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BuildingNews Canberra and Region

Winter 2008

Magazine of The Master Builders Association of the ACT

$27 Billion of Work Over the Next 10 Years

The Village Building Co.

Keeping Housing Affordable


Still Listening and Responding?

2008 Master Builders & Boral

Excellence in

Building Awards

17 floors. 4 delays. 3 years. 2 architects. One bank.

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12 What Lies Ahead for

the Building Industry?

Peter Jones, Chief Economist, Master Builders Australia – predicts $27 billion of building and construction work for the ACT.

16 ACTPLA responds to the New Planning System

Neil Savery, Chief Planning Executive, ACTPLA – talks about the issues with new Territory Plan and how ACTPLA is addressing them.

Cover Image

20 Inside Housing Affordability

Read aboutThe Village Building Co’s commitment to sustainability and quality through there new affordable developments.

14 Five year plan on ACT Land Releases 14 Life, Business and Sustainability in Building Forum 18 Economics and Training – Potentially Compatible Bedmates?

22 The 2008 Master

Joint winner of the 2008 Excellence in building awards’ Chief Minister’s Special Affordable Housing Award – Proximity in Bruce by The Village Building Co.

Builders & Boral Excellence in Building Awards

Eight pages of entertainment, glamour and the big award winners.

35 ACT Recycling Delivers Competitive Building Supplies 35 Prowd Painters – Delivering Excellence in Painting

18 Canberra Apprentices Do Us Proud at WorldSkills

36 E-Return with the ACT Long Service Leave Authority

Master Builders Association of the ACT 241 Northbourne Avenue Lyneham ACT 2602 GPO Box 3022, Canberra ACT 2601

30 2008 MBA Group Training Apprentice & Cadet Awards

37 Look Who’s Coming For Your Dinner – The Tax Man?

Tel: 02 6247 2099 Fax: 02 6249 8374

31 Deputy Prime Minister Speaks to Master Builders

37 Builders to Benefit From Changes to Fuel Tax Credits

32 The Dirt on Landscapers

38 Women In Construction

Eugene Dyriw explains why not all landscapers are created equal.

36 Firewalling Your Assets

38 Land Rent Scheme

32 Training and Assessing Against AQF Competencies

Email: Web: Advertising enquires please contact David Leitch Tel: 02 6247 2099 Mob: 0437 379 391 email:

Coming Events Sector Council Meetings

28 August – Canberra Rex Hotel All Master Builders members are invited to attend their sector council meeting, which is your opportunity to discuss issues relevant to your individual sector with other members.

2008 CCF Earth Awards

28 August – Canberra Rex Hotel The Civil Contractors Federation Annual Awards recognising excellence in the civil construction industry.

Commercial Trade Night

17 September 2008 The latest trends and products will be on display in the commercial sector of the building and construction industry.

Master Builders Annual Dinner

14 November – Hotel Realm The Master Builders Annual Dinner is one of our premier events where members come together with their partners for a fun, semi formal, social evening. Mark it in your diary!

For more information on coming events please contact Master Builders

This publication has been designed by The Master Builders Association of the ACT and printed by New Millennium Print to comply with a very high standard of environmental performance as stipulated in the Good Environment Choice environmental labelling standard GECA 20 – Printers and Printed Matter

President’s Message President of the Master Builders Association of ACT, Ross Barrett In my 40 years in the construction industry I’ve only seen all of these three principles applied consistently by a handful of companies. Most construction companies only apply some of them some of the time.

Price it right

I received a few comments about my old fashioned ideas after my previous column on “leadership”. So I have decided to continue with my self indulgent ramblings and archaic thinking. I wrote that “construction isn’t an easy business to be in, so managing a construction company shouldn’t be easy either”. But it doesn’t need to be too complicated either.

Many businesses seem to price their work at rates which they believe will ensure they obtain the project they are seeking. This usually means quoting the job at a price lower than you think the competition will submit. The required final profit margin can often be disregarded at this early pricing stage. Most construction companies will submit unsustainably low prices to acquire work when their current work levels become low.

Traditional wisdom says staff are the first priority, but I don’t agree... without satisfied clients there isn’t even a need to have staff. Client satisfaction should be the foremost priority in the private enterprise environment. There are actually only three principles of management required in any company and it doesn’t matter how much time and effort you expend on other things, it will be wasted if you divert from the basics. 1. Price it right Ensure the job you are trying to obtain is priced correctly. 2. Do it right Ensure the work is completed efficiently to the expected quality. 3. Collect the money Ensure money you are owed for the work is collected in a timely manner.


Do it right While this sounds like a motherhood statement, there are too few construction companies that can be relied on to consistently complete the work to a reasonable standard. Some will intentionally provide poor standard works in order to reduce costs and increase short term profits.

Collect the money This also seems self evident but the simple fact is that many businesses are not good at collecting from their debtors and continue to work even if they haven’t been paid on time.

The best course for these companies is to stick with doing work for governments who will usually send out the cheque in a timely manner. The real test in any business is very simple. Ensure the money in the bank at the end of each month is more than it was the previous month. If you submit the progress claims on time and collect the money when it’s due and pay your debts when they are due, you always know where you stand financially. It really can be as simple as that. It doesn’t matter how much you increase turnover or how many more people you employ or how good the new fangled KPIs are looking. The bottom line is all about money in the bank. And of course, if you aren’t profitable you don’t survive. Our industry has a history which is littered with non survivors. In terms of running a successful construction business over extended periods, it is also necessary to consider and satisfy all of the stakeholders. It is important to have clear priorities. I believe we need to consider first the clients, then our staff, then the suppliers and subbies, and finally the investors and the community in that order. Traditional wisdom says staff are the first priority, but I don’t agree… without satisfied clients there isn’t even a need to have staff. Good staff without a client is equally useless. But of course most managers will tell their staff that they are his most important asset. You might have been surprised that I put profit down my priority list. While it is essential to make a profit, if profits are put first, you will alienate the clients and eventually you will alienate everyone else in the chain. Client satisfaction should be the foremost priority in the private enterprise environment. That means an agreed price, agreed quality and agreed timing. Making things easy for our clients should be at the heart of what we do.

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Executive Director’s Message Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of ACT, John Miller all levels of government responding to the need to invest in making sure our workforce is well educated and trained.

Welcome to this winter edition of Canberra Building News. It would be inappropriate if I didn’t open up quickly with a comment about our recent Excellence in Building Awards and acknowledge all entrants in the awards and congratulate the winners. It was a very successful evening and capped off with the outstanding result by local consortium, Federal Highway Joint Venture, for Project of the Year with the Gungahlin Drive Extension project. I hope you enjoy the feature contained further on in the magazine. Since the autumn edition of Canberra Building News we have seen the release of both the Federal and ACT Government budgets. Whilst there were all sorts of largesse and sweeteners contained in both budgets there were two common themes around both, and indeed the budgets of other jurisdictions released since. The common themes are very close to our industry – infrastructure, education and training. I am going to explore briefly the theme of education and training.


Our last issue of Canberra Building News featured a story on our new headquarters and skills centre at Fyshwick. This is a significant investment by Master Builders in our future. The largest proportion of space in the new centre is dedicated to training and this is premised on current activity and expected future demand.

Research gathered both overseas and in Australia is increasingly reinforcing the importance of education and training in terms of economic performance. There are many countries, particularly in Europe, ahead of the game when compared to Australia.

We can start this exploration close to home. The size of the intake for this year’s reconstituted Building and Construction Management degree course at the University of Canberra says a lot about the level of interest and activity in our industry at present.

In order to continue to train the next generation of building and construction workers, we don’t just need training infrastructure, there needs to be a strong commitment by existing industry to take on apprentices and cadets. Failure to do this will only exacerbate skills shortages that have beset the industry in recent years. And whilst there will be the inevitable downturns, there will also be the surge in activity that cannot always be met, nor relied upon to be met, from imported labour. Training our own must be a priority.

The new course demonstrates the increasing emphasis being placed on education and training in seeking to lift Australia’s performance against our competitors. The linkages between education, training and productivity are strong and I mean education and training at all levels – from the unskilled right through to the highly skilled and professional areas.

Master Builders is fortunate to have had so many outstanding host employers over the years to help train and mentor young people into our industry and businesses. Long term business and personal relationships have been forged as a result of this system. Our challenge is to increase the number of businesses willing to make the commitment so important in underwriting our future.

