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Webinar: Managing Compliance with Australian Building Codes Board

Our industry is facing continual changes to compliance and new product requirements, making it a burdensome task to ensure proper adherence to codes and regulations. In this ACIF Webinar to be held on Friday 27 October 2017 at 12pm AET, we will discuss whether the upcoming changes in legislation and regulation will hinder or assist your business. 

>> Register for this webinar now

New laws and requirements and what it means to your business 

The construction and building industry is facing rapid change as new technologies, materials and regulation directly impact upon the successful delivery of the building projects.   

Changes in legislation to the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) will affect regulation and compliance. Failure to comply could result in costly fines, yet the benefit enhances the reputation and financial security of our industry. 

In this interactive and educational webinar, you’ll have the chance to ask questions about the compliance and regulatory changes and what it means for your business and employees. Michael Tomlinson of Pointsbuild will deliver and update on: 

  • Industry compliance obligations for 2018, per State and Territory 
  • Non-conforming products 
  • Changes and new legislation that impacts on regulations and compliance 

Additionally, Michael will also address possible solutions around the increased challenges of workforce mobility and working across state borders 

>> Register for this webinar now

Michael Tomlinson, PointsbuildAbout the Presenter - 
Michael Tomlinson,
Founder and MD, Pointsbuild  

Michael has over 20 years’ experience in education/training, IT and consulting services. In 2007, he founded Pointsbuild, and is responsible for the company’s leadership, strategy, execution and day-to-day engagement. Prior to Pointsbuild, Michael worked with Microsoft in consulting services.  

Pointsbuild isthe leader in the delivery of professional development platforms, education and training and related services for all sectors of the building and construction industry. The company offers over 130 courses and delivers over 20,000 activities each year to more than 7,000 customers.

 

Posted on 12 October 2017 | 1:00 pm

Webinar Recording: Where to Focus your IT Dollars for Maximum ROI

Where to Focus your IT Dollars for Maximum ROI

The ACIF webinar held on 29 September 2017 focused on the most important tool to improve productivity in today's building and construction industry: technology. New research shows which 15 processes can yield the best ROI when automated with technology.

Recording of this webinar is available for registered users of the ACIF website. Subscribe as an Enews Subscriber for free here or login now to then click here to view this recording and more ACIF Webinars in our Education Centre.

More about this topic

The construction industry is known for facing uncertainty and managing competitive forces better than most. These mounting pressures result in an ever-growing need for collaboration, process efficiencies and improved decision making to, not only survive, but, succeed. 

As you weigh future investments in technology, understanding where to focus your spending for the greatest ROI will ensure that you put money into tools that:

  • Help you create more efficient processes
  • Connect your teams, vendors, and subcontractors for better visibility and communication
  • Provide accurate, real-time data to enable better decision-making
  • Make you more competitive so you can win more bids and deliver more projects

Hobson & Company, a leading research firm focused on Return on Investment (ROI) studies, worked with Viewpoint, a leader in construction and collaboration software, to explore these challenges and learn how industry leaders are responding. In that process, they identified the 15 key construction work processes that yield the greatest ROI when fully automated. Join Maury Plumlee, Viewpoint’s Vice President of Global Marketing, for an exploration of the top areas to focus on for improvements in productivity, risk mitigation, and profitability.
 

About the Presenter

Maury Plumlee, Vice President of Global Marketing, Viewpoint Construction Software

Maury has been a member of the Viewpoint team for more than 35 years. He currently oversees Global Marketing, leading a high energy team that’s driven to promote Viewpoint’s unique brand story and help execute on the company’s goal of construction market leadership in all geographies served.

Prior, Maury had direct responsibility for North America sales of all Viewpoint product lines, including the company’s flagship product, Vista by Viewpoint. Maury led a team of 60 sales professionals and a growing network of business partners throughout North America and Australia.

Posted on 11 October 2017 | 1:00 pm

National Safe Work Month

Safe Work Month

Work-related injury and disease cost the Australian community $61.8 billion in a year, and National Safe Work Month is an opportunity to focus on reducing the cost of fatalities, disease, injury and illness in your business.

This October, commit to improving work health and safety by running a safety initiative in your workplace.

Take Part in National Safe Work Month

This October, commit to improving work health and safety by running a safety initiative in your workplace for National Safe Work Month. Safe Work Australia has resources and a campaign kit to help you do this – including activity ideas, posters, factsheets, statistics, flyers, videos and other campaign materials.
>> Find out more here.

Cost of Injury and Illness Statistics

Safe Work Australia infographic on the Construction Industry

Safework Australia is an Australian government statutory body established in 2008 to develop national policy relating to WHS and workers’ compensation.

Jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments through an Intergovernmental Agreement, they perform functions agreed annually by Ministers for Work Health and Safety. This includes research on the cost of unsafe work within the Australian workplace.

In the statistics released for this year's National Safe Work Month, Safe Work Australia reports:

Work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths impose costs on employers, workers and the community. These include both direct costs and indirect costs:

Direct costs include items such as workers’ compensation premiums paid by employers or payments to injured or incapacitated workers from workers’ compensation jurisdictions.

Indirect costs include items such as lost productivity, loss of current and future earnings, lost potential output and the cost of providing social welfare programs for injured or incapacitated workers.

The level of costs borne by each economic agent varies with the severity of the injury or disease. While measures of direct costs are understood and reasonably simple to measure, these costs cover only a fraction of the total cost of work-related injury and disease.

Our report The Cost of Work-related Injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community: 2012–13 provides updated estimates of the cost of work-related injury and disease to the Australian economy, based on methodology developed by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission in 2004.

In 2012–13, work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% of GDP.

The majority of the cost (95%) was borne by individuals and society.

Workers bore 77%, the community 18% and employers 5%.

Injuries accounted for $28 billion (45%) of the cost.

Posted on 10 September 2017 | 2:00 pm

Webinar: Construction after the housing boom

The ACIF Webinar held on 25 August looked at the big question for anyone working in the residential building sector: Where to now? Construction after the housing boom…

Cordell’s construction data suggests that the value of apartment and unit development applications across Australia peaked in September of 2015. Cordell estimated the combined value of residential construction applications at $22 billion. At this time, residential applications accounted for almost half of Australia’s construction pipeline.

Fast forward to the June 2017 quarter, and the value of residential development applications has fallen to just $8.9 billion. The number of ABS dwelling approvals has trended down to 2.8% in houses, and 26.2% in other dwellings in the year to June.

This ACIF Webinar featured Eliza Owen, CoreLogic Commercial Research Analyst, who explored the post-peak market for residential building. Applications for residential developments have fallen in recent months, and Eliza discussed the drivers for this change, as well as how this change affects the different sub-sectors for residential building. She outlined where the shift has been and where it is going to.

This ACIF Webinar pairs CoreLogic’s rigorous housing market data with Cordell construction figures. This provides attendees with an understanding of housing market performance, housing construction, and where future opportunities exist in the construction sector.

Recording of this webinar is available for registered users of the ACIF website. Subscribe as an Enews Subscriber for free here or login now to then click here to view this recording and more ACIF Webinars in our Education Centre.

More about this topic

Cordell Construction Figures: Apartment and Unit Building Development Applications

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has introduced measures to limit exposure to residential developments, and limit lending to investors. In New South Wales, where investors comprised 46% of the mortgage market in May, increases to mortgage rates are likely to reduced demand for dwellings.

There is speculation that slowed demand for dwellings and institutional interventions from APRA will impact the value of construction work to be done across Australia. However, Cordell data indicates that residential building has a declining share in building applications. The value of the total Australian construction pipeline surged in the June 2017 quarter. Combined construction application values rose from $36.6 billion in March to $51 billion in June. Of this, just 17% of the value was made up of residential building applications.

Contribution of Residential Building to Pipeline Values

About the Presenter - Eliza Owen

Eliza Owen, CoreLogicEliza Owen joined CoreLogic with the acquisition of Residex in mid-2016. She graduated with a first class honours economics degree from the University of Sydney in 2014, while working as a researcher and writer on the residential housing market.

Her knowledge and experience of property research saw her appointed to the role of CoreLogic Commercial Research Analyst in January 2017. Eliza specialises in researching and reporting on commercial market trends, the construction sector and the interplay of these segments with broader economic factors.

Eliza has forged a name for herself in print media, television and radio, providing up-to-date commentary on commercial property using the expansive CoreLogic database. Eliza is also a proficient and popular keynote speaker on housing market matters. Eliza is also a member of the Construction Forecasting Council.

About CoreLogic

CoreLogic Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of CoreLogic (NYSE:CLGX), which is the largest property data and analytics company in the world. CoreLogic provides property information, analytics and services across Australia, New Zealand and Asia, and recently expanded its service offering through the purchase of project activity and building cost information provider Cordell.

With Australia’s most comprehensive property databases, the company’s combined data offering is derived from public, contributory and proprietary sources and includes over 4.4 billion decision points spanning over three decades of collection, providing detailed coverage of property and other encumbrances such as tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information.

Posted on 24 August 2017 | 2:00 pm

Advisory Board driving BIM benefits in construction projects

Australasian BIM Advisory BoardThe new technologies and processes in Building Information Modelling (BIM) can lead to increased productivity and improved asset management across Australasia. As developments continue in the digital built environment, the BIM Advisory Board continues to provide a coordinated approach to development of BIM practices, standards and requirements through collaboration, education, innovation and simplification.

Leaders from government, industry and academia are partnering to provide leadership on the adoption of BIM and Project Team Integration (PTI). The Australasian BIM Advisory Board is linking industry leaders and expertise from government, industry and academia, and promoting best practice and consistent approaches to BIM practices, standards and requirements.

The Chair of the Board, Mr Michael Green said, “BIM adoption is on the rise and the Board believes that it will be business as usual in the foreseeable future”. “It’s estimated that Australia will spend around $207 billion on construction in 2016/17. By working together, government, industry and academia can maximise the value of BIM to deliver improved efficiencies and increased innovation in the management, design, construction and operational phases of a built asset.”

BIM resources to support construction projects

Mr Green said that the Board is focusing on three priority projects. “At our August meeting, the valuable work of the Board’s Technical Groups was given the ‘green light’ to further support the consistent approach to the adoption of BIM across jurisdictional boundaries.”

The first project, Exchange Information Requirements (Client specifications), will provide an essential foundation to assistance to the Australasian construction industry by creating a common framework and language for everyone involved in the construction process. The second project is to provide a National Framework for Intellectual Property for BIM, which will assist with education and collaboration across Australia. It will demystify and simplify what is required. The third project, Process Consistency in BIM, will identify and promote which BIM elements should be consistent across Australasia to ensure the optimisation of BIM benefits and therefore eliminate waste in construction practices.

A number of other projects are planned, including a common set of principles for BIM strategies across Government, and clarifying BIM roles and responsibilities.

The outputs from these projects will help the construction industry navigate through the new technologies and systems, to ensure that the benefits of BIM are realised in construction projects.

Collaborate on BIM and receive regular updates

To share ongoing information and resources, the BIM Advisory Board will be establishing a new website. It will provide information on best practice approaches, standards, tools, theories, and technologies, and help develop industry skills in BIM. In the meantime, if you want to share your insights on BIM, or if you’d like to receive ongoing articles about the development of BIM protocols and guidelines, please email the APCC (email: info@apcc.gov.au or info@acif.gov.au)

About the Australasian BIM Advisory Board

The BIM Advisory Board was established by the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) and the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), together with the key standard-setting  bodies,  NATSPEC,  buildingSMART  and  Standards  Australia.  The Board has evolved from a previous APCC–ACIF collaboration established in 2015 on a BIM Summit. This Summit produced a number of resources, including a guide to the adoption of BIM (see  www.apcc.gov.au and  www.acif.com.au).

Two recent Australian Government reports (SmartICT and Australian Infrastructure Report) recommended an integrated approach between government, industry and researchers for the development of BIM in Australia. As seen overseas, a coordinated approach delivers benefits. The UK Government identified that its BIM Level 2 Initiative was a significant contributor to the £840 million savings achieved on its public spend in 2013/14, and on its £1.2 billion savings in 2014/15.

Collaborate on BIM and receive updates

info@apcc.gov.au or info@acif.com.au

>> Find out more about ABAB here

Posted on 21 August 2017 | 2:00 pm

Bruce Wan Rejoins CFC

Bruce Wan rejoins ACIF Construction Forecasting CouncilThe unique peer review process that is behind the building and construction industry’s own 10 year forecasts, the ACIF Forecasts, has received a boost with the return of property expert Bruce Wan.

Bruce had previously been a member of the Construction Forecasting Council (CFC), contributing his expertise to reality test the data before release to the industry as the ACIF Forecasts. His recent appointment as Head of Property Research for RF Capital has provided him with the perfect opportunity to return to the CFC with increased depth of knowledge and commitment to analysing the prospects for the building and construction industry in Australia.

“After participating in the Construction Forecasting Council for several years, I have seen first-hand the exceptional value this Council provides to the construction industry and the investment community,” said Bruce.

“The standards of the forecasts are high, while the advisory panel of economists and industry specialists delivers excellent and timely insights into the state of the sector. Altogether, the Australian Construction Industry Forum continues to produce an indispensable product for anyone working or investing in the construction industry. I am very pleased to rejoin ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council.”

CFC Chairman Adrian welcomed Bruce’s return to the CFC. “In the past, Bruce had made a notable contribution to the CFC, and we are thrilled to welcome him back. The property, investment and construction industry benefits from the contribution that Bruce and other members of the CFC make, contributing years of knowledge and well-honed instinct for market behaviour to the ACIF Forecasts.”

Members of the Construction Forecasting Council contribute their time in reviewing the macro economic drivers and construction market forecasts that become the ACIF Forecasts. This group of industry leading economists, researchers and analysts review the data and the assumptions presented by the ACIF Forecasts economics team, and add enormous value in not only the detailed review of the numbers but also often contribute specialist knowledge of behaviour from their section of the industry. The result is a robust set of forecasts for all sectors of building and construction that are reliable and relevant for the thousands of subscribers to the ACIF Forecasts.

Find out more about the ACIF Forecasts and the Construction Forecasting Council here.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 2:00 pm

Compliance isn’t a Dirty Word!

PointsbuildCompliance isn't a dirty word - compliance and ongoing professional development is good for your business and our industry

As non-mining infrastructure projects have become a national priority, Australia is in an exciting phase of development. ACIF’s industry forecast released in May, forecasts turnover close to $80 billion for the construction sector. Equally, the residential building sector is projected to complete over 200,000 homes – the largest on record – resulting in an estimated turnover of $100 billion.[1]

With rapid expansion, the building and construction industry also faces a labyrinth of ongoing changes to regulation, new building materials and technology. Business owners and leaders now face the responsibility of ensuring their workforce are up-to-date with the ever-complex and changing regulations and new industry products and services... > Read the full article here

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 2:00 pm

New Education Partnership to Build Skills to Drive Excellence in Const

Welcome to ACIF Partner PoinstbuildTo build upon its work to drive improvement and excellence in the construction industry, the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has today established its first-ever education partnership with online education and training company, Pointsbuild.

One area where education assists the construction industry is to reduce defective building work. According to recent research, five per cent of the value of residential building work in Australia each year is defective building work. In 2015-16, the estimated cost of rectifying defective building work was $3.3 billion.[1]

There are numerous additional benefits to the construction industry and clients in reducing defective building work, such as a reduction in the time and cost of resolving disputes, lower insurance costs, a more competitive and skilled industry, and increased consumer confidence. While some of these benefits, such as consumer confidence are immeasurable, it is estimated that the overall benefit of reduced defects and regulatory costs for finishing trades alone would be over $69 million annually.[2]

“Keeping current with training and understanding the latest building material and technical developments in the building and construction industry, is key to tackling these issues. We are pleased to partner with Pointsbuild as they have innovated education through technology to make it easier for both employers and individuals to manage their ongoing education needs,” said James Cameron, ACIF Executive Director.

Pointsbuild is an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and leader in the delivery of education, training, professional development and related consulting services for the building and construction industry. Pointsbuild offers an innovative online platform to deliver and manage continuing professional development, with over 130 courses.

Over their multi-year partnership, ACIF and Pointsbuild will seek to engage with many of the 1.1 million Australians working in building and construction, to show them how they can easily update or upgrade their skills for their trade or profession.

“Our industry is facing rapid change as new technologies, materials and regulation directly impact upon the delivery of the building projects.  Understanding and applying the changes can be a burdensome task. We applaud ACIF for supporting its members. We’re excited to be the first education partner, and look forward to working with ACIF members and providing the necessary online training resources and tools,” said Michael Tomlinson, Pointsbuild Managing Director.

About Pointsbuild

Pointsbuild is the leading provider of online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) education and training services in Australia for builders, architects, engineers, certifiers and tradesmen. The company offers over 130 courses and delivers over 20,000 activities each year. Pointsbuild works with several state and federal agencies to provide the relevant courses and is also considered the preferred provider of CPD training by industry organisations, such as The Australian Institute of Architects, Association of Accredited Certifiers, Engineering Education Australia, The Swimming Pools & Spas Association and Bunnings Trade. www.pointsbuild.com.au


[1] Build Better: The Economic Benefits of Licensing Building and Construction Finishing Trade Contractors in Australia, January 2017.

[2] Build Better: The Economic Benefits of Licensing Building and Construction Finishing Trade Contractors in Australia, January 2017

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 2:00 pm

Building Product Quality Focus Strengthened with New ACIF Member

Welcome to Australian Window AssociationAustralian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is pleased to announce that the Australian Window Association (AWA) has joined as a member of ACIF. AWA joins leading associations and institutes that are working together to improve productivity and sustainability of the building and construction industry.

ACIF Members develop solutions to issues affecting the broadest cross section of the industry. As part of ACIF, AWA’s representatives will contribute to industry action on the key issues of product compliance and conformance. At a time when product quality and use has been highlighted by the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, it is important to having strong leadership at ACIF from industry bodies committed to improvement in the safety in building products used by all Australians.

“We are pleased to welcome the Australian Window Association and its executive as they join us in the development of a whole of industry response to the significant concerns around product conformance and compliance, and other key industry issues,” said James Cameron, Executive Director of ACIF.

Tracey Gramlick, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Window Association said, “Each building product contributes to a functional, sustainable and long lasting asset, and we are pleased to add our members’ strength to this important discussion as part of ACIF, as well as the many other industry initiatives and opportunities ACIF members work on.“

ACIF Members next meet in September, including the annual joint meeting with its government counterpart, Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC), where industry and government leaders will work together to improve productivity and profitability of the building and construction industry in Australia.

About Australian Window Association

Australian Window Association (AWA) Membership comprises nearly 600 window manufacturers and industry suppliers throughout Australia. Members of the AWA offer products tested to Australian Standard AS2047, so users can be confident that products are made to withstand Australian conditions. Find out more about AWA at www.awa.org.au

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 2:00 pm

Grenfell Tower Building Fire

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) joins with other organisations from the Australian building and construction industry and from around the world in expressing our dismay at the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower building fire catastrophe in London. Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this devastating incident.

It is the opinion of ACIF that the appropriate processes and investigations must be undertaken and reports published before further comments are provided.

In 2014 Australia experienced a somewhat similar building fire incident at the Lacrosse building at Docklands, Melbourne, at which fortunately there was no loss of life or injury. 

At present there is a Federal Parliamentary inquiry into non-conforming building products being used in the Australian building and construction industry. This inquiry should also inquire into the broader range of issues flowing from these and other overseas fire incidents including: codes and regulations, testing and approval of product design, selection, certification, construction and inspection of products as used, reporting, enforcement and appropriate consequences of non-compliance within the building process. Of importance too is the dissemination of information and the education of all building and design practitioners in the interpretation of the Building Code of Australia and the use of product.

Australian governments, regulators and the construction industry should continue to cooperate and be vigilant to prevent similar tragedies occurring in Australia in the future; there should be no room for complacency on this issue.

Posted on 21 June 2017 | 2:00 pm

EOFY Special Offer

Its almost the end of the financial year, and ACIF has a special offer for businesses

ACIF Forecasts are the most comprehensive building and construction industry forecasts, spanning 20 years and 20 types of work plus much more. Until midnight 30 June 2017, enjoy 10% off the ACIF Forecasts when you buy a copy of the Australian Construction Market Report or subscribe to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. 

Receive the tax benefits sooner for your business to have the latest industry intelligence - use the code EOYFS17 at the checkout on the ACIF website.

 

10% Off ACIF Forecasts before 30 June 2017  

Australian Construction Market Report - $250

90+ page report with detailed commentary, data and charts on the economic drivers for our industry, and 10 year forecasts for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction.
>> Click here to purchase

Customised Forecasts Dashboard - $400

Full access to ACIF Forecasts data. Subscribers can tailor forecasts for their business type and location, on the upcoming work demand, labour requirements, outlook for construction costs and more.
>> Click here to subscribe

NEW - ACIF Forecasts May 2017 Subscription - Report + Dashboard to Nov 2017 - $400

ALL information for the ACIF Forecasts May 2017 release. This new package includes the Australian Construction Market Report May 2017 plus subscription to Customised Forecasts Dashboard for the full database of the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts.
>> Click here to subscribe for instant access to Dashboard and Report

ACIF Forecasts Subscriber - 2 x Report + Dashboard - $800

ALL information for the ACIF Forecasts. Includes the two Australian Construction Market Reports released during the subscription period plus access to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard.
>> Click here to subscribe for instant access to Dashboard and Report

What are the ACIF Forecasts?

Watch this brief video to find out more about the ACIF Forecasts or visit here.

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Posted on 19 June 2017 | 2:00 pm

Building industry peak body welcomes new Chair

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), the peak consultative body for the Australian building and construction industry, has welcomed a new Chair at its recent Annual General Meeting.

Norman Faifer, immediate past president of Australian Institute of Building, was warmly welcomed to his new position by ACIF Members. Norman brings to the role a wealth of experience and broad range of skills, having achieved much in his 40+ year career in building and construction.

Norman Faifer, Chair of Australian Construction Industry Forum

Norman’s unique mix of skill sees him a great choice as Chair for the meeting place of the trades and professions that work together to build important assets from homes to bridges and hospitals. Norman’s career began as a builder, and he has built upon his skills with qualifications from related professions including quantity surveying. He currently consults widely in the industry as a building consultant, superintendent, assessor and certifier. He also appears in tribunals and courts as an expert witness in building and construction matters.

As a Fellow of each of Australian Institute of Building, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia and the Resolution Institute, Norman is well positioned to moderate the dynamic and sometimes challenging debate between the various partners in the asset development process, from architects to builders, trades and prefabrication manufacturers.

“Our industry is undergoing significant change, with international and domestic market forces as well as technology and process change demanding new approaches from all of us,” said Mr Faifer. “I look forward to working with ACIF Members as well as government and industry partners to continue to improve the productivity, safety and profitability of our industry.”

Executive Director of ACIF, James Cameron said, “As a representative to ACIF over a number of years, Norman has demonstrated his broad experience and deep understanding of the industry and the relationships between different parties. Now as Chair of ACIF, Norman is well positioned to use this experience to benefit the 1.1 million people working in our industry, and the rest of Australia that utilises the assets our industry creates.”

Outgoing Chair of ACIF, Ian Pedersen, was thanked and his efforts recognised by ACIF Members of at the Annual General Meeting, for his leadership over the past two years as Chair, and over 10 years as Director.

Posted on 5 June 2017 | 2:00 pm

Free ACIF Forecasts for members

Several ACIF Member organisations have commenced a program whereby members of their own association or institute can enjoy free access to the ACIF Forecasts, to aid their business planning.

Australian Institute of Building SurveyorsAustralian Institute of Building Surveyors has provided full access to all of its current members, who have received an email from ACIF with their access details for the Customised Forecasts Dashboard plus a link to download the latest Australian Construction Market Report

Insulated Panel Council AustralasiaMembers from two other ACIF Member organisations are able to subscribe to the ACIF Forecasts for free via their Association.

Insulated Panel Council Australasia and Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors members can simply login to their Association website and follow the link to subscribe for free, and immediately gain access to the full ACIF Forecasts in both the Report and Dashboard formats.

Australian Institute of Quantity SurveyorsMembers of AIBS, IPCA or AIQS needing more information about this special member benefit are encouraged to contact their association for more details. 

About ACIF Forecasts

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 2:00 pm

ACIF Forecasts: Residential building in Australia

The recent release of ACIF Forecasts May 2017 showed that the value of aggregate construction work done peaked at $248 billion in 2013-14, reflecting the influence of the investment phase in the mining boom. The total value of work for 2016-17 is forecasted to be $215 billion, which is an aggregate level not seen since 2011.

ACIF Forecasts May 2017 available now at www.acif.com.au/forecasts

The synchronised double dip due to the downturn in mining and housing booms will push the value of work done in aggregate construction down further to $194 billion by 2019-20.

The dominant sector Residential Building saw growth of 10.5% in 2015-16, lifting the value of work done to $95 billion. However leading indicators show that growth has peaked. Growth in Residential Building at large is projected to fall to 4% this year (2016-17) and then activity will contract by a total of 16% over the three years to 2018-19. The sub-category most affected will be New Other Residential which is apartments and townhouses.

A raft of policy measures have been implemented to reduce demand for housing, which has already raised interest rates for investors and reduced house prices in key markets. These include closer supervision of foreign buyers and more stringent prudential supervision on mortgage lending.

The Australian Government’s 2017 Budget provided many measures designed to tackle problems with housing affordability. These will take some time to flow through to actual Residential Building activity and it is likely that they will provide a lift in supply and assist in funding demand for more affordable housing from 2017-18, just when the Residential Building activity would otherwise be entering its expected downturn in earnest. It is too early to say in this set of ACIF Forecasts how much this will change the projections.

The ACIF Forecasts are available two formats: Australian Construction Market Report, a 90+ page expert analysis on the economy and industry sectors, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard, an online portal where users can query the full ACIF Forecasts database on 20 work types, over a twenty year period. Find out more at www.acif.com.au/forecasts.

ACIF FOrecasts are proudly supported by our Partners including Cbus Super

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 2:00 pm

Experts' reports add extra value to ACIF Forecasts

Australian Construction Industry Forum has recently released the ACIF Forecasts for May 2017, which are available now as a data portal called the Customised Forecasts Dashboard, and also as the 90+ page Australian Construction Market Report. Click here for more details.

Beyond the ten year forecasts across residential building, commercial and industrial work and engineering construction, the Australian Construction Market Report also includes articles and information from property and construction industry leaders.

Included in Australian Construction Market Report - RLB Construction Cost IndexFeatured contributors include quantity surveyors Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), a long term contributor to the Australian Construction Market Reports since they were first published in 2012. In the May 2017 report, RLB has contributed a wealth of information including the Tender Price Index and the Crane Index, as well as information on anticipated construction costs in nine locations around Australia.

CoreLogic is the largest provider of property information, analytics and property-related risk management services in Australia and New Zealand. CoreLogic is also the new parent company of Cordell, which has provided major project data to the ACIF Forecasts for over a decade. In this edition, CoreLogic explores the development hot spots across Australia, and the impact of projects on the future of cities.

