Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's News - 19 August 2014

In the media

ARENA funds world-first large scale redeployable hybrid solar plant
Laing O'Rourke is commencing manufacture of the world's first fully redeployable large-scale hybrid solar-diesel power plant suited to supplying power for off-grid remote and regional locations. ARENA this week announced it would provide funding of $450,000 towards the $1.5 million pilot roll-out, (14 August 2014). More...

Mining contractor pleads guilty over death of electrician at Fortescue Metals Christmas Creek mine
Mining contractor Crushing Services International (CSI) has pleaded guilty over the death of an electrician at Fortescue Metal's Christmas Creek mine in WA's Pilbara. FMG also appointed external consultants to review safety with a focus on contractors (12 August 2014). More...

UIA declares commitment to phasing out CO2 emissions in built environment
The historic declaration, presented on 8 August at the UIA World Congress in Durban, provides an unprecedented opportunity to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions by setting the global building sector on a path to phase out CO2 emissions by 2050 (08 August 2014). More...

Construction sector resurgence should create jobs: HIA and AIG index
The Australian Industry Group - Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index rose 0.8 points to 52.6 in the July figures. It was the second consecutive month that the index has been above the 50-point level that separates expansion from contraction (07 August 2014). More...

Brisbane City Council's City Plan missing green metrics
Brisbane's City Plan which sets the city's course to 2031, has been criticise for setting no firm metrics or enforceable mechanisms for achieving results in waste, water and energy beyond minimum standards required by national policies and the National Construction Code (07 August 2014). More...

Engineers Australia calls for Queensland commitment to infrastructure
The Queensland branch of Engineers Australia has called for the Queensland government to address the significant shortfalls in infrastructure planning for the state following the release of the community-led Queensland Plan, saying that resource spending is no longer masking low levels of spending on public infrastructure (07 August 2014). More...

General construction strong while mining growth slows: WTP report
The latest WT Partnership Review of Australian Construction Market Conditions to June 2014 shows an increase in general construction projects progressing to tender and continuing falls in the activity of the mining and infrastructure sector (06 August 2014). More...

Half of construction products probably not up to standard in Australia: ACIF
Evidence suggests that the market penetration of non-conforming products in several key construction product sectors in Australia may be up to 50 per cent, according to the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) (05 August 2014). More...

New South Wales

NSW Government launches investigation into loose-fill asbestos
WorkCover NSW will contract an independent specialist to work with the NSW Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) to help establish the scope of properties impacted and determine the number of premises in NSW that may contain loose -filled asbestos ceiling insulation material (15 August 2014). More...

Have your say on Rebuilding NSW
NSW Government is inviting the community to 'have your say' on plans to generate funding for the State-wide infrastructure rebuilding program. The government has released a discussion paper focussing on the issues and concerns about Rebuilding NSW and the proposed asset lease (15 August 2014). More...

Western Sydney Airport contracts announced
Under the contract, Ernst & Young will bring together several firms that include LEK, GHD and Landrum and Brown to harness specialist aviation, design and commercial expertise to support the government on the airport development (07 August 2014). More...

Major Investment in Water Security Projects
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water announce $17 million in funding for ten projects across eight Local Government Areas under the most recent round of Water Security for Regions, including a new round of funding open to an additional 41 local communities for urgent water security infrastructure projects (07 August 2014). More...


Brisbane construction on the rise
Brisbane now has 33 per cent more cranes on its skylines than it did late last year. The Rider Levett Bucknall crane index showed 48 cranes on construction sites around the city, with the Fortitude Valley, Teneriffe and Newstead skyline filled with more than a dozen cranes within four square kilometres (14 August 2014). More...

Housing Minister to dodgy builders: We are coming for you
Housing Minister Tim Mander says the proposed overhaul of the building regulator is sending a crystal clear warning to dodgy builders: we are coming for you. Proposed amendments were introduced to parliament last week, with special attention being paid to ensure the dispute resolution process between builders and consumers was far more timely and effective than it had been previously under the BSA (14 August 2014). More...