Research gathered both overseas and in Australia is increasingly reinforcing the importance of education and training in terms of economic performance. There are many countries, particularly in Europe, ahead of the game when compared to Australia. Having said that the good news is we are moving in the right direction with

The need for well defined career paths is often discussed. The course at the University of Canberra has added to the potential career path being sought by many young people today. In the future we could see young people move right through from a school-based apprenticeship, to complete Certificates III and IV, then advance to

Diploma and Advanced Diploma level. At the end of all that is the opportunity for locally trained people to now stay in Canberra and further their careers if they so choose by going on to University. As important as it is to make sure that current and future industry participants have an opportunity to advance their careers through to the professional and management areas, it is equally important to meet the demands of the many skilled and semi-skilled trades-people so vital to the success of the industry. This includes increasing trade qualifications through structured and recognised training as well as undertaking assessment of skills acquired by many workers outside of accredited training institutions – recognition of prior learning (RPL). Master Builders is in a perfect position to meet the demand in both of these areas and the new centre and facilities will enable us to respond to industry in an even more timely way. The scope of training we can deliver is significant by any standards. Our aim is to work constantly with member businesses to make sure that value is being added to your businesses and to the industry more broadly. Put simply, training that does not produce a dividend is a cost; our training unit prides itself on meeting and exceeding minimum competency benchmarks and producing excellent outcomes. Our Director of Education and Training, Grant Daly, can help with any questions or solutions around your training needs. Grant discusses training matters later in this magazine. I want to briefly finish off this story on the ACT skilled migration program. Whilst the major imperative should and must be on training our own, recruiting from overseas is in itself an important strategy. The ACT has been running the very innovative Live in Canberra campaign for a couple of years now with Master Builders as an active partner in the campaign. Recent visits to the UK, Ireland and South Africa have unearthed many people who would be more than happy to call Canberra home. A number of these people are looking for employment in the building and construction industry. A large database has been established of these overseas contacts and you can get more information from Live in Canberra campaign manager, Simon Kinsmore on (02) 6207 9024 or by visiting I look forward to catching up in the next edition of Canberra Building News.



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The Future of the Australian Building and Construction Commission National Director, Industrial Relations and Legal Council For Master Builders Australia, Richard Calver have been able to operate without the constant distraction of workplace disruption as working days lost fall to historical lows, permitting contractors to deliver on time, on budget, and in a more harmonious working environment.

Master Builders’ policy is for the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to be retained. The work of the ABCC is invaluable. It has isolated and stifled standover tactics, coercion and industrial blackmail, that have dogged the industry in the past two decades. However, the Government has announced that from 31 January 2010 a new body will replace the ABCC. We are committed to working with the Government to meet its promise that there will always be a “tough cop on the beat”, to quote the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. She has announced an inquiry into the successor organisation to the ABCC. This organisation will be a division of a very large bureaucratic structure to be known as Fair Work Australia. It will incorporate the functions of a number of current Government agencies, including the Workplace Ombudsman, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, and the Workplace Authority. A specialist division of Fair Work Australia is intended to replace the ABCC. Master Builders’ input to an inquiry into the replacement for the ABCC, to be headed by the Hon Murray Wilcox, QC, will be vital. We will emphasise that reforms implemented through the ABCC have had a decisive impact on workplace harmony and led to a real change in workplace culture with related increased productivity. Builders

Master Builders will be urging the inquiry to recommend to Government that the powers the ABCC currently holds are transferred in their entirety to the new entity. At the same time as the Wilcox Inquiry has been running (the Inquiry opened on 1 July 2008), construction unions have determined to

Even though people summoned to give evidence to the ABCC lose their right to silence, the law protects them from being prosecuted out of their own mouths. In other words, if you provide evidence to the ABCC under its powers of compulsion you cannot be convicted on your own testimony unless you lie. run a media campaign aimed at developing community support for the quick abolition of the ABCC. They want the building industry watchdog abolished before the announced date of 31 January 2010 and its powers disintegrated. The unions’ campaign is centred upon the so-called abuse of human rights that the ABCC, in exercising its powers, is alleged to foster. The thrust of the campaign

completely ignores that a large number of agencies in the Australian legal landscape have information gathering powers. These powers are important administrative and legislative devices of government. Many agencies, including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, use them to compel provision of information, the production of documents and the answering of questions. The ABCC has similar powers. This is absolutely necessary in the face of the fact that the prior Building Industry Taskforce, which did not have the power to compel evidence to be provided, saw 52% of complainants not follow through with their complaint. Even though people summoned to give evidence to the ABCC lose their right to silence, the law protects them from being prosecuted out of their own mouths. In other words, if you provide evidence to the ABCC under its powers of compulsion you cannot be convicted on your own testimony unless you lie. This is a provision that is designed to bolster individual protection where the right to silence is not available. All building industry employers should be aware of this protection and publicise its existence to their workers so that the falsity of allegations of abuse of human rights is shown to be nonsense. The institution that has provided a real impetus to building industry productivity and which has made life at the building site far more harmonious should be retained and should be retained in the long term. That is the message we will be sending to the Wilcox Inquiry.

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What Lies Ahead for the

Building Industry?

Falling builder sentiment as rates bite Master Builders latest National Survey of Building and Construction shows builders becoming increasingly concerned about the outlook as a result of higher interest rates, the spike in petrol prices and global uncertainty. After a number of strong years, builders are reporting a fall in business conditions, declining expectations about where business conditions are headed and a fall in display centre traffic and enquiries.

Massive investment task It would be unfortunate if the fall in business confidence translated into weaker output. The building and construction industry plays a pivotal role in delivering Australia’s economic and social infrastructure needs

and in meeting the important challenges of climate change. Few other national industries are of such enormous scale and vital importance for Australia’s long-term economic and social well-being. Policies promoting the building and construction industry, therefore, must be front of mind for all politicians.

construction work will be done over the next 10 years. Of the estimated $11 billion of residential work, nearly half will be for alterations and additions (remodelling) with the remainder for the building of 26,000 new dwellings. 

Building and construction last year attracted around $150 billion of investment and provided jobs for 950,000 workers. Master Builders Australia will continue to work hard to ensure that government policies support the estimated $1.7 trillion of investment required nationally over the next decade. For the ACT, Master Builders has estimated that more than $27 billion of building and

By Peter Jones

Chief Economist, Master Builders Australia

ACT Building and Construction Value of work done


$ Million % Change

Non-residential $ Million % Change Engineering

$ Million


$ Million

% Change


2006–07 Actual

2007–08 Estimate

2008–09 Forecast

2009-10 Forecast

2010–11 Forecast

2011–12 Forecast

2012–13 Forecast


















































% Change








Persons (Thousands)








% Change








Source: Master Builders Australia, Construction Forecasting Council

Construction Task over the next 10 years Value of work done, $billion, constant prices, cumulative to 2017 Residential



Total Construction

New South Wales















South Australia





Western Australia










Northern Territory





Australian Capital Territory










Source: Master Builders Australia


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Is Your Builder a Master Builder? Whether you are building a new house, renovating an old house, adding a pergola or that extra room, make sure you use someone you can trust.

Ask the Question is My Builder a Master Builder All members of the Master Builders Association of the ACT go through a thorough application process.

Master Builders Code of Conduct Members of the Master Builders Association are bound by a Code of Conduct based upon a range of ethical principles. For a copy of the Code of Conduct please contact the Master Builders Association of the ACT or visit the website.

Master Builders Support of Consumers The Master Builders provides contracts to ensure that dealings between builders and their customers are clearly set out and both parties know what to expect. Before signing a Master Builders contract or accepting a quote from a Member of the Master Builders you can contact our association for clarification on any questions you may have.

Master Builders Association of the ACT Tel: (02) 6247 2099 Fax: (02) 6249 8374 Email: Web:


It’s a matter of knowing who you can trust.

Five Year Plan on ACT Land Releases The ACT Government has moved to address Canberra’s long-running land supply shortages via a five-year land release program.

acknowledged unmet demand that has built over recent years, due to a variety of factors including the growth in the Commonwealth public sector,” he said.

The program, the Australian Capital Territory Indicative Commercial Land Release Program 2008–09 to 2012–13, will see more than 15,000 home sites made available. This will coincide with the release of 100,000 square metres of commercial land and 100,000 square metres of industrial land each year.

Looking at the release of commercial and industrial land, the Chief Minister said that this reflected estimates that the demand for retail space alone would increase by 15 per cent over the next five years.

The release program reflected long-standing lobbying efforts on the part of Master Builders ACT and was welcomed by Executive Director, John Miller, as a measure which would assist housing affordability in the ACT. Announcing the program, ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanope said it would see more than 4,200 dwelling sites released in the current financial year, with the total over the five years of the program amounting to 15,000 sites. “This will meet estimated demand over the period as well as absorbing the

“In addition, high levels of demand for industrial land are expected for the next two financial years, before demand returns to historic levels by 2012-13,” he said. According to the data contained in the ACT Government’s documentation, the Indicative Commercial Land Release Program will see a total of 102,927 square metres released in Barton, Civic, Gungahlin, Griffith and Kingston in the current financial year, and 109,505 square metres being released in Gungahlin, Phillip, Belconnen, Kingston, Bruce, Turner, Campbell and Civic in 2009/10.

Kingston, Phillip, Chisholm, Charnwood, Amaroo, Casey, Kaleen, Holt, Higgins, Kambah and Civic. Mr Stanhope said the beauty of the program and, in particular, the inventory of release-ready land was that it would allow the Government to respond more quickly to shifting market conditions and to do so without jeopardising the investment that had already been made by existing home owners. The Chief Minister said that the principles which had guided the program had been the economic and social development of the city and a desire to deliver greater certainty to the property market. “The releases contained in the program won’t just help residents, of course,” he said. “The commercial and industrial releases will drive the diversification of our economy and better equip us as a community to respond and adapt to change.”