Also looking forward is another contributor, Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management for Folkestone. In this edition, Adrian analyses population projects and what it means for Australia’s infrastructure planning. “Its time to get it right…”, he says, and outlines how planning for Melbourne and Sydney is not keeping pace with strong population growth, and what that means for the future.

Included in Australian Construction Market Report - Value of Work To Be DoneDespite insufficient work planned, there still is a lot of infrastructure work forecast to be done. In this edition, Andrew Scott, Basic Materials and Industrials Analyst for RBC Capital Markets explores the infrastructure boom that is “finally” happening. Andrew’s analysis explores the increasing level of work to be done, and the positive trajectory ahead for this sector.

Closer to home – literally – is a report by Shane Garrett from Housing Industry Association, on “Will home renovations spark the next boom?”. The importance of Australia’s home renovations market is often overlooked. However, during 2016, renovations work done on homes is estimated to have totalled around $33.06 billion, an increase of 2.7% on the previous year. This is not a sub-sector to be ignored, and Shane’s analysis of the work likely to be most popular in this area will be of great interest to businesses serving this market.

ACIF thanks our valued contributors for their invaluable information.

Australian Construction Market Report

90+ page report with detailed commentary, data and charts on the economic drivers for our industry, and 10 year forecasts for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction. Reports are released in May and November each year. >> Click here to purchase

Customised Forecasts Dashboard

Full access to ACIF Forecasts data. Subscribers can tailor forecasts for their business type and location, on the upcoming work demand, labour requirements, outlook for construction costs and more. >> Click here to subscribe

NEW - ACIF Forecasts May 2017 Subscription - Report + Dashboard

ALL information for the ACIF Forecasts May 2017 release. This new package includes the Australian Construction Market Report May 2017 plus subscription to Customised Forecasts Dashboard for the full database of the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts. >> Click here to subscribe and get the Report

ACIF Forecasts Subscriber - 2 x Report + Dashboard

ALL information for the ACIF Forecasts: the Australian Construction Market Reports released during your subscription plus access to Customised Forecasts Dashboard for the full database. >> Click here to subscribe and get the Report

Posted on 21 May 2017 | 2:00 pm

Double Dip Downturn in the Australian Construction Market

The latest industry forecasts released today by Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), the peak consultative body for building and construction, show this important industry for employment is moving quickly through two peaks in activity with a less fevered period of activity coming.

ACIF Forecasts May 2017 - % change in building and construction workThe ACIF Forecasts for May 2017 show that Engineering Construction is midway through a sharp downslide. Demand in the sector that includes mining-related construction, plus roads, rail and other large infrastructure is coming off a record-breaking peak driven by the mining development boom to take second position behind Residential Building. Residential Building is in the middle of its own boom. This has pushed growth beyond the housing fundamentals and a downturn is on its way.

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Partners, lead by Cbus SuperSynchronisation of the dominant cycles in the construction market is clear when you look at the change in work done,” said Kerry Barwise, Head Forecaster for ACIF. “Growth in Engineering Construction spiked in 2012-13, about the same time that Residential Building bottomed out. The ACIF Forecasts for May 2017 show growth in Residential Building will peak this year (2016-17), close to the time when Engineering Construction is reaching is lowest point in contraction.”

There is still a lot of work in hand in most sectors of the Australian construction market.

The Engineering Construction sector is still going strong, and in 2016-17 is forecast to turnover close to $80 billion. There are still a number of large Infrastructure projects that are under development such as the development of the NBN or where plans are reaching an advanced stage including major road projects and new tramways/light rail projects.

The boom in Residential Building will lift the value of work done to $100 billion over this year, completing 220,000 homes, the largest number on record.

Non-Residential Building activity declined in 2015-16 to arrive at $36 billion in line with economic statistics showing soft non-mining business investment. Soft business investment conditions are expected to carry over into a further decline in Non-Residential Building activity in 2016-17 and 2017-18.  In practice, Non-Residential Building activity is made up of a broad mix of activities and the drivers of investment differ by sub-category and the outlook for each sub-sector, including those of Offices, Education and Retail/Wholesale Trade, need to be considered carefully.

“The Federal Budget clearly has put infrastructure spending as a key priority. As the ACIF Forecasts show, the engineering sector continues to decline from the record highs of the mining boom and residential building is close to peaking,” said Adrian Harrington, Chair of ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council which oversees the production of the ACIF Forecasts. 

“The Federal Government clearly recognises that quality infrastructure is critical to ensure our cities and regions continue to grow and the significant role the construction sector plays in driving employment and productivity growth.

"As an industry not-for-profit, ACIF produces this information to assist businesses and governments at all three levels navigate the rapidly changing marketplace and help them plan for the future."

The Australian Government Budget 2017-18 is likely to assist in moderating the dual cycles that are bearing down on building and construction activity. Measures such as the establishment of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and the First Home Super Saving Scheme are expected to support more affordable housing provision cutting in right when the ACIF Forecasts view that Residential Building will need some uplift. The $75 billion funding commitment in infrastructure investment over the 10 years to 2027 will be spread over all of the states and over the key infrastructure categories. Some of the activities mentioned in the budget are already listed in the ACIF Major Projects database. It is too early to say where the Budget measures are adding to forecast construction amounts, or adding certainty and funding to projects that have already been included in the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts.

The ACIF Forecasts are available from Australian Construction Industry Forum from today. Available in two formats: Australian Construction Market Report, an 80+ page expert analysis on the economy and industry sectors, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard, an online portal where users can query the full ACIF Forecasts database on 20 work types, over a twenty year period. Find out more at www.acif.com.au/forecasts.

Posted on 10 May 2017 | 2:00 pm

Build a safer future for your company

How to make each project more profitable, reduce financial and legal risks, and access new technology fast – to become more agile and competitive

Succeeding in the construction sector is tough: as an industry we’re labour-intensive, risk-prone, traditionally litigious and hide-bound in complex inter-company processes. These factors often eat into attempts to increase project value and thus increase shareholder returns and competitive success.

New automation technologies offer a way out of some of these challenges. This whitepaper looks at some of the lights on the horizon: ways to create a safer and more profitable future through reducing administrative effort, financial and legal risks and becoming more agile and responsive in our highly competitive industry. >> Read more, by ACIF Partner Progressclaim.com

Posted on 20 April 2017 | 2:00 pm

Industry economic ‘brains trust’ grows

New experts have been welcomed to the group of economic specialists behind the building and construction industry’s most comprehensive forecasts, the ACIF Forecasts.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has published industry forecasts since 2002, which includes a unique peer-review process by a group of leading researchers and economists, known as the Construction Forecasting Council. The range and depth of experience of the members of the Council means that the information behind the ACIF Forecasts is wide in scope and includes detailed market insights, which are incorporated into the ten-year forecasts for residential and commercial building, and engineering construction.  

The Construction Forecasting Council welcomes three new experts to its impressive list of members:

  • Nerida Conisbee, Chief Economist with REA Group;
  • Andrew Scott, Basic Materials and Industrial Analyst for RBC Capital Markets; and
  • Mike O’Shea, leading Quantity Surveyor and Associate Director, MBM

They join peers from allied industries including commercial property management, construction cost analysis, property development and management, as well as investment managers. Members each bring expertise from different sectors and contribute to this non-profit industry service, which makes available high-quality market analysis that helps businesses of all types and sizes plan to thrive, or prepare to survive.

“The Construction Forecasting Council is unique in that it’s a ‘brains trust’ of economists with specialist knowledge of the state of the market for building and construction and the economic activity that drives it,” said Construction Forecasting Council Chair Adrian Harrington.

“The depth and diversity of expertise of Construction Forecasting Council members adds great value to the ACIF Forecasts. We are pleased to welcome Nerida, Andrew and Mike, and look forward to hearing their voice in the robust discussions on the state of the market and what will happen next,” he said.

On joining the Construction Forecasting Council, Nerida Conisbee said, “The building and construction sector is vital in maintaining housing affordability in Australia and delivering the best outcomes to maintain our high standard of living. It is an honour to be part of the ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council.“

Andrew Scott said, “One of the biggest drivers of capital in Australia is the building and construction industry, and this sector plays an important role in the ongoing financial stability of our nation. I am pleased to contribute to the ACIF Forecasts as market intelligence to help businesses as producers and employers in our economy.”

“With the introduction of new technology and increasing population, demand for construction activity is always changing and growing,” said Mike O’Shea. “The nature of construction work is set for a step change in the next 20 years and the large-scale infrastructure projects will change the shape of cities and careful strategic thinking is needed to navigate the changes. How can I possibly miss this opportunity?  I am extremely proud and excited to contribute to the ACIF Forecasts and to be associated with the construction industry and the new surprises it is bringing in.”

ACIF Forecasts will be launched at the ACIF Briefing industry breakfast on Thursday 4 May 2017 in Sydney before full release to the building and construction industry the following week. Registration for the ACIF Briefing is available online here: https://www.acif.com.au/events/event/acif-briefing-may-2017 . More information about the ACIF Forecasts is here: www.acif.com.au/forecasts.

About Nerida Conisbee

Nerida Consibee joins ACIF's Construction Forecasting CouncilNerida Conisbee is the Chief Economist for REA Group and one of Australia’s leading property market experts. Nerida has more than 20 years of property research experience throughout Asia Pacific and she has held senior positions within commercial agencies and major consulting firms during this time. Her experience covers residential and commercial property from both an investor and occupier’s perspective. Nerida appears every Saturday on SkyNews Real Estate program, writes a fortnightly column for The Australian covering off real estate issues impacting Australia and is the property commentator for Eureka Report. Nerida presents on property market conditions to investors, occupiers and industry groups and is also an adviser on property market conditions to major Government bodies. She has been listed in the “Who’s Who of Australian Women” since its inaugural issue.

About Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott joins ACIF's Construction Forecasting CouncilAndrew Scott is the Basic Materials and Industrials Analyst for RBC Capital Markets, with over a decade of experience as an equity analyst following listed Australian companies in the Building Materials and broader Industrials sectors. As part of this work Andrew has been a keen observer of trends in the Australian construction sectors, including conducting a regular survey of a number of Australia’s largest homebuilders. Andrew joined RBC in July 2015 as a Director with primary responsibility for RBC’s coverage of Australian building materials, chemicals and other industrial companies.  Prior to joining RBC, Andrew worked as a Basic Materials Analyst with a range of domestic and international investment banks and in 2011 was rated as the #1 building materials analyst in the 2010 SMH East Coles survey and lead the Number 3 ranked team in the 2013 Peter Lee survey.

About Mike O’Shea

Mike O'Shea joins ACIF's Construction Forecasting CouncilMike O’Shea is an Associate Director of MBM and leads Infrastructure projects on a national basis.  Mike is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor (RICS), Certified Quantity Surveyor (AIQS) and a Senior Commercial and Risk Manager and is one of MBM’s most senior people. Mike has been a director and principal for over 25 years and has over 35 years’ practical experience in cost estimating/planning, contract management, risk management and project controls of capital works and maintenance.

Mike has provided both commercial/contract and risk services on a range of engineering and infrastructure projects including rail, oil and gas and mining and managed teams of cost/contract managers/engineers during the post contract phase of projects.

Posted on 18 April 2017 | 2:00 pm

ACIF Forecasts: 'Hot and Cold' Chart Shows Changes

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our PartnersThe ACIF Forecasts team are currently finalising the May 2017 industry forecasts for the building and construction sector in Australia. Already it is clear that the market is rapidly changing so it’s more important than ever to know what changes that are coming, and which types of work will be most affected.

More than 1040 additional projects have been added to the ACIF Major Projects list supplied by Cordell Information, which illustrates the rate of change happening in the industry.  In New South Wales alone, there are 312 additional projects reported since November 2016, of which 219 are major residential sector projects.

The changes brought by these and other domestic and international factors are reflected in the ‘hot and cold’ chart provided in the Australian Construction Market Report. This chart (see below, from November 2016) shows the differences since the last ACIF Forecasts in November 2016, by sub-sector.

In the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts, it appears that the Residential Building section is going to be awash with green, indicating the number of work types now set for an increase over the next five years. The darker the green, the stronger the increase and there are several cells in that table so dark that it’s hard to read.

However, the Non-Residential Building sector has a more pastel palette, mainly soft reds, indicating a slight contraction. Half of the Non-Residential work types, including Educational, Industrial and Office, are set to enjoy a mild increase as indicated by the pale green pallor in the cells showing the outlook for the next few years.

The Engineering Construction sector is not as red as some people may have expected. As past editions of the ACIF Forecasts have explained, the expected cliff fall in this sector, as the mining construction boom ended, has been arrested with increases in work in other sub-sectors such that has kept the overall outlook for Engineering Construction positive. There is one work type that is expecting a far sharper decline than any other in the sector. However, there are a number including Heavy Industry Including Mining that are marked as green, indicating growth.

The ACIF Forecasts are produced by industry-leading forecasters with the unique oversight of the Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of economists and industry researchers whose in-depth knowledge of the Australian economy and the building and construction sector specifically adds invaluable insight into the ACIF Forecasts. The ACIF Forecasts have been produced as an industry service since 2002, and have demonstrated reliability and relevance for businesses large and small.

ACIF Forecasts Presented Live - LIMITED SEATS

The ACIF Forecasts May 2017 will be launched at an industry breakfast on Thursday 4 May 2017 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney, co-located with industry events DesignBuild Expo, National Architecture Conference, Fire Australia and Planning Institute of Australia Conference. There are limited seats for this event. >> Register online for the ACIF Briefing here

Australian Construction Market Report May 2017 - Preorder NowACIF Forecasts are available in two formats:

Australian Construction Market Report, an 80+ page report with in-depth commentary, charts and tables of data. Macro and domestic economic analysis as well as forecasts for employment, interest rates and population. Construction market analysis at national and state level, for residential, non-residential building and engineering construction sectors. >> Purchase the May 2017 Australian Construction Market Report here

ACIF Customised Forecasts DashboardCustomised Forecasts Dashboard, an online portal where you can tailor your own query on the full ACIF Forecasts database. Choose the location, work type and time period for forecasts on work demand, labour, construction costs and major project. >> Subscribe to the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts here – includes Dashboard + Report for May 2017

'Hot & Cold' Chart with differences from May to Nov 2016

'Hot & Cold' Differences chart showing change from May to Nov 2016. More changes coming in May 2017 ACIF Forecasts

Posted on 18 April 2017 | 2:00 pm

Tour the new ICC Sydney

DesignBuild Expo delegates will get a unique perspective of the current state of our industry but also receive unprecedented access to this brand new venue, including an exclusive behind-the-scene venue tour.

DesignBUILD will be the first building and architectural event to be held at Sydney’s 1.5 billion International Convention Centre designed by HASSELL and Populous and the keynote speaker has been confirmed as Michael Lockwood, the Global Design Director at Populous’ Convention Center practice.

Delegates who register early for DesignBUILD also have the opportunity to register for a free tour of the ICC - limited spots available. ACIF is also able to offer a discount code for 20% off the DesignBUILD speaker series - see link and the code here: www.acif.com.au/events/event/designbuild-expo

DesignBUILD is co-located with the launch of the ACIF Forecasts at the ACIF Briefing, and for the first time, DesignBUILD will co-locate with long-term partner, the Australian Institute of Architecture’s National Conference. The event will also welcome first time partner, the Planning Institute of Australia, who will also be co-locating their own National Conference, creating an architectural and planning hub at the new International Convention Centre (ICC), Sydney.

DesignBUILD 2017 will see the Sydney launch of DesignBUILD RAW an exciting initiative to showcase the very best of emerging talent, run in partnership with the University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney. Students will be invited to design the two speaker theatres and the incubator pavilion. Rachel Couper from Sydney University’s Innovation in Applied Design lab said “The forum provides a fantastic opportunity to engage industry and enhance our student’s understanding of the design process through a realised project.”

In addition to Michael Lockwood’s keynote address, the DesignBUILD speaker series will also include lead architects on the ICC project, Paul Foskett and Graeme Spencer, plus a range of industry speakers across various disciplines.

Posted on 23 March 2017 | 1:00 pm

Expert panel announced

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Partners, lead by Cbus SuperThe new expert panel has been announced for upcoming ACIF Briefing, where we will launch the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts.

After a networking breakfast and presentation of the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts by Head Forecaster Kerry Barwise, our expert panel will give their response to the outlook for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction for the next ten years. They will also discuss the big issues facing the industry, including how international factors affect demand for property in Australia - such as the new US President Donald Trump, and changing economic policies in China.

Special guests for the ACIF Briefing include:
  • Adrian Harrington - Chair of the Construction Forecasting Council, Head of Funds Management, Folkstone
  • Chris Kakoufas - General Manager, Development, Cbus Property
  • Cameron Kusher - Head of Research - Australia, CoreLogic
  • Andrew Scott - Basic Materials and Industrials Analyst, RBC Capital Markets
  • Anneke Thompson - National Director - Research, Colliers International

Held at the brand new International Convention Centre Sydney on Thursday 4 May 2017, the ACIF Briefing is co-located with leading industry events including DesignBuild Expo, 2017 National Architecture Conference, plus Fire Australia 2017.

Make this industry breakfast the perfect start to a day filled with inspiration and learning! Click here to register for the ACIF Briefing today - seats are limited.

Adrian Harrington, Folkestone Adrian Harrington
Chair of the Construction Forecasting Council
Head of Funds Management
Folkstone
Chris Kakoufas - Cbus Property Chris Kakoufas
General Manager - Development
Cbus Property
Cameron Kusher - CoreLogic

Cameron Kusher
Head of Research - Australia
CoreLogic

Andrew Scott, Royal Bank of Canada

Andrew Scott
Basic Materials and Industrials Analyst
RBC Capital Markets

Anneke Thompson - Colliers International

Anneke Thompson
National Director - Research
Colliers International

 

Posted on 15 March 2017 | 1:00 pm

BIM Knowledge and Skills Framework released

In an Australian first, the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) and the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) have this week released the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Knowledge and Skills Framework.

BIM has the potential to revolutionise the Australian construction sector and is transforming the process by which buildings and infrastructure are designed, constructed and maintained.

The Framework is a critical part of the construction sector’s approach to improvement. It is a Framework of principles, practices, and outcomes with which to build an education curriculum, professional development and business BIM requirements.

ACIF Chair, Ian Pedersen, said that the APCC and ACIF membership represents a significant section of the building and construction industry. As the Strategic Forum for the Building and Construction Sector, APCC and ACIF together take a ‘whole of industry’ approach to facilitating positive change and encouraging greater productivity improvements in the industry.

“The Framework highlights the importance of having consistent skills and education relevant to BIM across the construction sector”, said Mr Pedersen.

APCC Executive Director, Teresa Scott, said that this Framework allows Australian businesses and educators to pay attention to BIM, with an eye to improving quality in project delivery and improve productivity.

“When the building and construction sector flourishes, so does the economy. That is why it is critical that industry and governments create the conditions that will make our industry competitive and more productive,” said Ms Scott.

The positive impact that efficiency improvements can have on the competitiveness of the building and construction industry are considerable. With an estimated construction spend in Australia of $207 billion in 2016-17 and a typical waste of effort reported at 30%, it is critical that efficient and effective processes are utilised. For example, a conservative 5% productivity improvement (in the 30% waste) driven by BIM would result in a $3.1 billion savings each year.

Given the benefits of BIM to the construction sector, a Knowledge and Skills Framework is necessary to ensure that Australia harnesses BIM’s potential and strategically engages and applies this new technology in a consistent manner.

The joint initiative between APCC and ACIF will assist the sector to optimise BIM technology, ensuring that expertise is shared across the industry in a consistent manner. The Framework is a critical element in the construction sector’s approach to improvement and is the guide to establishing a national standard for BIM knowledge and skills.

A copy of the Framework is available online at www.apcc.gov.au and here on the ACIF website.

Posted on 7 March 2017 | 1:00 pm

Fastest growing sector joins ACIF

Welcome to new ACIF Member PrefabAUSAustralian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is pleased to welcome PrefabAUS as an ACIF Member, bringing to the industry table one of the newest and fastest growing sectors in building and construction – prefabrication.

As ACIF is the peak consultative body for trades and disciplines from across the industry, this is the right time and place for this emerging discipline to integrate with industry peers.

“Prefabrication is bringing a fresh approach to our industry, one that will help improve productivity, profitability and sustainability that will benefit all stakeholders,” said James Cameron, Executive Director of ACIF.

“PrefabAUS members utilise technology and collaborative work practices to innovate in the design and manufacturing, which will contribute to better results for clients, as well as safer and easier build projects for the over one million Australians involved in the construction industry.”

As Australia’s peak body for prefabrication and off-site construction, PrefabAUS exists to represent, showcase and advance Australia’s prefabricated building industry through collaboration, innovation and education.

In its first five years, PrefabAUS has enjoyed strong membership growth and excellent support from the emerging offsite construction industry, including architects, builders, engineers and other technical consultants, to manufacturers and others interested in this new approach.

On joining ACIF, Chief Executive Officer for PrefabAUS, Warren McGregor, said, “We are enthusiastic about joining ACIF, and hope to be able to make meaningful contribution to this important forum.

“We see this as a great opportunity to work closely with our industry peers at a strategic level, and to promote understanding of the benefits of off-site construction in transforming our approach to the built environment.”

About PrefabAUS

Established in 2013 (some 30 years after the US counterpart, the Modular Building Institute), PrefabAUS has enjoyed strong membership growth and excellent support from our emerging offsite construction industry.

Membeship of PrefabAUSAs shown in the chart at left, PrefabAUS membership includes a cross section of the construction industry; architects, builders, engineers and other technical consultants, manufacturers of prefabricated buildings and modules, flat packs, bathroom pods and sub-assemblies, component suppliers, project managers, client organisations, allied Industry associations, government agencies as well as the academic/research community.

The 2016 PrefabAUS annual conference took place in Sydney in October. This three day event started with a whole day of site visits followed by two days of conference presentations was attended by over 220 delegates, representing a very strong groundswell of interest. 

The 4th annual PrefabAUS conference in 2017 will be in Melbourne: Monday 11 September (Site Visits) and Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 September for the Conference formal program.

Built Office magazineBuilt Offsite - The 2016 Conference also marked the launch of Built Offsite, a new bi-monthly magazine dedicated to offsite construction and expertly produced by Boston Publishing. The inaugural and second editions are available in digital format at www.prefabaus.org.au/, with the third edition about to be released.

In December 2016 PrefabAUS co-hosted the pre-launch event for the Modular Construction Code, the first of its kind in the world.  Developed by the Modular Construction Codes Board (MCCB), it is a collaborative research project with Monash University, jointly funded by the Victorian Government and private industry.

The aim of the Code is to provide guidance to the industry on the design and construction of modular structures by consolidating leading-edge experience and knowledge of advances in modular manufacturing and construction for improving safety, productivity and quality in industrial practices. This Code seeks to provide integrated solutions and experiences to industry, government and the wider community. Additional information about the Codes Board is available at www.prefabaus.org.au/mccb/

PrefabAUS Sweden Study Tour

Sweden is the leading exponent of panelised building systems, with around 80% of its houses being factory-built to reap the construction time, quality and labour efficiency advantages.  This study tour program has been designed to showcase panel systems for detached and apartment (mid-rise) construction and features unparalleled access to factories, projects and industry experts (presentations and technical discussions). PrefabAUS is arranging a study tour departing Australia the evening of Friday 5 May and arriving back in Australia the evening of Saturday 13 May.

Study tour delegates will experience a selection of Swedish prefabricated housing manufacturers from manually produced elements using ‘butterfly tables’ with very low capital investment through to firms utilising highly automated high volume production lines.  Beyond the manufacturing processes involved, the program will also consider the initiation, design, marketing and delivery of panel system projects.

>> Find out more about PrefabAUS at www.prefabaus.org.au

Posted on 6 March 2017 | 1:00 pm

Next ACIF Forecasts are coming

ACIF Forecasts are proudly supported by Cbus Super and our PartnersRegistrations are open now for the annual ACIF Briefing, where we will launch the May 2017 ACIF Forecasts for the building and construction industry, outlining the prospects and challenges ahead for residential building, commercial building and engineering construction sectors for the next 10 years.

Register for this event to see the live presentation of the ACIF Forecasts followed by a dynamic panel discussion by industry leaders; enjoy a delicious networking breakfast; receive a PDF copy of the new Australian Construction Market Report as it is released (value $250) plus early VIP entrance to DesignBuild Expo (immediately after the Briefing, located opposite this event). >> Click here to register now.

For those who can't wait until May, the current ACIF Forecasts are available NOW as:

Access the Australian Construction Market Report Here Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts for full access immediately Subscriber Access Customised Forecasts Dashbaord After Login

Posted on 8 February 2017 | 1:00 pm

Advisory Board to lead the direction of BIM in Australasia

The Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) and Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Australasian Building Information Modelling Advisory Board.

The Advisory Board has been established by the APCC and ACIF, together with the key standard setting bodies NATSPEC, buildingSMART and Standards Australia. 

In a first for the Australasian building sector, government, industry and academia are partnering to provide national leadership to improve productivity and project outcomes through the adoption of Project Team Integration (PTI) and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

The Executive Director, APCC, Teresa Scott, said the first meeting of the Advisory Board was timely and essential to maximising the benefits of PTI and BIM.

“Essentially, we have identified the critical need for national leadership and coordination of developments occurring in the digital built environment. The Advisory Board will focus on education, innovation and simplifying BIM requirements. 

“The Advisory Board consists of key players who are leaders in their respective fields, including private sector BIM experts, educational institutions, government (federal agencies, state and local) and relevant industry bodies, both public and private.”

“With an estimated construction spend in Australia of $207 billion in 2016-17 it is critical that efficient and effective processes and tools are utilised.  Improved productivity driven by BIM is critical to Australia’s growth and the economy.”

Together with the APCC, Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) have produced a series of publications, establishing PTI and BIM fundamentals.

“For many years now, the alliance between ACIF and APCC has provided guidance surrounding the adoption of PTI and BIM.  However, we have now taken it to the next level by establishing the Advisory Board to ensure that future approaches are consistent and able to simplify our increasing dependence on digital technology,” said ACIF Chair Ian Pedersen.

“The combined membership of the Advisory Board is acutely aware of the need for optimal delivery of outcomes that eliminate waste, maximise end user benefits and increase the productivity of the Australasian economies.

“The members of the Advisory Board recognise that, without central principal coordination, there is a significant risk of wasted and duplicated effort, fragmented development of protocols and guidelines, and inconsistent approaches, all of which leads to inefficiency across Australasia,” said Mr Pedersen.

The Australasian BIM Advisory Board will continue to meet throughout 2017 to provide PTI and BIM advice and – through this leading-edge partnership – drive a coordinated approach.

Posted on 22 January 2017 | 1:00 pm

Will Trump effect our industry, our economy?

As a new era begins in the US, we are all thinking about what it means for Australia and the building and construction industry. A recent ACIF Webinar had some important insights from Investment Strategy team at Cbus Super, and some highlight clips are below. 