Sparkies threaten strikes over draft building code
The Victorian construction industry is heading for strife with a powerful building union warning that talks with employers are at a stalemate over workplace deals covering 11,000 electricians and a tough federal building code that is designed to limit the sorts of claims unions can make in the industry (17 August 2014). More...

CFMEU appeal thrown out by the High Court
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has failed in its attempt to obtain leave to appeal to the High Court from a Full Federal Court decision supporting the Victorian Government's implementation of its building and construction industry guidelines (15 August 2014). More...

Victorian consumers to benefit from red tape cuts
The Victorian Coalition Government has taken action to further protect consumers, with the passage of the Consumer Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 today. The legislation makes amendments to the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995, the Estate Agents Act 1980, the Retirement Villages Act 1986 and the Fire Services Levy Monitor Act (07 August 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor annual report 2014
Author: Neil Comrie; Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor
This report concludes a five year undertaking to report on the progress and efficacy of the implementation of the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (05 August 2014). More...

Practice and courts

Commonwealth Government: Reviewing the role of regulators (August 2014)
In response to Statements of Expectations from the Commonwealth Government regarding its policies, the following regulators have now each issued Statements of Intent:

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Energy Regulator. More...

NABERS Indoor Environment (IE) enhancements: industry comment
The enhancements to NABERS Indoor Environment (IE) are out for industry consultation. NABERS is seeking broader feedback on these proposals as well as on further ideas to enhance, streamline and add value to NABERS IE ratings. The consultation closes on 18 August 2014 (05 August 2014). More...

Rebuilding NSW involves unlocking $20 billion in infrastructure funding by offering long-term leases on 49% of "poles and wires" network assets to businesses. The government discussion paper focuses on the issues and concerns about Rebuilding NSW and the proposed asset lease. The Have Your Say consultation (link is external) is the first step in a consultation process. Feedback on the discussion paper closes 19 September 2014.

Australian Standards (AS)

DR AS/NZS 3823.1.5:2014 - Performance of electrical appliances - Air conditioners and heat pumps.

DR AS 1735.1:2014 - Lifts, escalators and moving walks - Part 1: General requirements.

DR AS/NZS 1158.4:2014 - Lighting for roads and public spaces - Part 4: Lighting of pedestrian crossings:


Prospect Resources v Molyneux [2014] NSWSC 1096
CONTRACTS - general contractual principles - conditions precedent - whether conditions precedent had been satisfied or waived - whether conditions were 'precedent' or 'subsequent' - where condition precedent expressly for the benefit of one party - where conditions precedent include a requirement to reasonably satisfy a party that conditions precedent in another agreement, involving different parties, had been satisfied or waived - where parties to other agreement entered into deed to postpone date for compliance with conditions precedent - where parties to other agreement signed letter indicating conditions precedent had been satisfied - whether parties could be 'reasonably satisfied' of conditions precedent which had not, in fact, be satisfied - whether extending time for fulfilment of conditions precedent amounted to a waiver of conditions precedent - whether letter signed by parties to other agreement sufficient to 'reasonably satisfy' of fulfilment of conditions precedent where parties had a financial interest in fulfilment of the agreement EQUITY - equitable remedies - specific performance - damages - whether to grant damages or specific performance of a subscription agreement - whether a company's unissued capital has any value. More...

Seabreeze Manly v Toposu [2014] NSWSC 1097
Judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of $481,405.61. BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION - payment claims - whether there was a 'construction contract' in accordance with the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Act 1999 (NSW), s4 - definition and construction of 'construction contract' - definition and construction of 'arrangement' COSTS - departing from the general rule - where offer of compromise made Judgment of. More...