The largest release of commercial land will occur in 2010/11 when 160,987 metres will be released in Gungahlin, Belconnen,

Life, Business and Sustainability in Building Forum

provincial landscapes


The Life, Business and Sustainability in Building Forums were held in Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide, Launceston and Canberra. The forums were well attended and well received in all states and territories.

representative, Warwick Waugh talk about his experiences as a remodeller in Sydney and especially the important roll that business training has played in securing a more profitable business for his company.

The Canberra session was a great success and this can be primarily attributed to the variety of the program. A broad range of issues were dealt with at the forum including keynote addresses on sustainability from Planning Minister Andrew Barr MLA and Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Green Building Council Australia. We also had former Brumbies and ARU

Paul and Nina Winans from the USA provided excellent presentation on Work Life Balance. This presentation enlightened and provided us with the tools to implement clear communication, set boundaries and live a more balanced life. This was a lively and interactive session that was enjoyed by the attendees.

Paul also explained how to create a plan for achieving personal success, map out the future of your business and make more money while working fewer hours. The sessions were complemented by trade exhibitions from a range of suppliers specialising in new sustainable materials and products. The Master Builders Association of the ACT would like to give special thanks to the two major sponsors of the forum, QuoteFast and Cbus.

11/7/08 4:43:21 PM 00075

3534 TFA_June08_PRESS_211x145.in1 1

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 about the Fidelity Fund contact Dave Byers on 02 6247 2099, or

Master Builders Fidelity Fund Tel: (02) 6247 2099 Fax: (02) 6257 8349

ACTPLA Responds to New Planning System Concerns


our years of extensive consultation has brought us a new planning system and four months on from the start of it, ACTPLA is still listening and responding to those who work with and in the system. ACTPLA has been holding a number of discussions with industry groups who have identified a range of concerns with the new planning system. ACTPLA acknowledges these issues and is focused on addressing them. New statutory systems will always have imperfections that need to be ironed out and this was acknowledged at the time the legislation was being debated. Likewise it was recognised that there was another phase required to the policy review of the Territory Plan post the commencement of the Planning and Development Act. As a result, the following measures will have been taken. From 1 July, the fees for the amendment of a DA will be changed from 25 per cent of the DA to a sliding scale relevant to the complexity of the DA. The length and complexity of the DA forms has been looked at. In late June the DA forms were amended and shortened with input from industry. Some sectors have expressed concern about the difficulty in complying with rules for exemption of development in some cases due to inconsistency in rules for similar structures, inconsistency with contemporary industry practice and lack of clarity on inter relationship of rules. These are being addressed through revisiting the Regulations. Amendments to regulations on DA exemption and transitional matters are being drafted, with possible commencement in August this year. The difficulties experienced by some in complying with various Territory Plan provisions due to their wording have largely been addressed through Technical Amendment No. 2 to the Territory Plan.


This has recently been out for public comment and proposes to make minor amendments to a range of Codes. A range of other Code variations to the Territory Plan to correct a number of technical issues in the short term are being prepared. ACTPLA is also establishing a policy review process to identify priorities for more substantive Territory Plan issues, which will be discussed with the Minister for Planning, as these will constitute policy change to the Territory Plan and will require appropriate levels of public consultation. ACTPLA is conducting ongoing discussions with industry groups on the five times fee for extension of development covenants, which implements an initiative of the Government’s Affordable Housing Strategy. Building certifiers have also been in talks with ACTPLA about understanding their role in the assessment of exempt single residential development in new estate areas. Further education and training and discussion have been occurring. Some applicants have been frustrated at not being able to lodge in the Code Track of the Territory Plan because they have found it too difficult or time consuming to obtain the necessary pre-lodgement endorsement from a referral agency. ACTPLA has taken this up with referral agencies, who themselves have been dealing with and bedding down the changes brought about by the new system. A comprehensive training plan for both staff and industry has been delivered, from February through to the end of June. Sessions have been held for introductory matters as well as lodging residential DAs (Code Track and Merit Track) and lodging non-residential DAs (Merit Track and Impact Track). Participants have provided very positive feedback on the quality and thoroughness of this program. ACTPLA’s Customer Service Centre and DA staff have also noticed a

difference in the quality and accuracy of applications lodged by those who have completed the training. A new integrated electronic development assessment platform is being developed, which will cover all key components of the DA and BA processes from the lodgement of applications, to the licensing of construction industry practitioners, to the issuing of final certificates of occupancy and use. The first stage of the system was made available to staff on the day the new planning system began, which is enabling the tracking of new applications and a workflow to assist in the entire decisionmaking steps involved in assessing an application. Staff are providing feedback on the further refinement of the system before it is available to customers. The external interface of the new system will be available to customers to enable the full electronic lodgement of applications and access to information on the status of applications from the convenience of their offices or at home. Tenders for the next stage of the implementation of the eDevelopment platform are being assessed and it is expected that the external interface for electronic lodgement will be available in the later this year. ACTPLA has not rested on its laurels since the introduction of the new planning system. It has been determinedly working to make sure it is a system that is simpler, faster and more effective. ACTPLA has a strategic implementation plan that addresses all of the key procedural, process and information requirements of the new system, as well as dealing with post-implementation issues raised by various interest groups. We welcome feedback and I encourage you to keep talking to our staff – directly, in writing, or through industry bodies like the Master Builders Association. 

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Economics and Training – Potentially Compatible Bedmates?


he Master Builders Association Group Training Scheme is taking on a significant role by working more closely with employers to ensure that the training provided by us is an investment and not a cost. An economic mandate? Master Builders argues this is the bottom line consideration because training must produce tangible dividends, such as: • Quality training When a person who has completed a training course is able to apply the learning to his or her work activity and demonstrate enhanced performance and outcomes; • Investment When exposed to the market a training outcome produces profitability (or a dividend) and ideally this provides on going profit for the employer. Our enquiries at the outset are simply as follows: if training were not an investment, why would employers bother with it? If the outcomes desired didn’t match what

the training produced, haven’t employers wasted their money? Shouldn’t quality training be based on the principle of ‘risk-reversal’? Master Builders is keen for employers to actually challenge the training profession to drive the sort of outcomes required by industry and to deliver a better the standard of training. The challenge for Master Builders is to promote transparency in our operation so that employers know what to expect for their dollar and how this can be measured. The other area that Master Builders is working on, is helping employers to understand the fundamental operational differences between ‘education’ and ‘training’. Training at MBA Group Training is about the specific knowledge and attendant skill application. The expectation is not that an apprentice or cadet will be able to recall learned material but to that will know where to access it and recognise the knowledge base is current. In training, the required knowledge base always relates to an accompanying skill-set.

Historically, formal training has often been regarded by employers as discretionary spending, and financially viewed in the same light as marketing, even though both training and marketing can be responsible for large-scale business growth. At Master Builders we are continuously training our own staff, recognising that if we were to stop our insight into the course material will lack integrity. Our 2007 Two-Gold Star award from the Institute of Trade Skills Excellence is testimony to the quality of our training skills. We are the only training organisation in the ACT to have achieved this rating. If you require a training program for your company contact Master Builders and we will work with you and your employees to develop a program that suites your specific needs. 

Grant Daly


Canberra Apprentices Do Us Proud at WorldSkills

 Steve Monkhouse, Brenton Wells, Gerard Allen  Carpentry competitors were judged on a range of criteria on their construction of a gazebo

the ACT via both the long-running Group Training Scheme and its heavy investment in the Fyshwick Master Builders Skills Centre. “An outcome such as this reinforces the value of that sort of investment,” he said.

Trades training in Canberra has received a boost with the news that two of the Master Builders Association of the ACT’s Skills Centre most talented apprentices represented the ACT at this year’s WorldSkills competition. While 2008 MBA Group Training Apprentice of the year Brenton Wells was “robbed of his title”, according to his mentor Steve Monkhouse, a second-year plumbing apprentice, Gerard Allen, took on the best apprentices in Australia to emerge with a silver medal. The Executive Director of Master Builders Association of the ACT, John Miller said


Gerard’s achievement was outstanding when it was considered that, as a second year apprentice, he was competing against apprentices in their third and fourth years. “Gerard emerged as a winner in the ACT divisional final of the WorldSkills competition, and his silver medal in the national competition reflects not only his own outstanding capabilities but the effectiveness of our apprentice training system here in Canberra,” he said. Mr Miller said Master Builders had been a strong supporter of trades training in

Worldskills Australia is a member of WorldSkills International, which is a global network of nearly 50 countries which participate in trade and skills competitions. The WorldSkills Australia competition is open to all Australian apprentices, trainees and vocational education and training (VET) students. As a result, any winners are judged against entrants from across the country. Master Builders are obviously very proud at the quality and standard that these two apprentices represent as are MBA Group Training and the entire ACT.