Subscribe as a free Website Subscriber (our other subscriber types also enjoy access to this website content, and much more) to view the entire Webinar in our Education Centre.

What does it take to change the global economy?

In an Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) Webinar on 25 Nov 2016, Kristian Fok, Executive Manager Investment Strategy and Tim Ridley, Investment Manager Strategy from Cbus Super discussed the current challenges, upcoming events and triggers that could have a global economic impact and the latest global thoughts on investment management, including:

  • The US election result – a major disruption to markets or good for growth?
  • While markets and political commentators were expecting Hillary Clinton to win the US election, the world now has to assess the implications of President Trump.
  • In the webinar, Kristian and Tim will share insights on where the US economy and markets may be heading and the implications for Australia and the rest of the world.
  • This is a unique opportunity to listen to the types of issues that the investment team are considering when deciding how to position Cbus’ investment portfolio.

Posted on 17 January 2017 | 1:00 pm

Report: Australian Construction Industry Hungry for Digital Disruption

The construction industry is ready to embrace change and deploy new technologies – but there’s still a long way to go to reap the full benefits of innovation, according to research released by Australian fintech startup - and ACIF Partner - Progressclaim.com. And as an ACIF subscriber, you can get a copy free.

Click on the banner to get your copy of the report.

Supported by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), ‘The Construction Industry Innovation & Productivity Report 2016’, surveyed more than 200 industry leaders and workers in construction and related fields and showed that 9/10 respondents believe it’s valuable to stay up to date with the latest technology in the workplace, and 9/10 agreed that increased productivity was a primary benefit of implementing new technologies.

But despite most feeling it’s important to work in a progressive and innovative organisation (82%), less than half of those surveyed (37%) believe their industry is an early adopter of new tech-focussed solutions.

In fact, a staggering number of respondents felt their workplace was not at all, or only slightly, advanced in their uptake of different technology types, with standout areas of concern including: drone technology (78%), 3D printing (77%) and BIM technology (54%) – all of which are poised to revolutionise the industry.

Even in areas such as IoT (the Internet of Things), desktop software and cloud technology, where respondents showed the most trust in their workplace’s abilities, the results were still low, with barely half indicating their workplace was somewhat advanced – 51%, 46%  and 45%, respectively.

So, why the disparity between what the industry recognises as beneficial and what digital tools are actually on offer in the workplace?

Founder of Progressclaim.com and former construction CFO, Lincoln Easton said the findings revealed the issue doesn’t lie in convincing people about the value of technology, but can be attributed more to an absence of Big Picture vision.

“Increased productivity (90%), enhanced competitiveness (85%) and less time wastage (77%) ranked as the top three benefits of new technologies – but, as an industry, we are lacking long term vision, resources and expertise to roll out new solutions.

“A project-focussed approach, rather than long term thinking, is breeding a stagnant culture that’s stifling progression at pace or scale.

 “Given the size and value of our industry, the potential for growth, if we harness suitable and sustainable technologies, is enormous. We must dismantle our perceptions of how technology fits in our workplace – and understanding the hurdles we face is the first step.

The findings uncovered key hurdles to be: a lack of expertise and resources that can be dedicated to manage the implementation (50%), a lack of standardisation across the industry (50%) and a reluctance to change current processes (39%).

 “Our industry needs to understand where it sits on the journey to truly embracing and deploying new technologies, so we conducted this research with the aim of setting a benchmark and tracking progression in the future.

“While the hearts and minds of our industry are sold on innovation, these feelings aren’t yet translating through to action and change, which needs to be driven from the top down – it’s time for leaders in the construction industry to radically re-think attitudes and breakdown the hurdles to change.”

Posted on 6 December 2016 | 1:00 pm

See it here: Forecast Video Summaries

Sometimes, its just best to hear it from the author.

Below you can watch a series of short videos on what is happening in building and construction over the next ten years, as presented in the ACIF Forecasts for November 2016 - straight from the Head Forecaster Kerry Barwise.

Each brief video focuses on a segment or topic area: Residential Building Sector; Engineering Construction Sector; Employment; and What's happening in the States and Territories.

ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats. Click below to find out more...

Access the Australian Construction Market Report Here Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts for full access immediately Subscriber Access Customised Forecasts Dashbaord After Login

ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats. Click below to find out more...

Access the Australian Construction Market Report Here Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts for full access immediately Subscriber Access Customised Forecasts Dashbaord After Login

Posted on 5 December 2016 | 1:00 pm

ABCC Passes the Senate

Today, after several days of debate, the Senate passed the legislation to re-establish the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC).

James Cameron, Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) Executive Director stated, "ACIF welcomes the passage of the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) legislation through the Senate today. This is a terrific result for the Australian construction industry."

"We commend the cross-bench Senators for supporting this legislation and the improvements in productivity that it will bring.  A very positive way to end 2016."

The re-establishment of the ABCC was one of ACIF's 2016 Policy Priorities and the policy is as follows:

ACIF calls for the reintroduction of the ABCC and all of the industry-specific laws previously administered by the ABCC. The application of these laws will ensure an upsurge in labour productivity in the sector which must be an essential part of the effort to ensure an industry level productivity boost. ACIF also calls on Federal and State Governments to align their procurement policies so far as these regulate workplace relations.

From 1 October 2005, following the passage of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) (BCII Act), which created the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), the building and construction industry enjoyed a period of significantly improved industrial relations and increased productivity in which industrial relations was not the predominant and negative influence that it had been in the past. That change benefited all parties in the industry, including workers. Equally importantly, it benefited the Australian economy and the community. This regime should be re-installed because since June 2012 a weaker agency administering the Fair Work Act has been in place and the powers of that agency as well as the flaws in the Fair Work Act have seen an upsurge in industrial activity and the partial return of the climate of fear and intimidation that has regrettably dogged the industry for decades.

ACIF also calls on Federal and State Governments to align their procurement policies so far as these regulate workplace relations. At present, there are conflicting regimes of government procurement policies which contain potentially conflicting provisions. The greater disciplines imposed by, for example, the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry and the related Implementation Guidelines should be consistently applied in all jurisdictions. This step would assist the task of building and construction industry workplace reform, as the ABCC would oversee the application of the disciplines imposed.

Posted on 29 November 2016 | 1:00 pm

10 Key Learnings in ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Partners, lead by Cbus SuperThere are ten key things to consider when you look forward to the demand for building and construction in the new ACIF Forecasts.

ACIF Forecasts are available with detailed commentary, data and charts in the Report, or tailor your own query for your work type and location on our full database on the Dashboard.

  1. Construction activity was stronger than forecast over last year.  The boom in Residential Building was stronger than forecast. Last financial year, 201,000 dwellings were built in Australia well above the trend level of activity of around 160,000 to 180,000 and well above the previous record high. Engineering Construction was also higher than forecast last year and revisions in the ABS data for previous years raised the peak of mining boom activity.
  2. In aggregate, building and construction activity continues its downtrend. Building and construction activity equalled 16% of GDP at the height of the mining boom in 2012-13 and is projected to fall to 12% of GDP and $207 billion over this year (FY2017).
  3. The biggest changes in these forecasts is that the cycles for different building and construction activities have increased. The activity peaks are getting higher and the troughs are getting lower, so the swings are more dramatic. The outlook and circumstances for each type of building and construction activity and for the national, state and regional is quite different. All of this makes it tricky for business planning.
  4. Residential Building work is teetering at the top of a dramatic upturn. Building Work in an enlarged construction pipeline will drive a further increase of 5% to $94 billion this year (FY2017) setting a new record highpoint.
  5. The upturn has been driven by extraordinary growth in New Other Residential (Apartments and Townhouses) that surged by 26% last year on top of 45% growth over the previous 3 years. There are strong signs that this explosive growth has peaked. Building work done in this area is already in decline in Western Australia and the decline is expected to spread to Queensland, Victoria and eventually New South Wales over the next 2-3 years. The dip will slice some 34% from the value of work done at the peak to the predicted trough.
  6. Non-Residential Building continues its cyclical downturn. The November 2016 ACIF forecasts show that while business investment is recovering in terms of increases in Retail and Accommodation building work done last year, this is being swamped by declines in Offices, Industrial and Health and Aged Care and Education.
  7. The November 2016 ACIF forecasts show that there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Engineering Construction. Mining and supporting export infrastructure activity have dropped off a cliff in Queensland and more is to come in Western Australia. The value of work done is projected to fall by 16% this year (FY2017) to $79 billion. But there are signs of increased spending in major infrastructure projects coming through and placing a “floor” in Engineering construction activity and halting the decline by the end of FY2018. Spending in infrastructure is already increasing in Telecommunications with the rollout of the National Broadband Network, and there are a diverse array of projects for this construction type, notably around transport, including Roads, and Bridges, Railways and Harbours.
  8. New South Wales is in the ‘lead’ for building and construction for the first time in over a decade. The recent surge in Residential Building is still underway in New South Wales and this state is taking the lead in progressing major infrastructure projects particularly in Roads and some rail projects.
  9. The construction outlook is relatively dour for the states that have relied most on the mining boom, especially Queensland and Western Australia. Continued contraction is of course difficult to avoid given the end of the mining development boom. This is also spilling over into declines in Non-Residential Building especially in Offices and Industrial. It should also be noted that these states are also experiencing a downturn in investment in major infrastructure investment at present, especially in areas such as Roads, Electricity and pipelines and Water and sewerage.
  10. The ‘patchy’ nature to upcoming demand is intrinsic to the national story of these forecasts. Activity levels are far from consistent across all regions and capital cities, therefore researching the local market conditions by using the Customised Forecasts Dashboard is crucial for effective planning.

Access the Australian Construction Market Report Here Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts for full access immediately Subscriber Access Customised Forecasts Dashbaord After Login

Posted on 15 November 2016 | 1:00 pm

New ACIF Forecasts: Post-Boom Falls - and Rises

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Partners, lead by Cbus SuperAustralian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is pleased to present the November 2016 ACIF Forecasts – the outlook for the next decade for 20 work types across residential and non-residential building and engineering construction work in Australia.

These were always going to be interesting times for our industry; once the resources boom had passed and residential building peaked. The release of the latest industry forecasts illuminate a turbulent next ten years, as the Australian economy recalibrates from an extraordinary peak, with some sectors set to experience a fall in work demand of up to 40% in the coming years.

“These ACIF Forecasts have been fascinating to produce, in an environment where interest rates are at record lows, global economic activity remains subdued and Australia is coming off the largest resource boom in its history,“  said Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management for Folkestone and Chair of ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council.

“Now that the peak has passed, opportunities for the industry’s 1.1 million participants are simultaneously softening and relocating, however it is not all bad. The dynamics of business and public spending has seen some expenditure move between sectors, rather than fall away entirely, so the opportunity landscape has changed significantly. We are pleased to present the industry’s own forecasts for all sectors, to help businesses navigate this new environment.”

ACIF Forecasts are available as:

Access the Australian Construction Market Report Here Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts for full access immediately Subscriber Access Customised Forecasts Dashbaord After Login

See below for summaries for Residential Building, Non-Residential Building and Engineering Construction, States and Territories and Employment.  

ACIF Forecasts November 2016

The November 2016 ACIF Forecasts project a 6% fall in overall building and construction activity from $220 billion in 2015-16 to $207 billion this year.

However, this mild decline is far from uniform, and the headline numbers mask the shifting demand within each of the three sectors. There is evidence that the surge in Residential Building, especially the construction of apartments, has saturated demand, or is about to. While Residential Building as a sector will continue to rise until 2017-18, from the following year, the sub sector featuring apartments and townhouses is forecast to begin a fall of up to 40%.

The previous lift in Non-Residential Building and Engineering Construction from the mining boom and related activities has now completed, however the sub-sectors have new public and private investment that makes the distribution of activity uneven within each sector.

ACIF Forecasts Nov 2016 - Total Spending for All Sectors
Engineering Construction Sector

The end of the mining and resources development boom has sliced the value of Engineering Construction work undertaken by a third in the last three years and the value of work undertaken has fallen to $95 billion. However, the November 2016 ACIF Forecasts show an increase in infrastructure spending is already underway, which has softened somewhat the decline in engineering activity associated with the resources boom.

Demand in areas such as Telecommunications, Roads and Bridges, Railways and Harbours are positive, particularly in the eastern states. While further falls in overall Engineering Construction are expected this year and next as mining development and supporting infrastructure projects are completed, revised projections point to the fall coming to a halt from 2018-19.

ACIF Forecasts Nov 2016 - Total Engineering Spend

Residential Building Sector

Residential Building demand reached another record level in 2015-16 and is expected to continue to climb in 2016-17, albeit at a slower pace, before beginning to descend. Reflecting concerns about a potential glut in the market and the threat that this could pose to the stability of house prices and the banking system, additional prudential controls have reduced the availability of finance to investors and to developers. There are also signs of reduced foreign demand and lower immigration is starting to impact domestic demand. As such, the much-discussed sub-sector for apartments and townhouses will see some areas facing a 40% decrease from 2018-19.

ACIF Forecasts Nov 2016 - Total Spend in Residential Building

Non-Residential Building Sector

The long-awaited recovery in Non-Residential Building is taking longer than expected. The prospects for this type of building work depends largely upon the outlook for non-mining business investment, and while this is improving, it is not yet enough to drive an increase in building activity until 2018-19. Particularly for this sector, concentration on the overall picture risks obscuring where the growth is coming from. Sub-sectors such as Accommodation and Other Commercial will enjoy growth next year, followed by other sub-sectors from 2017-18, in line with the activities where Australia is improving in competitiveness.

ACIF Forecasts Nov 2016 - Total Spend in Non-Residential Building

States and Territories

The outlook for building and construction in the next two to three years is more upbeat in the more populous states, especially New South Wales and Victoria. The projected decline in Residential Building activity will arrive later in these states and will not be as deep, given underlying strength in the economy in these states and continued population growth. Non-Residential Building has been growing in these states, reflecting stronger economic fundamentals. These states are also leading the way in reinvesting in critical infrastructure.

Employment

The November 2016 ACIF Forecasts project that employment in construction will fall from 2016-17 and for the next six years.

The projected increase in employment in Residential Building activity in the next few years is no longer sufficient to offset the numbers of jobs lost in Engineering Construction as mining and export infrastructure projects are completed, especially in Western Australia and Queensland.

The decline in employment will deepen when Residential Building activity starts to decline within the next two years.

ACIF Forecasts are available as:

Access the Australian Construction Market Report Here Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts for full access immediately Subscriber Access Customised Forecasts Dashbaord After Login

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 1:00 pm

Survey on INNOVATION in construction industry

How innovative is the Australian construction industry? Are we embracing new processes and techniques in how we do the work AND run our businesses? 

Progressclaim.com, supported by Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), invites all business leaders and workers across the Australian construction industry to add their view to an in-depth investigation into the sector’s adoption of new and innovative ways of working, with the launch of a new productivity and innovation research project.

There are so many great construction innovation and technology reports coming from the USA, Europe and Asia, it’s now time to get some real info on the Australian construction industry. We’re aiming for the first time to provide a clear picture of our industry’s innovation credentials and ultimately provide construction professionals, in form of the final report, the tools to benchmark where they or their organisation sit.

Through a simple two-minute online survey, all Australian construction professionals have the opportunity to provide this realistic snapshot into the current state of play in the industry.

From the survey results Progressclaim.com will produce a beautiful, highly visual report with lots of infographics and data visualisations. It’ll be the first of its kind in Australia, and you will get a copy. >>Have your say

Have your say on innovation AND receive a copy of the report

Posted on 22 September 2016 | 2:00 pm

NSW Government responds to Review

The NSW Government has released the final report of the statutory review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 conducted by Michael Lambert and the detailed Government Response to the review.

The Government response addresses the report’s 150 recommendations and outlines the actions it will take in developing reforms to building and development certification in NSW in consultation with industry and community stakeholders.

Posted on 20 September 2016 | 2:00 pm

The Business of Architecture

ACIF Member, Association of Consulting Architects, has released the findings of the 2016 National Salary Survey, finding that salaries are up very slightly, but worrying trends continue – there is still a gender pay gap and some practices persist in paying under Award minimums.

The report outlines the broad trends identified this year and compares these to the results from previous surveys. Key findings are:

  • Generally, there were only slight salary increases since 2015 for architects, and more so for technicians.
  • There are some very wide ranges of pay within role categories. The highest paid person in each category is being paid an average of three times the lowest paid person.
  • Firm size matters for pay rates – generally, the larger the firm, the higher the rates of pay, particularly in senior and managerial roles. However, there are exceptions.
  • A gender pay gap persists for architects and for interior designers.
  • Some 13% of firms are paying architects under minimum rates defined by the Architects Award.

The ACA National Salary Survey gathers data on thirty-one different roles. In addition to architectural staff, salary information is gathered for technicians, interior designers and other staff ranging from reception and clerical positions to chief executive officers. Details on salary packages and conditions and geographic location are also collected. The salary figures discussed in the report include superannuation and benefits but exclude bonuses, dividends, distributions and the like.

>> More information and access to the Report for ACA Members is here

Posted on 24 August 2016 | 2:00 pm

Welcome, Society of Construction Law

ACIF Member Society of Construction LawIt is with great pleasure that ACIF welcomes the Society of Construction Law Australia as a new member of ACIF

The Society of Construction Law Australia (SoCLA) will be a very valuable voice at quarterly ACIF Meetings, and their expertise and advice will add considerably to our discussions, therefore, we are delighted to have SoCLA on board. 

As stated on their website: “The Society of Construction Law (Australia) is a single national organisation of members drawn from all professions involved with construction, industry representatives and the legal profession who share an interest in construction law.” 

Welcome, SoCLA! >> Find out more about Society of Construction Law here

ACIF Members are the most significant Associations in the industry, spanning the asset creation process from feasibility through design, cost planning, construction and building and management. If you are a national association in the built environment and interested in becoming an ACIF Member, please contact us.

Posted on 24 August 2016 | 2:00 pm

Recording of Webinar Available Now

Residential market performance drives a lot of work for our industry, with the ACIF Forecasts showing $91 billion is to be spent 2016-17. So we knew that our ACIF Webinar on the Residential Property Market was going to be a good one.

Last Friday, Cameron Kusher from CoreLogic presented an insightful national residential property market overview, which included looking at the activity in the market for sales, rents and capital growth over the past year, plus identifying which city provided headline results.

Delegates had lots of questions, in fact more than we could answer in the time. So in addition to the recording of the webinar, we have provided written question and answers, with some very detailed and showing the intricacies of this vital sector for our industry.

Access this and all ACIF Webinar recordings here: http://www.acif.com.au/education-centre/acif-webinar. You will need to subscribe to ACIF enews or be an ACIF Forecasts Subscriber to access this fascinating information.

Subscribe to the ACIF enews to find out about future ACIF Webinars!

Posted on 2 August 2016 | 2:00 pm

Productivity gets a boost with new Policies

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is focussed on boosting productivity for construction in Australia, as a driver of more work and better quality outputs and workplaces for everyone. New Boosting Construction Productivity Policy Paper outlines the biggest issues and the solutions that the industry wants to see implemented to overcome them.

Download the new Boosting Construction Productivity Policy Paper and Fact Sheets here

The construction industry is a major contributor both directly and indirectly to the Australian economy. It is an industry that employs around 1 million Australians, and had turnover of $212 billion in 2015-16 equating to 12.7% of GDP. In addition, it creates the buildings, cities and infrastructure that makes Australia more productive, liveable and sustainable, adding substantially to our national wealth and well-being.
However, the construction industry in Australia has not substantially improved its productivity in decades, and can waste up to 30% of its efforts. This is not a uniquely Australian issue. Rather, it is a product of the structure of the construction industry, the increasing complexity of its services, and the creation and operation of “silos” within that structure.
If that wasted effort were to be reduced by only one third, it would lift Australian residential and non – residential construction output by more than $10 billion annually. If the changes required to achieve that reduction were to “ripple” through the industry, it is conceivable that within a few years the improved output would be substantially higher. 

The Solutions

This challenge has been the subject for numerous studies, reports, reviews and inquiries over at least three decades, most recently the Productivity Commission inquiry into Public Infrastructure Costs (2014).
These landmark studies point to a diverse range of common denominators in reducing wasted effort. In particular, three key themes are evident; depth of procurement and project management skills, better supply chain integration and the use of technology to improve project outcomes.
Yet despite these themes, and many particular recommendations, reappearing in study after study, there has been slow,  if any, adoption of better practice. This is despite evidence from other jurisdictions (e.g. the UK) or industries (e.g. resources sector), that adopting these recommendations result in massive productivity uplifts, less waste, lower costs and happier industry participants.
ACIF and its members believe that there is no need for more inquiries or reports. The imperative is to act on a handful of potential drivers of improvement that are developed collaboratively by governments, clients and service providers.

The Role of Government

The importance of governments is twofold.  As policy makers, governments have ultimate influence over the legislative and regulatory arrangements governing the industry.  Even more important, however, is government in its role as client.  As major and ongoing clients of the construction industry, and the ways in which governments and industry interact have a profound impact on both the health of the industry and the success of governments in delivering their capital programs.
Industry is already doing a great deal of heavy lifting from the bottom up, but it is limited in achieving the pace of change required to remain competitive with major trading partners without top down political and government leadership.
Leadership from government in both these roles is critical if we are to substantially increase Australia’s construction productivity.

Recommendation 1: Establish an Independent Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence

With large amounts of public funds being spent on infrastructure, it is incumbent on governments to ensure they get maximum value for money through the procurement process. To buy wisely you need wise buyers: there are substantial opportunities for governments and business to share expertise, and identify and deliver solutions that improve productivity and value for money across the procurement process. 
To overcome persistent deficiencies in procurement skills and practices, we recommend a whole of government approach supporting the establishment of an Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence, building on the work of the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC).
The Procurement Centre of Excellence will expand the APCC’s role and remit, broadening government engagement and building on work across jurisdictions considering efficiencies in procurement. The Centre would be tasked with building a stronger relationship between government and business and supporting best practice procurement in Australia at all levels of government. The Centre should: 

  • be established as independent of government;
  • build stronger linkages between government and with industry sectors;
  • provide transparent expert advice to all levels of government; 
  • develop guidelines, build capability and improve standards; and
  • work with Infrastructure Australia and other government agencies to develop long term visionary thinking and planning for investment in economic and social infrastructure. 

The Board of the Centre for Procurement Excellence should include equal levels of representation from industry and government.

Recommendation 2: Fairer, Standard Contracts

Devolved responsibility for agencies has resulted in greater autonomy, but also significant re-inventing of wheels. Specific approaches to project definition, initiation and contracting have increased regulatory and administrative burden, decreased trust and certainty and increased waste. 
ACIF believes that a ‘leading practice’ approach can be reflected in a consistent public sector framework of capital works procurement policies and practices, used by all government agencies.
ACIF recommends a suite of leading practice procurement policies, delivery strategies and contract and sub-contract conditions be developed by the Centre for Procurement Excellence, to be used by government agencies on an “if not why not” basis that would:

  • provide best fit between end user and project requirements and delivery strategy;
  • reduce the cost of contract administration and of providing appropriate procurement and commercial skills whether in house or by consultants;
  • minimise wasted effort and disputes; and
  • embody equitable risk allocations whilst ensuring best value for end users and owners.

Recommendation 3: Promote Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is being used around the world to complement better collaboration and coordination between the supply chain participants in construction.  Using technology as a facilitator to bring project teams together and design a virtual prototype of an asset is helping to enhance collaboration, test and re-test business case objectives, and plan for more efficient asset delivery.
Moving an entire industry to a new way of doing things, however, is not an easy task. There are up-front capital investments, significant industry up-skilling, regulatory frameworks and standards to be developed and changes to culture to be considered. However, the productivity dividend is undeniable. Numerous reports, experience from other countries and existing Australian examples provide a significant evidence base to substantiate making the change.
Thus it is imperative that governments, through their significant purchasing power and whole of industry influence, lead the way.
ACIF recommends that governments promote the use of BIM on all Federal and State government building projects and all infrastructure projects. 
The Procurement Centre of Excellence would be tasked with the execution of this across governments.
 

Posted on 6 July 2016 | 2:00 pm

New Partner helps you get paid

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is proud to announce a new partnership with an innovative company tackling one of the building and construction industry’s biggest issues: getting paid.

Progressclaim.com bridges the gap between multiple organisations and stakeholders, by providing an easy-to-use, real-time, online collaboration platform. Developed specifically around construction needs, it works by allowing contract parties to collaborate on a neutral platform, eliminating the need for endless spreadsheet reconciliations, email trails and heated phone calls.

“There is a big hidden cost for business in contract administration and chasing payment,’ said James Cameron, Executive Director for ACIF. “At a time when all sectors are facing a fall in the demand – the ACIF Forecasts show that there will be another 5% fall in activity this year and for the next three as historical booms pass – it’s the best time for businesses to have a way to reduce admin costs and improve cashflow.

“We welcome Progressclaim.com as a partner that understands the payment challenges facing our industry, and, more importantly, has a solution to help.“

“Progressclaim.com is all about increasing productivity by connecting everyone in the construction supply chain and getting them communicating,” said Lincoln Easton, CEO of ProgressClaim.com.

“We noted early that increasing industry productivity is at the top of ACIF’s activity agenda and the fact they are familiar with the software space, having their amazing Customised Forecasts Dashboard, made them an easy choice for us to partner with.

“Everyone at Progressclaim.com is very excited about our relationship. ACIF are as driven by innovation, productivity and the positive use of data within the construction industry as we are - there’s exciting times ahead for us both.”

Progressclaim.com joins a committed group of industry organisations supporting ACIF, as it works to improve the productivity, safety and profitability for businesses across architecture, building, engineering, and trades and professions in the built environment. ACIF’s Principal Partner Cbus Super Fund manages the financial future for over 700,000 people working in our industry; research organisation Cordell leading authority on project activity and building cost information in Australia, the industry’s lead trade event DesignBuild Expo and specialised construction software provider Viewpoint Construction Software.

Find out more about ACIF’s partners at www.acif.com.au/partners.

Posted on 5 July 2016 | 2:00 pm

How to connect your project to the NBN

As the nbn™ network rollout picks up pace, more and more developers are set to reap the rewards as their developments become eligible to receive Australia’s new and upgraded telecommunications network. Here’s a quick look at how to get your development project connected to the nbn™ network. 

1.    Check the rollout map
Whether you are building large apartment blocks or sub-dividing a lot, if it’s a new address in a current rollout area you may be eligible to have the nbn™ network installed. The first step is to find out if you are building in one of the rollout areas using the ‘check the rollout’ tool on the nbn website at nbn.com.au/rollout.

2.    Start planning early 
nbn requests that you apply three months before any civil works commence to ensure the network can be connected by lock up stage - ready for your home buyers. As soon as you have your permits or builder appointed start incorporating the nbn™ network into your plans.  

To start the nbn process, visit nbn.com.au/buildwithnbn and fill out the pre-qualification form.  nbn will assess your development and direct you to the appropriate process for your building project. 

