Australia: Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure: Recent media releases, reports and cases

Last Updated: 14 December 2018
Article by Troy Lewis, Stephen Burton, Suzy Cairney, Stephen Natoli, Kyle Siebel, Scott Alden, Christine Jones and Helena Golovanoff

Most Read Contributor in Australia, December 2018

In the media

Fall in business investment points to slowing GDP, but prospects look brighter
The headline fall in capex spending by Australian business was unexpected, but there were some promising signs for next year in investment intentions (29 November 2018).  More... 

It was a collapse that stunned many - so what went wrong for RCR Tomlinson?
Just three months after one of the oldest engineering names in Australia raised $100 million from shareholders to buffer itself after taking a big hit on two solar farm projects, the company has gone into administration. It was a $57-million write-down on the value of two of its Queensland projects that got it in trouble and should have raised red flags (23 November 2018).  More...  

CRC lays foundations for low carbon built environment future
Now in its final year of funding, the CRC for Low Carbon Living has significantly contributed to lowering carbon emissions in Australia’s built environment. Over 120 CRCLCL projects have produced excellent results, such as the Built to Perform report which proves that changes to the National Construction Code could improve energy efficiency in Australian buildings by up to 56 per cent and cut household energy bills by $200-900 per year (27 November 2018).  More...  

Australia's tallest timber building makes a towering case for eco-friendly construction
Lured by their superior sustainable qualities, high-rise developers around the world are increasingly turning to timber materials for construction, and a newly completed office tower in Australia is the latest shining example of this (27 November 2018).  More...  

Workers 'lose thousands' as attempts to chase entitlements met with silence
A northern Victorian construction company that owes almost $1 million in unpaid super and wages is facing legal action from the Australian Tax Office (23 November 2018).  More...  

Australia’s first national building census launched
An Australian government-owned company has launched the country’s first building census which maps every building with a roof area of more than nine square metres. The data set collects information on the location, elevation, height, roof materials and footprint of a building as well as the presence of solar panels, nearby trees and swimming pools (21 November 2018).  More... 

$21 million for smart cities projects
The Federal Government has announced $21 million in funding for Round Two of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The program will assist 32 innovative projects that will improve liveability for Australian communities (21 November 2018).  More...  

New South Wales

New South Wales adopts Commonwealth security of payment recommendations
The Coalition Government welcomes legislation passing through the New South Wales Parliament to protect subcontractors working in the state’s construction industry. The reforms in New South Wales adopt key recommendations of the national Review of Security of Payment Laws (29 November 2018).  More... 

Building disaster resilience into our critical infrastructure
The New South Wales Government has released the inaugural New South Wales Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy (CIRS) which seeks to improve the resilience of the essential services that our communities rely so heavily on (27 November 2018).  More...  

Multimillion-dollar asbestos dumping fines
Asbestos dumpers now face multimillion-dollar fines under new laws passed by the New South Wales Government (22 November 2018).  More...  

Green light for Sydney Modern Project
The $344 million Sydney Modern expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales has received planning approval, New South Wales Arts Minister Don Harwin has announced (21 November 2018).  More... 


Queensland infrastructure delivered using more efficient digital methods
The Queensland government’s infrastructure of the future will now be delivered using more efficient digital methods due to the implementation of building information modelling (BIM) principles  (29 November 2018).  More... 

Adani to begin construction on scaled-back Carmichael mine
The mining giant said a scaled-down mine and rail project would be 100 per cent financed through the Adani’s Group’s resources. The announcement follows recent changes to simplify construction and reduce the initial capital requirements for the project (29 November 2018).  More... 

New financial reporting to help protect building industry jobs
Queenslanders working in the building and construction sector will soon have greater protection from the devastating impact of company collapses (29 November 2018).  More... 


Victoria’s triple-A rating drives infrastructure projects
International credit agency Moody’s Investors Service has reconfirmed Victoria’s triple-A credit rating, giving the State Government the financial resources it needs for infrastructure projects (28 November 2018).  More...  

Building Better Schools – In Richmond and across Victoria
The Andrews Labor Government isn’t wasting a minute building the Education State, with nine new public schools on track to open next year and the Government appointing builders to start delivering 11 schools across the state that will open in 2020 (30 November 2018).  More... 

Published- articles, papers, reports

Decision support systems for a sustainable management of the indoor and built environment
Jan K. Kazak, Joost van Hoof; Indoor and Built Environment: 18 November 2018.
Smart city and smart home concepts have become increasingly popular, especially in the last decade. Many people have positive notions of living in a smart city or smart home, but not too many users can really define what these concepts mean.  More... 

Matching markets in housing and housing assistance
Andrea Sharam, Martin Byford, Bilgehan Karabay, Sean McNelis, Terry Burke; Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute: 22 November 2018. This study identified five Australian housing markets that could use online technology to match highly specific ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’.  More...  

ACI Construction Briefs
A fortnightly communication highlighting key updates related to Australia's construction industry (26 November 2018).  More... 