For the Building and Construction Industry  Trade-based training to secure the future skills needs of our industry in the ACT and the region: Trade Apprenticeships Cadetships Traineeships Australian School-based Apprenticeships  Advanced level training in Project Management and Site Administration. This program articulates into the Bachelor of Construction Management at the University of Canberra.

For the Consumer, Prospective Home Builder or Remodeller of an Existing Home  A new and innovative display centre.  Regular open days, where you can talk to industry professionals.  Information sessions for consumers on understanding building contracts and the construction process when you engage a builder.

 A broad range of specific training programs to ensure the skill levels and professionalism of our industry including: Certificate IV in Builders Licensing OH&S Management and Induction Business Management Financial Planning Computer-based Training

STATE OF THE ART training and building information centre

The New Master Builders Headquarters in Fyshwick


MBA Group Training is the only Registered Training Organisation in the region accredited with the 2 Star Institute for Trade Skills Excellence accreditation.

Master Builders Association of the ACT & MBA Group Training Corner of Newcastle St & Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: (02) 6247 2099 Fax: (02) 6249 8374 Email: Web:

The Village Building Co.

Keeping Housing



The Village Building Co. is committed to meeting the needs of the affordable end of the housing market. Having already produced around 12,000 house and land products in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, Chief Executive Bob Winnel says they will keep their focus on the affordable market segment for around 80% of the company’s work across all areas of operation. “It’s our company’s underlying philosophy to create quality houses that most people can afford in places they want to live” he said. “The ACT has been one of our major areas of focus for improving affordability. With increasing interest rates and Canberra’s already high housing prices we’ve seen a bigger gap between house prices and what people can really afford.” “We are one of the only companies in Canberra which has catered for the lower end of the market. Our recent affordable housing developments have been well received by buyers who have found it difficult to buy in Canberra.” The company’s strategy to address the lower end of the ACT market has been met with an increasingly positive response from the ACT Government. “The affordability proposals we submitted to the ACT Government identified ways to lower the costs of housing developments by removing a number of regulations which were adding unnecessary costs to producing housing. “Brindabella at Macgregor” is a good example of what can be achieved when Government and the private sector work together.” said Winnel.

The ‘Brindabella at Macgregor’ estate was the ACT’s first affordable housing development designed to stabilise house prices, with 15% of the homes in the total development required to meet the ACT Government’s affordability criteria. The Village Building Co. produced 37% of the total development within these criteria far exceeding the required numbers in the category. “With ‘Brindabella at Macgregor’ we’ve helped numerous first home buyers purchase a home who would have ordinarily been priced out of the market” said Winnel. “By increasing diversity in the market we’ve been able to ease more people into their goal of home ownership”. Well renowned for creating quality residential and mixed use developments, The Village Building Co. achieved a high level of success with ‘Brindabella at Macgregor’ by applying innovative solutions to enhance affordability without sacrificing quality. With the cooperation of ACTPLA, the subdivision has been redesigned to better suit block widths while still meeting planning regulations. More efficient road patterns have been used. This has resulted in an increase of cul-de-sacs, the reduction of edge roads and the removal of lane ways. Houses have been designed to coincide with industry standard sizing for housing material. “A lot of care has gone into coordinating house dimensions with housing material to significantly reduce the amount of off-cuts” said Winnel. “We have achieved savings through standardising interior designs and colour schemes which enabled us to have greater buying power through scale and reduce wastage of materials” said Winnel. Affordability of ‘Brindabella at Macgregor’ has been viewed not only as the capital purchase but within the terms of running

costs as well. Solar hot water systems will be installed in all homes to produce significant savings on household bills. Excess waffle pod piping has been used for greater insulation in concrete slabs. A six star energy rating was achieved on 60% of the housing at the development.

C anberra B uilding N ews W inter 2 0 0 8 I ssue 

Armed with a single-minded focus on producing affordable housing The Village Building Co. has been delivering on their ultimate goal to keep housing within the reach of ordinary Australians.

A considerable part of cost savings at ‘Brindabella at Macgregor’ was through segregating waste materials and finding alternative uses onsite. Many excess construction materials are being re-used with the result being very little waste going to the tip. Crushed concrete and brick waste have been used as a base under driveways, and plaster board has been re-used as soil improver. All scrap metal has been sold to scrap metal merchants, and left over plastics were recycled. This reduced the cost of disposing waste from $1200 to $300 per house. During the initial phases of the project a target of house prices no higher than $300,000 was set. “We looked at what types of housing could be built to be able to achieve this. Then we looked at what people specifically need in houses and tailored the housing product to this” said Winnel. “In my 20 years of developing housing, I’ve noticed two things. First home buyers with young children or with the intention of having young children want three bedrooms and a separate title. They are more than happy to take a smaller home or trade off on kitchen size, robe size and things like shower screens versus shower curtains. They are not insisting on a big block and a big home. They just want their own patch that they can afford to pay off”. The Village Building Co. is committed to looking to the future for building materials and practices that make homes more affordable and leave a lighter footprint on the Earth. For more information about future sustainable developments, contact The Village Building Co. on 02 6242 5999. 


2008 Master Builders & Boral

Excellence in Building Awards I n another spectacular event before almost 1,500 guests at the National Convention Centre, a story that might not have been imagined too long ago unfolded at the 2008 Master Builders & Boral Excellence in Building Awards. The story justifies the leap of faith taken a number of years ago in awarding a local consortium one of the most technically difficult and significant road projects undertaken in the Territory.

The story belongs to the Federal Highway Joint Venture consisting of Canberra Contractors, Guideline and Woden Contractors. Their Project of the Year award for the Gungahlin Drive Extension drew very high praise from the judging panel and through the peer review. The project was contending with other outstanding work. Well done to everyone at Federal Highway Joint Venture. Bovis Lend Lease unfailingly produces outstanding work and their win in the $12 million plus category for commercial buildings amply demonstrates their expertise. Australian Taxation Office staff working at Section 84 are now enjoying the quality of their surrounds thanks to the Bovis Lend Lease team. The commercial sector awards continue to demonstrate the flair, innovation and quality being demanded by a changing world. All winners were thoroughly deserving of their success and faced very tough competition. As always, the House of the Year attracts a great deal of interest and Creative Building Services along with Architects Ring and Associates and MMM Interiors have excelled in their Turner masterpiece. The judges in the residential section of the awards were faced with a massive challenge in their deliberations and commented frequently on the attention to detail and commitment displayed in the properties they visited.


Getting more people into affordable housing is a challenge being faced by government and industry. This year’s award featured the new category of Chief Minister’s Special Affordable Housing Award. Joint winners included The Village Building Co. led consortium and Mark Porecca. Both properties were highly praised by the judging panel for their innovation and finishing. The civil sector saw an increased number of entries highlighted by the success of the Federal Highway Joint Venture. There was also the success of Supplier of the Year the Elvin Group in a category that is bringing increased competition. Local industry icon, Tony Adams was thoroughly deserving of his Professional of the Year award. Tony has had a wealth of planning experience both in the public and private sector and is highly regarded by the industry for his professionalism, knowledge and commitment.

All of this year’s winners and entrants will now benefit from the ongoing exposure in two excellent publications produced in conjunction with the awards. Winning Homes and Excellence in Construction are both on the shelves now with distribution both through Master Builders and selected newsagents.

 One half of the MC team Mikey Robins and Master Builders Executive Director John Miller  With a full house the scene was set for another great night of celebration

The awards were again made possible through the continued outstanding support of major sponsors Boral who have helped us set the standard in Australia for awards presentation. These awards would never have grown to this level without their support and the longevity of this relationship. Master Builders also acknowledges the commitment and generosity of the many other sponsors of the awards as listed in our associated awards publications.

The Excellence in Building Awards entertainment was provided by two of Australia’s most talented performers, Dale Burridge and Danielle Everett


Faces at the Awards On 27 June almost 1500 guests attended the 16th Master Builders and Boral Excellence in Building Awards at the National Convention Centre. The evening was the showpiece for excellence in the Canberra building and construction industry with 61 awards and 9 merit certificates presented.

 Marie and Jerry Howard, Roger and Margaret Rose

 Helena and Ross Barrett, Jon Stanhope – Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory

Wendy Harmer and Mikey Robins  


 John Miller, Tony Charnock, David Dawes, Andrew Barr – Minister for Planning, Glenn Simpkin

 Steve Murphy, Gus Beatman, Adam Kaufhold, Kim Kaufhold, Brad Pedley, Lisa Capezio

House of the Year This four bedroom Turner home boasting high quality fittings and exceptional street appeal won the 2008 Master Builders House of the Year award for three Master Builders Association members – Creative Building Services Pty Ltd, Architects Ring & Associates Pty Ltd and MMM Interiors. The four bedroom home also boasts three ensuites and an expansive bathroom, along with designer kitchen and a range of other high quality inclusions. The judges paid particular tribute to the workmanship in the House of the Year, which they described as “simply excellent”. “The design of the house reflects the busy, and at times demanding, lifestyle of today’s family whilst creating a welcoming and calming ambience,” the judges said. “The layout of the rooms is exceptional with their relationship to the internal and external living areas second to none.” The judging panel also paid tribute the home’s street appeal, which they said complemented the existing landscaping on the block. This project won 6 awards at the 2008 Master Builders and Boral Excellence in Building awards. Including 5 for the Creative Building Services Pty Ltd, Architects Ring & Associates Pty Ltd and MMM Interiors team and one for Foxy’s Landscapes Australia Pty Ltd. The Executive Director of Master Builders ACT, John Miller said that the Turner home

maintained the high standards set by previous winners of the prestigious House of the Year Award. “In many respects the House of the Year Award represents both a benchmark and a showcase for our industry, and this year’s winner is of the highest possible standard,” he said. Mr Miller said that in circumstances where a number of past winners of the House of the Year Award had gone on to win national awards, he had every expectation that the same could be the case for the 2008 winner.