3.    Design - prepare your site
The next step is to prepare your site for nbn to deliver their infrastructure.  For apartments you will need to design and install pathways and for single dwelling units you will need pit and pipe infrastructure. The nbn guidelines are available online and nbn will work with you to ensure the design and construction meets the correct standards.

Once you have completed your pit and pipe or pathway designs, submit them to nbn for review. This will ensure you are building to the right specification that will allow nbn to install their network.  

4.    Build – complete your site preparation
Once nbn has approved your designs, commence building your pit and pipe or pathways.  When you have completed building, notify nbn and they will arrange a site visit to check that it is “fit for purpose”. After the works are declared “fit for purpose” nbn will provide a Certificate of Practical Completion which you may need to receive your titles from council.

5.    nbn™ network installation
nbn will then coordinate the installation of their network, ready for your residents when they move in.  Once the nbn™ infrastructure has been installed you can arrange for a pre-installation of the in home equipment so residents can connect straight away via a Retail Service Provider.

One of the biggest issues developers and builders have is applying too late, which causes delays and holds up the titles process.  nbn wants to make sure all new developments can make the most of the nbn™ network – but you need to apply.

To avoid delays apply as soon as possible.  For more information on what’s involved in getting your property nbn™ ready and market ready visit nbn.com.au/buildwithnbn.

For more information
1800 687 626 
newdevelopments@nbn.com.au
nbn.com.au/buildwithnbn
 

Posted on 5 July 2016 | 2:00 pm

Major parties respond to ACIF Policies

ACIF's Policy Priorities for 2016 sought to set the agenda for the election around building and construction. Here the major parties, Labor and Coalition, respond.

ACIF's key issues are:

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has released its 2016 Policy Priorities. The four policy priorities are: the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) with its former powers; the implementation of an effective regime to minimise the use of non-conforming building products; re-starting the process for the national harmonisation of licensing and registration of all trades and professions in the construction industry; and the establishment of an Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence.  

Coalition Response:

See the original document with the Coalition's response here

1. Re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission with its former powers

The Coalition is committed to reinstating the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that there are significantly more working days lost to industrial disputes in the building and construction industries than in all other industries. When the ABCC operated previously (2005-2012), the economic performance and productivity of the building and construction sector improved. Since Labor recklessly abolished the ABCC in 2012, the number of working days lost to industrial disputes in the construction industry has increased by 35 per cent.

Unlawful industrial conduct in the building and construction sector can add up to 30 per cent to the costs of construction because of unlawful strikes and stoppages, and inefficient and unproductive practices. On public infrastructure projects, this can mean taxpayers end up paying millions more than necessary.

When construction projects are lawful, safe and efficient, they can be delivered on time and on budget. When projects are delivered on time and on budget, there is more money for more projects. This benefits the construction industry with more work, more jobs and more economic growth. Increased investment and work in the construction industry will have economy-wide benefits.

The Coalition's determination to re-establish the ABCC is critical for jobs, growth and our transition to a strong new economy. The building and construction industry is critical to a productive and prosperous Australia. It is Australia's third largest employer with more than one million Australians working in the sector.

There are currently over 100 Construction, Forestry, and Mining and Energy Union officials before the courts for over 1,000 alleged breaches of workplace laws. Having a strong building industry regulator that can effectively deal with lawlessness, thuggery and coercion on construction sites will restore confidence, encourage investment and create more jobs and greater prosperity for workers, businesses and the economy.

2. The implementation of an effective regime to minimise the use of non-conforming building products

The Building Ministers' Forum, comprising Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories, oversees the implementation of nationally consistent building and plumbing regulation.

At their meeting earlier in 2016, the Ministers progressed a number of significant reforms which will benefit the Australian building industry and the wider Australian community. Ministers discussed a number of reforms to benefit the building industry and are exploring mechanisms to share vital information relating to building products.

Ministers agreed to work cooperatively to implement a range of measures to address safety issues associated with high risk building products. In addition, Ministers requested that the Australian Building Codes Board further develop proposed additional actions to address the wider issue of non-compliant use of building products. Senior officials were tasked to undertake further work with the Australian Building Codes Board to review the National Construction Code related to high risk building products. A report on these matters will be provided to Ministers at the next Building Ministers' Forum.

Ministers also agreed to the strategies set out in a report from senior officials from all jurisdictions, aimed at addressing the risks associated with non-conforming building products. This includes improved intergovernmental cooperation and enhancing industry and consumer awareness of non-conforming building products. Building Ministers accepted the offer from the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Border Protection with assistance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to establish relevant information sharing between the Commonwealth, states and territories with a resolution to fast track and report within two months.

In principle support was also given for improvements to the regulatory framework to enhance the powers of building regulators to respond to instances of non-conforming building products, developing education strategies to better inform consumers and building industry participants and encourage greater responsibility in the safe use of building products.

The Building Ministers' Forum will continue to take action and work collaboratively to ensure building practitioners have the right tools to comply with the National Construction Code and ensure Australians can continue to have confidence in the safety of buildings.

3. Re-start the process for the National Harmonisation of Licensing and Registration

The Coalition will continue to work with the States and Territories to help with recognition of capability, licencing, and standards and training systems across jurisdictions.

We are also working to ensure Australians' skills and licencing are acknowledged overseas.

The Turnbull Government will create a Professional Services Mutual Recognition Unit to provide direct assistance to professional associations and regulators in negotiating the international recognition of Australian qualifications and licensing.

4. Establish an independent Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence

The Coalition requires governments to undertake extensive consultation for all major procurements. That includes adhering to the comprehensive procurement apparatus in place and complying with our international procurement obligations.

Each major procurement should gain an understanding of what is possible, industry capability, potential risks, and appropriate options for delivery.

It's expected that any approach to market follows extensive research, including formal and informal analysis, and expressions of interest or requests for information to assess what the market is capable of delivering.

The Coalition is also advancing how we negotiate and execute contracts.

The Innovative Financing Unit will better equip government with skilled resources who can work with industry to ensure contracts and projects reflect the best possible outcome for both suppliers and the tax payer.

 

Australian Labor Party Response:

See the original document with Labor's response here

1. Re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission with its former powers

The ABCC will reduce productivity, increase injuries and strip construction workers of common law rights.

The evidence is clear on this.

Malcolm Turnbull claims the ABCC will increase productivity. This is a bald-faced lie. According to the ABS, productivity increased more in the seven years before the introduction of the ABCC than it did in the seven years after the ABCC was established by the Howard Government. Furthermore, productivity has been higher every year since Labor abolished the ABCC in 2012.

Labor is concerned that if the ABCC is established workplace deaths and injuries on construction sites will increase. According to Safe Work Australia, instances of fatalities and injuries in the construction industry actually rose under the ABCC. Furthermore, if Mr Turnbull has his way, construction workers will be hit with a $36,000 fine for acting on safety concerns at work.

The ABCC will abolish fundamental common law rights, which will leave around 1 million Australian workers in the construction industry and their families with less rights than a suspected drug dealer – it’s just wrong.

These are the reasons why Labor opposes a return to the ABCC, why we voted it down for the second time, and why all fair-minded Australians should be concerned about it and oppose it.

2. The implementation of an effective regime to minimise the use of non-conforming building products

In the building and construction industry, products that are non-conforming, and products used in situations where they are not fit for purpose (i.e. non-compliant), pose a serious risk to the integrity of buildings, the safety of construction workers and the welfare of building inhabitants.

Federal Labor takes this issue very seriously, that’s why we initiated a Senate Inquiry into non-conforming building products.

In government, Labor took a number of steps to address the issue of non-conforming building products. In its August 2012 report, the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing recommended that action be taken against imported products that do not conform to regulatory requirements and do not meet standards to which domestic businesses adhere.

The Manufacturing Leaders Group, established by Labor, considered this issue when it met in March 2013 and agreed to an Australian Industry Group (AIG) led research project into the issue. The AIG delivered its report, The quest for a level playing field: The non-conforming building product dilemma, in November 2013.

The Manufacturing Leaders Group was abolished by Tony Abbott and the program of work that commenced by Labor was further allowed to lapse under the Abbott-Turnbull Government.
Labor has repeatedly called on the Abbott-Turnbull Government to address this issue, particularly through its role on the Building Ministers’ Forum and through the National Building Code. However
it was not until July 2015, more than six months after the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne’s Docklands, that a meeting of the Building Ministers’ Forum was finally convened.

We note the work that is now underway through the Senior Officers’ Group of the Building Ministers’ Forum. Labor is prepared to work quickly and constructively to address the initial recommendations that have arisen as a result of that work.

Labor has already made a number of commitments relating to building materials and their certification as part of our Plan for Manufacturing and Jobs.

3. Re-start the process for the National Harmonisation of Licensing and Registration

Labor is committed to lower red-tape and regulatory burdens (including competition policy and national harmonisation) to assist Australian businesses.

Labor is committed to working with professional organisations, States and Territories to deliver nationally consistent accreditation and registration where practical. This will improve productivity and allow workers in licensed trades to easily move around the country to work on projects where their skills are in need.

4. Establish an independent Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence

Labor will promote a procurement strategy to safeguard and grow skills, investment and jobs, under existing international obligations, so Australian businesses can compete locally and internationally. As the biggest purchaser of services, the Federal Government has an important role to play to ensure where possible services are sourced locally.

Labor recognises the importance of both value for money and compliance with government policy and Fair Work Act in procurement processes. This is why the previous Labor Government introduced the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines requiring that suppliers comply with workplace relations laws.

To further enhance transparency, Labor will ensure agencies keep records of, and make available on request, the details of any sub-contractor engaged by a contractor in respect of a Federal Government contract for procurement. Labor is committed to the vital role of the public service in implementing procurement transparency.

The previous Labor Government established the Procurement Coordinator to improve opportunities for Australian companies to compete for business. The Procurement Coordinator reviews and advises on practices across government; handle and review complaints; aggregate procurement information and submit an annual report to government.

In its role as a major purchaser of goods and services, Federal Government can play a role in fostering Australia’s manufacturing, service and information industries, particularly for emerging industries or companies. For goods or services to be ethically sourced, suppliers must be good corporate citizens who comply with the law in all matters, most notably laws regarding taxation, trade practices, corporations, industrial relations, consumer affairs, environment and immigration.
Labor will ensure small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are able to engage in fair competition for government business. Labor will require government officials undertaking procurement to ensure procurement methods do not unfairly discriminate against small and medium enterprises.

Labor will better coordinate Federal Government procurement and where it is sensible to do so, consider options to use model terms and conditions to help business and contractors.

Posted on 29 June 2016 | 2:00 pm

Building and construction priorities focus politicians on productivity

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has released its 2016 Policy Priorities.  The four policy priorities are: the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) with its former powers; the implementation of an effective regime to minimise the use of non-conforming building products; re-starting the process for the national harmonisation of licensing and registration of all trades and professions in the construction industry; and the establishment of an Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence.  

Major parties respond to ACIF Policy Priorities 2016 - read what they say here

2016 Policy Priorities - click to viewThe building and construction industry has released this shortlist of priorities to focus the major parties in the lead up the Federal Election, as well as the next government on main issues in this crucial sector. For the 1.1 million Australians who work in building and construction industry, which is set to have a turnover of $212 billion this financial year, and for the 24 million Australians who live, work and play in the built environment, it is a crucial policy area in the upcoming Federal Election. 

“While ACIF has many policies, these four have been chosen by our members as the most important ones that need addressing in 2016“, stated James Cameron, ACIF’s Executive Director.

“While the double-dissolution election was called due to the Senate not passing the legislation to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the issue has not been a major one in this election campaign.”

“However, re-establishing the ABCC would lead to massive gains in productivity in the construction industry, and would benefit all workers in the industry.”  

“The issue of non-conforming or faulty building products is also an important one which has a significant impact on consumers.  While Governments are addressing this issue to some degree via the Building Ministers’ Forum and Australian Building Codes Board, we wish to keep working with them to find effective solutions.”

“National licensing would also lead to significant productivity gains in the industry, as would a national centre to promote procurement excellence.”  

“We look forward to hearing from all parties on these issues, and discussing these issues further with them over coming weeks and months.” 

ACIF is the peak consultative body for the building and construction industry, where the most significant trades and professions that drive the industry collaborate on issues and opportunities for the sector as a whole. The policies published by ACIF reflect the agreed key issues for architecture and design, building and engineering plus the main trades from the industry, from residential housing to commercial properties, through to roads, bridges and major services that enable our country to work. As the peak industry group, ACIF is concerned and committed to driving improvement in these key policy areas in the short to medium term.

ACIF’s policy priorities for 2016 are provided below, and are available to download here. For ACIF's full Policy Compendium, click here.

2016 Policy Priorities of the Australian Construction Industry Forum

The Australian Construction Industry Forum calls on Australia’s political parties to consider and adopt ACIF’s policy priorities.  

The Australian construction industry employs over 1.1 million Australians, and in 2015-16 had a turnover of $212 billion.  

Therefore, the construction industry is one of the main drivers of the Australian economy and its productivity and success is critical to the growth and success of the Australian economy.   

ONE: Re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission with its former powers.

ACIF calls for the reintroduction of the ABCC and all of the industry-specific laws previously administered by the ABCC.  The application of these laws will ensure an upsurge in labour productivity in the sector which must be an essential part of the effort to ensure an industry level productivity boost. ACIF also calls on Federal and State Governments to align their procurement policies so far as these regulate workplace relations.

From 1 October 2005, following the passage of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) (BCII Act), which created the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), the building and construction industry enjoyed a period of significantly improved industrial relations and increased productivity in which industrial relations was not the predominant and negative influence that it had been in the past. That change benefited all parties in the industry, including workers. Equally importantly, it benefited the Australian economy and the community. This regime should be re-installed because since June 2012 a weaker agency administering the Fair Work Act has been in place and the powers of that agency as well as the flaws in the Fair Work Act have seen an upsurge in industrial activity and the partial return of the climate of fear and intimidation that has regrettably dogged the industry for decades.

ACIF also calls on Federal and State Governments to align their procurement policies so far as these regulate workplace relations. At present, there are conflicting regimes of government procurement policies which contain potentially conflicting provisions. The greater disciplines imposed by, for example, the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry and the related Implementation Guidelines should be consistently applied in all jurisdictions. This step would assist the task of building and construction industry workplace reform, as the ABCC would oversee the application of the disciplines imposed.

TWO: The implementation of an effective regime to minimise the use of non-conforming building products.

On this issue, ACIF supports the approach of the Construction Product Alliance (CPA).  In August 2015, the CPA provided a paper to the Building Ministers’ Forum setting out an eight point Action Plan containing key activities designed to support a holistic approach to the issues. The recommendations in the Action Plan were as follows:

1.    Establish a taskforce comprised of key industry stakeholders and state and federal government agencies with a charter to develop a strategic plan which incorporates short, medium and long term responses to the issue of non-conforming products (NCP).

2.    Request the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to:

  • Undertake a review of the current evidence of suitability criteria in the National Construction Code (NCC); and
  • Develop and publish guidance material in the form of a handbook regarding the use of risk-based assessments to determine the appropriate evidence of suitability under the NCC.

3.    Establish a national portal to increase public and industry awareness of available information on NCP.

4.    Increase stakeholder awareness of third party certification schemes as a tool for achieving product compliance.

5.    Develop and operate a pilot to determine the feasibility of establishing a single building products register for compliant product based on industry and government certification schemes.

6.    Evaluate the feasibility of building product legislation being enforced at point of sale.

7.    State building authorities to review surveillance and audit activities and implement stronger penalty regimes to improve effectiveness in achieving compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC).

8.    Assess the feasibility of establishing a confidential reporting system to facilitate the reporting of industry concerns around NCP.

THREE: Re-start the process for the national harmonisation of licensing and registration of all trades and professions in the construction industry.

ACIF believes that a genuinely national market for like contractors, professions, trades and disciplines working in the industry would make for a more efficient market, responsive to varying needs for particular skills in different jurisdictions. This requires consistent capability and licensing and recognition standards across all jurisdictions.

It is for the representatives of those professions, trades and disciplines to agree on the appropriate skills requirements, and the requirements for continuing professional development of organisations and individuals.

With nationally consistent frameworks of licensing or regulation there should be one arbiter of change rather than allowing multiple agencies to introduce additional or varied requirements or, worse, introducing minimal or lowest common denominator standards.

The Commonwealth Government agency working on national occupational licensing needs to ensure that licensing requirements include elements for maintaining appropriate commercial skills for individuals who are responsible for payments from customers and to staff, contractors and service providers.

Individual ACIF Members’ areas of influence include needs for greater efficiency in occupational licensing or registration. They each point to benefits in terms of quality outcomes. They include:

  • National registration for architects rather than state and territory registration;
  • Consistent national registration for engineers;
  • National accreditation for all protection sectors; and
  • The alignment of registration and certification qualifications standards for building surveyors across all jurisdictions.
FOUR: Establishment of an Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence.

With large amounts of public funds being spent on infrastructure, it is incumbent on governments to ensure they get maximum value for money through the procurement process. To buy wisely you need wise buyers: there are substantial opportunities for governments and business to share expertise, and identify and deliver solutions that improve productivity and value for money across the procurement process. 

To overcome persistent deficiencies in procurement skills and practices, we recommend a whole of government approach supporting the establishment of an Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence, building on the work of the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC).

The Procurement Centre of Excellence will expand the APCC’s role and remit, broadening government engagement and building on work across jurisdictions considering efficiencies in procurement. The Centre would be tasked with building a stronger relationship between government and business and supporting best practice procurement in Australia at all levels of government. The Centre should: 

  • Be established as independent of government;
  • Build stronger linkages between government and with industry sectors;
  • Provide transparent expert advice to all levels of government; 
  • Develop guidelines, build capability and improve standards; and
  • Work with Infrastructure Australia and other government agencies to develop long term visionary thinking and planning for investment in economic and social infrastructure. 
  • The Board of the Centre for Procurement Excellence should include equal levels of representation from industry and government.

For more information about ACIF’s Polices, please visit www.acif.com.au/policies

Posted on 21 June 2016 | 2:00 pm

Where is the work coming from?

Building and Construction activity – measured in terms of the value of work done in Residential Building, Non-Residential Building and Engineering Construction – amounted to $225 billion last year. The May 2016 ACIF Forecasts project a fall in activity to $212 billion in 2015-16.

The changes in work value are spread unevenly, affecting different states and territories as well as different work types differently, so the question every business person needs to answer is: where will the work be coming from in our area, in our type of work?

May 2016 ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats:

ACIF Forecasts Subscribers receive all Forecasts information for 12 months plus subscriber-only bonuses at a special package price. >> Find out more here

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Cbus Super Fund and our Silver PartnersTo illustrate the uneven impact of the transition that is underway it is notable that New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania saw growth in Non-Residential Building last year and are projected to see growth again in 2015-16 whereas the mining related states of Queensland and WA are expected to see subdued levels of activity in the next few years.

In Residential Building, strong growth continues for NSW and Victoria however Residential Building activity has been volatile in Western Australia. Activity peaked in 2010-11 and fell in the years to 2012-13. A recovery is underway at present but there are signs that this is running out of puff in Western Australia and lower rates of growth are projected next year and the year after.  

The ACIF Forecasts also outline the changes in the major projects that drive a lot of our work.

Since November 2015, there has been another increase in the number of projects in Residential Building with additional projects being entered in every state except Tasmania. The Major Projects list included in the ACIF Forecasts, provided by Cordell,

The largest number of additional projects is in New South Wales and then Queensland, followed by Victoria. Analysis of this information has been important in making the assessment that there remains work to be done in the Residential Building pipeline.

There are also some additional projects in Non-Residential Building. The largest number of these is in New South Wales, followed very closely by Queensland and Victoria. This seems to be reflective of an increase in non-mining business investment in the more populous states. The largest number of additional Non-Residential Building additional projects is in Industrial, Health and Aged Care, Education, Accommodation, and Entertainment and Recreation.

This adds to suggestions that the economy is beginning to re-invest and “rebalance” as suggested by the Reserve Bank and the macro-economic forecasts used in the ACIF Forecasts. Despite headlines about the end of the mining boom and signs that Engineering Construction work is falling more rapidly than expected, additional engineering projects have been added to the Major Projects data base.

The largest increase by value is in Roads in New South Wales. The second largest increase by value is in Bridges, Railways and Harbours, which in the past was dominated by rail and port projects in Western Australia and Queensland, but now seems to be made up of projects such as light rail projects and expansions, especially in New South Wales.

Details about all of the projects counted here can be examined by accessing the ACIF Major Projects data base that is available via the Customised Forecasts Dashboard at www.acif.com.au/dashboard as part of an all inclusive ACIF Forecasts Subscription.

Posted on 30 May 2016 | 2:00 pm

New forecasts: big picture and employment

The May 2016 ACIF Forecasts outline a changing economy being played out with building and construction a key sector in diversifying the economy after two booms - mining and residential.

Here we outline the impact on the big picture for building and construction work demand, and employment.

May 2016 ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats:

ACIF Forecasts Subscribers receive all Forecasts information for 12 months plus subscriber-only bonuses at a special package price. >> Find out more here

Total construction activity will fall faster in coming years

  • ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Principal Partner Cbus Super Fund and our Silver PartnersLooking at all three major types of activity in the building and construction sector, total or aggregate activity fell in 2014-15 by 5% to $225 billion. A $6 billion increase in Residential Building was not sufficient to cancel out the $12 billion fall in Engineering Construction.
  • A further fall of 5% is projected for 2015-16 reducing aggregate activity by around $12 billion to $212 billion.
  • The May 2016 forecasts have ground $5-10 billion off the level of construction activity that was projected in each year into the next three years, largely reflecting a deeper dip in Residential Building and a more stringent downgrade to the outlook in Engineering Construction.

Rebalancing is changing economic geography

  • Queensland, the former leader in construction activity, and Western Australia, the state that previously had the most rapid growth in construction activity, are now projected to see deep declines in activity reflecting the end of the mining construction boom spreading into infrastructure and other supporting business categories.
  • New South Wales is projected to become the new leader in construction activity in the States. It will climb to the front because it is at the forefront of rebalancing in its economy. Growth in Residential and Non-Residential Building is close to matching the large declines in Engineering Construction that are expected in the medium term.

The recent lift in Construction Employment will eventually slip and dip

  • Employment in building and construction is expected to rise this year to 1.1 million jobs.
  • It appears that growth in labour intensive Residential Building has more than offset the decline in more capital-intensive and import-intensive Engineering Construction.
  • The industry can’t defy gravity forever and a reduction in construction employment of 1% is forecast for 2016-17 as aggregate construction activity continues to fall and Residential Building growth levels out. Further falls in employment will be felt when Residential Building activity dips in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • Construction employment has been strongest in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory where around 60,000 additional jobs are expected in 2015-16. Construction employment in Queensland and Western Australia is projected to see sharp sustained falls. A reduction of around 30,000 construction jobs in these states is expected next year.
  • May 2016 ACIF Forecasts - Construction Employment
  • Above: May 2016 ACIF Forecasts - Construction Employment

Posted on 11 May 2016 | 2:00 pm

New forecasts: Sector by Sector

Looking at all three major types of activity in the building and construction sector, total or aggregate activity fell in 2014-15 by 5% to $225 billion. A $6 billion increase in Residential Building was not sufficient to cancel out the $12 billion fall in Engineering Construction. What's ahead?

Here we summarise the May 2016 ACIF Forecasts sector by sector

May 2016 ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats:

ACIF Forecasts Subscribers receive all Forecasts information for 12 months plus subscriber-only bonuses at a special package price. >> Find out more here

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Principal Partner Cbus Super Fund and our Silver PartnersResidential Building growth has peaked.

  • Leading indicators show that growth has peaked in some sub-segments, particularly New Other Residential (Mainly Apartments and Townhouses) in some markets.
  • Builders are still working through an enlarged construction pipeline and work is expected to top $91 billion in real terms in 2016-17.
  • Growth is projected to slow and eventually slip into a decline, reaching a fall of 6% in 2018-19, bringing work done down to $84 billion in real terms.

Non-Residential Building growth is patchy.

  • Much Non-Residential Building activity is linked to the fortunes of non-mining business investment.
  • To illustrate the uneven impact of the transition that is underway it is notable that New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania saw growth in Non-Residential Building last year and are projected to see growth again in 2015-16 whereas the mining related states of Queensland and WA are expected to see subdued levels of activity in the next few years
  • The transition to growth will also be uneven between sub-sectors within Non-Residential Building.
  • The May 2016 ACIF Forecasts have upgraded projections for Accommodation, Entertainment and Recreation and Retail/Wholesale Trade but down-graded for Health and Aged Care and Offices, especially where this was in support of mining or mining related activity.

Engineering Construction is about to face further and deeper drops

  • Engineering Construction activity fell by 15% in 2014-15. Falls in activity spread beyond Heavy Industry Including Mining and include even deeper reductions in construction of Bridges, Railways and Harbours, Water and Sewerage and Electricity and Pipelines.
  • The May 2016 ACIF Forecasts have taken into account a fundamental shift in the composition of Engineering Construction activity. While mining and related construction is in decline, increased infrastructure construction is underway in Roads and Telecommunications, and there are further plans for major rail and light rail projects. Many of the largest new projects are in areas that will enhance the delivery of key services and improve mobility and liveability in Australia’s cities, enhancing their role as major drivers of economic growth.
  • While these initiatives are substantial they will not fully offset the very large withdrawal of private sector investment in mining and related infrastructure. Revised forecasts indicate that Engineering Construction is only about a third of the way into a projected 46% fall in activity that will bottom out by 2017-18.

May 2016 ACIF Forecasts - Total Work Done by Type

Above: May 2016 ACIF Forecasts - Total Work Done by Type

Posted on 11 May 2016 | 2:00 pm

New forecasts chart 2 passing booms; but no time for gloom

New building and construction industry forecasts released today chart the passing of two booms – in mining and residential – and the impact on this important sector of the Australian economy.

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Principal Partner Cbus Super Fund and our Silver PartnersAustralian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) today released the latest ACIF Forecasts, revealing how the sector is coping with another double digit fall in engineering construction plus the impending peak of residential building.

The May 2016 ACIF Forecasts re-chart the course of building and construction industry as it surfs the downside of tsunami-sized waves of investment,” said Kerry Barwise, Chief Economist for ACIF.

May 2016 ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats:

ACIF Forecasts Subscribers receive all Forecasts information for 12 months plus subscriber-only bonuses at a special package price. >> Find out more here

“The building and construction industry is playing a key role in the transition of our economy away from resources towards a more diversified economy.

“The industry has ramped up residential building following the once in a lifetime mining boom, but that too is now coming to an end.”

The May 2016 ACIF Forecasts reveal a second consecutive 5% annual fall in aggregate activity, reducing 2015-16 total construction activity by $12 billion to $212 billion.

