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ABCC Abolished Legislation abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission has been passed by both houses of parliament, drawing a strong warning from Master Builders Australia that the change “defies common sense and will seriously risk damaging the industry’s productivity and at the same time lessen the community’s welfare.”

Edition 2-2012 files/view/?id=594 Master Builders Executive Council President – Ross Barrett Treasurer – Simon Butt Chair, Commercial Builders’ Sector Council – Valdis Luks Chair, Suppliers and Subcontractors’ Sector Council – Grace Ferreira Chair, Residential Builders’ Sector Council –Frank Porreca Chair, Civil Contractors’ Sector Council – Andy Crompton Chair, Professional Consultants’ Sector Council – Hans Sommer Master Builders Management team Executive Director – John Miller Deputy Executive Director – Jerry Howard Director Industrial Relations – Mike Baldwin Senior Management Accountant – Louise MacCallum Senior Manager - Marketing & Membership Services – David Leitch Master Builders Group Training General Manager – Wendy Tengstrom

Master Builders Association of the ACT 1 Iron Knob St, Fyshwick ACT 2609 PO Box 1211, Fyshwick ACT 2609 Tel: (02) 6247 2099 Fax: (02) 6249 8374  Email: Web:

The passage of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2012, which abolishes the Australian Building and Construction Commission was a reason for mourning by the building and construction industry, Wilhelm Harnisch, the Chief Executive Officer of Master Builders said. The legislation “defies common sense and will seriously risk damaging the industry’s productivity and at the same time lessen the community’s welfare,” he said.

Mr Harnisch said, “The old practices of stopping concrete pours, overtly coercing and bullying subcontractors and creating an environment of fear are just around the corner. According to the ABCC’s latest Annual Report coercive practices remain an endemic issue. The new regulator will have fewer powers and lower sanctions to apply to this unacceptable practice. In 2010-11 the Courts imposed a total of $2.570 million in penalties across a range of unlawful behaviour, including unlawful industrial action, right of entry, sham contracting and coercion. The latest amendment which will prohibit the new

The legislation “defies common sense and will seriously risk damaging the industry’s productivity and at the same time lessen the community’s welfare”

“There remains serious systemic unlawful industrial behaviour in the commercial building sector that can only be properly dealt with using the current laws administered by the ABCC. As sure as night follows day unless the building unions change their entrenched practices there will be the need for another major inquiry into the industry’s unlawful industrial conduct because the practices that are only just being quelled now will return and once again become common place. The ABCC will be replaced by a Building Industry Inspectorate within Fair Work Australia. The building union, the CFMEU, welcomed the change. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said the change gets the balance right. But the Coalition said it is worried the changes will mark a return to union thuggery on construction sites. Opposition spokesman Eric Abetz said it was flawed, partly because if a union and a business strike a deal they could not be prosecuted. He said the new body is weaker than the one it replaces. "There is no doubt that the new authority inspectorate, as it's called, will only really have the power to inspect and do nothing else."

Inspectorate from pursuing potential breaches of the law where an agreement between the contractor and the unions is reached further adds to the lack of power for dealing with unlawful industrial behaviour in the industry. “The new arrangements will adversely affect productivity. Master Builders independently commissioned research shows that all Australians are better off by $6.3 billion each year because of the industrial relations reforms that have been in place since October 2005, notably the ABCC. With the passing of the Bill this productivity affect will be lost and the community will be worse off. “Master Builders will now work co-operatively with Government to assist with the transition to a new regulator,” Mr Harnisch said, “but at every step of the way we will be reinforcing the message that this unnecessary change is a huge and damaging mistake,” he said.


HAMMER hits the nail on the head

Bloody generation, X, Y, Z, and whatever!!! They just can’t be relied on. How are we meant to survive? Guess what? These words or something similar have been uttered by older generations since time immemorial and we are still here. Sure, we can lament for things gone by but we still have to look ahead and underwrite the future. Master Builders Group Training has just held its annual Apprentice and Cadet awards. For any naysayers out there, it was an insightful evening. Just when you think the world’s in real strife, you see a bunch of kids and you think, “Hey, things aren’t that bad.” On display were many extremely capable, smart and articulate young people. They had clearly demonstrated they do know what they’re doing, they do know where they are going, and they do know what needs to be done to get there. Their biggest problem is that they need more people to give them an opportunity. Set aside some of the glib and predictable commentary of recent times by the CFMEU about training delivered by MBA, the industry is today full of many outstanding trades people who have been through the MBA Group Training scheme. To get where