The Awards House of the year also won the following categories: • Residential Custom Built Home More than $800,000 • Kitchen Design & Construction More than $25,000 • Bathroom Design & Construction More than $25,000 • Bathroom Design & Construction Less than $25,000 • Residential Landscaping

Mikey Robins, Terry Ring, Joe Handoko, Helen King, Mimmi Freebody, Tony Charnock, John Miller, Ross Barrett, Toby Whittaker, Phil Pankhurst, John Katsanevakis


Project of the Year One of Canberra’s most important new infrastructure projects – the Gungahlin Drive Extension – has taken out the prestigious Master Builders Project of the Year Award. The Project of the Year winning consortium is the Federal Highway Joint Venture (FHJV), a company made up of three Master Builders Association members, Guideline ACT Pty Ltd, Canberra Contractors Pty Ltd and Woden Contractors Pty Ltd. The project has seen Canberra benefit from a vital addition to its infrastructure, with the seven kilometres of road having been delivered involving ten road and overpass structures. The judges commented on the complexity of the project, noting that it had involved cleverly implemented traffic management systems at the major intersections to minimise the disruptions to the existing traffic (no traffic accidents were attributed to the traffic management measures adopted by the FHJV during the course of the project). The innovation displayed with the construction of various bridge types including, bridge 7 that spans Belconnen Way, built using balanced cantilever post-tension concrete construction. This construction technique avoided a forest of false work scaffolding for the 50m road span between the piers. A form traveler was used to jack out bridge sections 5m at a time. In addition to that there is a 74 tonne super T span bridge over Ginninderra Drive and four bridges within a

ter M Milller, Pe ock, John rn a h C y Ton n Hayford vid Jones, ll and Joh arrett, Da ry Goodse o R e,  Ross B n o e Sim Michael D

fifty metre area, at three different levels for the Glenloch Interchange, all are a credit to the skill of FHJV team. For the Gungahlin Drive Extension project 1085 persons were inducted, the specialist sub-contractors and suppliers almost entirely came from Canberra and there were only 4 loss of time accidents throughout the construction. The project also required considerable consultation with local Aboriginal organisations,


community groups and government, leading to the preservation of significant flora, fauna and heritage sites. Commenting on the project, the Executive Director of Master Builders ACT, John Miller said he regarded this significant project as a worthy winner of the most significant Master Builders Award. “The fact that three locally-based companies have achieved this outcome, is a reflection of the capability of our local civil construction industry and their preparedness to ensure that the community and conservation values are maintained,” he said. “The end result is not only an impressive piece of engineering but the delivery of a much-needed piece of infrastructure to the broader Canberra community,” Mr Miller said.


Peter Middleton accepting the Award on behalf of the Federal Highway Joint Venture Company

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Professional of the Year

Tony Adams, Director, Town Planning – CB Richard Ellis

Tony Adams has had a long association with the ACT construction industry in his role as a senior planner with the ACT Planning and Land Authority and more recently as a professional consultant with CB Richard Ellis. The Executive Director of Master Builders ACT, John Miller said that while previous winners of the award had tended to be drawn from careers almost exclusively in the private sector, it was only natural that a former public servant should also be considered. Mr Miller said that given the importance of the ACT Planning and Land Authority to overall activity levels in the industry, the winning of the Award by Tony Adams was a reflection of the healthy relationship he had helped foster with a key Government agency.

Tony Adams, Director, Town Planning – CB Richard Ellis

Supplier of the Year The Elvin Group

A well established family company, started by Tom Elvin, The Elvin Group is a diverse business that has developed into one of Canberra’s premier suppliers. This is why they have been named Master Builders Supplier of the Year. Some of Canberra’s foremost building supply and service companies have been past winners of this award, and the Elvin Group has maintained the high standards set by previous winners. Their commitment to customer service and client satisfaction is achieved by providing high quality products and professional services. The Elvin Group is a worthy winner and has had a long standing association with the Master Builders Association of the ACT over several years.

Chris Rutledge, General Manager Elvin Group

New Residential Builder of the Year

Parry Pichelmann – Pichelmann Constructions Winning three awards in this year’s Master Builders & Boral Excellence in Building Awards was quite an achievement for Parry Pichelmann and made him a worthy winner of the inaugural Master Builders New Residential Builder of the Year. The accolades reflect on the high ethical standards and commitment to quality that Parry sets himself and his team of Tradesmen. Parry Pichelmann said “the awards are confirmation of the 110% effort that the team gives every time. Service and great workmanship are paramount. Our industry has changed over the years and the quality and style of houses have improved incredibly. We work very hard on our customer service and our ultimate aim is for people to come to Pichelmann Constructions because of our reputation”. Pichelmann Construction won the following awards: • Residential Remodelling $150,000 to $250,000 • Residential Green Living Project • Residential Custom Built Home $600,000 to $800,000

Parry Pichelmann – Pichelmann Constructions


Subcontractor of the Year

Erincole Building Services

Founded in 1989, Erincole Building Services is a company that specialises in external building facades. Erincole Building Services has developed a reputation for delivering innovative products whilst completing projects on time. With 55 staff, Erincole Building Services has a large team of experienced supervisors, traderperson and apprentices. This year Erincole Building Services was awarded Subcontractor of the Year for their efforts on the Acton East Flanking Building Façade, the Goodwin Residential Aged Care Facility Façade and the Benjamin Orange Building. The 2008 award makes it back to back wins for Erincole Building Services after being named Subcontrator of the Year in 2007.

Craig Richards, Wayne Richards, Todd Maybury, Geoff Doyle

Chief Minister’s Special Affordable Housing Award (Joint Winner)

Mark Porreca Pty Ltd The Tuscanny

Mark Porreca has built a fine reputation for designing and constructing value for money contemporary homes that are built to a quality not just a price. The Tuscanny is just one of the innovative designs that take great care in incorporating modern lifestyle requirements in an affordable package which includes perfectly placed bedrooms, bathroom, ensuite and large living quarters. A spacious garage and adjacent outdoor entertainment areas complete a petite package that has instant appeal to the first home buyer. Clients can be assured that their special requirements can be incorporated to make each home as individual and unique for their future family needs. Mark also develops a special bond with each client that guarantees a successful and affordable project. Mark Porreca

Chief Minister’s Special Affordable Housing Award (Joint Winner)

The Village Building Co. Limited Proximity

The Proximity project is aimed at wide acceptance for the first home buyers and is firmly based on a lifestyle choice that embraces living in a park setting, incorporating new style appliances, maximum use of space, high speed connectivity and a high level of security. As the name suggests it is close to all the amenities of the AIS and within cycling distant of Belconnen and Canberra central. The units make great use of amenities internally and the outdoors are a delight to enjoy with the neighbours. The building design is highly innovative, energy efficient and saves money in the construction and of course this saving is passed on to the home owner to make this development highly affordable. Proximity is a pleasure to call home and it offers maximum return on investment for the future. James Hickey, Paul Murphy, Dominic Maiuto, Bob Winnel, David Dawes


Multi Award Winning Project

Bovis Lend Lease Section 84 – Australian Taxation Offices

This project consisted of two separate office towers within the Section 84 precinct development in the city centre. The clients, Queensland Investment Corporation and the Australian Taxation Office, demanded the highest level of quality and modern environmentally conscious building performance. The challenging brief was successfully transformed into a contemporary, attractive and efficient workplace by the project team. The building sets a benchmark for building and construction methods, environmental solutions and the introduction of new building technologies. Ben Symons, Daniel D’Ambrosio  

The Awards for Section 84 – Australian Taxation Offices • Commercial Building More Than $12m • Commercial & Retail Fit-out, Refurbishment or Alteration More Than $3m • Commercial Project Exhibiting Technical Difficulty or Innovation • Commercial Mechanical Services (Haden Engineering Pty Ltd) • Commercial Environment Management Project

The Master Builders Association of the ACT would like to thank the following valued sponsors and supporters of the 2008 Master Builders & Boral Excellence in Building Awards – celebrating excellence in the building and construction industry.