ACIF Forecasts - Change in Total Word Done

Above: May 2016 ACIF Forecasts - Change in Total Work Done, all Sectors

These forecasts have also ground $5-10 billion off the level of construction activity that was projected in each year over the next three years, largely reflecting a more stringent downgrade to the outlook in Engineering Construction following the mining boom and the expected dip in Residential Building. Residential builders are still working through an enlarged construction pipeline and building work is expected to top $91 billion in real terms in 2016-17 before falling.

However, despite the sweeping changes and challenges, this is not the time for doom and gloom. Irrespective of the passing of booms in two major construction sectors, these forecasts also identify areas of construction activity that will assist an economy in transition.

Wherever activity is in support of the shift towards the new economy, innovation, creativity and the provision of key services, Non-Residential Building work is growing especially in the areas of Health and Aged Care, Accommodation and Retail/Wholesale Trade.

These conflicting trends are projected to turn around the modest contraction forecast in Non-Residential Building activity for this year into a small uptick next year and more fulsome growth - close to 3% per annum - by 2017-18.

These forecasts have also taken into account a fundamental shift in the composition of Engineering Construction activity. Many of the largest new infrastructure projects are in areas that will enhance the delivery of key services and improve the mobility and liveability in Australia’s cities, enhancing their role as major drivers of economic growth.

“Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is proud to provide the construction industry with the May 2016 ACIF Forecasts,” said Adrian Harrington, Chair of ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council.  

“The building and construction sector contributes around 8% to GDP and is responsible for building the shelter and infrastructure for both our people and businesses that are the backbone of our economy. Our work facilitates the movement of people, goods and resources, fosters connectivity and communication, and allows the transmission of water and energy across this vast nation.

“With technology continuing to emerge at an unprecedented scale, our population growing and aging, and the economy transitioning from the biggest resources boom in over a century, it is more important now than ever before that the industry has a relevant and credible ‘compass’ for the next ten years. These Forecasts outline the upcoming demand for work across the three key sectors – residential and non-residential building plus engineering construction, and the 20 sub-sectors they include, as well as what is happening with construction costs and labour requirements.”

ACIF Forecasts are released today at www.acif.com.au. ACIF Forecasts are available in two formats: Australian Construction Market Report, an 80+ page report with detailed commentary and analysis, and the Customised Forecasts Dashboard, an online portal where subscribers can tailor queries to suit their business type and location.

Posted on 11 May 2016 | 2:00 pm

Experts agree: we are key to economic transition

Last Thursday ACIF had the pleasure of welcoming over 100 business leaders to breakfast and to hear the early release of the ACIF Forecasts.

The ACIF Briefing was Chaired by Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management at Folkestone and Chair of ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council. The keynote presentation by Chief Economist Kerry Barwise was a presentation of the outlook for residential and non-residential building and engineering construction for the next ten years, charting the end two historical booms – in mining and residential – and the impact this has had on our industry.

An expert panel then discussed the forecasts, especially within the context of Federal Budget and a 25 basis point drop in interest rate just over a day earlier.

Cbus Property Chief Executive Adrian Pozzo, Brian Haratsis from Macroplan Dimasi, and CoreLogic’s Head of Research Cameron Kusher joined Adrian Harrington and Kerry Barwise for a far-ranging and fascinating discussion around economic policy and down to on the ground reality of investment as the driver of building and construction in Australia.

Great expert panel at the ACIF Briefing. Where else could you find these 4 clever people together?

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Principal Partner Cbus Super Fund and our Silver PartnersRead more details on the expert panel here

Adrian Harrington summarised the key comments from the discussion as:

  • The construction sector is playing a key role assisting the economy transition away from mining – the residential sector has picked up in recent years and it is critical now the non-residential and non-mining related engineering sectors play their part.
  • Cities are the engine room of the economy. They provide the setting to facilitate economic activity and innovation. The construction sector has a key role to play in delivering first class infrastructure and a built environment that fosters employment, allows the delivery of services more efficiently and effectively, improves mobility, achieves higher levels of sustainability and liveability. The construction sector is key to turning the government’s infrastructure plan and Smart Cities Plan into reality.
  • The service sector is becoming a powerhouse of the Australian economy – health, education, tourism, professional services and technology. The growth in these sectors will fuel the next wave of non-residential construction activity. However, the locations of this activity will be different from past cycles with a greater emphasis on inner and middle ring suburbs which will have a significant impact on the spatial organisation of our cities and the types of buildings that will house these functions.

ACIF Forecasts are released on 12 May at www.acif.com.au. Forecasts are available as:

ACIF Forecasts are only possible due to the ongoing support of Principal Partner Cbus Super Fund, and Silver Partners Cordell, DesignBUILD Expo, Viewpoint Construction Software and new Partner ProgressClaim.com

Posted on 10 May 2016 | 2:00 pm

Last tickets left to ACIF Briefing

The ACIF Briefing on 5 May in Melbourne has a great expert panel to discuss and debate the new forecasts for building and construction. Where else can you meet all these people in the one room, at once?

Following the keynote presentation releasing the ACIF Forecasts for May 2016, our industry expert panel will discuss the key outtakes of the ACIF Forecasts and how it will affect different sections of the industry and its players – including clients, tenants, individual professions - and the issues and costs of doing business.

>> Register online NOW - Limited Seats available

Can't join us in Melbourne?

>> Purchase the Australian Construction Market Report here and it will be sent to you as it is released mid-May

>> Subscribe to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard for immediate access to the full ACIF Forecasts numbers.

>> Get it all with an ACIF Forecasts Subscription. Includes 12 months of Dashboard + Reports + online subscriber-only webinars with the Chief Forecaster

Who you will see at the ACIF Briefing on 5 May in Melbourne

Adrian Harrington, Chair, Head of Funds Management Folkestone Funds Management

Chaired by Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management, Folkestone Funds Management. 

Adrian has more than 20 years of experience in the funds management and real estate industries. He was formerly CEO Funds Management, UK and USA for Mirvac Group. He previously held senior positions at James Fielding Group, Deutsche Asset Management, Paladin Australia and the Property Council of Australia. 

Kerry Barwise, Chief Forecaster, ACIF Forecasts

Keynote Presentation releasing the ACIF Forecasts by Kerry Barwise

Kerry Barwise is the most Chief Forecaster, ACIF Forecasts. Kerry has the broadest expertise in the industry, all three sectors - residential, non-residential and engineering construction.

Kerry Barwise specialises in providing economic and policy advice to business and government. He commenced his career in the Commonwealth Treasury spanning Commonwealth state financial relations, infrastructure finance and structural policy reform, especially of major infrastructure services in transport and energy. After 11 years in Treasury he shifted to consulting in the private sector rising after 19 years to senior executive roles and Directorships in the Allen Consulting Group, the Centre for International Economics and ACIL Allen Consulting.

Adrian Pozzo, CEO Cbus Property

Expert: Adrian Pozzo - CEO, Cbus Property

Adrian Pozzo is the Chief Executive Officer of Cbus Property Pty Ltd, having been appointed to this role in 2007.

Adrian is responsible for an investment property portfolio which currently exceeds $2.5 billion, plus investments currently under development which on completion will total more than $4.5 billion.  He has responsibility for the strategic performance & management of all aspects of the Cbus direct property investment business which includes major investments and developments in the commercial, residential and industrial sectors.

Brian Haratis, Executive Chairman, Macroplan Dimasi

Expert: Brian Haratis - Chairman, Macroplan Dimasi

Brian Haratsis is a best-selling author, futurist, thought leader and is regarded by corporate Australia as the leading economic and strategic advisor operating in the property sector locally and internationally.
Brian established MacroPlan Australia (renamed MacroPlan Dimasi in 2012) in 1985 and has devoted the last 30 years to his loyal client base through the delivery of effective business and property strategy, precise forecasting of niche trends, successful facilitation of strategic outcomes and successful delivery of major projects / policies.

Cameron Kusher, Head of Research Australia, CoreLogic

Expert: Cameron Kusher - Head of Research - Australia, CoreLogic

Cameron Kusher has worked as a property research analyst across the Australian property markets for more than 10 years.  He joined RP Data in 2008 as the senior research manager where his expertise in property data analytics reporting has forged him a strong reputation across large corporations ranging from banking, finance and the mortgage services sector. Cameron is responsible for the day-to-day outputs of the rpdata research division where he works closely with research director Tim Lawless. 

Posted on 21 April 2016 | 2:00 pm

Expert panel to debate the forecast for building and construction

ACIF Forecasts are proudly supported by Principal Partner Cbus SuperThe early release of the ACIF Forecasts to guests at the ACIF Briefing on 5 May in Melbourne is set to be a fascinating morning.

At this industry leaders breakfast, lead economist for the ACIF Forecasts, Kerry Barwise, will present the macro and major drivers reshaping the Australian marketplace for our industry. 

Find out more about the ACIF Briefing and register online here.

Then on to the impacts on building and construction in Australia. ACIF Forecasts cover 20 work types and all states and territories in Australia. This presentation will give the outlook for demand for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction - for the next ten years.

Then we get local. Kerry will present the outlook for Victoria and Melbourne, so the local market can plan for success - or survival.

Chaired by Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management, Folkestone Funds Management, following the presentation a discussion panel of leaders in property and investment, economics and research will discuss the key outtakes of the ACIF Forecasts for May 2016 - and what it means for our industry of 1.1 million people.

Panellists include:

  • Adrian Pozzo - CEO, Cbus Property
  • Harley Dale - Chief Economist, Housing Industry Association
  • Cameron Kusher - Head of Research - Australia, CoreLogic

About ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are rolling ten year forecasts of demand across residential, non-residential and engineering construction in Australia. The Forecasts are prepared by respected economic modellers, using high quality data sources, and are overseen by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, an industry panel of expert analysts and researchers.

ACIF Forecasts are used by professionals from across the full range of stakeholders, from major organisations to small consultancies. ACIF Forecasts are released twice a year, and are available as the Australian Construction Market Report, and detailed numbers are available by subscribing to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard, and online service to tailor queries on the full ACIF database. An annual ACIF Forecasts Subscription provides all ACIF Forecasts information for 12 months.

Find out more about the ACIF Briefing and register online here.

Posted on 13 April 2016 | 2:00 pm

Forecasts show there is no need for doom and gloom

The last release of industry forecasts in November 2015 shaved off between $2-$4 billion per year for the next three years in anticipated work demand for the building and construction sector in Australia.

Much has happened since then, and the consequences for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction will be reflected in the Australian Construction Industry Forum’s (ACIF’s) updated forecasts to be released in May.

Early indications of the May 2016 ACIF Forecasts show the prospects across the various building and construction sectors vary with some hotspots but also some areas that are slowing, particularly now that our economy is absorbing both the end of the mining boom and the peak of the residential housing boom.

The May ACIF Forecasts are still being prepared, with data from Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cordell Information and other high quality data sources, and will be launched at a business leaders breakfast on 5 May, ahead of release to the industry on 12 May.

The ACIF Forecasts undergo a unique peer review process to ensure that all drivers of change are factored in. Draft forecasts will soon be presented to the Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of economists and researchers from across the industry plus banks and other specialists, who come together to provide an important industry service by reality-testing the ACIF Forecasts with their confidential and expert insight. The result is that the final ACIF Forecasts provide a credible insight into the outlook for the sector, and can be relied upon by businesses large and small across the industry.

“We are still analysing the data for the next ACIF Forecasts however what preliminary data and analysis is showing that the building and construction industry still plays a significant role in the economy. In particular, residential building work is one of the few areas of steady and strong growth in the economy,” said Kerry Barwise, head forecaster of the ACIF Forecasts.

“Doom-and-gloom sentiments sometimes seen in the media are out of step with the preliminary numbers, and in some areas are spooking the industry and its clients. For example, engineering construction is not facing an unexpected free fall. Some 3,000 new projects in engineering construction have been added to the ACIF major projects list since late last year, offsetting those that have recently been completed, put on hold or terminated.

ACIF Forecasts Engineering Construction by State Nov 2015“Our national sector chart from November 2015 clearly shows the peak and then also the dip we are forecasting. We are seeing some big shifts in the numbers for May 2016 in the composition and location of construction work. Activity in the dip is lower than in the peak of the mining boom - pretty well as expected - but engineering construction will not disappear altogether.“There is a notable increase in the number of active road and rail transport projects in the major projects data base and much of the spending on the NBN is now coming into the construction sector work pipeline.

ACIF Forecasts Residential Completions VS 90 Day Bank Bill Nov 2015Residential housing is the focus of industry and general media comment at the moment, as it is clear that the frenzy for homes, both detached and attached, is running out of puff. However, commentators spruiking a crash today or tomorrow are out of touch with what is actually happening, as there is a lot of work yet to come and buyers lining up to buy given still low interest rates.

“Preliminary data up to the end December 2015 shows that residential building work actually done grew again to record high levels. Dwelling approvals and commencements data shows that there is still growth in the home building pipeline. As reported in November 2015 the amount of residential building work to be done this Financial Year [ending in June 2016] is still likely to be larger than the previous peak in 2014-15. We are carefully reviewing the latest data to confirm the residential building outlook for the May 2016 Australian Construction Market Report.”

Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management at Folkestone Funds Management, is Chair of the Construction Forecasting Council. “The building and construction sector contributes around 8% to GDP, and it is crucial that we have detailed forecasts on all key sub-sectors that drive this important component of the economy. ACIF's Forecasts provide the industry with key forecasts across the residential, non-residential and engineering sectors, giving industry participants the quality information they need to make more informed investment and business decisions,” said Mr Harrington.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will launch the ACIF Forecasts at an industry breakfast on Thursday 5 May in Melbourne, which includes an outlook for all sectors for not only Australia but Victoria and Melbourne. An expert panel including Housing Industry Association’s Chief Economist Harley Dale and CoreLogic’s Australian Head of Research Cameron Kusher will discuss the Forecasts and how it relates to the key issues facing our industry. More information about the ACIF Briefing industry event is available here: http://www.acif.com.au/events/event/acif-briefing-may-2016

ACIF Forecasts will be released to the industry as on 12 May 2016 in two formats:
80+ page Australian Construction Market Report and the full forecast database will be available for tailored queries via the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. For more information visit www.acif.com.au/forecasts.

ACIF Forecasts are proudly supported by Principal Partner Cbus Super and our Silver Partners

Top: ACIF Forecasts Residential Completions VS 90 Day Bank Bill Nov 2015

Bottom: ACIF Forecasts Engineering Construction by State Nov 2015

Posted on 10 April 2016 | 2:00 pm

New forecasts, New expert panel

ACIF Forecasts are proudly supported by Principal Partner Cbus SuperIf you have attended an ACIF Briefing in the past, you will know how valuable it is to hear first hand the latest information on the state of building and construction in Australia.

Very soon is your ONE opportunity for 2016 to hear it live: ACIF Briefing will be held on Thursday 5 May 2016 in Melbourne, next to DesignBUILD Expo.

  • New ACIF Forecasts, and you will hear it ahead of the industry.
  • New expert panel discussing the ACIF Forecasts and the big issues facing the industry.
  • New venue next to DesignBUILD Expo - with VIP to the Expo afterwards, before the crowds
  • >> Seats are strictly limited - register online NOW

How good are the prospects facing your business this year, next year – and to 2026?

At the May 2016 ACIF Briefing, gain early access to the ACIF Forecasts for the building and construction industry in Australia.

At the only ACIF live event for the first half of 2016, conveniently located close to DesignBuild Expo, guests will benefit to the Construction Forecasting Council’s highly relevant, credible business forecasts ahead of the industry.

Kerry Barwise is the lead economist for the ACIF Forecasts, and will present the macro and major drivers reshaping the Australian marketplace for our industry.

Chaired by Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management, Folkestone Funds Management, following the keynote presentation, our expert industry panel will discuss the key outtakes of the ACIF Forecasts and how it will affect different sections of the industry and its players – including clients, tenants, individual professions - and the issues and costs of doing business. Panellists include:

  • Harley Dale - Chief Economist, Housing Industry Association
  • Cameron Kusher - Head of Research - Australia, CoreLogic
  • Details on our experts are available here.

>> Seats are strictly limited - register online NOW

Posted on 7 April 2016 | 2:00 pm

3 ways to find out about demand for your work

ACIF Forecasts for building and construction industry in Australia

Three ways to benefit from this unique industry service

Hear it live at the ACIF Briefing 5 May

Australian Construction Market Report

Full access to the numbers
Forecasts Dashboard

  • Conveniently located close to DesignBuild Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Receive the early release of the May 2016 ACIF Forecasts directly from the head forecaster Kerry Barwise
  • Plus responses from our expert panel
  • Network over a hot breakfast
  • ... and more!
  • Detailed analysis and commentary from the ACIF Forecasts in an 80+ page report
  • Macro economic and industry outlook including labour and employment
  • National sector outlook for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction
  • All states and territories
  • Top 20 Major Projects from Cordell Information
  • Construction cost indexes from Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Full access to all the data from the ACIF Forecasts available online 24/7
  • Easy to use Dashboard to tailor queries and output results as charts or data
  • Subscribe for as little as $1 per day. Corporate packages available
  • Work demand; labour requirements, construction costs
  • 5,500 Major Projects by location, type and stage, from Cordell Information
  • Long term to 10 years, short term to 8 quarters for both forecasts and past actuals

More info, visit
www.acif.com.au/events

More info, visit
www.acif.com.au/shop

More info, visit
www.acif.com.au/
subscribe

ACIF Forecasts are proudly supported by Principal Partner Cbus Super and our Partners

Posted on 2 April 2016 | 1:00 pm

PM puts construction and ABCC in the spotlight

By James Cameron, ACIF Executive Director

As you would all now be aware, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged a double-dissolution election on 2 July if the Senate does not pass legislation to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), as well as establish a Registered Organisations Commission.  

It is a policy of Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) that the ABCC should be re-established and all of the industry-specific laws previously administered by the ABCC, so the Prime Minister’s move is a welcome one. 

When the ABCC began in 2005, the number of working days lost to industrial disputes in the construction industry annually per 1000 employees fell from 224 in 2004 to just 24 in 2006.  Since the ABCC was abolished by the Gillard Government in 2012, industrial disputes have again risen and productivity affected. Further, a Registered Organisations Commission would monitor the transactions of union finances and make it virtually impossible for union officials to hold senior roles if they have a criminal record. 

While ACIF will be urging the cross-bench Senators to restore the ABCC, given the statements of some Senators since the Prime Minister’s announcement, it seems unlikely that the Government will have the support of six of the eight cross-bench Senators necessary to pass the legislation.  Thus it seems very likely that a double dissolution election will be held on 2 July, with the focus on union activity, and especially in the construction industry. 

Given the nature of union activity in the construction industry, a statutory body with special powers is needed to maintain the rule of law. The re-establishment of the ABCC with its former powers would greatly increase productivity in the industry, meaning that everybody in the industry would benefit. Since the loss of the ABCC, union officials have received more than $3 million in fines, with a significant number currently before the courts. 

ACIF urges all players in the construction industry to observe the rule of law, and it is unfortunate that a culture exists in the industry that makes it necessary for a body like the ABCC to exist.  All workers in the industry deserve an environment where they can go to work, and be assured of their physical and mental health. Bullying of apprentices cannot be tolerated, and nor can bullying of construction managers by union officials. Surveying of construction managers in the ACT in 2015 showed that a third had been physically bullied and two-thirds verbally bullied. 

Enough is enough, and this culture must end. The ABCC should be restored as soon as possible, and ACIF will be working hard to ensure this policy goal is achieved.

Posted on 22 March 2016 | 1:00 pm

ACIF Welcomes Australian Infrastructure Plan

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) today welcomed the release of Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) Australian Infrastructure Plan.  ACIF believes that the Australian Infrastructure Plan, when implemented, will result in more local employment in the construction industry, the development of skills and training, particularly for young people, and a long-term plan that will create more certainty for employers and the industry.  The report incorporating 78 recommendations provides a coherent and strategic long-term plan based on cost-benefit analysis that will hopefully lessen political influence in providing the infrastructure that Australia most needs. 

James Cameron, ACIF’s Executive Director, stated, “We applaud Infrastructure Australia on the release of the Australian Infrastructure Plan.”

“Infrastructure Australia is something that other countries wish to emulate, as it is a body which makes recommendations based on long-term social and economic benefit, rather than short-term political gain.”

“This initial 15 year plan by Infrastructure Australia is a bold and definite statement by IA of where Australia should be heading in terms of infrastructure priorities, and we strongly encourage Federal and State Governments to take note and implement Infrastructure Australia’s recommendations.”

“Universities, technical colleges and employers must have some level of certainty of demand in order to know where to prioritise education and skills development, and this plan provides that.”

“ACIF would also like to see more Australian labour, manufacturing and products used on local projects and we encourage Australian governments to do their best to ensure this occurs on these projects recommended by Infrastructure Australia.”

“Product conformity and product compliance are also issues for Australian Governments to consider with these projects, and are important for their short, medium and long-term success.”

“ACIF agrees that we must encourage strategic and integrated planning, and notes that Infrastructure Australia states that the average Australian household will be $3000 a year better off by 2040 if this priority list of infrastructure is built.”

“ACIF welcomes the commitment of IA to improve decision making in infrastructure planning, procurement, delivery and operation. ACIF’s work with the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council on best practice procurement and the implementation of Building Information Modelling will be valuable resources in achieving IA’s aims.”

“I look forward to working with Federal and State Governments to encourage debate into fair and equitable ways of funding the infrastructure Australia needs”, commented Mr Cameron.

Posted on 21 February 2016 | 1:00 pm

'New Other Residential'? Forecasts Categories Explained

'New Other Residential' labels a wealth of business in the building and construction industry. But what does it include? 

The 20 categories in the ACIF Forecasts are drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which has a strict definition of what work is called what. To ensure that our forecasts of work demand are consistent across our (so far) 14 years and into the future, the team behind the ACIF Forecasts retain the definitions to categorise work demand for the next decade.

'New Other Residential' in the 'Residential Building' section is defined as: A new ‘other residential’ building is a building other than a house primarily used for long-term residential purposes and which contains (or has attached to it) more than one dwelling unit (e.g. includes blocks of flats, home units, attached townhouses, villa units, terrace houses, semidetached houses, maisonettes, duplexes, apartment buildings, etc.)

Its a strange little term for a whole lot of work. From the chart below, from the Customised Forecasts Dashboard, you can see that the work in this work type for New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, is growing nicely over the next few years. $16.8million in 2016-2017 makes this work type a nice earner for many of us.

New Other Residential - ACIF Forecasts Nov 2015

To find out the definitions of all the 20 work categories included in the ACIF Forecasts, click here or refer to the appendix in the Australian Construction Market Report.

Posted on 11 February 2016 | 1:00 pm

Industry's own planning toolset

ACIF Forecasts are the industry’s own forecasts for the whole building and construction industry, for the next ten years, helping you plan not only for FY 2016-17 but all the way to 2025.

ACIF Forecasts cover 20 work types across residential and non-residential building plus engineering construction, as rolling ten year forecasts plus ten years of actual performance. Developed by leading industry forecaster, the information is then rigorously reviewed by a unique panel of economists and industry experts before release.

Expert data and analysis across four forecast types:
  • Work demand – the dollars to be spent over the next decade, by 20 work types, by national, whole of state, capital city, or rest of state.
  • Labour requirements – the number of people required by our industry, by skill type, by state or across Australia.
  • Big Picture – the costs for construction projects as an index, so you can prepare project quotes with confidence.
  • Major Projects – provided by Cordell Information, the full Major Projects database includes over 5,500 major projects over $20m, with the ability to search for projects by location down to postcode level, category, and commencement date. View information on value and project status.
ACIF Forecasts data and analysis are presented in three formats:

Best value subscription to all of these is a 12-month ACIF Forecasts Subscription, which includes:

  • 12 months online access to Customised Forecasts Dashboard – online database of the full forecasts data set, with easy to use tools for subscribers to tailor a query to suit their business.
  • 2 x Australian Construction Market Report sent by email as they are published – 70+ page report with detailed expert commentary on the forecasts, from the macro drivers of change, to the national outlook then the major changes for each state and territory.
  • 2 x ACIF Forecasts online discussions/Webinars with forecaster at release time – exclusive access to the forecasters where they explain the key changes in the latest forecasts, with opportunity to answer questions from the live audience. Recording of the session is available for ACIF Forecasts Subscribers.
  • Discount registration for ACIF Briefings – business breakfast events at which the ACIF Forecasts are launched and presented to the audience. Includes an expert panel to discuss the major issues both arising from the forecasts and affecting the industry at the time.
  • >> Click here for more information and to subscribe online now

Video on the ACIF Forecasts and how to use the Customised Forecasts Dashboard

See what is in the report - Contents page for the Australian Construction Market Report is below.

Contents page to the Australian Construction Market Report

Posted on 3 February 2016 | 1:00 pm

3 Priorities for the Building and Construction Industry in 2016

James Cameron, Executive Director, Australian Construction Industry Forumby James Cameron New year is always a good time to set goals. For Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), the bloom of new year is even more so as I begin as Executive Director, after waving off Peter Barda to the many joys of retirement amongst his wine vines.

The challenges ahead for the industry are significant, as are the opportunities. For ACIF, an important point to ponder is where to focus our energies for 2016, leveraging the significant contributions to the industry under Peter’s leadership.

Our first priority is making sure that the right people understand the key needs of this industry, which employs 1.1 million people. However, we build the homes, workplaces, hospitals, schools and public spaces for all 23 million Australians. As an industry, we have strong ideas on what needs to happen to make this better.

So in 2016, engaging with Federal politicians and regulators will be our first priority. ACIF Members have collaborated to develop a set of policies that address the industry’s key needs and approaches, across:

  • Housing Affordability
  • Design and Construction for a Sustainable Industry
  • Government Economic Management – Regulation
  • Occupational Licensing
  • Procurement
  • Workforce Development and Relations
  • Workplace Health and Safety

With my years of experience managing policy and advocacy, and my determination to make a difference for ACIF, communicating these policies will be my first priority. 

Secondly, it is my conviction that just as the Wallabies, Australian cricket team and Australian netball team all strive to be number one in the world, so to the Australian construction industry should strive to be ranked first in the world in a range of indicators.  Let’s play hard, play as a team, and play to win. 

ACIF and its key government partner, Australasian Procurement and Construction Council, have jointly produced a series of resources to improve how we work, to make it safer, more fulfilling, more cost effective (so more clients will start projects) but more importantly produce a better built environment for all Australians.

The built environment plays such an enormous role in our physical and mental health and wellbeing.  Buildings and infrastructure are essential for families, businesses, government, and organisations of all types.  Buildings and infrastructure left to us from previous generations are a key component of our civilisation.  In Cordoba in Spain, they are still using a bridge first built by the Romans over 2000 years ago!

Thirdly, making sure that this industry has the right intelligence with which to drive its decision making. We need to have an evidence base for what has happened, and a reliable set of data and information on what is coming. The ACIF Forecasts are part of this, but where are the gaps – where else do we need better, clearer, more specific information that can inform the big strategic questions of the industry, as well as the small, more localised ones for individual businesses? When we are forewarned we can be forearmed, as the saying goes, which means ready to handle the ebbs and flows that come from being a big, important part of a dynamic domestic and international economy.

