, and who were deservedly recognised on the evening. ‘The Stevenson Experience’ entertained the crowd with their unique brand of humour and music - targeting a select few audience members. The night was a great way to recognise both
Category 2 – Cord Civil receive their award
Category 3 – Woden Contractors receive their award
Guideline ACT – The team from Guideline ACT enjoy a night together at the awards at the Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
Category 5 – Bulk Water Alliance received the Category 5 award for the Cotter Dam expansion.
the sheer amount of passing traffic, approximately 35,000 cars per day, as well as the fact that the expansion was over a body of water.
Community Support – Ross Barrett OAM presents CEO of Snowy Hydro Southcare helicopter, Owen Finegan with $150,000.
Andy Crompton – ACT CCF Chair, Andy Crompton
The big winner on the evening was the Bulk Water Alliance for the remarkable job on the Cotter Dam (Category 5 - Projects valued over $75 million). The scale of this project was immense, raising the capacaty of the Dam by 35%.
outstanding work in construction and environmental excellence, as well as providing an evening to catch up with friends and colleagues away from the office. Congratulations to all this year’s winners, and to the sponsors without whom these events are not possible.
Annual Charity Golf Day another success
For Charity – John Miller (MBA), Natalie Howson (Boundless Canberra), Hunter Cocks & Trevor Moore (Asset Construction Hire) & Valdis Luks (MBA) with the cheque for $13,150 for Boundless Canberra.
This years annual charity golf day was held at the Federal Golf Club, and players were there not only to have a good time, but to help raise funds for Boundless Canberra - the all abilities playgound.
A big thank you must go to the staff at Federal Golf Club who helped make the day such a successful outing and to all our sponsors for this event, especially Platinum Sponsor, Asset Hire for their support of such a fantastic day.
Players were treated to a picture perfect day. 200 players hit the greens in support of this year’s charity Boundless Canberra – the all abilities playground. With our fantastic sponsors such as Platinum Sponsor, Asset Hire, and Major Sponsors Onesteel Reinforcing, Commonwealth Bank and Seears Workwear we were able to put on a day filled with fun and laughs (and some friendly competition) whilst raising much needed funds for this worthy cause. Over $13,000 was raised on the day for Boudless Canberra - another fantastc result.
We look forward to another successful Master Builders Golf Day in 2015.
Guests at the dinner were entertained by Olympic Gold Medallist Steven Bradbury OAM whose presentation ‘The Last Man Standing’ combined humour, passion and physical performances from the guests themselves. Some of the winning teams on the day were: Best gross score from a handicapped team Smart Housing Group Best gross score from an open team Reece Plumbing Best Dressed team BCA Certifiers 42
Congratulations to all involved, and to the winners on the day.
CorkhillBros CANBERRA SAND & GRAVEL
general news Ten Years of The Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council Grant Daly Director Policy & Research, cpsisc
The Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council (CPSISC or ‘sipsik’ as it is more commonly known) commenced operations in 2004 and this year marks its 10th year of service to the two industry pillars of construction and property services and is principally funded by what is now the Department of Industry. The CPSISC Board comprises representation from each of the sectors within the two stakeholder industries, as well as peak body and union representatives. CPSISC’s core business is the development and maintenance of training packages and in more recent times it has also managed national training funds including the EB PPP and NWDF. CPSISC launched the 2014-15 Environmental Scan (E Scan) on the 7 April at the Industry Leaders Forum in Melbourne. The E Scan is a snapshot of what is happening in the stakeholder industries at a point in time; all ISCs are required to produce E Scans for their industry groups. This document is likely to be of interest to construction and property services industry participants, most particularly those who are looking strategically at how to position their businesses in the light of current trends, new developments and economic and commercial indicators. In my role as Director Policy and Research I am responsible for liaising with stakeholder industries to initiate research that is relevant to their needs and to issues where policy will serve the way forward. I believe that good policy is a function of sound and sustainable industry practice and that industry participants should inform the promulgation of this. For this reason I am very keen to develop strong linkages with industry, most especially the property services industry and all of the associated sectors of this as my