they are today, they just need someone to give them a chance. If the industry is to survive, it is the responsibility of everyone in the building and construction industry to accept the responsibility and challenge to help the next generation through. Sure, they are going to disappoint at times, yes, they will do and say things that upset people but the fact is they are the future and they are pretty good. Skills shortages never cease to be a headline topic. The simple fact is that if business and industry is going to yell and scream from the rafters then it’d better be prepared to kick in. It’s quite clear when looking at the difficulties around apprentice placements there are a lot of people who want it laid out on a platter. Training is just too big a burden for too few to carry and this is increasingly falling on a withering number of shoulders. After four difficult years since the arrival of the Global Financial Crisis, there are some signs on the world stage that things might be turning around. Putting on our optimistic faces, maybe it’s time to start thinking ahead about a future workforce – certainly more than has been done in the past. Does the industry and broader business community want another

inflation-riddled contest for labour or is the smart thing to do to consider training and education as the panacea? If there was one industry that faced a cost blow out in the labour contest during the past golden era of activity, it was building and construction. Unless something is done rapidly, this is going to be exacerbated many times over unless a greater commitment is demonstrated in the next few years ahead. The industry can’t afford a longer stand-off over responsibility to have access to trained workers. Everyone must be involved. If business and industry fails this time around, these bloody Gen X’s, Y’s and Z’s will think nobody really cares and for that we will just get hammered.

“Handy Hints” for completion of the nsw home warranty insurance Eligibility Application Form Here are some handy hints when it comes to applying for Home Warranty Insurance in NSW. We have had requests for assistance in this particular matter - Austbrokers Canberra have provided the below information as a guide to assist you in your application.

Section 1 General Information Please answer each question in full.

Section 2 Builder licence/registration/ accreditation information Please answer each question in full.

Section 3 Building Activity Ensure you nominate your anticipated/ estimated turnover of Residential Works requiring Home Warranty Insurance in the next 12 months. Please answer all other questions in full.

Section 4 Business and personal background information Please answer each question in full.

Section 5 Statement of PERSONAL Assets & Liabilities (Note: A separate page will need to be completed for each Proprietor, Partner or Director) Residence(s), Other Property or Vacant Land Provide rates notices for all property(s)

Other investments (shares, fixed term Investments) Provide copies of share certificates, statements/evidence of term investments Cash on Deposit for amounts $10,000 & over Current bank statements with full name and account details on the statement. (Note: Internet statements are not valid unless full name and account details are present on the statement)

Loans & Other monies owed to you Evidence of these may be requested for substantial amounts.

Section 7 Builders Declaration Ensure you sign, date and note the signatory’s name

Home Warranty Insurance Checklist (Page 8 of the form) Ensure all relevant documents are provided with the application, as we are unable to progress with the assessment until all documents are received. In certain circumstances, additional information may be requested by SICorp or the Insurance Agent. In these instances we will advise you accordingly.

Motor Vehicles Provide a copy of Registration Papers for any vehicle with an individual value greater than $50,000 Please return all completed applications and accompanying documents to:

Austbrokers Canberra By Post: PO Box 727, Fyshwick ACT 2609 By Email: By Fax: 02 6280 7561 As always, if we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on:

Ph: 02 6280 5477.



If you are insured under a Master Builder ProtectionPLUS public liability policy, vibration damage to adjoining property is automatically covered.

Insurance for sheet piling works


by Jerry Howard, Deputy Executive Director

➢ Be sure to check the piling contractor’s terms of engagement. When taking on projects that include sheet piling works, builders should take particular note of some important conditions that may form part of the sheet piler’s terms of engagement. Several clauses that regularly appear in these contracts can impose some substantial obligations on the builder, the implications of which need to be fully considered and understood. Builders should also be aware that some of these obligations may not be covered by their public liability insurance and if overlooked, have the potential to leave the builder exposed to possible large claim payouts. Whilst the standard conditions of sheet piling contractors’ terms can vary significantly, some things to watch out for are; •

Clauses that require the builder to hold public liability insurance, that covers the sheet piler’s liability for damages arising out of the performance of their works. Basically, terms making the builder responsible to take out insurance on behalf the sheet piler.

Conditions whereby the builder accepts full responsibility for any damages the sheet piler may cause.

Terms that prohibit the rights of the builder or their insurer to hold the sheet piler responsible for damage caused by them, or similar terms that prevent contribution by the sheet piler towards damage they may cause.

General hold harmless agreements and indemnity provisions in favour of the sheet piler.