We can do it, together. We have much to be proud of in the Australian construction industry, but let’s keep the ideas flowing to continually make things better. ACIF is a collaborative organisation, the meeting place for the leaders across the building and construction industry to learn about each other but also to find commonality so we can work together on issues and opportunities that affect us all. We welcome your input too, so if you have any ideas on how the industry can be improved, please do get in touch at ceo@acif.com.au. I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted on 3 February 2016 | 1:00 pm

Augmented Reality capable construction guide released

An Augmented Reality (AR) capable construction guide has been released for NSW.

The 2015/16 edition of the NSW Construction Site Safety Guide features interactive content that allows users to engage with the guide on a whole new level. Supported by ACIF Member Master Builders Association NSW, this year’s Guide will include additional information, training resources, videos, 3D models and safety awareness. Using the publisher's Pro-Vis AR app on smart phones or tablets, construction workers can unlock hidden content and engage with the most up-to-date safety information. 

If unsecured or unstable, a falling object or structure can have detrimental effects on a construction site with the possibility of fatalities. To avoid such hazards, control measures must be implemented and reviewed. Scaffolds are a well-known hazard in the industry and if incorrectly erected can lead to the possibility of the scaffold collapsing on-site. As a principle contractor, it is your duty to consult with your scaffold contractor/supplier and relevant documents to understand scaffold compliance. 

Fire protection during construction is a very real concern for the construction industry. Suitable means of fire fighting must be installed in a building under construction to allow construction workers to combat the fire attack. This year’s Guide brings light to the hazards present on construction sites and uses AR content to engage and educate users on safe practices in the construction industry.  

To obtain free copies of the NSW Construction Site Safety Guide 2015/16, please click here to send an email request for one.

Posted on 3 February 2016 | 1:00 pm

Get ready for business, 2016 style

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Sponsors lead by Cbus Super Fund2015 was a year of significant challenges, so how will you make sure that 2016 is a better ride? A crystal ball, perhaps?

Here it is.

ACIF Forecasts November 2015 outline the macro and local conditions your business will face over the next 10 years.

  • Get informed on forecasted spending on 20 work types of residential and non-residential building plus engineering construction. >> What types? 
  • Want to see how fast the landscape is changing? Read the new detailed analysis of the variations since the previous forecasts in July 2015. A new chapter in the Australian Construction Market Report breaks down the key changes and the colour coded chart shows you the hot spots of work, and where it is cooling off.

>> How do you access the ACIF Forecasts? Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts here, or purchase Australian Construction Market Report here for commentary, charts, data and much more

>> Forecasts: State by State

>> Subscribe for FREE to get ACIF Enews

ACIF Forecasts Highlights

The latest ACIF Forecasts shave between $2-4 billion per year for the next three years from future construction activity ACIF had forecasted in July 2015. This largely reflects a forecasted dip from a peak in Residential Building spending, and the continuing decline from the peak in Engineering Construction.

Australia’s macro story is changing, and this affects building and construction requirements. Population growth rates have been revised downwards reflecting falls in immigration from recent peaks. The reduction in growth in the working age population has profound implications for future employment, unemployment and economic growth.

Despite the large contraction in aggregate work done last year, employment in construction activities increased by 1.4% to 1,043,000 jobs. It appears that growth in labour intensive Residential Building has more than offset the decline in more capital-intensive Engineering Construction.

Many additional projects have been added to the ACIF Major Projects list in the Customised Forecasts Dashboard in the period between the July 2015 and November 2015 Forecasts. Australian Construction Market Report for November 2015 includes a table showing the number of additional active projects by state and for Australia. It also shows the total value of the additional projects by category.

Activity forecasts for Australian building and construction

Residential Building

Residential Building peaked in 2014-15 at 186,000 completions - which is much higher than anticipated, and that we have ever seen in history. This surge was due to low interest rates and so was broadly experienced in every state and territory. Growth in the booming sub-sector that includes townhouses and apartments will halve in some areas in the coming years. The ACIF Forecasts for November 2015 show where and when the fall from the peak be most felt, and in what sub-sector.

Non-Residential Building

Non-Residential Building fell by 0.3% last year – a loss of $122 million in work done – with further reductions to come. However three sub-sectors in particular, Health and Aged Care, Offices and Retail and Wholesale Trade, will reverse the trend due to non-mining business investment, and will grow in 2015-16.

Engineering Construction

Engineering Construction activity surged over the last few years peaking at $129 billion in 2012-13, driven by investment in mining and heavy industry as well as an expansion in related infrastructure. The investment phase of the mining boom has come to an end and the levels of engineering construction activity are now falling. However infrastructure investment across Australia is projected to be sustained at current levels or grow.

Posted on 12 January 2016 | 1:00 pm

New, easy annual package of Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are possible only thanks to our SponsorsBusiness in 2016 is going to be, well, interesting.

ACIF Forecasts are the industry's own outlook for building and construction for the next decade, and are a reliable, relevant 10-year forecasts for residential building, non-residential building and engineering construction.

There is now a new way to use the ACIF Forecasts in your business planning...

ACIF Forecasts Subscription gives you ALL the Forecasts outputs in one easy, annual subscription.

Twice yearly Australian Construction Market Reports - over 72 pages of expert commentary, data and charts on what is coming for 20 work types.

+ 12 months access to Customised Forecasts Dashboard - online access 24/7 to tailor your query on the ACIF Forecasts numbers. New video here to see what it includes and how to use it

+ Exclusive online discussion session with the Forecaster, Kerry Barwise

​+ Discounted registration to ACIF Briefings

​​Subscribe now to have the November 2015 Report and access to the online discussion with the forecaster recording included in your package for FREE.

Posted on 14 December 2015 | 1:00 pm

New Guide on Product Quality released

Procurement of Construction Products: A Guide to Achieving ComplianceThe Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) has released the second edition of the Procurement of Construction Products: A Guide to Achieving Compliance.

The Guide is aimed at assisting anyone involved in the building industry to ensure the building products they select, buy and install meet Australian building standards. The Guide fills the gap in credible and accurate information on ‘safety critical’ products, to verify construction product conformance, in order to determine whether or not a product is fit-for-purpose.

The Guide now recognises 34 industry led product accreditation schemes and guidance information across a range of building product categories including reinforcing and structural steel, cementitious materials for concrete, wood products, glazing products, electrical products, fire safety services, plumbing products, insulation products, coating products and building products.

“The Guide highlights the importance to the procurer of understanding the responsibility to determine whether or not a construction product is fit for its intended purpose,” said the APCC Chair, David McHugh, Chief Executive, Department of Infrastructure, Northern Territory.

“Importantly, the compliance and durability of construction products are major risk factors which need to be managed as they impact significantly on the service life and quality of building and construction projects, said Mr McHugh.

“The APCC has worked with over forty building industry and building product groups to update the Guide, originally released in September 2014. This new edition acknowledges that industry is working hard to ensure that the products supplied to builders are fit for purpose,” said APCC Executive Director, Teresa Scott.

“The Guide is also aimed at assisting builders and trade contractors,” said Kristin Brookfield, Chair of the APCC Construction Product Quality Working Group and HIA executive director, building development and environment.

“Knowing the right questions to ask and what to check when products are delivered on site has become an extremely difficult task. This Guide can assist builders to understand how to get the right product for the job,” said Ms Brookfield.

“Choosing quality building products for any building work is important. This Guide also helps manufacturers and suppliers of building products understand how to test their products, correctly label them and provide the right information to show they meet the national building standards,” said Ms Brookfield.

A copy of the Guide is now available online at www.apcc.gov.au.

Posted on 14 December 2015 | 1:00 pm

Congratulations DesignBuild!

Congratulations to DesignBuild Expo on winning Best Trade Show!Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) congratulates DesignBuild Expo on winning its category at the recent Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) Awards for Excellence.

DesignBuild won the category for Best Trade Show under 10,000 m2, while it’s Marketing Manager Stephanie Bleakley also took out the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award.

DesignBuild has been partnered with ACIF and other industry Associations for over four years, and in that time has increased its understanding of the needs and wants of the building and construction industry in Australia. The 2015 DesignBuild Expo held in Sydney saw dramatic changes in the mix of exhibitors and the speaker series, resulting in a dynamic event for the industry.

“Ali Mead and the DesignBuild team have consulted with the building and construction industry and taken its feedback seriously,” said ACIF Executive Director Peter Barda. “As a result, the Expo is focussed on supporting industry needs such as good quality products and innovation for improving what we produce.”

>> Register FREE for DesignBuild Expo here

Posted on 13 December 2015 | 1:00 pm

Peter Barda says: Thank you and goodbye

As he leaves the building and construction industry after 40 years in leadership roles, retiring Executive Director ACIF, Peter Barda shares his thoughts and wishes for our industry.

Peter and Jill Barda retiring after more than 40 years of industry leadershipIt’s been a challenging year for ACIF and, in many ways for the industry, but I can’t help but feel optimistic about the future.

Despite the downturn in the mining sector and the decline in engineering construction turnover it led to, overall activity levels are still strong across all our sectors. Housing continues to drive strong employment particularly in the southern states, substantially balancing the decline in jobs in WA and Queensland.

Roads spending is also helping to provide jobs and much needed transport efficiency. It’s also been encouraging to see the Commonwealth Government commit to funding of pre-feasibility work for the Melbourne-Brisbane inland rail project. If only we could get that away, what a difference would be made to the economic resilience of the bush along a more than 1,000 kilometre steel spine.

The industry’s adoption and use of technology to drive greater efficiency continues to grow. The potential of BIM and a renewed focus on the “way we used to do things” with strong project team integration have the capacity to be game changers, as we are already seeing in Singapore and Hong Kong.

We have a Minister for Cities, a long overdue recognition of the central importance of cities as generators of wealth and providers of social and economic infrastructure. We also have a Prime Minister who gets innovation and the need for sustainability to be at the centre of policy making.

It’s been a privilege to work for ACIF for the last eight years, but the time has come to hand over and disappear in to the sunset. My thanks to the ACIF Board members I have worked with, in particular my three chairmen – Neil Marshall, Robin Fardoulys, and Ian Pedersen – and Marketing Manager Pia Argiratos. Thanks also to my colleagues at the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council with whom I was privileged to work happily and collaboratively on several projects.

I wish my successor James Cameron all the best and trust he will find the role as stimulating as I have.

Lastly, thanks to the thousands of people I have worked with and for over forty-some years in the industry. In that time I have come across only two people I would rather not see again. I wonder if they know who they are?

Keep smiling!

Posted on 13 December 2015 | 1:00 pm

Forecasts Released: Big Changes for Our Industry

The latest industry forecasts show the crucial role the building and construction sector is playing in rebalancing the Australian economy, as it transitions from mining and housing booms towards moderation in a services based economy.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) released today include a detailed analysis of major variations since its last forecasts were published in July. The forecasts outline the changes in demand for the next decade for residential and non-residential building and engineering construction - and therefore the employment prospects of the 1 million Australians working in the industry.

>> How do you access the ACIF Forecasts? Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts here, or purchase Australian Construction Market Report here for commentary, charts, data and much more

>> Forecasts: Sector by Sector

>> Forecasts: State by State

>> Subscribe for FREE to get ACIF Enews

“The November 2015 ACIF Forecasts highlight the quick pace of change in our economy, with major changes in our outlook for building and construction across Australia since our last forecast,” said Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management for Folkestone and Chair of ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, which produces the ACIF Forecasts.

“The November 2015 ACIF Forecasts shave off between $2-$4 billion per year for the next three years in anticipated work demand. This is a substantial change in the prospects for businesses large and small, from designers and constructors to individual tradespeople as well as young people seeking to enter the workforce.

“It will also have significant implications for the Australian economy as it continues to transition away from mining.”

The ACIF Forecasts include demand for work across three industry sectors, residential and non-residential building plus engineering construction, and 20 work types, for all states and territories, as well as labour, and construction costs. The ACIF Forecasts are produced by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council which comprises representation from across the industry and are based upon information sourced from government reports, economic reports and major projects data from Cordell Information that are scheduled or in progress across Australia.

“The big shift in the outlook largely reflects the dip we are experiencing from a recent peak in spending in Residential Building, plus the continuing decline from the peak in Engineering Construction we enjoyed with the mining and resources boom,” said Kerry Barwise, head forecaster for ACIF.

“Australia’s macro story is changing, and this affects requirements in building and construction. Population growth rates have been revised downwards, reflecting falls in immigration from recent peaks. The reduction in growth in the working age population also has profound implications for future employment, unemployment and economic growth.”

ACIF Forecasts use leading indicator data but also a unique industry peer review process, with the data and analyses being reviewed by leading economists and forecasts together as ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council. This ensures that changes not yet revealed in statistics and external data can be factored into the ACIF Forecasts, to ensure they are highly relevant and accurate. A peak consultative not-for-profit organisation in the building and construction industry, ACIF has published the ACIF Forecasts as an industry service since 2002.

ACIF Forecasts are possible only thanks to ongoing support from Cbus Super, our Principal Sponsor, plus Cordell Information, DesignBuild Expo, Property Council of Australia and Viewpoint Construction Software.

ACIF Forecasts are released online at www.acif.com.au. This crucial business information is available as Australian Construction Market Report, including detailed commentary by state and work type, as well as data tailored to individual user’s requirements from the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard. Subscribe now to receive 12 months full access to the ACIF Forecasts.

Posted on 21 November 2015 | 1:00 pm

Forecasts: State by State

ACIF Forecasts as possible only with support of our Sponsors lead by Cbus Super FundState by state, the November 2015 ACIF Forecasts show big changes coming for building and construction in Australia.

>> How do you access the ACIF Forecasts? Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts here, or purchase Australian Construction Market Report here for commentary, charts, data and much more

>> Forecasts: Sector by Sector

>> Subscribe for FREE to get ACIF Enews

ACT

Leading indicators suggest that the pace of growth in Residential Building is tapering off, but there is still building activity in the pipeline and a further increase in work done is predicted in 2015-16, furthering the 7% uptick experienced in 2014-15. An increase in Non-Residential Building last year ended three years of contraction in this category. A jump is foreshadowed in 2015-16 for Engineering Construction, reflecting spending on infrastructure projects announced and funded in the recent Australian Capital Territory budget.

NSW

New South Wales is at the forefront of rebalancing its economy and making adjustments in construction activity where growth in Residential and Non-Residential Building is exceeding declines in Engineering Construction. A net increase in aggregate construction activity is expected to put New South Wales into the leadership position in the state construction stakes over the next two years.

NT

Construction activity in the Northern Territory surged over recent years to reach a total of $9 billion in 2014-15. The Territory achieved 86% growth last year. After growth of 26% in Residential Building in 2013-14, the Territory was the only state to miss on growth in this sector last year however growth is coming in two Residential Building sub-sectors for the next two years. As projects reach completion over the next two years, Non-Residential Building will hover at around $1 billion per year.

SA

Building and construction activity contracted in South Australia to $11 billion in 2014-15. Engineering Construction, which had been the driver of growth in construction activity in South Australia for some years, is now on a downslide. This has overcome increases in Residential Building to drive a reduction in aggregate construction activity.  Looking into the medium to longer term, South Australia’s Non-Residential Building will grow broadly in line with general economic activity. A growth blip this year, reversing a downturn since this sector’s peak in 2008-09, reflects expectations that South Australia will receive a share of the ongoing nation wide recovery in in activities such as Accommodation reflecting increased service provision in areas such as tourism and education.

QLD

Construction activity is on a downslide in Queensland. Total activity fell by $13 billion last year and 3 more years of contraction are ahead. The decline is being driven by a downturn in Engineering Construction. This has spread from sharp falls in Heavy Industry including mining with the end of the mining boom, to include falls in related infrastructure including in Electricity and pipelines, Bridges, railways and harbours. The end of the mining boom also seems to be suppressing non-residential building work with further contractions in Office and Other commercial building in prospect. An upturn in Residential building has defied the end of the mining development boom. There is still more Residential Building work in the pipeline, although growth will be at a slower pace.

TAS

Residential Building in Tasmania had been on a downtrend since 2008-09, however last year saw an uptick of $2.8 billion, reflecting increases in New Houses and New Other Residential. Leading indicators suggest that growth has peaked in these activities, though New Houses construction is expected to continue to grow, albeit at a reduced rate in 2015-16. A fall in Engineering Construction is in prospect over the medium term as current projects are completed, mainly in Electricity and Pipelines construction and Roads. Growth in Non-Residential Building activity will be volatile reflecting changes in the mix and the arrival and departure of a relatively small number of projects, but the trend is expected to come out at around the same rate of growth in the economy at large as economic activity is “rebalanced” with less dependence on mining and resources and more investment follows emerging opportunities in tourism, education, health and aged care and innovative manufacturing and commerce.

VIC

Total construction spending in Victoria has been on a steady uptrend over recent years to arrive at $42 billion in 2014-15. Residential Building activity dominates the picture in Victoria, and has been growing steadily since 2006-07, defying the downturn that came with the GFC, to amount to $23 billion by 2014-15. There have been concerns about saturation of the market for apartments and townhouses and leading indicators suggest that growth has peaked. Engineering Construction activity in Victoria peaked in 2011-12 and continued its downtrend with a 5% contraction in 2014-15. This reflects a sustained downtrend in Water and Sewerage, and Electricity and Pipelines and in Heavy Industry including Mining. Further falls in these areas are in prospect over this year (2015-16).

WA

Construction activity in Western Australia is on a downslide. It fell to $54 billion last year. Further declines are expected over the next three years. The falls are largely driven by falls in Engineering Construction. The end of the mining boom has seen falls in heavy industry including mining in recent years. Declines have spilled over into supporting infrastructure including construction of Bridges, railways and harbours, electricity and pipelines and Water and sewerage. Overall, Engineering Construction activity fell by 10% last year and a further deeper fall of 19% is expected this year. Non-Residential Building activity has grown from around $2 billion in 2003-04 to peak at $6 billion in 2011-12 and Residential Building in Western Australia has shown an upturn over the last two years. Western Australia has seen particularly strong increases in New Other Residential building over recent years and a more recent uptick in New Houses. The leading indicators suggest that growth rates have peaked and New Other Residential may even be on the decline with the net effect resulting in continued growth in Residential Building this year, albeit at a lower level of growth than last year.

Posted on 18 November 2015 | 1:00 pm

Forecasts: Sector by sector

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Sponsors lead by Cbus Super FundACIF Forecasts November 2015 include a new detailed analysis of the variations in the short period since the last release in July 2015.

The latest ACIF Forecasts shave between $2-4 billion per year for the next three years from future construction activity ACIF had forecasted in July 2015. This largely reflects a forecasted dip from a peak in Residential Building spending, and the continuing decline from the peak in Engineering Construction.

>> How do you access the ACIF Forecasts? Subscribe to ACIF Forecasts here, or purchase Australian Construction Market Report here for commentary, charts, data and much more

>> Forecasts: State by State

>> Subscribe for FREE to get ACIF Enews

Australia’s macro story is changing, and this affects building and construction requirements. Population growth rates have been revised downwards reflecting falls in immigration from recent peaks. The reduction in growth in the working age population has profound implications for future employment, unemployment and economic growth.

Despite the large contraction in aggregate work done last year, employment in construction activities increased by 1.4% to 1,043,000 jobs. It appears that growth in labour intensive Residential Building has more than offset the decline in more capital-intensive Engineering Construction.

Many additional projects have been added to the ACIF Major Projects in the period between the July 2015 and November 2015 Forecasts. Australian Construction Market Report for November 2015 includes a table showing the number of additional active projects by state and for Australia. It also shows the total value of the additional projects by category.

Activity forecasts for Australian building and construction

Residential Building

Residential Building peaked in 2014-15 at 186,000 completions - which is much higher than anticipated, and that we have ever seen in history. This surge was due to low interest rates and so was broadly experienced in every state and territory. Growth in the booming sub-sector that includes townhouses and apartments will halve in some areas in the coming years. The ACIF Forecasts for November 2015 show where and when the fall from the peak be most felt, and in what sub-sector.

Non-Residential Building

Non-Residential Building fell by 0.3% last year – a loss of $122 million in work done – with further reductions to come. However three sub-sectors in particular, Health and Aged Care, Offices and Retail and Wholesale Trade, will reverse the trend due to non-mining business investment, and will grow in 2015-16.

Engineering Construction

Engineering Construction activity surged over the last few years peaking at $129 billion in 2012-13, driven by investment in mining and heavy industry as well as an expansion in related infrastructure. The investment phase of the mining boom has come to an end and the levels of engineering construction activity are now falling. However infrastructure investment across Australia is projected to be sustained at current levels or grow.

Posted on 18 November 2015 | 1:00 pm

The Productivity Challenge

The construction industry is a major contributor both directly and indirectly to the Australian economy. So no more reports, just get on with it!

This is an industry that employs around 1 million Australians, and had turnover of $233 billion in 2013-14 equating to 14% of GDP. In addition, it creates the buildings, cities and infrastructure that makes Australia more productive, liveable and sustainable, adding substantially to our national wealth and well-being.

Yet, the construction industry in Australia has not substantially improved its productivity in decades, and can waste up to 30% of its efforts. This is not a uniquely Australian issue. Rather, it is a product of the structure of the construction industry, the increasing complexity of its services, and the creation and operation of “silos” within that structure.

If that wasted effort were to be reduced by only one third, it would lift Australian residential and non – residential construction output by more than $10 billion annually. If the changes required to achieve that reduction were to “ripple” through the industry, it is conceivable that within a few years the improved output would be substantially higher.

The Solutions?

This challenge has been the subject for numerous studies, reports, reviews and inquiries over at least three decades, most recently the Productivity Commission inquiry into Public Infrastructure Costs (2014).

These landmark studies point to a diverse range of common denominators in reducing wasted effort. In particular, three key themes are evident; depth of procurement and project management skills, better supply chain integration and the use of technology to improve project outcomes.

Yet despite these themes (and many particular recommendations) reappearing in study after study, there has been slow (if any) adoption of better practice. This is despite evidence from other jurisdictions (e.g. the UK) or industries (e.g. resources sector), that adopting these recommendations result in massive productivity uplifts, less waste, lower costs and happier industry participants.

ACIF and its members believe that there is no need for more inquiries or reports. The imperative is to act on a handful of potential drivers of improvement that are developed collaboratively by governments, clients and service providers.

The Role of Government

The importance of governments is twofold.  As policy makers, governments have ultimate influence over the legislative and regulatory arrangements governing the industry. Even more important, however, is government in its role as client. As major and ongoing clients of the construction industry, and the ways in which governments and industry interact have a profound impact on both the health of the industry and the success of governments in delivering their capital programs.

Industry is already doing a great deal of heavy lifting from the bottom up, but it is limited in achieving the pace of change required to remain competitive with major trading partners without top down political and government leadership.

Leadership from government in both these roles is critical if we are to turn the dial on Australia's construction productivity.

Recommendation 1 - Establish an Independent Procurement Centre of Excellence.

With large amounts of public funds being spent on infrastructure, it is incumbent on governments to ensure they get maximum value for money through the procurement process. To buy wisely you need wise buyers: there are substantial opportunities for governments and business to share expertise, and identify and deliver solutions that improve productivity and value for money across the procurement process.

To overcome persistent deficiencies in procurement skills and practices, we recommend a whole of government approach supporting the establishment of an Australian Procurement Centre of Excellence, building on the work of the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC).

The Procurement Centre of Excellence will expand the APCC’s role and remit, broadening government engagement and building on work across jurisdictions considering efficiencies in procurement. The Centre would be tasked with building a stronger relationship between government and business and supporting best practice procurement in Australia at all levels of government. The Centre should:

  • be established as independent of government;
  • build stronger linkages between government and with industry sectors;
  • provide transparent expert advice to all levels of government;
  • develop guidelines, build capability and improve standards; and
  • work with Infrastructure Australia and other government agencies to develop long term visionary thinking and planning for investment in economic and social infrastructure.

The Board of the Procurement Centre of Excellence should include equal levels of representation from industry, and government.

Recommendation 2 - Increase Standardisation in Procurement and Contracting

Devolved responsibility for agencies has resulted in greater autonomy, but also significant re-inventing of wheels. Bespoke approaches to project definition, initiation and contracting have increased regulatory burden (or at least administrative burden), decreased trust and certainty and increased waste.

ACIF believes that a ‘leading practice’ approach to can be reflected in a consistent public sector framework of capital works procurement policies and practices, used by all government agencies.

ACIF recommends a suite of leading practice procurement policies, delivery strategies and contract conditions be developed by the Procurement Centre of Excellence, to be used by government agencies on an “if not why not” basis that would:

  • provide best fit between end user and project requirements and delivery strategy;
  • reduce the cost of contract administration and of providing appropriate procurement and commercial skills whether in house or by consultants;
  • minimise wasted effort and disputes; and
  • embody equitable risk allocations whilst ensuring best value for end users and owners.
Recommendation 3 - Adopt BIM by 2020

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is being used around the world to complement better collaboration and coordination between the supply chain participants in construction.  Using technology as a facilitator to bring project teams together and design a virtual prototype of an asset are helping to enhance collaboration, test and re-test business case objectives, and plan for more efficient asset delivery.

Moving an entire industry to a new way of doing things however, is not an easy task. There are up-front capital investments, significant industry up skilling, regulatory frameworks and standards to be developed and changes to culture to be considered. However the productivity dividend is undeniable. Numerous reports, experience from other countries and existing Australian examples provide a significant evidence base to substantiate making the change.

Thus it is imperative that governments, through their significant purchasing power and whole of industry influence, lead the way.

Posted on 2 November 2015 | 1:00 pm

What's happening in China?

Next in the ACIF Webinar series, we explore the opportunities for investment in China.

Join us with Kristian Fok, Executive Manager Investment Strategy and Tim Ridley, Investment Strategy Manager, from Cbus as they discuss Tim’s recent research trip to Beijing and Shanghai. Highlights include the investment implications of the slowing pace of China’s economic growth, the Chinese credit bubble, market reforms and flows of money out of China (including our residential market).

>> Register here

ACIF Webinar: What's happening in China?

About the Presenters

CBus Kristian FokKristian Fok - Executive Manager, Investment Strategy, Cbus

​​Kristian and his team are responsible for designing and setting the investment strategy for the Fund.   The team works closely with the Investment Committee of the Board and with the Investment Management team as they manage investment governance and risk, implement the strategy and monitor the portfolio.  Kristian and his team evaluate the market and investment opportunities that will provide returns to members over the long term within the parameters of the investment objectives of the Fund.  The team is made up of strategy, ESG, public and private markets investment professionals.

Qualifications: BCom, Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, Fellow of FINSIA

Cbus Tim RidleyTim Ridley - Investment Strategy Manager, Cbus

Tim works closely with the Fund’s internal investment team and the Fund’s investment consultant to formulate investment advice which is considered by the Cbus Investment Committee and Board.  This includes formulating advice in relation to the asset allocation of Cbus’ investment options, as well as the configuration of asset classes.  