MBA Group Training Apprentice & Cadet Awards The MBA Group Training awards were held at the Eastlake Football Club in Kingston on Friday night, the 30th of May 2008. Colin West, our OH&S Coordinator, elegantly attired in a ‘Mickey Mouse’ suit was the Master of Ceremonies. The venue and the meals were favourably reported on by apprentices and cadets and everyone who attended. It was a celebration of excellence amongst the prize winners and an opportunity to acknowledge the quality of training provided by our trainers who consistently excel themselves in terms of their ability to produce top-notch graduates from their programs. There were several highlights to the evening; one being the awards made by Steve Monkhouse, our carpentry and building skills trainer who profiles unwitting recipients for interestingly-titled and cleverly designed trophy awards.

Sam Spencer, Cadet of the year From early in his training career as a cadet Sam has demonstrated both an aptitude and an interest in construction project management work. Sam started an Engineering Degree after leaving school but did not find the program or being away from home to his liking. Since starting in the Cadet program, his progress has been rapid; at present he is undertaking the Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) and is highly regarded by his employer.

Brenton Wells, Apprentice of the year Brenton recently completed his carpentry apprenticeship through MBA Group Training ACT Inc and throughout his training, he was regarded as capable and hard-working – two attributes that have served him well to date. Brenton will be recalled for his willingness to do whatever extra was required to finish a project and as such, was always in demand by host employers. He was recently selected to represent the ACT in the World Skills program and alongside his manifest skills and attitude, he is polite, engaging and a really great ambassador for the industry.



n 28 May the Deputy Prime Minister, Juila Gillard, addressed a Master Builders Industry Dinner at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra. In her speech the Deputy Prime Minister emphasised that the Government was committed to developing skills and expanding infrastructure. The message came through loud and clear that the Government will not permit “unlawful industrial disputation or conduct in the building and construction industry”, to disrupt the Labor Government’s plans to bolster infrastructure and to foster skills. On the formation of skills, Master Builders was pleased by the reaffirmation that $2.5 billion is being invested by the Rudd Government to upgrade vocational education and training in schools. Our experience is that development of an interest in the building and construction industry in the school years means a greater commitment to an apprenticeship, with school based apprentices having only a 10% drop out rate when compared with the 50% general drop out rate around Australia. The Deputy Prime Minister took the opportunity to reinforce the message that the Government planned to retain the Australian Building and Construction

Commission (ABCC) until 31 January 2010. This was an important reassurance in the light of the campaign currently underway by five unions to secure the early abolition of the ABCC. The transition from the ABCC to a replacement body, a specialist division of the proposed Fair Work Australia, was promised to be “orderly, effective and robust.” The task of making the process meet this requirement has been handed to a former federal court judge, the Hon Murray Wilcox QC. The report he is to prepare must be ready by March next year. It was anticipated in the speech that the terms of reference for the inquiry would be finalised by the end of June but that matter has been delayed. The final terms of reference will be released in July.

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Deputy Prime Minister Speaks to Master Builders

In all, Master Builders was pleased with the acknowledgement that we are part of the process of working with Government to deliver on its agenda, an agenda based upon its election promises which have been scrupulously followed. 

Richard Calver

National Director, Industraial Relations and Legal Counil for Master Builders Australia


The Dirt on Landscapers


very person who is too young to retire and who can’t think of what to do after leaving their desk jobs buys a ute, shovel and pick and believes they can go into business as a landscaper. Landscaping is a profession that is extremely underrated. But, what makes a complete landscaper? Landscaping is like building. There are cowboys in both industries who undercut prices affecting the livelihoods of proper businesses. They think if they can throw a few big rocks around, lay some paving without the thought of proper sub-base preparation, bury a few plants and turf, and build a deck that has a life expectancy of 18 months, they are successful businesses. They really have no idea of running businesses successfully. The concept of contractual obligations, warranties, overheads, cash flow, insurance, Occupational Health and Safety issues and customer focus never enter their heads, but these are just some of the business practices that make the complete Builder and Landscaper. At present the Master Builders Association of the ACT has approximately 70 members who have nominated their profession as Landscaping. Of these about 45 undertake residential landscaping. After successfully building a house with a Master Builders member the next most important part of lifestyle living for the

owner is the extended outdoor living areas and surrounding landscaping. In the ACT this is an integral part of the homeowner’s right to maximising the use of ever decreasing block sizes. The ACT region enjoys the four distinct seasons. The landscape design should reflect this along with the homeowner’s individual choices, needs and tastes. It should also provide for sustainability by minimising the wasteful use of drinking water on gardens, retaining overland storm water within the grass and garden areas and through careful plant selection and placement, maximise solar gain in winter and minimise solar heat gain in summer to the adjoining house. This does not only apply to residential blocks, but also to multi-unit, commercial and industrial developments. So what does make the complete Landscaper? He or she should be a competent business person, with an understanding of their legislative and business obligations, a sound knowledge of building and landscaping materials and the requirements of structural stability of landscape structures. If dealing directly with the owner, and not through a Professional Landscape Designer, the complete landscaping business should have a flair for sustainable design, knowledge of suitable plant species, and the capability of providing this information to the customer so that they clearly understand

what they’re getting and what they’re up for. To help achieve the landscaping members’ goals the Master Builders is in the process of putting together a Residential and Small Commercial Landscaping Contract. As a Master Builders member the landscaper should understand that they have the backing of all the services and training the Master Builders provides and their clients should be comfortable with the fact that as an Master Builders member the Landscaping contractor is not a cowboy but a serious business that must adhere to the Master Builders Code of Conduct.  

Eugene Dyriw

Technical Services Manager, MasterBuildersAssociationoftheACT

Training and Assessing Against AQF Competencies

Graham Reilly, John Miller

Book now seats are limited 32

In mid 2007 the ACT Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Authority provided MBA Group Training ACT with funding for a project to provide training for employers to learn how to formally train

Fast Track Arbitration A light hearted and very entertaining seminar with live role plays hosted by Sir Laurence Street

HigH Court of AustrAliA

thursday 4 september 2008, 5:30 to 9:00 pm To book or for more information (including prices) on this very entertaining and informative presentation call (02) 6282 2222 or email

and assess against Australian Qualifications Framework competencies. This formed a part of the ambitious plan by MBA Group Training to significantly enhance the role of employers in the assessment process for cadets and apprentices. Graham is the first of the civil sector employers to secure this qualification. Graham has already used his new skills in working with a civil and plant apprentice employed by Huon Management Services. 00099a

Graham Reilly of Huon Management Services Pty Ltd in Fyshwick is pictured here receiving his Certificate IV qualification in Training and Assessment from John Miller, Executive Director.


Specialising in commercial projects, contact the award winners CTR Pacific Pty Ltd, for all your brick and block laying requirements.

CTR Pacific Pty Ltd PO Box 16 Jerrabomberra NSW 2619 Ph: 02 6299 7653 Fax: 02 6299 7683 Email:

Your Australian Apprenticeships Centre Employment ACT

Need Help in the Workplace?? Contact Employment ACT on

6262 7844

for more information


President’s Luncheons

Our partnership with Austbrokers could save you thousands of dollars


Paul Kane – Regional Manager, Corporate & Business Banking, St George Limited Michael Costello – Managing Director, Actew Corporation Sam De Lorenzo – Executive Board Member, Master Builders Association


e of e. On ensiv cess to p x e too s was ac arly e s way er m wa ster Build save me n iu m e l a r il p M w p e is s Com joining th plan. Th aying.” riors orker m ion np n Inte “My W nefits fro mpensat have bee – Ipa r o t c e o ire the b orkers C on what I ing D W anag 50% their los, M John


llop Kane

Bob Winnel – Managing Director, The Village Building Co Jon Stanhope – Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory Ross Barrett – President, Master Builders Association


John Harris – Partner, O’Connor Harris Zed Seselja – Opposition Leader Ross Barrett – President, Master Builders Association

ars 6 ye ver and o r rs fo n well fees. ilde r Bu ensatio ription e t s Ma Comp subsc ess.” the s n r of Worker uilders y busi pes. e b B dsca m m r n e o e o t t Lan m s t e e a r v fi a a a e c een ney I s of my M al ben Easy ve b o t ci or – rect “I ha d the m the cos t finan i D an overs nifican ging ana c ig y, M r r truly It is a s e B icki



Paul Powderly – State Chief Executive, Colliers International Neil Savery – Chief Planning Executive, ACT Planning and Land Authority Ross Barrett – President, Master Builders Association

Compare your workers compensation policy today!


A partnership formed between the Master Builders Association of the ACT and Austbrokers Canberra



For further information and eligibility contact the Master Builders Association of the ACT on 02 6247 2099

Paul Macor – Canberra Contractors Frank Pangallo – Mayor, Queanbeyan City Council Ross Barrett – President, Master Builders Association

Mugga Lane plant makes the most of recycled building and construction waste Sourcing competitively-priced building supplies and living up to society’s increasingly green expectations can be a challenge, but a Canberra company, ACT Recycling, has found an answer. Builders looking to source building aggregates, sub-bases, concrete dusts or scalps should visit the ACT Recycling Pty Ltd facility at Mugga Lane tip where they will benefit from a cutting-edge approach to recycling the ACT region’s building and construction waste.

industry,” Tanya said. “Our whole facility has consistently recycled 99.9 per cent each month.” As is often the way with good ideas, the ACT Recycling plant grew out of commercial necessity – the need for major contractor Thiess for fill as day cover on rubbish. According to Tanya, ACT Recycling’s parent company, Samarkos Eathmoving was bringing in fill from one place or another which would contain rock.