With this in mind, consider the standard provisions of a public liability policy held by many builders. The policy would normally cover the liability of the insured party (the builder) and other defined persons such as their directors, employees and principals. It would also include the liability of these insured parties, arising from the actions of subcontractors used on the job. A builder’s public liability policy however, does not always cover a subcontractor’s own proportion of liability – which after all, is why subbies should carry their own policy. To illustrate a problem that may occur, assume a builder has engaged a sheet piling contractor on conditions that the builder must insure public liability on behalf of the sheet piler, covering damages caused by them when carrying out this component of the works. During the course of the installation process, the sheet piler causes vibration damage to a property adjoining the contract site. Firstly, builders would need to have made sure that their public liability policy had been extended to cover liability arising from vibration, as it could be an exclusion under their public liability policy. Whilst this policy extension (vibration) will address the cause of the loss, as mentioned above, the insurance held may only cover the builder’s liability for the damage and not that of the sheet piler. Many builders assume that the sheet piler, just like any other subbie, will carry their own insurance and be responsible for their proportion of any damage caused. But if the builder has agreed to carry public liability insurance for the sheet piler in the contract of engagement and has not done so, who is going to pay for the sheet piler’s portion of responsibility for the damage? Without correctly arranged insurance it certainly won’t be the builder’s insurance company and it will most likely end up in the builder’s lap, due to not meeting obligations under contract conditions.

If you are insured under a Master Builder ProtectionPLUS public liability policy, vibration damage to adjoining property is automatically covered. Further, Master Builder ProtectionPLUS contains provisions that insure subcontractors as insured parties in the policy, when you are contractually bound to provide this insurance.

Like so many other things, attention at the front end will save grief at the other end.

This is not the case however with all policies and if you are not insured under Master Builder ProtectionPLUS, you should check that these provisions are in your public liability insurance.

Whilst it is not possible for this article to cover all contract terms and circumstances that may be encountered, Austbrokers can provide valuable assistance to builders, in understanding the insurance implications of sheet piler’s terms and conditions.

With proper vigilance, there are a number of ways builders can limit their exposure to loss arising from onerous sheet piling contract clauses: •

Make sure that your public liability policy covers liabilities attributable to vibration and removal or weakening of support to surrounding property.

If you intend to accept the sheet piler’s terms and conditions of engagement, familiarise yourself with what you are signing up to. Arrange your insurance accordingly, but remember that insurance may not be the magic bullet that will pick up every condition encountered.

If the builder is effectively taking on insurance responsibility for the sheet piler, ensure that your policy is appropriately extended.

Negotiate out, or delete any disagreeable terms from the sheet piling contract.

Use Master Builders subcontract documents, which don’t include any of the imposing requirements such as those stated. Take care not to allow any amendments or reference back to the sheet piler’s terms of contract, which may activate obligations similar to those mentioned.

Don’t be caught out by contract conditions that activate a liability on you, that may not be covered by your insurance and will leave you out in the cold.

Whatever you do, don’t just sign yourself up to, or agree to sheet piling contracts without knowing exactly what responsibilities you are accepting. Note: Details of insurance coverage in this article are a summary only of policy coverage. We are pleased to provide full copies of policy documentation on request should you wish to review the complete terms of cover as these will apply in the event of any claims. Information contained herein is of a general nature and has not taken into account the particular insurance needs of any individual business or person.

Protection of adjoining property when excavating There appears to be no specific provisions in our legislation that deals with protection of adjoining properties. The Victorian legislation has some specific provisions. As we are now engaged in in-fill developments whereby new buildings are constructed between two adjoining properties that can be built on the boundary, issues can arrive regarding the protection of these buildings, especially where deep excavations for basement car parking essentially abuts the boundary. We have some specific provisions in volume 2 of the BCA regarding excavation adjacent to an adjoining property. The only reference I can find to any such requirement in volume 1 is in the structural provisions. There is a performance requirement in BP1.1 (a)(iv) “A building or structure, during construction and use, with appropriate degrees of reliability, must avoid causing damage to other properties”.

Generally, the only way to protect adjoining property is by the installation of soil anchors, which extend under the adjoining property. If the owner of the adjoining property refuses to allow the installation of such anchors, which are de-stressed when the basement walls are constructed, then it is very difficult and almost impossible to ensure that the adjoining property is protected. There are no provisions in the legislation for the certifier to issue instructions regarding such works, however, the building certifier must be satisfied when approving the plans that they meet the performance requirements of the BCA, otherwise the building certifier must refuse to approve the plans. You could have situations where a development approval has been granted to construct a multi-storey building, however, the process could be entirely frustrated by an adjoining property owner not allowing works to be undertaken to protect the stability of the building.

Government announces new vocational training plans Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced details of her plan to lift Australian levels of vocational training, with arrangements including the introduction of HECS-style funding for vocational training, giving apprentices access to deferred payment arrangements for their courses.