Qualifications: Master of Economics and Bachelor of Economics (with First Class Honours)

Posted on 21 October 2015 | 1:00 pm

New Executive Director for ACIF

ACIF New Executive Director James CameronAustralian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), the building and construction industry’s peak collaborative body, is pleased to announce the appointment of new Executive Director, James Cameron.

With the imminent retirement of Peter Barda after eight years at the helm, ACIF’s Board sought an industry professional experienced in policy and research, with detailed understanding of the issues facing the building and construction industry in Australia. James Cameron brings expertise in policy formulation, most recently from Australian Institute of Building, with good depth of knowledge of the industry’s key issues and many participants.

ACIF’s Chair Ian Pedersen said, “On behalf of the Board and Members, we welcome James Cameron as ACIF Executive Director.”

“We have worked with James over several years and are already aware of his high quality work and his vision for a successful and productive building and construction industry. We are pleased to see him pick up the reins from the insightful Peter Barda, to leverage ACIF’s impressive achievements to date to foster a stronger industry into the future.”

Mr Cameron said, “I am looking forward to joining ACIF to tackle both the opportunities and challenges that the industry faces.”

“Australia should be the world leader in the built environment. While the industry has many strengths, in terms of its economic viability, quality, safety, sustainability, innovation, design, skills and research, there is room for improvement.  This will be my mission while at ACIF. 

“It will be an honour and a privilege to work with ACIF’s Member organisations, as well as industry and government, as together we make a positive difference in Australia’s built environment.

“I wish Peter Barda all the best in his retirement, and on behalf of ACIF, thank him for all the magnificent work he has done for the organisation since 2008.”

James Cameron will commence as Executive Director of ACIF in January 2016.

Some of the positions held by James Cameron

  • Australian Institute of Building - Policy and Advocacy Manager
  • Australian Automobile Association - Policy and Research Manager

Posted on 20 October 2015 | 1:00 pm

A dip in non-residential building looming

Non-residential building activity in the larger states has reflected underlying economic conditions and changes, show the latest building and construction forecasts by Australian Construction Industry Forum.

ACIF Forecasts latest release shows that activity in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland ramped up over the period to 2008-09 when the GFC seemed to have induced an overall moderation.

Despite the fiscal stimulus felt in some non-residential construction activities such as Education, overall non-residential building activity softened up to 2013-14. Non-residential construction activity in Western Australia over the last decade seemed to have closely followed the fortunes of investment in mining and resource development, which induced an increase of construction spending of around 70 per cent over the last decade, but which began to slide down over the last 2-3 years.

The chart below shows activity levels at 2013-14 as a index of 100.

Looking ahead, a dip in non-residential building spending is in prospect. The trough is expected to be deeper and more prolonged in the mining states. Non-residential construction activity will eventually resume growth in line with underlying growth in the economy at large.

Non-residential spending in the Australian Capital Territory was subdued between 2011-12 and 2013-14, falling by as much as 80 per cent from the previous five-year average spending.

Over the next decade, we expect to see non-residential spending recover to the previous decade average as mixed-use developments and hospital refurbishments take place, offsetting declines in office building spending observed in recent years. 

>> Detailed information on residential building in Australia, and for each state and territory, can be read in the Australian Construction Market Report

>> Data on both actuals and forecast demand for the next 10 years are available for 4 sub-sectors of residential building on the Customised Forecasts Dashboard.

ACIF Forecasts shows a dip looming in Non Residential Construction

Posted on 24 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

Top down for construction forecasts

Far from being the regal of economic geeks, businesses large and small need to understand the detail of how their business intelligence is being created, so they can be sure they are using information that is credible and relevant to their business and properly informs their planning.

The building and construction industry's own forecasts of demand, labour and construction costs, the ACIF Forecasts, are prepared using top down and bottom up analytical frameworks.

The ‘top down’ framework starts with the preparation of economic forecasts. These are compiled through the use of the AUS-M model which is operated by Outlook Economics. The AUS-M model is a large quarterly time series structural model of the Australian economy.

Methodology used to create building and construction indusrty forecastsIt is based on the TRYM model, originally developed by the Australian Treasury. AUS-M builds on TRYM by incorporating input-output based demand systems and more industry and commodity detail. In terms of common labels, AUS-M is a modern Keynes-Klein-style model, to which CGE features have been added.

Forecasts for the global and the Australian economy are prepared. The forecasts include information about policy settings, including fiscal and monetary policies, as well as supply and demand, investment, trade, capital and labour markets, and changes in prices. A high level of industry detail is also provided in the AUS-M forecasts, spanning investment, output, employment and prices. The key elements of the National accounts that relate to construction are tracked in detail, which is very helpful when projecting changes in construction expenditure which is largely a portion of Gross Fixed Capital Formation and public sector spending and investment.

AUS-M also involves considerable information about demographic change in Australia. Information is tracked about natural growth, net immigration and net internal migration.

The Building Activity Model (BAM) draws together ‘bottom up’ information tracking actual construction projects and actual construction spending and employment over the recent past in considerable industry and geographic detail. Data is sourced from the ABS National Accounts and Buildings Approval data, and Cordell Information. The BAM identifies the share of investment in the asset types that make up the residential and non-residential building and engineering construction sectors by construction type and subcategories and across Australia, by state, by capital city and by the rest of state. The ABS asset type definitions are included in the Appendix to this report.

How can you use the ACIF Forecasts?

ACIF's Customised Forecasts Dashboard

Posted on 24 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

Minister for Cities and the Built Environment

What a good start. Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement of Jamie Briggs as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment is a most welcome start to his premiership.

The recognition of our cities as economic powerhouses for the economy and critical sources of social infrastructure recognises advocacy from the industry over a long period of time as well as plain good sense.

The focus on innovation too is to be commended. Hopefully that will mean that the industry advocacy for encouragement from all levels of government for fresh approaches to risk, procurement and adoption of BIM will also be recognised and receive a positive response.

Posted on 22 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

What's behind the forecast for building and construction?

Thanks to ACIF Sponsors including Platinum Sponsor CBUSQuality ingredients make a good dish, don't they? Its the same with the industry intelligence you use for business planning: it is as good as the inputs and method used to define what is happening in the market.

ACIF Forecasts have been informing large and small businesses across the building and construction industry in Australia since 2002.

The latest twice-yearly release of data and commentary for residential building, non-residential building plus engineering construction included data and other information available up to the middle of June 2015, of particular importance are the historical data published by the ABS, including:

  • “Engineering Construction Activity”, ABS Cat No. 8762.0, released 1 July 2015;
  • “Building Activity”, ABS Cat No. 8752.0, released 15 April 2015;
  • “Construction Work Done” ABS Cat No. 8755.0 released 27 May 2015;
  • “Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product” series 5206.0 released 3 June 2015; and
  • Australian System of National Accounts, 2013-14 released 31 October 2014.

Cordell Information major project data is another key ingredient in the forecasts, giving an up to date list of the big spends providing work to trades and more, in locations all across Australia.

Forecasts are presented in real terms using chain volume measures based on ABS’s current chain volume base year of 2012-13. It should be noted that when the chain volume base year changes, the historical values are revised by ABS, in turn affecting ACIF Forecasts.

How can you use the ACIF Forecasts?

ACIF's Customised Forecasts Dashboard

Posted on 22 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

Its official: BIM is better than SEX

Well, that may be a bit on the hyperbolic end of the spectrum, but three recent pieces of work from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) highlight that fact that Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be pretty stimulating when it comes to property professionals as well as construction stiffs.

The new research reports share insights and experiences from various stages of the real estate life-cycle and examine various aspects of how and where BIM technologies are employed to improve project coordination. 

BIM has its uses in other areas and sectors where it can influence project costs and facilitate better information flow.

The reports look at the development and effects of BIM across valuation and construction. They emphasise that a collaborative tool requires collaborative implementation in order to gain the full benefits of improved technology and standards. They reinforce the conclusions and recommendations of ACIF and Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) in their suite of BIM and project team integration guides - which you can view and download here.

Details and links to the three reports are below, however there are interesting conclusions from the research. Here are some:

  • If BIM innovations can also be designed to enable inter-disciplinary learning and promote collaboration throughout a project supply chain, then the efficiency savings are likely to be large.
  • In terms of education and skills transfer, suppliers and sub-contractors at lower levels of the supply chain might well be open to innovative solutions to project co-ordination and management. The capacity for innovation demonstrated by some of the suppliers and sub-contractors in the study suggests that they would not be resistant to embedding ICT solutions – the constraints would be direct financial costs, and indirect costs in terms of lost working time. These will be particularly significant for the smaller, more vulnerable businesses.
  • Support, including financial support, is needed from construction organisations, clients, main contractors and government to enable smaller, more vulnerable businesses to access training and education opportunities, without disrupting their normal business.
  • More generally, for novel technologies, processes and procedures, the construction industry organisations have a crucial role to play in informing construction businesses, particularly smaller businesses about the relative benefits of BIM and other ICT solutions.

Details and links to the three RICS reports are here:

Utilization of BIM in Construction Cost and Project Management Practice

North America, China & the UK (June 2015)

This report examines how BIM is used in the North American, Chinese and the United Kingdom (UK) construction markets and the opportunities and challenges faced by professionals in its development. It finds that for the utilisation of BIM-enabled construction cost and project management to continue to evolve in a sustainable manner so as to become conventional practice, there must be interventions on the part of both the public and private stakeholders.

These interventions should focus on the standardisation of BIM’s construction cost and project management practices and widespread integration of BIM in built environment education programs. >> Download the report here

Building Information Modelling and the Value Dimension (June 2015)

This report investigates the potential for property professionals to use BIM data. Workshops were held with property professionals in Sydney and London along with a global online survey to identify the data types and needs of property professionals which were then mapped out across the property lifecycle.

The report identifies 24 specific data types that are used by a number of property professionals through the property lifecycle were identified in the workshops. Different data types are required at different stages of the property lifecycle. Some professionals have repeated data needs over longer periods of the lifecycle, whereas others have a need for a more limited range of data types at specific points in the lifecycle.

Property professionals who require data relating to building performance and maintenance costs will find BIM data useful, where it is available, in their professional practice.

The report finds that there is great potential to expand education about BIM into property education at undergraduate and post-graduate level. This potential will increase over time as the rate of uptake of BIM. >>Download the report here.

Collaborative Building Information Modelling (BIM): Insights from Behavioural Economics and Incentive Theory (April 2015)

This report outlines the findings from a research project that explores the potential and pitfalls of collaboration on construction projects and matches these with an analysis of BIM. The work investigates how BIM can improve information flows and enable collaborative working practices particularly among suppliers in the lower tiers of the construction supply chain.

Here are the key research questions addressed in the report – they apply equally validly to the Australian industry.

  • Do transaction costs, particularly at lower tiers of the supply chain – in which SMEs are strongly represented, impede efficient supply chain management?
  • How and why can collaboration reduce transaction costs within supply chains?
  • Are construction transaction costs inflated by constraints on the quick and easy flow of information and/or behavioural biases?
  • What potential does BIM have to reduce these transaction costs, not only by increasing the transparency and comparability of building information data, but also by harnessing the benefits of collaboration?
  • If BIM does have potential to ease the flow of information, do behavioural biases have an additional impact in constraining the uptake of BIM? For projects that have not implemented BIM, what are the implications?​

>> Download the report here

Posted on 22 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

Close eye on residential building

The building and construction industry, like much of the Australian population in general, keeps a close eye on the movements in the residential building sector, hungry for profit.

The latest ACIF Forecasts show that residential building in the most economically dynamic states has varied considerably.

In the below chart, the value of construction spending in the residential sector for selected states has been converted into an index where spending in 2013-14 is set to 100.

A close look at the charts shows residential spending as an index shows that residential construction spending peaked in Queensland 2006-07 and has experienced a trend decline until last year. Activity is already recovering and further gains are projected in the next few years reflecting historic lows in interest rates.

A strong recovery in residential construction activity is already underway in New South Wales. It is expected to see strong growth in the medium term.

Victoria has had sustained growth in Residential construction activity over most of the last decade. Further growth is factored into the projection for the medium to longer term, although this is at a rate that is lower than that projected for New South Wales and Queensland.

Residential construction activity has been volatile in Western Australia. Activity peaked in 2010-11 and fell in the years to 2012-13. A recovery is underway at present and this is projected to continue with relatively high growth rates being achieved to 2015-16 reflecting the surge in residential demand that is being felt around Australia reflecting sustained low interest rates and still relatively modest rates of unemployment.

>> Detailed information on residential building in Australia, and for each state and territory, can be read in the Australian Construction Market Report

>> Data on both actuals and forecast demand for the next 10 years are available for 4 sub-sectors of residential building on the Customised Forecasts Dashboard.

ACIF Forecasts for Residential Building

 

Posted on 22 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

How to adopt BIM - without tears

As the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications enquires into Smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure, it’s timely to look at some of the issues the industry needs to address, and the tools individual firms of designers and constructors need to master, to get the best from Building Information Modelling, or BIM.

Why bother? A study by the Allen Consulting Group found that accelerated adoption of BIM would increase GDP growth in Australia by 0.2 basis points in 2011, and by 2025, it was estimated that GDP growth would be 5 basis points higher.  And also that the benefit cost ratio of early adoption of BIM would be around 10 (assuming a $500 million adoption cost).

To achieve maximum benefits from the adoption of BIM, a number of activities need to be addressed with appropriate government or industry bodies taking the leadership role in championing delivery.

The higher the level of integration of project team members at the early design stages, the greater the opportunities to get maximum benefit from the use of BIM. 

BIM is a very effective tool that promotes project collaboration through clearer, more accurate, up-to-date communication by consolidating currently disparate project information, allowing all team members to contribute to the establishment and population of the databases underpinning the planning, design, construction and operation of the asset.

At the same time the use of BIM assists project team integration (PTI) by dissolving the barriers between project team members through the sharing of knowledge and closer collaboration throughout the project lifecycle.

The powerful combination of PTI and BIM can significantly reshape the way project teams work together to increase productivity and improve outcomes for all project participants.  Utilised together, PTI and BIM are capable of driving the most transformative change the building and construction industry has ever experienced.

Contractors in nine of the world’s top construction markets using BIM report BIM helps them to improve productivity, efficiency, quality and safety on their projects, as well as their own competitiveness.  Further, contractors in markets with well-established BIM, together with those markets that are still in the initial stages of BIM adoption, are experiencing a positive return on their investments in BIM.

ACIF and the APCC are well down the track of providing guidance for industry practitioners, and for clients, and for government wearing its industry policy hat – assuming it still has one labelled “construction”.

Guide to Successful Project and ASset Delivery: Getting It Right Up FrontWe now have five guides under our belts, all developed by practitioners for practitioners. Each provides invaluable guidance for those contemplating using BIM and focusing on better project team integration to enhance collaboration and improve productivity and minimise disputes.

The most recent were completed in July - Building and Construction Procurement Guide:Project Team Integration and Building Information Modelling, and the Guide to Successful Project and Asset Delivery: Getting it Right Up Front.

Three other documents were produced in 2014 to provide guidance when using BIM and PTI

Most remarkably of all, they are all free to download from the ACIF web site. I suspect that’s probably a mistake you understand, because “no price” may send a signal to some that there is “no value”. Take it from me, that’s not the case – there’s gold in there.

Posted on 23 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

Peter Barda retiring from Australian Construction Industry Forum

Australian Construction Industry Forum’s Peter Barda has decided that its time. After many productive and successful years at its helm, he will retire from his position as Executive Director – leaving big shoes for someone to fill.

>> Download Expression of Interest for the position of Executive Director here. Closes 30 September 2015.

Thanks to Peter and Jill Barda for years of service to the building and construction industry in Australia

"After eight years with ACIF, it’s time for me to spend more time looking after the vines and fruit trees on our farm in the Hunter Valley,” said Peter.

Peter’s tenure as Executive Director of ACIF is the most recent in his leadership roles in the building and construction industry in Australia. He began his career as a construction lawyer, before becoming CEO of the Building Industry Specialist Contractors Organisation of Australia, the Property Council of Australia, the Commonwealth Government Construction Industry Development Agency, and the Master Builders Association of NSW.

During his time as its chief, ACIF has developed a number of important working relationships that will see continuing development and growth of the industry. This includes ACIF’s alliance with government counterpart Australasian Construction and Procurement Council. Joint projects between the two organisations include the development of a suite of resources to improve productivity through greater collaboration and innovation in project management.

“On behalf of the ACIF Board, I want to thank Peter for his dedication and excellent leadership of ACIF,” said Ian Pedersen, Chair of ACIF. “Peter’s professionalism and skill have seen ACIF achieve cross-industry policy advancements, and provide important resources to the industry including forecasts of work demand and employment, plus productivity resources that can help our industry improve and grow. We wish Peter and his wife Jill much happiness in their retirement.”

ACIF Board is now inviting expressions of interest from suitably experienced industry professionals, to lead the organisation into its next period of development. Interested people are welcome to contact Peter Barda for further information, on ceo@acif.com.au.

>> Click here to download the details of the opportunity to lead Australian Construction Industry Forum.

Posted on 23 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

Construction Product Quality

The meeting of Building Ministers held in Melbourne at the end of July has taken encouraging first steps to address serious concerns over failures in building product quality certification. A workshop convened ahead of the Ministers meeting by Karen Andrews, the Minister assisting the Minister for Industry, gave the Industry an opportunity to expand on its concerns. Industry has shown great unity in attacking the problems, through the Construction Product Alliance. The Alliance has framed a multi-faceted action plan, including several initiatives adopted by Building Ministers.

Kristin Brookfield from the Housing Industry Association, and an ACIF Board member, has been a key driver in this work and attended the Melbourne workshop. She briefed this week’s ACIF Board meeting on the workshop and meeting outcomes. Four of the recommendations in the Construction Product Alliance action plan were adopted.

  1. A handbook will be prepared regarding the use of risk based assessments to determine evidence of suitability under the NCC.
  2. The ABCB will review the current evidence of suitability criteria in the NCC.
  3. A senior official group, led by the Queensland Department, will review surveillance and audit activities.
  4. The ABCB is to be tasked to report on mandatory product reporting for high risk products.

We’ll keep you posted on progress.

Posted on 23 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

All Australia now available on Dashboard

Subscriber to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard hereACIF's Customised Forecasts Dashboard has a new feature, where you can tailor a forecast for work demand - for short term of 8 quarters to long term of 10 years - not only by capital city or state, but also all of Australia.

The new Country: Australia region choice gives a new dimension for businesses large and small assessing the viability of working in any of 20 work types in residential building, non-residential building or engineering construction sectors.

The new option is included on the Region page (see below, highlighted yellow) of the Customised Forecasts Dashboard provided by ACIF, giving 24/7 access to the ACIF Forecasts data published by the Construction Forecasting Council.

New 'Australia' option on Customised Forecasts Dashboard

Once a query has been selected, results are available as data for up to the previous ten years as actuals, plus forecasts for the next ten. Results can also be provided as a chart.

Customised Forecasts results are avaiable charts

>> Read more or see the video about the Customised Forecasts Dashboard here.

>> Click here to subscribe to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. Available for individuals or Corporate subscriptions for up to 5 Users

Posted on 23 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

Mining declines but still dominates

Heavy Industry inc Mining Dominates Forecasts for Engineering Construction Latest ACIF Forecasts shows that while a decline in mining construction activity dominates headlines, it is clear that many large mining and resource development construction projects dominate the list of projects that are still being considered or are currently underway in Australia.

Not all of these projects will proceed and some may be deferred, but the large number of large mining and resource development projects that remain on the list suggests that the end of the current mining investment boom may not be as final or peremptory as previous cycles.

Of the $100 billion forecast to be spent in Engineering Construction in 2014-15, around $50 billion is to be spent in the Heavy Industry inc Mining category.

ACIF Forecasts - 10 years of demand for building and construction

>> Click here for Australian Construction Market Report

>> Click here for Customised Forecasts Dashboard

The top 20 major projects list also includes a number of infrastructure projects including Sydney Rapid Transit - second harbour crossing ($10.5 billion), WestConnex ($11.5 billion), Melbourne Metro rail tunnel ($9 billion), and others. These projects are still in early planning or planning stages, but some have been given a high priority by Commonwealth and/or State Governments and in some cases, funding commitments have already been announced.

The 20 Largest Major Projects list does not include the development of the National Broadband Network (NBN) which is underway at present and is expected to involve $40-50 billion of capital expenditure spread over Australia at large in the next several years. Component parts of the NBN that have been announced as specific projects in particular locations are included in the ACIF major projects database.

A much more comprehensive list of projects collected by Cordell Information is available through ACIF’s Customised Forecasts Dashboard. The database includes projects found in Cordell Information business intelligence that span new building construction activities from early planning stages,  that are under construction or where tenders are being called, through to completion and when projects are deferred or cancelled across Australia and across all major types of construction activity. This larger data base includes all major projects that have a project value that is greater than $20 million. The major projects database has also been used as a resource in the preparation of the ACIF Construction Market forecasts.

 

Posted on 11 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

Non-residential building to increase - eventually

ACIF Forecasts show Non Residential building to increase over timeNon-residential building activity has been relatively subdued over the years following the GFC. This type of construction activity achieved growth of 5 per cent in 2013-14 to $35 billion, as per the latest ACIF Forecasts.

National economic managers have spoken with concern about a continued decline in non-mining business investment. Non-residential building is projected to contract by 8 per cent in 2014-15 to $32 billion. An upturn is projected in the medium term given a return of business investment and higher economic growth.

 

ACIF Australian Construction Market Report Available NOW

>> Click here for Australian Construction Market Report

>> Click here for Customised Forecasts Dashboard

Non-residential building activity in the larger states has reflected underlying economic conditions and changes.

Activity in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland ramped up over the period to 2008-09 when the GFC seemed to have induced an overall moderation. Despite the fiscal stimulus felt in some non-residential construction activities such as Education, overall non-residential activity softened up to 2013-14. Non-residential construction activity in Western Australia over the last decade seemed to have closely followed the fortunes of investment in mining and resource development, which induced an increase of construction spending of around 70 per cent over the last decade, but which began to slide down over the last 2-3 years.

Looking ahead, a dip in non-residential spending is in prospect. The trough is expected to be deeper and more prolonged in the mining states. Non-residential construction activity will eventually resume growth in line with underlying growth in the economy at large.

 

 

Posted on 11 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

Residential building spending increased

ACIF Forecasts show Residential building  to increaseLatest ACIF Forecasts show Residential building spending increased in 2013-14 to $75 billion.

Spending is projected to increase to $79 billion in 2014-15. Dwelling approvals and commencements statistics point to strong growth being already ‘in the bag’ for this year.

Record low interest rates have driven increased demand. This has increased dwelling prices, particularly in Sydney, but also stirred the industry to expand supply of new housing in most of Australia’s capital cities.

ACIF Forecasts - 10 years of demand for building and construction

Sustained growth is expected until 2016-17 where residential building is projected to reach $87 billion. An increase in interest rates, supply constraints or higher prices is projected to cap growth in residential building from around mid 2016-17.

>> Click here for Australian Construction Market Report

>> Click here for Customised Forecasts Dashboard

 

 

Posted on 11 August 2015 | 2:00 pm

PARLOUR invites partners

PARLOUR: a space to speak – bringing together research, informed opinion and resources; generating debate and discussion; expanding the spaces for women in Australian architecture.

Parlour needs your support.

Over the past three years Parlour has become an important ‘space to speak’; a strong and respected online platform providing research, resources and discussion about gender equity and architecture.

Parlour is now an Incorporated Association. This enables us to continue as a powerful voice in the profession that also provides space for others; to expand the resources available and to develop new initiatives and research.

To do this we need assistance from sponsors, donors and supporters – like-minded organisations, business and individuals who value our work and its results.

>> For more information, click here.

Posted on 26 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

New Forecasts released

ACIF Forecasts July 2015 releasedACIF Forecasts for July 2015 are now available on the ACIF website.

Detailed commentary, charts and some data are available in the Australian Construction Market Report, whilst rolling ten year forecasts plus past actuals are available in a tailored query as Customised Forecasts Dashboard.

>>Click here for the Australian Construction Market Report
>>Click here for details on Customised Forecasts Dashboard

Key highlights from the July 2015 ACIF Forecasts include...

  • Construction is in the middle of a whirlwind of change in the global economic outlook and major structural changes that are shaping which industries grow and which contract and where that activity will take place around Australia.
  • The macro-economic outlook and interest rate settings are driving a structural shift and churn in the mix of investment in Australia.
  • In the construction industry, total spending in 2013-14 reached $231 billion, slightly lower than the $233 billion we had foreshadowed in December 2014. It is expected that construction activity will fall to $213 billion this year (2014-15).
  • Significant increase in residential building is already well underway and an increase to $79 billion in for 2014-15 as a whole is factored in to the revised projections. A larger increase is factored into the projections in 2015-16, raising activity by 9 per cent. 
  • A slight improvement in non-residential spending was observed in 2013-14 from $33 billion in 2012-13 to $35 billion. Total spending in non- residential construction is projected to dip slightly in 2014-15 reflecting soft non-mining business investment in the economy at large. 
  • The biggest change is a reduction in engineering construction, now projected to amount to $100 billion in 2014-15, a decline of 18 per cent on spending in 2013-14. The mining development boom is very definitely over. The slide in activity in this sector will continue over the next few years, reducing spending to $86 billion by 2017-18. 

Website subscribers can enjoy summaries of the forecasts by sector, and download a free Summary Report. 

>>Click here for the Australian Construction Market Report
>>Click here after logging into the website
>>Join as FREE Website subscriber here

Posted on 26 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

Video comments from Forecast experts

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Principal Sponsor CBus and our Silver SponsorsThe ACIF Forecast Breakfast held in Sydney on Monday was the first of only three such industry events for 2015, where we provide an early release of the industry forecasts for work demand, major projects, construction costs and labour for the next decade.

>> LAST CHANCE! SYDNEY AND BRISBANE EVENTS SOLD OUT, FEW REMAINING SEATS FOR MELBOURNE THURS 23 JULY - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!

If you follow us on Twitter, you will have seen a series of post with quotes and notable comments from the expert lineup, including leading industry forecaster Kerry Barwise, Construction Forecasting Council Chair Adrian Harrington (Folkestone Funds Management), Matthew Harris (Rider Levett Bucknall), David Rees (JLL) and Brian Seidler (Master Builders NSW).

Comments included:

  • Key Global Macro Economic risk for building construction is global prices.
  • Industry is substituting capital for labour. Employment & growth recovering
  • Total construction changing gear: -7% 2014/15
  • Activity has further to fall but not as far or fast as engineering construction
  • Residential growth nearly 9% in 2015/16. Upturn is sustainable too.
  • Winner is NOT Sydney. Queensland remains leader in building construction activity. But Sydney has its own race going on with construction building growing, due to biggest mix of work inc mining.