recent career background is in building and construction. CPSISC already has a number of established consultation networks with industry in the development of training packages and through our current management of the NWDF. We also have linkages with the public and private RTO networks, peak bodies for industry and state and federal government bodies. I am currently looking at how to convey industry ‘culture’ to those bodies who work with our stakeholders. An understanding of industry culture puts flesh onto the bones of statistics and trends with which our industries are well served by bureaucracies. Culture is illustrated by the working norms of industry, the start and finish times, demographic descriptors of their participants, distinctive operating patterns and how the work gets done according to the regimens, legislation and regulations, best practices and role demarcations. This is a fascinating study of form that is useful to those contemplating careers and advancement within the industries, and it identifies the both the things done well and the blockages to progress where research, policy and support can assist. CPSISC work is presently highly visible on large-scale projects such as Barangaroo in Sydney where the training packages we have developed are engaged to provide skills for the many and varied workers coming onto the site. A feature of this project has been the strong participation in language, literacy and numeracy remediation activities for workers. This type of intervention underpins qualification acquisition and is not as visible as other more publicly acclaimed aspects of our roles. Visibility in terms of what we do and the many services we provide is an ambition I have for my present role.
The 2014 Master Builders & Cbus Excellence in Building Awards is approaching. We would like to thank all our sponsors for making this event possible. Naming Rights Sponsor
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The ‘inside story’ helped our business grow David howarth blackett homes
David Howarth – David Howarth knows the value of family in business.
David Howarth and his family thank their lucky stars that they discovered Family Business Australia (FBA). David is Managing Director of Blackett Homes and, although his wife Marilyn has retired from her role as Financial Controller, she is an active member of their Board. Their son Matthew is Construction Manager, Geoff is Contracts Manager and their youngest son, Adam, has recently joined the business as Development Manager – so, in addition to their specific roles in the business, the family juggles the issues that always flow from working with the ones you love. “The business was going OK at the time,” David says, “but since joining FBA we have a lot more direction – and it’s helped us take the business to another level. “FBA was founded by family businesses for family businesses, so their courses, conferences and other educational sessions are all based on national and international research into what makes the most successful family businesses work so well. It’s great to tap into that.” “We’ve now discovered what family business best practice is and, amongst other things, have developed a proper governance structure with a professional Board which includes an independent member. We’ve found that very helpful. He brings independent thought to all of the issues and created more structure and accountability, which we all need if we’re serious about improving our businesses.”
Geoff Howarth also gains great benefit from his membership of one of FBA’s unique Family Business Forum Groups. Because there is a strict confidentiality rule and there are no competitors in the group, Geoff is able to speak openly and gain valuable
insights into how other family businesses are run, the problems they are experiencing at a family or business level and they all work together to help resolve issues. Everyone is able to speak their mind safe in the knowledge that what’s said in Forum stays in Forum and long-lasting friendships and business networks are forged. David is also signing-up Geoff and Matthew for the Next Gen CEO Program in the ACT on 18 June. This unique offering gives Next Gen family members the opportunity to pick the brains of a successful CEO during a two hour small-group session, gaining business and personal insights that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. David says the family finds everything they do with FBA is valuable for them and their business. “The conferences are very inspiring. It’s so beneficial listening to the success stories, experiences and issues that other family businesses share at conferences – some of them are among the largest businesses in Australia. They share their stories ‘warts and all’ for the benefit of other families in business – it’s amazing. “With most organisations, you’re surrounded by competitors, so you need to be careful with your information in that setting. But at FBA, it’s all about how to improve your own business and learning from others who have walked in your shoes, so they truly understand what you’re dealing with. The dynamics at FBA are completely different to anything else we’ve been involved in – it really helps your business to grow.” For information about Family Business Australia and upcoming events contact Kylie Kovac on 0419 578 176 or by email at email@example.com
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Canberrans have good reason to consider an electric vehicle when making a new car purchase.