At present HECS is confined to university courses, with apprentices and trade trainees forced to pay upfront for their courses – a significant barrier to trade training. The Commonwealth’s proposed package will require extensive agreements with the state and territory governments, which deliver and largely control vocational education. Discussions of a national agreement will be part of the agenda for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) next meeting on 13 April. The reforms will entail a national entitlement to training at a minimum Certificate III level, wider access to student loans to reduce the upfront cost barriers at diploma and higher diploma level and independent quality assessment of courses every two years. Prime Minister Gillard said that COAG – the main forum for discussions between the Federal, state and territory Governments - efforts since 2008 had reduced the labour force percentage without Certificate III or higher from 48.1 per cent to 45.4 per cent in 2010, but training system reform was needed as well as the funding of training places. The demand for higher level skills was growing at a rate 2.5 times the rate of demand for unskilled workers. Modelling by Access Economics shows that an extra 2.1 million workers with VET qualifications will be needed by 2015 under a high growth scenario. Ms Gillard said up to 60,000 TAFE students of the 1.8 million students enrolled each year could benefit from the $1.75 billion package, which she will take to April's COAG meeting. The package will also provide HECS style loans for students of diploma and advanced

diploma courses to reduce upfront costs, which can be $3000 per student. TAFE students would be eligible for interest-free loans to pay for their courses, and would not have to start making repayments on the loans until they find a job that pays more than $47,000 a year. "It is a package which will enable us to see 375,000 extra completions over the next five years, making sure that we are addressing the prospect of skills shortages in our economy," Ms Gillard said. The Commonwealth says it wants the states and territories to ensure courses being offered to such students are subject to an independent quality assessment every two years. The national training entitlement would mean anyone from Year 10 students to retirement age would be eligible for taxpayer-funding to get qualifications up to a Certificate III. This would include language and literacy courses. The Commonwealth will offer the states and territories $7.2 billion over five years to help pay for the training system. It will also share out another $1.75 billion to support the changes. The skills package includes setting up a MySkills website to give information on training providers, course options, employment outcomes and fees. Master Builders Chief Executive Officer Wilhelm Harnisch said employers in the building and construction industry stand to gain from the substantial package of proposed reforms announced by the Prime Minister. “These reforms provide a unique opportunity to free up the training bottleneck that leaves millions of Australians without any postschool education while industry struggles to fill skilled positions. The proposed availability of HECS-style loans for larger numbers of diploma students is particularly welcome.

“The building and construction industry – which accounts for around 9 per cent of all employment in Australia – will alone need an additional 200,000 skilled workers over the next decade, who will hold a wide range of qualifications from Certificate III to postgraduate degree level.” The announcement that states would be required to offer an entitlement to a publicly funded Certificate III place is a step in the right direction, but an effective entitlement system should extend at least to Certificate IV level and take account of the fact that many people require more than one qualification during their career, Master Builders said. Within a broad framework of student choice, targeting of funds to areas of genuine skills need would allow a training entitlement to be extended beyond the first Certificate III qualification. “The training system must deliver high quality qualifications relevant to students and employers, which requires more robust measures of training quality, and better provision of information to training users,” Mr Harnisch said. “Other proposed measures, such as assessment validation, require close consultation with industry to ensure they deliver meaningful outcomes without adding further to training red tape.” Industry groups have called on the states and territories to agree to the changes in the interests of employers operating in the national economy, but also warned that education providers also need to lift their standards.

New ‘Red Tape’ push targets trade licencing The Federal Government has announced a new push to reduce business red tape including a national initiative involving states and territories to achieve greater uniformity in licencing and registration requirements for tradespeople and others Around 25 business representatives are to be invited to join a new Business Advisory Forum being established to advise the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on red tape and business deregulation. The move is one of a number of measures to assist small business. The Government has also: •

Announced it will create a position of Small Business Commissioner (a position which previously existed in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission but was abolished) Moved the Minister for Small Business Brendan O’Connor into Cabinet

Legislation currently before Parliament as part of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax package will reduce company tax for small business ahead of planned reductions for larger businesses. While the MRRT legislation and associated Superannuation Guarantee legislation has been passed the cuts in company tax are still being negotiated, with the Greens (on whom the Government will rely to get the measures through the Senate) arguing they want the cuts confined to small and medium-sized companies. COAG is the main forum for Federal and state Governments to discuss cross-border issues and has had harmonisation of federal and state laws on its agenda for several years. But there has been concern that progress has stalled on harmonisation of a number of areas including common rules for licencing many important trades. A recent COAG report identified areas where progress towards harmonisation was slow included common licensing and registration systems for many tradespeople and lawyers, occupational health and safety, regulation of chemicals and plastics and of mine safety. COAG agreed on a National Occupational Licensing System in 2008. The scheme is intended to cover licensing requirements for selected occupations but progress has been patchy. National licensing is scheduled to commence from July 2012 for: •