Siemens Limited v Forge Group Power Pty Ltd (in liq) [2014] QSC 184
EQUITY – EQUITABLE REMEDIES – INJUNCTIONS – INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTIONS – RELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS – BALANCE OF CONVENIENCE – where the applicant sought an injunction restraining the respondent from having recourse to three bank guarantees – where it was conceded that there was a serious question to be tried – whether the applicant would suffer some irreparable injury – whether the applicant would suffer financial and reputational loss – whether the balance of convenience favoured the granting of the injunction. More...

Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland v Shirtcliffe [2014] QSC 179
PROFESSIONS AND TRADES – ENGINEERS – QUALIFICATIONS – where the Respondent fraudulently applied for registration as a professional engineer – where the registration sought was granted by the Board of Professional Engineers (Qld) and subsequently renewed annually – where the Board of Professional Engineers (Qld) applies to the Court for declarations that the initial registration and subsequent renewals are void ab initio or alternatively, are liable to be set aside – where the respondent does not oppose the application and made no submissions – whether the Court make the declarations sought. More...

Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 165
CONTRACT – Building contract – Owner – Building surveyor – Building surveyor appointed by builder – Whether Building Act 1993 (Vic) creates contract between owner and building surveyor – No consensus ad idem – Building Act 1993 (Vic) ss 17, 24, 70, 78 – Building Regulations 1994 (Vic) r 2.6 – Premier Building and Consulting Pty Ltd (rec apptd) v Spotless Group Ltd [2007] VSC 377 – Oceanic Sun Line Special Shipping Company Inc v Fay [1988] HCA 32; (1988) 165 CLR 197. CONTRACT – Building contract – Contract between owner and building surveyor – Issue of building permits by building surveyor under Building Act 1993 (Vic) – Whether validity of building permit depends upon existence of planning permit – Implied terms in building contract – Whether building surveyor under an obligation to inform owner that planning permit has expired – BP Refinery (Westernport) Pty Ltd v Shire of Hastings (1977) 180 CLR 266. LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – Building Act 1993 (Vic) – Interpretation of legislation - Building actions – Limitation of actions – Whether 'long-stop' or 'absolute cap' – Building Act 1993 (Vic) ss 129, 130, 134 – Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) ss 5, 33 – Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) s 135AC – Wrongs and Limitation of Actions Act (Insurance Reform) Act 2003 (Vic) – Moorabool Shire Council v Taitapanui [2006] VSCA 30; (2006) 14 VR 55. NEGLIGENCE – Duty of care – Economic loss – Vulnerability – Building surveyor and owner – Delay in completion of commercial project – Loss in the form of financial loss – Liability of building surveyor to owner – Whether assumption of responsibility by building surveyor – Perre v Apand Pty Ltd [1999] HCA 36; (1999) 198 CLR 180 – Woolcock Street Investments Pty Ltd v CDG Pty Ltd [2004] HCA 16; (2004) 216 CLR 515. PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Pleadings – Amendment – Amendment after close of evidence – Whether amendment relates back to date of writ – Abolition – Whether court has a discretion to order that amendment operate from date of amendment – Rule in Weldon v Neal (1887) 19 QBD 394 – Limitation of Actions Act 1958 s 34 – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 r 36.01(6) – Agtrack (NT) Pty Ltd v Hatfield [2003] VSCA 6; (2003) 7 VR 63. More...



Bills progress

State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
Introduced on 3/06/2014 Passed with amendment on 5/08/2014.
The Bill repeals legislation to support and contribute to the Government's election commitment to reduce red tape and amends legislation to drive economic development in Queensland.

QLD: Queensland Building and Construction Commission and Other Legislation Amendment
The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on 7 August 2014. The purpose of the Bill is to implement the third stage of the government's Ten Point Action Plan, including by introducing an early dispute intervention process to allow the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to conciliate or mediate disputes between consumers and contractors at no cost. More...

Queensland Building and Construction Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
Introduced on 07/08/2014 Referred to Committee on 07/08/2014.

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