In doing so, they might also be witness to the forerunner of the type of recycling technology that will ultimately become a fixture in some of Australia’s other States and Territories.

“We would crush it (the rock) down and sell the bigger rock,” she said. “From there it got to ripping up a car park and deciding to recycle the bitumen. So it started from our civil contracting side and not wanting to waste these really good materials.”

The brainchild of long-time member of Master Builders, Manuel Samarkos, of Samarkos Earthmoving, the $4 million plant was commissioned around nine months ago. In that time it has made a real mark in ensuring the efficient recycling of building and construction waste at the same time as delivering another source of materials to the industry.

Today ACT Recycling boasts more than 450 clients from major civil contractors through to owner-builders, and if the company has any complaints it is simply that not everyone in the local building and construction industry understands that it can offer a reliable supply of building and construction materials.

According to ACT Recycling’s Tanya Zantis and Peter Poulos, the plant achieves a recylcing rate of around 96 per cent compared to an industry average of about 80 per cent because of the way in which it has been set up, enabling workers to sort everything that comes along the conveyer belt. “Out of all your urban materials, concrete, brick and asphalt – 100 per cent gets processed and sent back into the building

If the ACT Recylcing plant at Mugga Lane tip is unique, then it is probably because while it emerged from a basic design premise, it was allowed to evolve during construction consistent with the requirements and the ideas of the owners.

Materials Materials Sold Concrete Aggregates Sub Base Asphalt Millings Crushed Brick And more Materials Accepted Metals Concrete/Tile/Terracotta Bricks

C anberra B uilding N ews W inter 2 0 0 8 I ssue 

ACT Recycling Delivers Competitive Building Supplies

Asphalt Mixed Construction/Demolition And other recyclables Tanya said there had already been an expression of interest from a significant NSW local authority, and that expansion represented a part of the company’s ultimate grand design. If you are interested in seeing the recycling plant first hand come to the Open Day on 30 August – ACT Recycling, Mugga Lane Resource Management Facility, Mugga Lane Symonston, ACT 2609 – Ph: 02 6239 7916

What is more, the owners believe that the technology and methods which have evolved at ACT Recycling can be utilised elsewhere either by private companies or by local authorities.

Prowd Painters – Delivering Excellence in Painting Prowd Painters like getting the job done right and are not afraid of trying out new products and techniques. As new members of the Master Builders the Canberra Building News spoke with Rod and Jason Prowd recently and learnt a little more about how they get the job done. Over the past few years Prowd Painters has completed a number of tight time framed and difficult projects in the commercial painting sector. They have worked with a number of key builders and fit-out companies in Canberra including: ISIS Projects, IQON, Manteena, Monarch, Project Coordination, SMI, Cobul, Solve Projects and Rork Interiors. This is a family run business so getting the jobs done right is of great personal importance to Rod Prowd who has been painting for over 25 years.

An example of Prowd Painters ingenuity was shown on an IQON project at Tidbinbilla earlier this year. This project, for the Parks Authority involved using environmentally certified products to ensure the safety of the animals. Helen Badger (Project Manager, IQON) had this to say about the work of Rod and the team, “Prowd Painters were very cooperative and thorough in applying Medivet to the floor of the animal house. They liaised with the manufacturer and participated in a training session to ensure that the product was applied exactly according to the manufacturer’s specifications.” Another testing job for the Prowd team with a tight time frame was the repainting of Chicken Gourmet in the City – Marco from Monarch Building Solutions knew he could

trust Prowd Painters to complete on time, as with most shop fit outs this job needed to be done in a short time and they got in and finished what was a difficult job on a very active site. Prowd Painters have developed a reputation within the commercial building sector for delivering quality projects on time within budget.

Commercial Painting Specialists



Your Assets

n Australia, one in every three people are either suing or being sued. New South Wales is the third most litigious state in the world, behind California and Texas, with Victoria not far behind. If you are in a business then you are likely to be sued three times in your life. The need for directors of companies and building practitioners to protect their assets is critical as they could be named in litigation proceedings along with their company. The aim of asset protection is to minimise legal, business and political risks, by safeguarding assets from litigation, loss and diminution in value. The preservation of assets is achieved by structuring the ownership of assets in an effective and secure manner thus protecting the assets from potential creditors, government agencies and excessive taxation. A crucial element of this philosophy is related to wealth management and financial planning and in turn providing ongoing business and personal security. The notion of asset protection is entrenched in capitalist economies. This notion is reflected by the well-established role of limited liability companies and family trusts. The goal of asset protection is to secure one’s financial freedom, financial privacy and financial independence. However, these goals are not a fait accompli as the government has given priority to the policy objectives of revenue collection and creditors’ rights. These rights continue to be expanded. The reality is that we live in a culture of accountability; directors of companies

and building practitioners are increasingly becoming subject to litigation lawsuits. Frivolous or not any lawsuit is serious and exposes you to loss. In order to protect ones assets, structures, processes and mechanisms need to be put in place to minimise risks and exposure to litigation.

Be Proactive Now A key facet of asset protection is to be proactive. There are many pitfalls in being reactive. Australian Bankruptcy law prohibits a person from transferring their assets to another with the intent of defrauding a known creditor. Liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy have far reaching powers to set aside transactions. But most of these powers are subject to transactions that took place within certain time frames, it can be up to 5 years. For that reason it is important to act now so that the asset protection strategies are put in place years before a risk arises. A further benefit in being proactive in protecting your assets is that when a litigation lawyer evaluates the prospect of suing an individual (eg director of a company), they will always look at what assets you hold. If you own nothing there is less chance of being sued. The first step to protecting your assets is to make them invisible or more realistically not yours – whilst maintaining control over them. This is achieved by moving them out of the reach of lawyers, courts, and government agencies.

all litigious claims or may only protect you to a certain figure. Over that figure it is your problem. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. It is critical that you read the fine print, are aware what you are covered for, how much you are covered for and in what circumstances your insurance company will not pay up.

Your Business Structure Your business structure can also create a scenario where you can be more exposed to attack. For example as an individual or as a partner you have no protection. In a partnership, you bear unlimited liability for the actions of the other partners.

Superannuation Superannuation is an effective form of asset protection. This is because superannuation is free from creditors where the value of the superannuation is less than $1,228,440 (indexed). Where the superannuation fund exceeds $1,228,440, the excessive portion is exposed to creditors.

Discretionary Trusts A common form of asset protection is to have your assets held in a trust. Discretionary trusts are the most effective form of trust. A Discretionary trust gives you flexibility as to income and asset distributions. Beneficiaries may include other trusts, companies, individuals, family and non-family members. The main benefit of discretionary trusts is that the assets are held by the trust, not the individual beneficiaries. Asset protection is recommended for every business owner and building practitioner. The advantage is if either an employee or a client sues the director or the business, the assets are protected because they are owned by a separate entity. 

By Andrew Lord and Lauren Crowe Lovegrove & Lord

Most businesses have professional indemnity and other business insurances in place, however insurance may not cover

E-Return with the ACT Long Service Leave Authority As from the Jul – Sep 2008 return, the ACT Long Service Leave Authority is offering employers the opportunity to submit their quarterly long service leave return in electronic format.

How does it work?

3. The Authority will total your return and email an acknowledgement to you with the amount, levy payable due and Bpay reference.

1. You will receive your electronic return via email.

4. The Authority will send you simple instructions to assist you.

2. Complete the return online, which will be in the familiar format that you have been completing on your paper return.


Enter days and wages for each employee etc, then press the submit button.

What do you need to do? If you wish to E-Return in the future you can: 1. Complete the application form in the LSL Authority’s June newsletter and return it to the Authority no later than 29 August 2008, or 2. Contact the Authority on 6247 3900 or free call 1800 655 060.

The Australian Tax Office and Work Cover inspire fear (or dread) into most commercial enterprises. If they don’t then you either comply with all the laws before you or a time bomb is ticking beneath you. If there is one message I want to convey to you it is… deemed employees! The ATO and Work Cover love them. Yesterday a painter walked into my office with a Creditors Statutory Demand from the ATO. It was for superannuation not having been paid in the 2001 – 2002 tax year. This meant he had to come up with $42,000 in a week or face closure of the company. Why? Two “contractors” in that year had only done work for the painter and they were deemed employees. Last month a builder had sent his brickie “sub-contractor” to a site to finish the work above some windows. This brickie does more than 70% of his work for this builder on a regular and systematic basis. Guess what happened. The brickie fell of the plank being supported by two milk crates at each end, snapped his leg, got home and realised his workers comp had run out and called the builder for compo forms. The builder not only faces the compo premium but also the fines and penalties (up to 100% of the payout) by Work Cover.