Plumbing and gasfitting

Refrigeration and air conditioning

According to the National Occupational Licensing Authority current licence holders in these areas will automatically become part of the new national system. The first wave of occupations to commence will include property occupations (excluding conveyancers and valuers) electrical occupations, plumbing, gasfitting and air-conditioning and refrigeration occupations. Building and building related occupations, conveyancers and valuers will be transferred to the national system in a second wave. The NOLS is intended to remove inconsistencies across State borders and allow for a much more mobile workforce. Once a licence is issued the licence holder will be able to use the licence to work anywhere in Australia without additional paperwork or cost. A national licensing authority will set policy and maintain a national register, while the various states will issue licences, undertake complaint handling, compliance and enforcement monitoring, investigate disciplinary matters, and be responsible for conduct requirements. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said, “Cutting red tape is a key priority for the Gillard Government, as excessive regulation lowers business costs and hinders productivity.” She said she would chair the Forum in which all state and territory leaders as well as business representatives would be invited to participate. Its inaugural meeting will be held on 12 April prior to the next COAG meeting. The Forum’s main roles will be to: •

advise Governments on how best to coordinate and progress the remaining areas of competition and regulatory reform; and

nominate new areas of regulatory reform that will help lift productivity and drive investment.

The Prime Minister said small business will also be directly represented on the Forum, given smaller firms often disproportionately feel the impact of regulatory burdens. Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd said a major priority must be to nationalise trade licensing laws to allow workers to carry accreditation from state to state without undertaking another test. “We must complete trade licensing recognition which will make it easier for workers to move to where the jobs are.”

New payslip requirements Legislation currently being debated by Federal Parliament will require employers to provide detailed information about superannuation payments on employees’ payslips.

The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 1) Bill also: •

Under the legislation employers will be required to show the amount of superannuation including Superannuation Guarantee payments that an employee is entitled to receive, when the payments were or will be made and the fund into which they are paid. The payslip requirements come as Parliament passed separate legislation increasing compulsory SG payments to 12 per cent, from 9 per cent currently. The SG increase was part of the Minerals Resource Rent tax package of changes. The SG will be increased to 9.25 per cent on 1 July 2013, 9.5 per cent on 1 July 2014, 10 per cent on 1 July 2015, 10.5 per cent on 1 July 2016, 11 per cent on 1 July 2017 and 11.5 per cent on 1 July 2018. On 1 July 2019 the rate will be set at 12 per cent for 2019-20 and subsequent income years. The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 1) Bill 2012 requires employers to report on payslips information prescribed in the regulations about superannuation contributions. The Government has foreshadowed the regulations will require employers to report the amount of superannuation contributions, as well as the date on which the employer expects to pay them. The regulations will also incorporate existing requirements requiring employers to include the name, or name and number, of the superannuation fund to which the contribution is to (or was) paid. The legislation is currently before Parliament. The Government has not yet announced its implementation date.

gives eligible individuals the option of having excess concessional superannuation contributions of up to $10,000 refunded and assessed at their marginal tax rates, rather than incurring the potentially higher effective rate of excess contributions tax pauses the indexation of the superannuation concessional contributions cap for one year. As a result, the general concessional cap will not increase from $25,000 to $30,000 until 2014-15 authorises the ATO to disclose details of an individual’s (other) superannuation interests and superannuation benefits to a regulated or public sector superannuation fund

the quarter concerned. “Employees may be misled by the payslip into thinking that the contribution has actually been paid.”

Under the change employers will need to report the date on which they expect to make their contribution. This will improve employer compliance since employers will be making a public and checkable statement on their payslips, the EM says. Employees will know when they can check with their fund that their employer has made the contribution. The regulations will apply to all kinds of superannuation contribution processed by the employer, including: •

SG contributions;

contributions made under industrial instruments; and

According to information with the new legislation, the new payslip requirements are intended to reduce the impact of some employers not paying their employees’ Superannuation Guarantee entitlements. It says the problem particularly affects low income, casual or part time workers. “The payslip reporting measure, which forms part of the Securing Super package, will provide greater protection for these vulnerable workers.”

salary sacrifice and voluntary employee contributions.

