In the media

HomeBuilder economic impact The extraordinary success of the HomeBuilder grants scheme is continuing to underpin economic recovery by harnessing the industry's economic multiplier effect. According to Master Builders Australia's analysis of the Treasury data on HomeBuilder applications, the scheme is continuing to drive economic recovery around the country (01 April 2021). More...

Construction cost will rise in coming years Construction costs will rise throughout Australia in coming years as a resurgent building sector and a massive volume of engineering work drives competition for resources, a leading economist has warned (29 March 2021). More...

PwC: Building a more circular Australia The circular economy offers Australia the opportunity to generate $1,860 billion in direct economic benefits over twenty years and save 165 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2040, finds a new report from PwC Australia. Building a more circular economy explores the opportunity for Australia to adopt the concept of a circular economy, offering a robust and holistic framework for sustainable growth (26 March 2021). More...

Global shortages, HomeBuilder demand causing building delays and price rises A sharp increase in global demand for building products during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused price rises and delays on Australian construction sites and is prompting calls for changes to the federal government's HomeBuilder scheme (25 March 2021). More...

$2.4bn economic boost as government cuts red tape for tradies The federal government has announced it will cut red tape to allow a uniform scheme for automatic mutual recognition (AMR) of state and territory-based occupational licences and registrations (24 March 2021). More...

New South Wales

Certainty sought for compliance funding The NSW Government is undertaking a review into council compliance levies on building works to create a more certain, consistent and transparent planning system. Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, said the review will help ensure councils have the necessary resources to make sure builders are doing the right thing (25 March 2021). More...

Scaffolding under scrutiny in New South Wales SafeWork inspectors will be visiting construction sites across New South Wales to inspect scaffold structures, issuing on-the-spot fines and stop-work notices for failure to comply with the state's safety standards (25 March 2021). More...

Queensland

Jimboomba Central is City of Logan’s best urban design A shopping centre in the heart of Jimboomba, which utilises clever and practical design, has scooped a double at the Logan Urban Design Awards.The Cusack Lane structure was described by judges as a ‘clever design’ that was likely to be a reference project for similar future retail projects across the City (29 March 2021). More...

Heritage CSA grants to preserve Queensland’s past into the future The diversity, beauty and cultural importance of Queensland’s heritage will continue to be conserved through the latest round of Community Sustainability Action (CSA) grants. Grants of up to $40,000 are available from the Department of Environment and Science for projects which help conserve places on the Queensland Government’s Heritage Register. (26 March 2021). More...

Building Queensland to integrate with government The Queensland Government has announced it is integrating Building Queensland with the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. This reform will mean a change in functional focus to assisting agencies to progress infrastructure proposals including providing an assurance role for government (25 March 2021). More...

Genex confirms construction to begin on 250 MW Queensland pumped hydro plant Construction is expected to commence on the massive 250 MW Kidston Pumped Hydro Storage Project in the coming weeks after developer Genex Power announced a $115 million share issue which will deliver the final funding required for the project to proceed (24 March 2021). More...

$100 million for Queensland community infrastructure projects The Queensland Government is distributing $100 million in funding for shovel-ready community infrastructure projects across the state’s South East, with the boom set to create hundreds of jobs (24 March 2021). More...

CIMIC's CPB Contractors selected for $289M Bruce Highway Upgrade CIMIC Group company CPB Contractors has been selected by the Queensland Government to deliver the Bruce Highway Upgrade – Cooroy to Curra Section D: Woondum to Curra – Contract 2 (23 March 2021). More...

Victoria

Australia’s largest, most efficient, vertical solar panel system now at Paragon Melbourne property developer, Beulah, has announced its mixed-use, 48 storey tower, Paragon, will be home to Australia’s largest, most efficient vertical solar panel system. The 42kW system is installed on the core walls of the tower and outperforms similar developments in terms of emission reduction, cost reduction and green energy sustainability (01 April 2021). More...

Construction now underway at Riverlee’s $2B New Epping masterplan Construction has officially commenced at Riverlee’s $2 billion New Epping community in Melbourne’s north. The Stage 1 residences are a sound investment in the community and demonstrates how the private and community housing sector can work with government to deliver quality forms of housing in terms of architectural design (01 April 2021). More...

New apprenticeships body to build skills for Victorians Through the $33 million Big Build Apprenticeships program, the Victorian Government is providing 1,500 opportunities to Victorian apprentices and trainees each year for four years to kickstart their careers on some of the state’s largest projects, including the new Footscray Hospital, North East Link and Warrnambool Learning and Library Hub (30 March 2021). More...

HomeBuilder boom drives construction trade and material shortage Almost eight in ten builders are experiencing delays and cost blowouts as the boom in detached home construction is leading to shortages in materials and trades, a new survey in Victoria has found (25 March 2021). More...

Practice and courts

Consultation open: Draft National Building Product Assurance Framework A discussion paper is now open for public comment in response to the Building Confidence Report. The Framework seeks to address the problems associated with building product safety. Responses to questions in the discussion paper are welcomed until 6 June 2021 (29 March 2021). More...

HIA: Severe weather event - what are your warranty obligations? March 22, 2021 - HIA provides some helpful information about what you can do when a homeowner contacts you complaining about issues from a severe weather event. More...

ABCB: Improvements to the code’s structure and format will be implemented for NCC 2022 To guide users through the changes, the ABCB has developed a range of supporting resources that will be released in stages leading up to the publication of the NCC 2022 Public Comment Draft on 10 May 2021. The first stage of articles and resources are being released here. More...