Charging – Todd Eagles – Deputy Chair, ACT Electric Vehicle Council with an electric car.
Canberra has some unique attributes that make buying an electric vehicle stack up from an economic and environmental perspective. Economic benefits The compressed geography of Canberra means more trips from a single charge. This means if you forget to plug it overnight, you’re not stranded or getting the bus. Canberra families often have a primary car used for long weekend trips and a second car purely for commuting. With the operating costs of an electric car being more than 85% less, purchasing electric for that second car just makes sense. The ACT has the cheapest electricity in the country whereas the price of petrol is 10c/L higher than the national average. Under the Green Vehicle Scheme, an owner of a 100% electric vehicle pays no duty at registration time and helps reduce vehicle pollution and decrease carbon emissions.
Environmental benefits There is a strong link for electric vehicle adoption to contribute the ACT’s legislated greenhouse gas emission targets (namely, a 40% reduction on 1990 emissions levels by 2020, and a 90% Renewable Energy Generation for ACT use by 2020).
The ACT has the cheapest electricity in the country whereas the price of petrol is
higher than the national average.
With ACT moving to increase electricity generation from renewable sources, like solar farms, Canberra will have less carbon intensive electricity, a feel good consideration when you plug in the car. Also, by using less petrol, the risk exposure to an interruption in the fuel supply chain is considerably reduced. Follow the Electric Vehicle Council on Twitter (@CIEVF) and Facebook, www.facebook.com/ACTElectricVehicles, for the latest electric vehicle information and news.
The ACT Electric Vehicle Council is comprised of representatives from academic, corporate and Government sectors, who act as an advocate for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the ACT and surrounding region. The aim of the Council is to promote EVs as a viable transportation alternative to conventionally fuelled vehicles in the ACT and surrounding region. Chairman and Media Spokesman - Ron Collins 0439 133 658
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As business owners, we like to think we can handle anything. But if there’s one thing that stresses us all out it’s the unexpected. Whether it’s weeks of rain when you want to lay a slab, or losing a bunch of receipts the day before your BAS is due, these types of banana skins can make us feel like our business is out of control. While it’s unlikely that you’re going to find a ‘cordless weather maker’ on the shelves of your local hardware store any time soon, there is something available right now that puts you back in control over your business paperwork. Even better, it can save you heaps on your expenses. Caltex, Australia’s number one fuel and convenience marketer, presents Caltex StarCard - an indispensable trade tool for businesses. . When you think about it, fuel for your vehicles is one of your biggest variable costs: let’s face it – we’re on the road all the time. And when you’ve got multiple vehicles and drivers travelling all over the countryside, it’s easy to see how much margin for error there is. People losing receipts, not recording mileage, adding some drinks and snacks to the bill, using the vehicles for personal use…. The list is endless. And so is the paperwork. Assuming you’re lucky enough to eventually get all the receipts in good enough condition to be able to read them, you have to manually enter them all, deduct the sundries, and try and work out which job they apply to and when, never mind processing all the expense payments. Let’s be honest, that’s not what we do best. 50
MA S T E R B U
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Luckily, not only does Caltex StarCard do it better than any of us could possibly do, it does a whole lot more. The benefit you can’t go past is that you get all your fuel costs on one, ATO-approved tax invoice. Which means no more glove boxes full of faded receipts, and no more chasing drivers who stopped working for you six months ago. But that’s just the start. Need to find out who’s spending what, where and when? It’s all just a click away with 24/7 online spend and maintenance tracking. The level of detail you get is so powerful you can use it to streamline efficiency and work out where and when you’re at your most profitable. For added security you will be prompted to set a PIN for each card as well as opt to add odometer readings to each card also for extra security. And, amazingly, you can even set restrictions on the purchases individual drivers can make on their card and spot who’s using your vehicles for private use. Not only does Caltex StarCard put you back in control, it also frees up your business cash flow. A generous 51 days interest-free credit means you’re not forking out for fuel every day and you can pay via direct debit so you don’t have to worry about remembering when to settle up. Add optional Roadside Assistance and with access to over 2,000 service stations all over Australia you’ll know you’re covered for every business journey. Caltex StarCard gives you more control over your day-to-day tasks which makes it easier for you to run your business. And the best part? It doesn’t have a battery that can go flat when you need it most. For more information on the MBA Caltext Star Card, contact Lorraine Brook on (02) 6175 5920 or email Lorraine@mba.org.au