At present employers are required to report (on payslips) either entitlements to superannuation accrued during the pay period, or actual contributions. However at present employees may not be able to tell from their payslips whether their superannuation contributions have already been made, or when they will be made. While employers need to report accrued entitlements to SG contributions on payslips, they do not actually need to make SG contributions until 28 days after the end of

The changes will require modification of payroll software.

There will be no new penalty for failing to make the contribution on the date nominated, though employers who fail to do so can expect to deal with enquiries from their employees. Employers may still be liable for penalty under other provisions (for instance, for failing to meet the requirements of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992).

Land Release delays A political row has broken out over who is to blame for the slow pace of ACT Government land release, with the Land Development Agency expected to release only 3000 of the forecast 5000 blocks in 2001-12. Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr blamed the federal government environmental approvals processes for the land release holdup. He said the release of more than 8300 blocks in Molonglo and Gungahlin was on hold because of federal environmental assessment delays. But ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said the delays were not because of federal government hold-ups but because of ineffective planning by the ACT government, yesterday. He said blaming the Commonwealth was ''laughable''. ''Clearly Labor is responsible for land release ... and to pretend after more than 10 years that someone else is responsible has no credibility,'' he said. ''Because ACT Labor has not done its planning they're now being frustrated by delays.'' The ACT Greens said Mr Barr's public criticism yesterday was an effort to ''deflect attention from its own tardiness''. According to The Canberra Times, ACT residential land releases worth up to $2.5 billion in the ACT are being hit with long delays because of bureaucratic bottlenecks, with the ACT government blaming its federal counterpart for the hold-up. The delays could threaten the flow of serviced land for builders and home buyers and hit the ACT government's budget position, still heavily reliant on income from land sales and stamp duty on the transactions. Mr Barr said that delays in carrying out checks required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act meant that builders could not get on-site to construct vital services in Molonglo Stage II, Moncrieff, Lawson and Throsby where between 8000

and 10,000 new blocks are earmarked to come to the market in the next two years. Another 2000 blocks in Kenny are also in danger of being caught up in the bureaucratic tangle. The ACT government hopes to release more than 18,000 blocks in the next four years, but Mr Barr conceded that it was likely to only be able to bring about 3000 sites to market this financial year, well short of its target of more than 5000.

their way into the assessment process in a way that would seem to be above and beyond what is required,'' Mr Barr said. ''The whole Gungahlin area was subject to this sort of work during the 1990s when it was initially settled upon as an area for urban development so in my view there is a sense of overkill about these processes and constantly having to return to update previous pieces of work.''

Mr Barr said that he had asked for the EPBC process to be fast-tracked for what he called some priority projects like the Catholic high Mr Barr, who has sought a meeting with the school planned and the district playing fields federal Environment Minister Tony Burke earmarked for the Gungahlin suburb of to discuss the problem, said that staff shortages in the Commonwealth Environment Throsby. ''Then what we've done is referred the rest of Gungahlin in a job lot,'' he said. Department meant that the lengthy process ''But it's always a balance of how much you required under the act were not being carried out, causing long blow-outs in the schedule for want to put in as a job lot and how much you want to mark for urgent attention.'' bringing the thousands of blocks to market. ''Some of these referrals have been with the Commonwealth, not just for months, but for many, many months, hence my meeting with Tony Burke,'' Mr Barr told The Canberra Times. ''All I'm seeking from him is to get the staff in place so that within the Commonwealth agency, these referrals are given some priority.'' However Mr Burke, said that his department was ''well equipped'' to handle the ACT's EPBC referrals. Mr Barr said he had concerns about the way that the EPBC Act was being applied, and was worried that big environmental studies which have already been carried out for the entire Gungahlin area were being duplicated. ''Particular areas find

Mr Burke said the EPBC process had to be rigorous. ''The Environment Department is well equipped to conduct these rigorous and thorough assessments in a timely manner. I recently jointly announced with the ACT government my approval of the Molonglo strategic assessment which delivers a streamlined release of land that subject to certain criteria does not require further assessment under the EPBC Act. This approval opened up planning and development of affordable homes for up to 55000 people.''

Changes to Volume 2 of the 2012 National Construction Code drawing nearer by Jason Grieves, Technical Services Manager

It’s nearly that time of year when changes to Volumes 1 and 2 of the National Construction Code (or the Building Code of Australia [BCA]) are adopted.

2 1 0 2 C NC •

Amendment 1 to AS 1926 ‘Swimming pool safety – Part 3 Water reticulation’ is now referenced.

Builders and Designers please note: Significant changes; - hand rails now required in stairways and ramps.

AS 2870-2011 ‘Residential footings and slabs’ is now referenced however there is a 12 month transition period for the use of AS 2870-1996.