RICS cost prediction professional statement, global 1st edition This professional statement provides an overview of global best practice in cost prediction and the implementation of international construction measurement standards for cost management professionals. The standard becomes mandatory for RICS professionals and RICS-regulated firms on 1 July 2021. More...

New South Wales

Infrastructure Australia concludes evaluation of North Coast Connect and Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport Infrastructure Australia has completed its independent evaluation of the business cases for North Coast Connect and Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport. Based on the business cases and evidence submitted to us, Infrastructure Australia has determined that both proposals require further development to demonstrate sufficient return on investment. Detailed business case evaluation summaries are available here (12 March 2021). More...

Conflicts of interest – savings and transitional arrangements Clause 71 of the Regulation introduces savings provisions for certain conflict of interest situations where the certifier was appointed before 1 July 2020 and the work will be completed before 1 July 2022. The provisions relate to council-certified developments and to developments where the certifier gave advice on how to comply with the BCA deemed to satisfy provisions. For all the changes, access the Amendment Regulation here.

New mandatory standards for building rectification The standard will be reviewed and updated prior to the 1 July 2021 commencement of the Government’s game changing building reform agenda underpinned by the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020. The first Practice Standard will initially apply to certifiers working on residential apartment buildings, where the majority of problems and complaints have been received. The Practice Standard for registered certifiers is available on the Fair Trading NSW website.

Queensland

QBCC Message for accountants – the lodgement deadline for Self-certifying licensees is 31 March 2021 If your building industry clients belong in the QBCC Self-certifying 1 or Self-certifying categories, they must lodge their annual financial reporting by 31 March 2021. SC1 licensees have annual turnover up to $200,000 and SC2 licensees have an annual turnover between 200,001 and $800,000. Visit the QBCC website for more information on annual financial reporting including detailed FAQs. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Master Builders Qld: Proposed changes to Fair Work laws – what you need to know The Federal Government has recently introduced to the Parliament the Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill that proposes a series of changes to the Fair Work Act and related laws. The changes are only proposals and will not come into effect until they have passed the Parliament, which will be in March 2021 at the very earliest. More...

QBCC audit of Category 2 Licensees The QBCC is in the process of auditing contractors to check compliance with their obligations in respect of payment schedules under the BIF legislation. The audit program covers both builders and trade contractors. The audits will be completed by 30 April 2021 – it's expected that 200 licensees will be sent notices (out of the approximate 5,000 licensees in Category 2). More...

QBCC Reminders

QBCC reminder: Extension to PI insurance cladding exemption The Building (Professional Indemnity Insurance) Amendment Regulation 2020 commenced on 18 September 2020, giving effect to the extension of the external cladding exclusion. Now, certifiers can continue to obtain a licence to operate with PI insurance containing exclusions in relation to non-compliant external cladding until 30 June 2022. More...

Safer Buildings program enters final stage The QBCC is administering the three-part Safer Buildings program to understand the extent of combustible cladding use in Queensland’s private buildings. The Safer Buildings program has advanced considerably with Part 3 of the combustible cladding checklist now underway. The deadline for building owners to finalise the Part 3 assessment is 3 May 2021. For more information visit www.saferbuildings.qld.gov.au.

Build-to-Rent update – approved projects The Queensland Government has approved two Brisbane-based affordable housing projects by developers following a Request for Detailed Proposals from shortlisted applicants from the Expression of Interest Phase of the Pilot Project. It is anticipated construction will commence mid-2021 following the finalisation of designs for the projects, with operations expected to commence in 2023. More...

Victoria

VBA: Importance of working within your registration or licence class With 2021 underway, the VBA is reminding all practitioners of the importance of not only being registered, but also following the rules of your registration and only working within these parameters. More information about the different categories of registered builders and registered and licensed plumbers is available on our website. Practitioners can visit the eToolbox to check the status of their registration (18 March 2021). More...

Victoria’s draft 30-Year infrastructure strategy We have released Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy and are inviting all Victorians to have their say. Community consultation ended on February 26, 2021. The final 30-year infrastructure strategy will be presented to the Victorian Government in mid-2021. To read the draft strategy, or participate in community consultation opportunities visit here.

VBA: Fire protection equipment servicing registration/licensing deadline extended Anyone working on the routine servicing of fire protection equipment must be registered or licensed with the VBA. After 31 July 2021, unregistered or unlicensed practitioners carrying out this work will be subject to VBA enforcement action. Due to COVID-19, the date for registration/licensing was extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 July 2021. More...

Cases

New South Wales

Growthbuilt Pty Ltd v Modern Touch Marble & Granite Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 290CONTRACTS – implied terms – good faith – where subcontract provided for an extension of time regime including a power for the contractor to extend time “in its absolute discretion” and with “no obligation to extend, or to consider whether it should extend” – contractor not obliged to act reasonably with regard to the prevention principle or in good faith due to contractual scheme and language used CONTRACTS – remedies – liquidated damages – penalty – where residential building subcontract provided for delay damages at a rate of $3,500 per day – stipulated rate not penal in character.

Victoria

Bensons Property Group Pty Ltd v Key Infrastructure Australia Pty Ltd [2021] VSCA 69CONTRACT – Development management agreement – consultant to obtain planning permit by certain date – prevention principle – whether letter sent by applicant deprived respondent of substantial chance of obtaining permit by deadline – whether applicant breached implied duty of cooperation by sending letter – whether letter caused respondent loss and damage.