Two weeks ago another builder rocks up with a claim by a “sub-contractor” for unpaid taxes. He said on his arrival at my office. “What the f*&#. The bloke’s a subbie and has been for years.” I asked whether the subbie earned more that 80% of his income from the builder. “Yep” was his answer. “But he puts in an invoice and I pay him on that”. He’s a deemed employee for the purposes of tax. My advice… if an individual is engaged for more that 80% of their income, or you direct them to do work on a regular basis, provide them with materials and most other tools for the job and basically look after them then they are an employee. Invoice or not they are an employee. On the other hand if they have a corporation yet you don’t record their workers comp premium has been paid and they do not provide proper tax invoices, you still may be caught out by claims. Make sure you have tight agreements with all intended workers/contractors, keep track of payment of workers compensation premiums and that they do no more than 80% of their work for you then we hopefully will never meet regarding these issues.

C anberra B uilding N ews W inter 2 0 0 8 I ssue 

Look Who’s Coming For Your Dinner – The Tax Man?

Steven Gavagna is the Managing Director of Goodman Law. He has graduated with a Building Degree and Law Degree, has worked in both industries and has been advising members of the Master Builders Association for many years.

Steven Gavagna

Managing Director, Goodman Law

Builders To Benefit From Changes To Fuel Tax Credits Fuel tax credits provide a credit for the fuel tax included in the price of fuel used in: business activities, machinery, plant, equipment and heavy vehicles. The only fuels that are not eligible are: aviation fuels, alternative fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, ethanol and biodiesel, and fuels used in light vehicles of 4.5 tonne gross vehicle mass or less travelling on a public road. Fuel tax credits were introduced on 1 July 2006 and the entitlement expands from 1 July 2008. This means even if you weren’t eligible before, you may be able to claim fuel tax credits for fuel you acquire, manufacture or import for use in your business activities from 1 July 2008. You must be registered for GST and fuel tax credits before you can make a claim on your BAS. If you are already claiming fuel tax credits, check to see if more of your fuel is eligible. Once you have registered, you can claim fuel tax credits for most fuel you use in your business. The amount you can claim depends on how you use the fuel, including 19.0715 cents per litre for fuels you acquire from 1 July 2008 to use in business activities, machinery, plant and equipment. Examples include a wide range

Examples of business equipment you can claim fuel tax credits for All-terrain Bikes (Off-road Use)


Lawn Mowers

Asphalt Pavers


Motorcycles (Off-road Use)



Outboard Motors




Blower Vacuums







Front End Loaders


Cement Mixers





of construction, wholesale/retail, property management, and landscaping activities. If you are already registered for GST but have not yet registered for fuel tax credits, you can do this by: phoning 13 72 26 at any time – make sure you have your Australian business number (ABN) and tax file number handy when you call; completing the form, Add a New Business Account (NAT 2954), or phoning 13 28 66 between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday. If you have an ABN but are not registered for GST, you

can register for GST and fuel tax credits at the same time by registering electronically through the Australian Business Register at (to use this service you must be registered to deal electronically – for more information visit or phone 1300 139 051), or completing the form Add a New Business Account (NAT 2954).





he National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is focused on reactivating activity in the ACT. NAWIC’s mission is to raise the profile of women working in the construction industry to be a positive instrument for change in the construction industry; to promote and share construction industry best practice; and to meet, support and network with other women in the construction industry. From its beginning in 1995, NAWIC has strived to build a dynamic organisation which encourages and supports women in the construction and related affiliate industries. Our membership has risen steadily over the years due to enhanced networking opportunities and the continuing development of member services and benefits.

to maintain awareness of industry developments, improve skills and knowledge and make a contribution to other women in the construction industry. NAWIC’s membership is diverse and includes builders, engineers, tradeswomen, architects, interior designers, quantity surveyors and students to name a few. NAWIC has recently achieved the milestone of having over a 1000 members nationally. NAWIC NSW/ACT continues to promote women in the industry through : •  Student Scholarships recognising students in property and construction •  Newsletters •  Awards program •  Seminars and site tours •  Mentoring and networking

The NSW/ACT Awards for Excellence will take place on 21st August 2008 at Luna Park and we expect nearly 1000 people to attend and celebrate the outstanding achievements of women in the construction and property industry. The ACT Committee met for the first event on 24 July to reactivate the ACT network which will include a full calendar of events including site tours, educational seminars and networking events to provide benefits to members. NAWIC is very excited about this recent development and is keen to support the ACT in what hopefully will become a new Chapter in its own right. NAWIC also plans to launch a WA Chapter in November 2008. Some of the national projects planned include a national re-branding, the creation of a national sponsorship program and a National Conference in either QLD or SA in 2010. NAWIC hopes to continue its national mentoring scheme funded by a Federal grant in conjunction with the Master Builders Association and Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

For information regarding membership or sponsorship for NAWIC NSW/ACT visit or email:

NAWIC offers individual members an opportunity to expand personal and business networks,

Kristine Scheul

NSW/ACT Chapter Council – ACT Committee Chair Letitia Turnbull NSW/ACT President

Land Rent Scheme The Land Rent Scheme is part of the ACT Government’s Affordable Housing Action Plan. The scheme provides households with the option of renting land rather than purchasing the land to build a home. The Land Rent Act 2008 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 1 July 2008. Under the scheme, purchasers of a single dwelling residential block (previously unleased land) sold by the Land Development Agency (LDA) have the option of applying for the crown lease to be issued as a land rent lease. The advantage for potential lessees taking up this option will be that the upfront costs associated with owning a house are reduced. That is, lessees will not need to finance the cost of the land, only the costs associated with the transfer of the land (such as duty) and the construction of the home.


In addition to the payment of the annual land rent charge, the lessee will be liable to rates and, if applicable, to land tax. Master Builders Association of the ACT has welcomed the Government’s new land rent scheme as a genuine step towards genuine housing affordability in the national capital. The Executive Director of Master Builders, John Miller said that we have been a strong supporter of initiatives aimed at making housing more affordable and that the land rent scheme represented a truly innovative approach to the problem. “The land rent scheme takes a new approach to affordability in the sense that it allows eligible people to pay rent on their land rather than buying it, and therefore reduces the initial cost burden confronted by home-buyers,” he said.

POLLUTION GRIME, WATER DAMAGE AND OTHER STAINS Gloss Services would like to introduce you to Dry-Treat STAIN-PROOF™, a permanent, invisible sealer for premium protection against staining, graffiti, pollution grime and water damage. This Australian made product is used worldwide to protect public structures,

Some of the benefits of STAIN-PROOF over other impregnating sealers: • Oil and water repellent, protects against salt and freeze-thaw damage • Easy to clean, no expensive, special chemicals required • Suitable for a wide range of surface materials, from fine natural stone, to concrete, brick, terracotta and grout • Maintains the original look of the surface where other products produce glossy or shadowy finish • Maintains slip resistance surfaces

commercial buildings and national icons (such as The Sydney Opera House, MCG and the National Police Memorial) against natural and social ravages while maintaining the surface’s original finish.

Extended life span upwards of 15 years written performance warranty when applied by Gloss’ accredited applicators

Gloss Services Pty Ltd Unit 9, 17-23 Oately Court, Belconnen Ph: 02 6254 0409 – Fax: 02 6278 7061 –

Secure Your Future SkillS NeedS aNd

Grow Your BuSiNeSS BY

BecomiNG a HoSt emploYer If you want to benefit from hassle free administration see the benefits listed below and contact MBA Group Training MBA Group TrAininG ScheMe pAyS for

• • • • • • •

workers' compensation long service leave annual leave and leave loading sick and public holiday pay rostered days off superannuation days spent at off-the-job training

open To All induSTry eMployerS

To become a host employer, you do not need to be a Master Builders Association member. However, members will be given priority if there are more positions than apprentices, trainees or cadets.

WhAT The eMployer pAyS

You only pay for the days the apprentice, trainee or cadet actually works on the job.

Who hAndleS The pAperWork?

MBA Group Training is responsible for all administrative requirements. All you need to do as the host employer is to complete the application form, record and verify weekly time sheets and attend to the payment of your account.


255–265 Canberra Ave, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: 02 6280 9119 Web:

Finally, a genuine business banking alternative for Master Builders

Have you heard of Members Equity Bank? Members Equity Bank is an awardwinning bank 100% owned by some of Australia’s leading Industry Superannuation Funds. The bank was created specifically to provide everyday Australians with a genuine banking alternative and a fair go for their money.

A Bank for Master Builders

Our Business Products

Cbus is a part owner of Members Equity Bank. This means Cbus members and employers enjoy the benefit of low cost banking products and a share of the profits that are returned to Cbus as an investor. That’s why Members Equity Business Banking specialises in providing finance to the building and construction industry and it’s why we support Master Builders ACT.

ƒ Business Loans ƒ Property and Construction Loans ƒ Vehicle and Equipment Finance ƒ Deposit Accounts

A genuine banking alternative for Master Builders. Please contact our ACT Construction Specialist Hugh Boulter (02) 6272 0738 0412 006 114

Business Banking


Canberra Building News Edition 2 - 2008  
Canberra Building News Edition 2 - 2008  

MAster Builders Magazine, ACT Building and Construction