On May 1 the building industry will be required to meet these new provisions of the National Construction Code 2012 (NCC). Existing provisions and any changes adopted in the NCC 2012 come into effect and are enforceable by our regulator for building work approved and commenced after May 1 2012. It is not only important to keep these changes in mind for regulation and compliance but to remain aware of these requirements during the tendering and quoting stages so as not to under price a project through omission of BCA requirements.

Amendment 2 to AS 3500 ‘Plumbing and drainage – Part 4 Heated water services’ is now referenced.

The transition period for AS 36002001 ‘Concrete structures’ is now complete and amendment 1 to AS 3600-2009 is also referenced.

Reference to AS 3740-2004 ‘Waterproofing of domestic wet areas’ has been removed and replaced with reference to AS 3740-2010. There is no transition period for this change.

Amendment 3 to AS 3959 ‘Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas’ is now referenced.

Amendment 1 to AS 4773 ‘masonry for small buildings – Part 1 Design’ is now referenced.

There are a number of changes and additions to definitions at Part 1.1. Some of these changes do not affect the ACT region however there has been an amendment to the definitions for ‘Design wind speed’ and ‘Private garage’. Some important changes to Volume 2 of the BCA are to referenced standards at Part 1.4, the following are some notable changes but not an exhaustive list of all changes: •

Amendments 3 and 4 to AS 1170 ‘Structural design actions’ are now referenced. Part 2 of AS 1170 is now referenced however there is a 12 month transition period when determining wind speeds.

Amendment 2 to AS 1288 ‘Glass in buildings – Selection and Installation’ is now referenced.

Amendment 2 to AS 1926 ‘Swimming pool safety – Part 2 Location of safety barriers for swimming pools’ is now referenced.

There has been a number of changes to Performance Requirements most notably at Part 2.3.4 for buildings constructed in Bushfire prone areas and changes to Part 2.5.1(b) (i) sees amendments to Safe movement and access to now include provisions for handrails in stairways and ramps. As a result of the inclusion of AS 4773 ‘Masonry for small buildings’ – Part 1 ‘Design’ and Part 2 ‘Construction’ being referenced as an alternative to AS 3700 the Acceptable Construction Practice for ‘Unreinforced masonry’ has been removed at part 3.3.1, ‘Reinforced masonry’ has been removed at Part 3.3.2, ‘Masonry accessories’ has been removed at Part 3.3.3 and ‘Weatherproofing

of Masonry has been removed Part 3.3.4. As a result of the referencing of AS 3740-2010 ‘Waterproofing of domestic wet areas’ the Acceptable Construction Manual has been amended to only include Table which illustrates where water resistant and water proof materials are to installed. All other details have been removed and AS 3740 must be referenced for construction details. Figure has also been amended to clarify the required ceiling height in a stairway. The change that will affect most Builders and Practitioners will be changes to Part 3.9 Safe Movement and Access. The definition at Part and Figure have been changed to clarify that the area between the nosing and balustrade is an ‘opening’ to coincide with provisions at Part D2.16 in Volume 1 of the NCC. There is a new requirement at for the inclusion of handrails to be provided in stairways and ramps of class 1 buildings. I have not included any changes to provisions of Volume 1 of the NCC in this article. Should any member require this information you can request it via email and I will forward a copy of the information. I can be contacted at or call 6175 5954

Proposed changes to the ACT Building Act 2004 - Site signage by Jason Grieves, Technical Services Manager

If it’s not enough to take on board with the changes to the National Construction Code in the 2012 edition the ACT Government is due to release new site signage requirements possibly in July of this year. Amendments to the ACT Building Act 2004 will require licensed builders to display signs for building work. Master Builders are currently in dialogue with ACTPLA communications unit to develop a proforma sign detailing the size and type of lettering, and format of such a required sign. A commencement date has not been advised by the Minister at this point however ACTPLA have advised that it is possible the requirements will be introduced in July 2012. ACTPLA further advise that they will monitor compliance of the new requirements for 6 months and thereafter undertake a more stringent audit process and undertake compliance action where required. The site sign requirements will be contained in the Building (General) Regulation 2008 as follows: (a) the sign must be at least 600mm x 900mm; (b) the sign must contain the following heading in bold typeface at least 50mm high:

‘Notice about building work’; (c) the sign must include the following information: (i) the name and licence number of the licensed builder; (ii) a contact telephone number for the licensed builder; (iii) the name and licence number of the certifier for the building work; (iv) a contact telephone number for the certifier;