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a snapshot of industry news from around the country
Master Builders Welcomes Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council Master Builders Australia welcomes the establishment of the Government’s Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council. “It highlights the Government’s recognition of the vital role small businesses, including small building and construction firms, play in creating economic growth and employment,” Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said. “98% of building and construction businesses are small firms and the Council will provide an opportunity to advise the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson on initiatives that will help create a business friendly environment,” he said. “In the building and construction sector thousands of small businesses are literally building Australia. The industry is one of the nation’s largest employers and trainers of apprentices, providing jobs for more than a million Australians and a pathway to a rewarding career for thousands of young people,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. “Boosting the productivity of small business will deliver important benefits in economic growth and job creation helping to better position the economy to meet its structural challenges,” he said. “Cutting red and green tape is an important weapon in this battle and easing the burden of regulation is especially important for small building firms which operate in one the most intensely regulated industries,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. “Master Builders strongly supports the Government and the Minister for Small Business in their efforts to slash $1 billion worth of red tape from the economy, freeing business people to focus on building profitable businesses and generating new jobs across Australia,” he added.
Budget Broadly Positive For Builders On balance, the Budget should have a positive impact on the building and construction industry, but not without pain. “Overall, the Government’s roadmap to structural budget repair and a return to surplus should be a positive for business, homebuyer and investor confidence, despite the temporary Deficit Levy,” said Wilhelm Harnisch.
“The building and construction industry particularly welcomes the Government’s $50 billion infrastructure package,” he said. “But roads are not everything and the Government will need to focus on broadening infrastructure investment to include urban investment in the post-Budget period,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. “Master Builders welcomes the cut in company tax while recognising that many small building firms are not incorporated.” “In contrast, Master Builders is deeply concerned about the negative impact of several initiatives on the building and construction industry,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. “The cessation of funding for the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) makes it doubly important for the Government to find more effective methods of tackling the lack of housing supply and providing more affordable social housing,” he said. “The cessation of funding for the Tools For Your Trade program is disappointing but is offset by the Trade Support Loans for apprentices,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. “The phasing out of skills programs such as the Apprenticeship Mentoring Program and the National Workforce Development Fund is another disappointment which will place pressure on the Government to implement a viable apprenticeship reform program to guarantee a skilled workforce for the future,” he said. “The imposition of the fuel levy will hit tradies particularly hard because of the amount of travel they undertake. Their increased transport costs will be passed on to the consumer,” Wilhelm Harnisch said. “As the Treasurer has acknowledged, this Budget is “just the start” and Master Builders is looking to the Government for more detail of its National Economic Strategy in coming weeks,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.
Builders To Be Awarded For Creating Age-Friendly Housing
Master Builders Warns Industry To Comply With New Building Code
Master Builders and the Department of Social Services are calling for entries in the 2014 National Lifestyle Housing for Seniors Award which recognises excellence in building and the industry’s role in developing innovative housing options for older Australians.
Master Builders Australia warns entities in the building and construction industry that they will not be eligible to tender for Federal Government funded building work unless their enterprise agreements comply with the Government’s new Building and Construction Industry Code effective from 24 April 2014.
Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said “As our population ages, we need to build housing that suits the changing needs of ageing residents. The National Lifestyle Housing Award acknowledges best practice in design and construction, and aims to foster a greater awareness of healthy ageing with the benefits of innovative and adaptable housing. “The Department of Social Services’ continuing support for the Award highlights the importance of creating age-friendly environments that maintain and, indeed, improve the health and wellbeing of Australians of all ages” he said. The Award is divided into two categories: owner-occupied purpose built detached dwellings and multi-unit developments. The Awards are limited to Class 1 and 2 buildings yet may include dwellings that are set within a complex that provides complementary facilities to support the lifestyle of the residents. The 2014 Department of Social Services National Lifestyle Housing for Seniors Award will be presented at the Master Builders Australia National Excellence in Building and Construction Awards Dinner to be held at Parliament House in Canberra in November. Master Builders invites builders to nominate their project for the 2014 National Lifestyle Housing for Seniors Award. Submissions close 22 August 2014. Download an entry form at www.masterbuilders.com. au/events/national-awards
All entities in the building and construction industry, including head contractors, subcontractors and suppliers who wish to tender for Government funded projects must ensure that any enterprise agreement entered into from 24 April 2014 complies with the new Code because of its retrospective nature. Provisions in the Code relating to workplace arrangements, the contents of agreements and workplace practices will have a retrospective effect as will the provisions about dispute resolution. Master Builders strongly supports the new Code because it will eliminate restrictive work practices that drive up the costs of construction and will strengthen the capacity of all entities in the building industry to ‘say no’ to union stand over tactics. Master Builders urges head contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to seize this opportunity to develop enterprise agreements without excessive, restrictive and unproductive conditions dictated by union EBAs. Even though the Code will be given effect by the passing of the Government’s bills to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), in the meantime enterprise agreements must comply with the Code on the basis that the ABCC bills are expected to be passed by the Senate after 1 July 2014. Entities should seek urgent advice if they have any doubt about their enterprise agreements complying with the Code.
Canberra building news edition 3 - 2011
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bOTTOM lINE •
Investigate complaints to the commissioner about the management of the environment by the Territory or a territory authority; and about issues relating to ecologically sustainable development in the ACT, and;
act as an advocate for environmental issues and ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
DOES THE COMMISSIONER OR ESD HAVE ANY RELEVANCE TO THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION SECTOR? The ACT’s Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Robert (Bob) Neil has been in the role for nearly two and a half years. Prior to this role he was head of the Environment Protection Authority, so we thought it time to have a chat with him about the work of his Office.
There has rightly been a strong focus on work safety issues that were well covered by the “Getting Home Safely Report” and I read in our local press of financial pressures and tight margins in the construction industry and that short cuts are not uncommon. It is imperative that we have a safe and viable construction industry in the ACT and region and effective safety and financial management is critical to those outcomes – but does that mean environmental considerations are now a side issue? Definitely not!
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT?
On an industry wide basis there are opportunities to improve environmental and financial outcomes. The last State of the Environment Report showed that waste generated by the construction and demolition sector rose by nearly 88% from 223,633 tonnes in 2007-08 to 420,227 tonnes in 2010-11. While much of this is recycled there is still a significant amount going to land fill with the associated direct weighbridge costs and the lost opportunity for reduced disposal costs and subsequent recycling which is a more sustainable approach to our natural environment. It will be interesting to see the trends in construction and demolition waste over the period 2010-11 to 2014-15 to see how well industry has accepted the challenge of minimising and recycling their waste.