Australian Bureau of Statistics
28/11/2018 Construction Work Done, Australia, Preliminary, Sep 2018 (cat no. 8755.0)

In practice and courts

New South Wales

Combustible cladding regulation
Under the new Regulations, owners of certain buildings with external combustible cladding are required to register their building with the New South Wales Government through the Cladding Registration portal. For buildings occupied before 22 October 2018, the deadline for registration is 22 February 2019. Owners of new buildings will be required to register their building within four months of the building first being occupied (updated 28 November 2018).  More... 

New dates for Environmental Planning & Assessment Act updates
Councils, certifiers and other industry practitioners have more time to implement some of the recent EP&A Act updates. Changes affect new provisions for building and subdivision certification, local strategic planning statements for councils in the Greater Sydney Region and Community Participation Plans. While most of the changes commenced on 1 March 2018, there will be a number of other changes that will involve further design and consultation from mid to late 2018. 


Information sessions about QBCC financial requirements
Almost half of all financial documents submitted to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission are either incorrect or require clarification (30 November 2018).  More... 

Building Queensland: Current case studies
Building Queensland leads the development of Queensland Government detailed business cases with an estimated capital cost of over $100 million. Projects currently being led by Building Queensland are outlined here , including the two latest - Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade Master Plan - Stage 3 Edmonton to Gordonvale and Stage 4 Kate Street to Aumuller Street (November 2018).  More... 


Goodwin Street Developments Pty Ltd v DSD Builders Pty Ltd [2018] NSWCA 276
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – judicial review – content of obligation to act in good faith – whether lack of good faith established by failure to “grapple with” all matters decision-maker required to consider – whether lack of good faith requires wilful blindness or conscious maladministration BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – adjudication of payment claim – review of adjudicator’s decision – circumstances in which adjudicator’s decision invalid for lack of good faith – whether decision reviewable for failure to “grapple with” all matters adjudicator required to consider – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW), ss 10(1)(b), 22(2).

Goodwin Street Developments Pty Ltd v DSD Builders Pty Ltd [2018] NSWSC 1791
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – application by owner to quash adjudicator’s determination in favour of builder dismissed by judge of the division and confirmed by Court of Appeal – whether funds paid into court by owner pending challenge to the determination should be retained in court pending determination of underlying building dispute – where judge hearing application to quash determination had rejected such an application – where Court of Appeal refused to entertain application – whether factors of inability of builder to repay established – whether any factors beyond those available to owner when making original application established. 

Livingstone Shire Council v EarthTEC Pty Ltd and Ors [2018] QSC 271
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – OTHER MATTERS – where the applicant submits that the adjudicator’s decision is void for jurisdictional error – where the applicant alleges the adjudicator erred in their construction of s 26(2) of the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) – where the applicant further alleges that there was a failure by the adjudicator to provide natural justice – where the respondent submits that the construction of s 26(2) was correct – where there were submissions regarding the intersection of the Subcontractors’ Charges Act 1974 (Qld) and the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) – where the adjudicator determined he did not have the jurisdiction to consider such matters – where the parties were asked four times to provide further submissions – where the parties were not asked to address the adjudicator on the jurisdiction issue – whether the construction of s 26(2) by the adjudicator is correct – whether the construction of s 26(2) is jurisdictional error of the kind that would justify setting aside the decision – whether there was a failure to accord natural justice. 

CSR Building Products Limited v Halstead [2018] QDC 241
APPLICATION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT JUDGMENT – whether default judgment was regularly or irregularly obtained – the extent to which rule 430 limits the use of statements based on information and belief – where the judgment was regularly entered – where the defendant never received the documentation the subject of the order for substituted service – where the defendant has not delayed in making the application to set aside default judgment – where there is no draft defence so no finding can be made as to prima facie defence. 

Cornonero v Bright Moon Buddhist Society [2018] VSC 737
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Judicial review – Relief in the nature of certiorari – Whether adjudication determination is vitiated by jurisdictional error – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic), r 56.
BUILDING CONTRACTS – Review adjudications – Application for review by respondent – Requirement for respondent to pay adjudicated amount other than alleged excluded amounts to claimant – Where respondent transfers funds before making review application – Where funds clear after making review application – Requirement for respondent to pay alleged excluded amounts into designated trust account – Where respondent pays undisputed amounts to claimant instead of into trust – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) s 28B(5), s 28B(6).
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – Legislative intention – Statutory precondition to review application – Where respondent took partial steps of compliance – Need for strict compliance – Meaning of ‘paid’ – Electronic funds transfer – Whether ‘paid’ requires clearance of funds in recipient’s bank account.

Webb v Spectre Group Pty Ltd (in liquidation) [2018] VSC 704
DOMESTIC BUILDING – Claim by owners for costs of completion of a house – Assessment of damages – Actual cost of completion of building works – Expert estimates of completion costs – How assessed – No defence that actual costs unreasonable, excessive or of failure to mitigate – Failure to disclose a path of reasoning – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) ss 148, 117(5).

Seecamp v Michael Parker Building Pty Ltd (Building and Property) [2018] VCAT 1806
Building and property list - Application for reinstatement - matter previously settled - no new fact or circumstances. Costs- no reasonable basis in fact of law for making application. Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) - s 109. The Applicants’ application for reinstatement is dismissed. 

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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