(v) the street address for each block of land in the parcel of land; (vi) a description of the nature and scope of the building work to be, or being, carried out; (vii) if development approval is required for the building work—the development approval number; (viii) if a development approval is not required for the building work—that the work is exempt from requiring approval; (ix) if the requirement for development approval is not determined—that the requirement for development approval is not determined; (x) for building work carried out in stages—the stage of the work to be, or being, carried out and a description of the nature and scope of the stage of the work; (d) the sign must be made of waterproof material; (e) the sign must be placed prominently so that it can be seen and read easily by a person from each frontage of the parcel of land on which the sign must be displayed. The sign must be displayed at least 7 consecutive days in the 2 months before an application for the commencement notice is lodged in relation to the building work is prescribed. ACTPLA have also agreed to post details of this information regarding site signage on there website closer to the release date. This link will be forwarded through

our member updates when we receive the details. Master Builders will be providing template signs later in the year, which will accord with the regulations and allow builders to simply fill in the details. Issues regarding partial Certificates of Occupancy ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) have released Construction Note 1201 in relation to the issuance of Partial Certificates of Occupancy under section 69(3) of the Act. ACTPLA have reviewed the issuance of Partial Certificates of Occupancy over the last 12 months and identified the following issues: •

Increased confusion for the lessee in relation to completion of building work

Long term non-compliance by the lessee

Misuse by the Building Certifier

As a result of the review the Construction Occupations Registrar has decided it is not appropriate to issue Partial Certificate of Occupancies for BCA class 1 buildings. The Construction note states that in exceptional circumstances and on application to the Construction Occupations Registrar he may find it appropriate to issue a Partial Certificate of Occupancy. To avoid a lessee withholding a final payment under a contract as a result of this information from ACTPLA I would remind Builders to comply with the clauses of the Master Builders Home Building Contract and base the completion of building work on ‘Practical completion’ not the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy whether it be partial or not.

Coming events for 2012 Industry Dinner incorporating the CCF Earth Awards

Date: Wednesday 9 May I

Master Builders Excellence in Building Awards

Date: Friday 29 June I

Where: Hyatt Hotel, Canberra

Incorporated into the Industry Dinner are the CCF Earth Awards. The Earth Awards have the specific aim of recognising outstanding work in construction and environmental excellence which reflects development and use of the best technologies and practices by Australian civil contractors. Where: National Convention Centre, Canberra

The Master Builders Excellence in Building Awards are largely regarded as the premier awards and networking event for the building and construction industry throughout Canberra and the surrounding region.

Training Dates for April / May 2012 Identification and safe handling of asbestos (up to 10m2 bonded)

Date: 30 April / 24 May (Contact Norma Inglis at to book your plaThe aim of this course is to provide learners with the knowledge and skills to identify when and where Asbestos may be present and the precautions that need to be taken to safely remove and dispose of the Asbestos.

ASBESTOS Awareness

Date: 30 April / 24 May (Contact Norma Inglis at to book your place) This is a nationally recognised course, approved by the ACT Government, to satisfy the regulatory requirements of the ACT Building Act, designed to meet the needs of tradespeople, services workers, builders, building certifiers and community members.

Restricted height scaffold

Date: 15 May (Contact Norma Inglis at to book your place) This course is particularly useful for construction industry personnel with minimal experience in erecting and dismantling scaffolding, who wish to further improve their skills and understanding. This unit of competency specifies the outcomes required to erect and dismantle restricted height scaffolding to provide work platforms for various occupational applications.


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ACT Private Sector Building Activity $120 $100


$80 $60 $40 $20 $0













The above graph and table below summarise private sector building activity for the various building sectors in the ACT over the past 12 months. The values for each month are depicted in millions of dollars. // To Insert New Data Goto Object/Graph/Data

• Copy and Paste Pivot Table Data into Data Additions and Alterations (Residential) Commercial Building Work Garages, Pools, Decks and Similar Structures Multi Unit New Housing

Apr-11 May-11 Jun-11 14.87 4.97 10.00 41.42 14.20 12.3 5.14 6.90 6.00 54.66 8.81 66.5 12.82 7.43 5.00

Jul-11 5.52 7.91 7.0 96.0 5.5

Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Feb-12 Mar-12 0.3 0.6 0.58 0.82 1.00 2.00 5.5 6.28 85 60.9 17 8.19 51.5 19.02 14.3 102 7.35 10.5 7.1 9.02 7.05 0.64 1.7 3.00 7.7 24.89 15 13 16.5 1.8 0.13 7.3 1.07 2.8 0.4 1.8 11.4 3.7 40 43

On-Site Insight 2-2012  

Master Builders Association of the ACT building newsletter