The Commissioner is an independent statutory position, established in 1993 as one of the first independent Commissioners for the Environment in the world and the first in Australia. The Commissioner is an “environmental ombudsman” for the ACT and my functions include independent scrutiny, reporting, advocacy and advice. Victoria is the only other Australian jurisdiction with a Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.
must produce an ACT State of Environment report every four years, with the next being due at the end of 2015,
undertakes investigations either as Directed by the ACT Environment Minister or on his own initiative, the most recent being a Minister directed investigation into the water quality of Lake Burley Griffin in 2012,
Another issue of interest to the building, construction and development industry reported in State of Environment Reports is the number and type of contaminated sites indentified in the ACT. Between 2007and 2011 an additional 147 contaminated sites were identified in the ACT. Fuel storage and uncontrolled landfill are the two most common uses associated with contaminated sites that require assessment and remediation. Redevelopment, creating urban infill from former “brown field” sites such as service stations and uncontrolled fill sites, has created new challengers for both the ACT Government and Developers with respect to the
management, reuse and disposal of hydrocarbon, or asbestos contaminated soil. These may present a problem but they are a genuine environmental and long term sustainability issue that needs complete engagement from the construction industry. Appropriate densification of our city increases our long term sustainability. Protection of both environmental and human health outcomes by early, effective management of contamination is critical to avoid additional work and associated costs. There are no short cuts when dealing with site contamination and the EPA is a good first contact for contaminated site management in the ACT.
HOW CAN THE MBA MEMBERS CONTRIBUTE TO ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVE SUSTAINABLE OUTCOMES – ECONOMICALLY, SOCIALLY AND ENVIRONMENTALLY? There are Environment Protection Guidelines for the Building and Construction industry, developed by the EPA in consultation with the MBA. These provide advice on managing your impacts from construction and land development including tips on managing pollution on residential building sites. Implementing the guidelines is a first practical step to helping improve our environment not only for us but for our children and future generations. The guidelines are on the web at: http://www.environment.act.gov. au/environment/environment_protection_authority/business_ and_industry/environment_protection_guidelines
stresses the necessity, or desirability, of avoiding or at least minimizing adverse environmental impacts. Principles of ESD may be used in decision-making with the priorities or weightings between the various components of ESD (social, economic, and environmental) for the decision-maker to determine. However, a ‘business as usual’ approach to decision-making may well see decisions increasingly challenged for failure to incorporate principles of ESD. Determining priorities will involve value judgments that should seek to maximize or, where that is not possible, optimize ESD in decision-making. The practical application of ESD in decision-making can be achieved through, for example incorporating ESD in strategic planning instruments; project design; environmental assessments of proposals and by determining criteria in the form of standards or benchmarks against which projects and activities may be assessed.; Some application of ESD principles can result in conditions of consent for projects and activities as well as important monitoring and adaptive management. It is heartening to see that the Master Builders Association runs a Green living sustainability course. This is the future and, I believe, one in which there will be better rewards both financially for builders and for the planet as a whole. For further information on ESD and the work of the Office please call on 02 62072626 or via our website:
But Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) is a lot more than environmental protection. ESD has been a principle in much of Australian legislation for at least 25 years but what does it actually mean? What do Government and Private Sector decision-makers have to do with it? That is, how do decision-makers actually think about and use the concept of ESD? Does it mean anything at all, or is it a tick and flick process, or an in depth consideration of the impact of the decision over a life time and for seven generations to come? Or may be somewhere in-between? As environmental lawyer Dr Gerry Bates notes “Clearly, the principles of ESD are intended to influence, even direct, governmental and therefore corporate and individual decisionmaking.” However, as principles, they tell us little about how to translate the concepts into practical action; that is something that must be considered in the context of each individual proposal. The principles do seem, however, to imply a preventative, or cautionary, approach to decision-making that
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The Master Builders Fidelity Fund was established in 2002 to protect the interests of both consumers and builders in the ACT. For Builders, the Master Builders Fidelity Fund provides financial certainty as money held by the Fund remains in the ACT. It is securely invested and used for the betterment of the ACT builders and consumers and is therefore not subjected to the vagaries of international markets and events. The Fidelity Fund issues Fidelity Certificates which provide consumer protection for owners of new homes and those making significant changes to homes. The Certificates protect the owner during construction and for up to six years from the date of practical completion. Master Builders members receive reduced premium rates and we also offer special discounts for volume users of the Fidelity Fund. For more information contact the Master Builders Fidelity Fund.
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