How to access the ACIF Forecasts

  • Australian Construction Market Report - Expert analysis and commentary, from a macro perspective, national economy including employment, sector analysis, state-by-state outlook, major projects from Cordell Information, plus construction costs projections by Rider Levett Bucknall. >> read more
  • Customised Forecasts Dashboard - tailor your own query on the ACIF Forecasts database, across work demand, labour, projects and costs. By work type, location, timeframe. Output as data or charts. >> read more

Video comments

With apologies for the fair audio quality, here are some video comments from some of our expert panel.

Kerry Barwise, leading industry economist, on ACIF Forecast July 2015

Adrian Harrington, Chair of Construction Forecasting Council, on ACIF Forecasts July 2015 for New South Wales

Matthew Harris (Rider Levett Bucknall) on ACIF Forecasts for July 2015

Posted on 20 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

The Most Promising Opportunities For New Work

ACIF Forecasts reveal construction activity to 2024Where are they, what are they, and when– for designers, contractors, and suppliers – will be identified at ACIF's Forecast Briefing breakfasts in July.

ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council will release its mid-year forecasts of demand for housing, commercial building, and engineering construction at the breakfasts.

ACIF Forecasts are an industry resource developed by the industry, for the industry.

The industry’s best minds lend their skill and experience to the ACIF Forecasts, adding their expert knowledge of the ‘X’ factors that affect how the data will play out.

ACIF thanks Principal Sponsor Cbus and our Silver SponsorsACIF Forecasts have a reputation for accuracy and relevance, endorsed by leaders across the industry.

Register on line now at www.acif.com.au/events

Full breakfast, interactive Q&A with an expert panel, and a copy of the Australian Construction Market Report (value $250). All for $150 – less for tables of 8.

Click on the links below for further details including panellists, and register online.

Posted on 9 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

Show Me The Money: ACIF Forecasts

Building Construction Work Forecasts July 2015As the building and construction industry anticipates the next release of industry data by Australian Construction Industry Forum, one call is heard loud and clear: Show Me The Money!

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will release the next ACIF Forecasts in July, and the outlook is overall positive for work demand across all sectors, for most areas.

In terms of total construction, meaning all work across residential and non-residential building plus engineering construction, there is a slight fall of 3.4% from $231 billion spent in 2013-14 to $224 billion forecast to be spent in 2014-15.

Residential building alone is expected to increase to $82 billion from $74 billion, which is an increase of 11.2%.

Non-residential building will go down a little, but then is projected to go back up. It has fallen down 1.3% over the 12 months to 2014-15 to settle at $35 billion, set to fall to $34 billion by 2016-17 then is forecast to increase after that.

The biggest fall by sector is for engineering construction – no surprises there as the sector settles from the mining construction boom. Down 13.9% from $122 billion in 2013-2014, for 2014-15 the spend was $106 billion – still a lot of work.

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to Principal Sponsor Cbus and our Silver SponsorsACIF releases forecasts for work demand, labour requirements, costs of construction and major projects twice a year to keep businesses large and small well informed of changing market conditions. The rolling ten-year forecasts are generated by the building and construction industry’s peak consultative not-for-profit body, with the unique benefit of oversight by the industry’s own Construction Forecasting Council.

ACIF will release the latest data first at Forecasts Breakfasts in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne 20-23 July 2015 before the release of a report and data via its website. Included in the presentation will be vital information, such as National forecasts and analysis for residential building, non-residential building, and engineering construction plus detailed information for each capital city and state.

Delivered by pre-eminent industry forecaster, Kerry Barwise, followed by debate by an expert panel, the ACIF Forecasts Breakfasts are important events for businesses in building and construction around Australia

>> To find out more about the ACIF Forecasts and the Forecasts Breakfasts on 20-23 July 2015, visit http://www.acif.com.au/events/category/acif-events.

ACIF Forecasts are available as Australian Construction Market Report including national and state-by state data and analysis by Australian’s leading forecaster, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard where subscribers can query ACIF’s data to generate detailed reports and charts from national to postcode level.

About ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are rolling ten year forecasts of demand across residential, non-residential building and engineering construction in Australia. The Forecasts are prepared by respected economic modellers, using high quality data sources, and are overseen by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, an industry panel of expert analysts and researchers.

ACIF Forecasts are only possible with thanks to the support of Principal Sponsor Cbus, and Silver Sponsors Cordell Information, DesignBuild Expo, Property Council of Australian and Viewpoint Construction Software.

ACIF Forecasts are used by thousands of professionals each year, from across the full range of stakeholders, from major organisations to small consultancies. ACIF Forecasts are released twice a year, and are available as Australian Construction Market Report, and detailed numbers are available by subscribing to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. More information about ACIF is available from www.acif.com.au/forecasts. 

Posted on 6 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

Global coalition formed to unify construction measurement standards

Over 30 professional bodies from around the world met last week at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C. to launch a major initiative which seeks to create international standards in construction measurement.

The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) Coalition was established by non-profit organisations representing professionals in more than 140 countries. Collectively, the group aims to create overarching international standards that will harmonise cost, classification and measurement definitions in order to enhance comparability, consistency, statistics, and benchmarking of capital projects.

In an industry estimated to be worth a staggering $15 trillion by 2025 according to Global Construction Perspectives, inconsistency in something as fundamental as construction measurement and reporting can create huge uncertainty, misunderstanding, and risk.

The ICMS Coalition will continue to grow as further professional organisations come forward to join the effort to align high-level principles. By mid July 2015, the coalition will be formally launched. Industry corporations, contractors, and key government stakeholders will also be encouraged to contribute to and lead adoption of the new international framework in their capital markets.

The work to draft and consult on ICMS will be led by an independent committee of construction experts, due to be appointed by the coalition in the coming weeks. The Washington meeting represented a landmark moment for construction, project management, cost engineering and quantity surveying sectors as a whole. This is the first time these professions have come together in this way to develop unifying standards which reflect and enhance the increasingly international construction market.

The coalition has stated its ambition to make tangible progress immediately and to deliver an internationally agreed and adopted standard in the near future.

Michael Manikas, Chief Executive Officer of the AIQS said “in today’s global environment there is such a strong need to establish international standards. With developers and contractors working across the globe it is becoming even more important to enable standard and consistent benchmarking across regions on construction costs. The ICMS with be the conduit to this change and enable greater mobility and certainty in the construction industry.”

The organisations that have already signed the declaration to become
joint members of the ICMS Coalition are:

  • African Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS)
  • Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE)
  • Association of Cost Engineers (ACostE)
  • Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS)
  • Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)
  • Brazilian Institute of Cost Engineers (IBEC)
  • Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS)
  • Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES)
  • China Engineering Cost Association (CECA)
  • The European Council of Construction Economists –Conseil Europeen des
  • Economists de la Construction (CEEC)
  • Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE)
  • Federation Internationale des Geometres (FIG)
  • Ghana Institute of Surveyors (GhIS)
  • Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS)
  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC)
  • Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS)
  • Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS)
  • Philippine Institute of Certified Quantity Surveyors (PICQS)
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI)
  • Union Nationale des Economistes de la Construction (UNTEC)
  • >> Click here for the Global Construction 2026 Report

Posted on 6 July 2015 | 2:00 pm

Employment, plus possible mini-boom: ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Principal Sponsor Cbus and Silver SponsorsLatest industry forecasts are set to show patchy growth – even a possible mini-boom – for building and construction.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will release the next ACIF Forecasts in late July, and the outlook is positive for work demand across all sectors, residential and non-residential building, plus engineering construction. ACIF releases the forecasts for work demand, labour requirements, costs of construction and major projects twice a year to keep businesses large and small well informed of changing market conditions.

“Employment is the big, good news story coming out of the latest ACIF Forecasts – despite a decline in mining infrastructure,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director for ACIF.

“New South Wales and Queensland are powering ahead. There is a resurgence in non-residential building, with new drivers of structural change re-shaping the CBD office markets. Infrastructure investment is driving new investment in industrial buildings.

“For these states, there is every chance of a mini boom in engineering construction – led by roads and followed by mining.”

“Looking at residential building for these states plus Victoria, this sector is strong with new dwelling completions through the roof. But how long can growth be sustained?”

However, Victorian engineering construction pales next to it comparator states, prompting the question, what is Victoria going to do about it?

The forecasts are generated by the building and construction industry’s peak consultative not-for-profit body, with the unique benefit of the industry’s own Construction Forecasting Council overseeing the rolling ten-year forecasts. Businesses from architecture, to engineers, construction, trades and facility management rely upon the independent and reliable forecasts to plan for success.

ACIF will release the latest data first at three Forecast Breakfasts in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne on 20 – 23 July 2015. Included in the presentation will be vital information, such as:

  • National forecasts and analysis for residential building, non-residential building, and engineering construction
  • Forecasts and analysis for the three sectors, for all states and territories
  • Detailed outlook for the state and capital city
  • Overview of the global economic drivers affecting the Australian economy
  • Five year forecasts of the macro indicators of prosperity for our industry – GDP, interest rates, employment, inflation, and more

Delivered by pre-eminent industry forecaster, Kerry Barwise, followed by debate by an expert panel, ACIF Forecasts Breakfast are important event for businesses in building and construction in New South Wales. Queensland and Victoria.

>> To find out more about the ACIF Forecasts and the July release, click here.

ACIF Forecasts are available as Australian Construction Market Report including national and state-by state data and analysis by Australian’s leading forecaster, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard where subscribers can query ACIF's data to generate detail reports and charts from national to postcode level.

Posted on 30 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

NSW building and construction booming: ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Principal Sponsor Cbus and Silver SponsorsLatest industry forecasts for building and construction are set to show business is booming for New South Wales – for all sectors.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will release the next ACIF Forecasts for NSW on 20 July 2015, and the outlook is positive for work demand across all sectors, residential and non-residential building, plus engineering construction. ACIF releases the forecasts for work demand, labour requirements, costs of construction and major projects twice a year to keep businesses large and small well informed of changing market conditions.

“Employment is the big, good news story coming out of the latest ACIF Forecasts – despite a decline in mining infrastructure,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director for ACIF.

“New South Wales is powering ahead, continuing its traditional role as the front-runner in the Australian economy.”

“Residential building is strong, as new dwelling completions are through the roof – the question is, how long can growth be sustained?

“There is a resurgence in non-residential building. New drivers of structural change are re-shaping the CBD office markets. Infrastructure investment is driving new investment in industrial buildings. And there is every chance of a mini boom in engineering – led by roads and followed by mining.”

The forecasts are generated by the building and construction industry’s peak consultative not-for-profit body, with the unique benefit of the industry’s own Construction Forecasting Council overseeing the rolling ten-year forecasts. Businesses from architecture, to engineers, construction, trades and facility management rely upon the independent and reliable forecasts to plan for success.

ACIF will release the latest data on Monday 20 July 2015 at ACIF Forecasts Breakfast, at Four Seasons Hotel, George Street, Sydney. Included in the presentation will be vital information, such as:

  • National forecasts and analysis for residential building, non-residential building, and engineering construction
  • Forecasts and analysis for the 3 sectors, for all states and territories
  • Detailed outlook for Sydney and NSW
  • Overview of the global economic drivers affecting the Australian economy
  • Five year forecasts of the macro indicators of prosperity for our industry – GDP, interest rates, employment, inflation, and more

Delivered by pre-eminent industry forecaster, Kerry Barwise, followed by debate by an expert panel, this ACIF Forecasts Breakfast is an important event for businesses in building and construction in New South Wales.

>> To find out more about the ACIF Forecasts and the release on 20 July 2015, click here.

ACIF Forecasts are available as Australian Construction Market Report including national and state-by state data and analysis by Australian’s leading forecaster, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard where subscribers can query ACIF's data to generate detail reports and charts from national to postcode level.

Posted on 29 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

Possible mini-boom for QLD: ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Principal Sponsor Cbus and Silver SponsorsLatest industry forecasts for building and construction are set to show business is improving for Queensland businesses – across all sectors, but especially engineering construction.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will release the next ACIF Forecasts for Queensland on 22 July 2015, and the outlook is positive for work demand across residential and non-residential building plus engineering construction. ACIF releases the forecasts for work demand, labour requirements, costs of construction and major projects twice a year to keep businesses large and small well informed of changing market conditions.

“Employment is the big, good news story coming out of the latest ACIF Forecasts – despite a decline in mining infrastructure,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director for ACIF.

“Residential building is powering ahead, with new dwelling completions through the roof. The question is, how long can growth be sustained?”

“There is a resurgence in non-residential building. New drivers of structural change are re-shaping the CBD office markets. Infrastructure investment is driving new investment in industrial buildings.

“Engineering construction is looking as promising with every chance of a mini boom – led by roads and followed by mining.”

The forecasts are generated by the building and construction industry’s peak consultative not-for-profit body, with the unique benefit of the industry’s own Construction Forecasting Council overseeing the rolling ten-year forecasts. Businesses from architecture, to engineers, construction, trades and facility management rely upon the independent and reliable forecasts to plan for success.

ACIF will release the latest data on Wednesday 22 July 2015 at ACIF Forecasts Breakfast, at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Included in the presentation will be vital information, such as:

  • National forecasts and analysis for residential building, non-residential building, and engineering construction
  • Forecasts and analysis for the 3 sectors, for all states and territories
  • Detailed outlook for Brisbane and Queensland
  • Overview of the global economic drivers affecting the Australian economy
  • Five year forecasts of the macro indicators of prosperity for our industry – GDP, interest rates, employment, inflation, and more

Delivered by pre-eminent industry forecaster, Kerry Barwise, followed by debate by an expert panel, this ACIF Forecasts Breakfast is an important event for businesses in building and construction in Brisbane and other areas of Queensland.

>> To find out more about the ACIF Forecasts and the release on 22 July 2015, click here.

ACIF Forecasts are available as Australian Construction Market Report including national and state-by state data and analysis by Australian’s leading forecaster, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard where subscribers can query ACIF's data to generate detail reports and charts from national to postcode level.

Posted on 29 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

VIC building strong – but construction?: ACIF Forecasts

ACIF Forecasts are thanks to our Principal Sponsor Cbus and Silver SponsorsLatest industry forecasts for building and construction are set to show business is improving for Victorian businesses – for most sectors.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will release the next ACIF Forecasts for Victoria on 23 July 2015, and the outlook is positive for work demand across residential and non-residential building. ACIF releases the forecasts for work demand, labour requirements, costs of construction and major projects twice a year to keep businesses large and small well informed of changing market conditions.

“Employment is the big, good news story coming out of the latest ACIF Forecasts – despite a decline in mining infrastructure,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director for ACIF.

“Residential building is powering ahead – but is it all apartments? New dwelling completions are through the roof. The question is, how long can growth be sustained?

“There is a resurgence in non-residential building. New drivers of structural change are re-shaping the CBD office markets. Infrastructure investment is driving new investment in industrial buildings.

“Engineering construction is not looking as promising, however. Other states have every chance of a mini boom in engineering – led by roads and followed by mining. What is Victoria doing to fight back?

The forecasts are generated by the building and construction industry’s peak consultative not-for-profit body, with the unique benefit of the industry’s own Construction Forecasting Council overseeing the rolling ten-year forecasts. Businesses from architecture, to engineers, construction, trades and facility management rely upon the independent and reliable forecasts to plan for success.

ACIF will release the latest data on Thursday 23 July 2015 at ACIF Forecasts Breakfast, at Rydges Melbourne on Exhibition Street. Included in the presentation will be vital information, such as:

  • National forecasts and analysis for residential building, non-residential building, and engineering construction
  • Forecasts and analysis for the 3 sectors, for all states and territories
  • Detailed outlook for Melbourne and Victoria
  • Overview of the global economic drivers affecting the Australian economy
  • Five year forecasts of the macro indicators of prosperity for our industry – GDP, interest rates, employment, inflation, and more

Delivered by pre-eminent industry forecaster, Kerry Barwise, followed by debate by an expert panel, this ACIF Forecasts Breakfast is an important event for businesses in building and construction in Melbourne and other areas of Victoria.

>> To find out more about the ACIF Forecasts and the release on 23 July 2015, click here.

ACIF Forecasts are available as Australian Construction Market Report including national and state-by state data and analysis by Australian’s leading forecaster, plus the Customised Forecasts Dashboard where subscribers can query ACIF's data to generate detail reports and charts from national to postcode level.

Posted on 29 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

Forecasts Breakfasts for unique expert info

ACIF’s Forecast Breakfasts in July will give you a unique perspective on the causes of the uncertainty facing our industry.

  • Constrained global growth and the flat-lining of demand for Australia’s rocks and energy. What does this mean for local growth, interest rates, and confidence to drive new investment?
  • European confidence? Nervous at best as it faces Grexit from the Eurozone, and European lenders face up to appalling lending decisions. What will this mean for new construction financing?
  • The Australian economy is facing structural adjustment as the mining sector’s contribution to government coffers declines. What does this mean for employment? Is the trend likely to be restrained?
  • Residential activity in NSW and Victoria is off the 40-year statistical chart. It is driving better than 185,000 completed dwelling per annum and surging – way past the average of 155,000. How long can the good times roll before supply side constraints (shovel ready land, and skilled people) pull them back?
  • How long can the Reserve Bank hold its nerve on interest rates to boost the economy generally, while house prices in Sydney are driven past reasonable affordability levels? If the Reserve blinks, what are the options for demand for new dwellings?
  • What is local confidence and internet buying doing to retail spending and investment in shopping centres?

The ACIF Forecast Breakfasts are a once-a-year-only opportunity to get the highest quality information and hear from those who put it together, our pre-eminent team of industry forecasters, and the peerless members of the Construction Forecasting Council.

Get all the info in the ACIF Australian Construction Market Report, and breakfast, for $150. Even less for tables of eight – bring your friends, bring your staff, don’t tell your competitors. Briefings will be delivered by our lead forecaster Kerry Barwise, who will field questions from you and an expert panel of industry leaders.

>> Click here to register to attend the ACIF Forecast Breakfast in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne.

Construction Forecasting Council

Adrian Harrington Head of Funds Management, Folkestone Funds Management, Chair
Bruce Wan Global Real Estate Strategist, Macquarie Capital
Harley Dale Chief Economist, Housing Industry Association
John Freedman Group Head of Strategy and FP&A, Lend Lease
Matthew Harris Managing Director, Rider Levett Bucknall
Monisha Craig Chief Operating Officer, Cordell Information
Peter Jones Chief Economist, Master Builders Australia
Chris Kakoufas General Manager Development, Cbus Property
Megan Motto Chief Executive, Consult Australia
John Nhan Nguyen National Research Manager, Property Council of Australia
David Rees Head of Research, Jones Lang Lasalle
Bob Richardson Director, Rider Levett Bucknall
Damon Roast Senior Research Manager, Lend Lease
Jason Steed Head of Research, JP Morgan
Peter Barda Executive Director, ACIF

Posted on 22 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

ACCC recall campaign for Infinity Cables

ACCC has launched a media campaign to make consumers more aware of the danger of Infinity Cables - so be ready for calls for help.

The onus is on the supplier of the cable to remedy this situation, not you – unless you either purchased the cable direct from Infinity, or from a wholesaler/supplier that has subsequently gone out of business. The first stage in the process is to ascertain who laid the cable, and where it was purchased. Assuming that it was not you, we suggest you quote to inspect the premises. Should you discover Infinity Cable has been laid we suggest you refer the customer to the ACCC website.

You should not go ahead and replace the cable unless the customer requests that and realises that they would have to pay you for that work. If the customer wants this remedial work to be paid for by the supplier, they must work with the supplier – and their electrician, if they know who it was, to get the cable replaced.

The ACCC is very keen to see this situation pick up pace as the progress to date has been very slow, and time is running out as the cables could already be deteriorating.

In August 2014, Infinity electrical cables were recalled by 18 electrical retailers and wholesalers due to safety concerns. The cables were supplied in:

  • NSW - 2010-2013
  • ACT - 2011-2013
  • Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia - 2012-2013
  • Tasmania - 2013.

It is estimated that up to 40,000 homes, commercial and residential buildings in Australia could be affected.

A taskforce of consumer agencies, building regulators and electrical safety regulators are coordinating the safety recall.

To date, 27 suppliers have announced recalls of Infinity cables. Further recalls may be announced in the future.

Electrocution and fire dangers from faulty cables

Infinity and Olsent-branded Infinity cables failed to meet electrical safety standards due to poor quality insulation (plastic coating). Testing found the insulation on the ‘TPS’ and ‘orange round’ range of cables will become brittle prematurely, which may present a safety hazard if the cables are disturbed and the insulation breaks. Cables exposed to prolonged high temperatures will degrade at a faster rate.

Once the insulation is brittle, physical contact with the cables could dislodge the insulation and lead to electric shock or possibly fires.

The taskforce found there is no immediate danger; however, careful steps need to be taken to stop electric shock or fires from occurring in coming years—as early as 2016 for New South Wales.

No incidents have been reported, but the longer-term risk is real. The cables will degrade over time and the risk of physical contact is highest in roof spaces and under raised floors.

What you should do

Have your wiring checked by a licensed electrician if, between 2010 and 2013, you:

  • purchased a new property
  • renovated
  • had electrical work done, including appliance installations.

Do not attempt to inspect cables yourself.

If you are unsure who did the electrical work, talk to your builder. If you don’t know who the builder was and are unsure if Infinity cables were installed, get a licensed electrician to inspect your wiring.

Posted on 22 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

Finding a healthy balance for your employees

Thirty minutes of daily physical activity may not be much of a challenge for construction workers who spend their shifts active but how do the rest of their lifestyles measure up?

Recent statistics paint an unhealthy picture of the typical modern construction worker – obese or overweight and consuming more alcohol than the national average.

“We know that a healthy worker is a happy worker – health and wellbeing are directly linked to productivity. In fact, the healthiest employees take less sick days, have less workplace injuries and are more engaged in their work than their colleagues,” said Diabetes WA Prevention Unit Manager Lauren Zappa.

“Finding a healthy balance for your workers makes sense. Not only is there a positive impact on their health – but their health makes a positive impact on your business.”

For health-conscious employers who want to help employees improve their health and wellbeing, Diabetes WA has revamped its My Healthy Balance program.

Employers can refer their staff to the free, online program that is designed to provide participants with the information, skills and support they need to set and then reach health goals.

Rather than focusing on fad diets or exercise regimes that fall by the wayside all too easily, My Healthy Balance focuses on long-term, sustainable behaviour changes.

"The program helps people to set SMART goals – that is goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely," explains Ms Zappa.

"Setting SMART goals is important, as these allow people to identify and value the smaller, ongoing achievements as a positive, rather than getting disheartened because they don't get dramatic results overnight."

Each week, participants can complete interactive modules that provide them with credible information on healthy eating, physical activity, mental wellbeing and other relevant topics.

The modules can be completed by participants at a pace that is comfortable to them, meaning there is plenty of opportunity to fit the program in around shift work and casual work.

Participants can also access online or text message support to keep them motivated.

"The aim of this program is to encourage and support people to take small, sustainable steps towards leading a healthier, happier life," Ms Zappa said.

"These benefits are also more than likely to spill over into the workplace – healthier employees means fewer sick days and greater productivity."

>> Click here to register for My Healthy Balance

Posted on 22 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

Webinar: New Procurement Guide for PTI and BIM

ACIF Webinars are thanks to Principal Partner, CBUSCan a different approach to procurement make a big difference to project outcomes? What impact will it make on productivity, profitability - and how well the team works together?

The next free ACIF Webinar will be held on Friday 26 June 2015 at 12pm EST to launch the latest Strategic Forum for Building and Construction resource for improving productivity in the building and construction industry.

This informative webinar will be presented by Teresa Scott, Executive Director of Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) launching the Building and Construction Procurement Guide: Project Team Integration and Building Information Modelling (BIM), published by ACIF and APCC as the founding members of Strategic Forum for Building and Construction.

Register for ACIF Webinar nowStrategic Forum as it is acutely aware of the need for optimal delivery outcomes that eliminate waste, maximise end user benefits, enhance industry participants and also increase the productivity of the Australian and New Zealand economies. The Procurement Guide will provide owner personnel and project procurers with an outline of potential procurement practices, processes and steps which might be followed in developing effective procurement strategies for implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Project Team Integration (PTI) on specific projects within the built environment. 

This Guide is also intended to promote consistency of approach on a national basis in examining the relevant tools, standards, strategies and development processes when identifying a model that best suits delivery using Building Information Modelling.

Productivity in the construction industry is critical to Australia’s growth and the economy.

  • The building and construction industry accounts for 7.8% of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employs 9.1% of the workforce.
  • Total spending in the building and construction industry reached $233 billion in 2013-14 - $128 billion on engineering construction, $75 billion on residential building, and $75 billion, and $30 billion on non-residential building.

>> Register today for your seat - from your office, home, iPad or wherever you are.

Posted on 9 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

Five Essential Building Blocks to Manage Work in Hand

Work in hand processing model. Five essential building blocksIn a construction software system, an integrated project costing and financial model is a given. But how easily and how well are contractors utilising this project and financial information to get the ‘big picture’ of their company?

To understand, a comprehensive grasp of the quantity and importantly the quality of business-wide work-in-hand is essential. At its simplest, work-in-hand is how much of a company’s order book hasn’t been completed yet.

Importantly the work-in-hand value represents the underlying margin potential and not just the value of turnover alone. Also the ability to understand what assumptions have been made looking forward – from project level upwards – gives contractors the power and controls to measure three vital business metrics.

>> Read more

Posted on 9 June 2015 | 2:00 pm

Project Team & BIM Webinar recording available

Collaborative work practices, including different project teams working together from Day 1, are part of the ‘new way’ of project work. But how do you make it work in reality?

This important topic was the first of a new series of free webinars by Australian Construction Industry Forum, held on Friday 29 May 2015 2015.

“Productivity in the construction industry is critical to Australia’s growth and the economy, “ said Peter Barda, Executive Director of Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF). “The building and construction industry accounts for 7.8% of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employs 9.1% of the workforce. At the end of June 2012, the building and construction industry generated $305 billion in total income, incurred $275.4 billion in total expenditure, and employed 950,000 persons.

“A study by the Allen Consulting Group found that accelerated adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) would increase GDP growth in Australia by 0.2 basis points in 2011, by 2025, it was estimated that GDP growth would be 5 basis points higher.  And also that the benefit cost ratio of early adoption of BIM would be around 10 (assuming a $500 million adoption cost).”

“These statistics provide clear evidence of the benefits and productivity gains achievable through the adoption of BIM.”

ACIF plus its Government counterpart, Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC), have together published a business case and workbook to guide teams towards better, more effective team management.

>> To view the recording, simply login to the ACIF website using the red login box on the left, or subscribe here (free Website Subscriber subscription or become a Customised Forecasts Dashboard subscriber for $1 a day) then visit http://www.acif.com.au/education-centre/acif-webinar

Posted on 31 May 2015 | 2:00 pm

Here is what to forecast in your budget

ACIF thanks Principal Partner CBUS and Sponsors for their supportThis is a time of changing political landscapes and economic drivers, and our industry relies on the unique ACIF Forecasts now more than ever before.

With over 13 years history in delivering relevant, credible and reliable building and construction forecasts, Australian Construction Industry Forum is about to do it again with the release the next of the ACIF Forecasts in July 2015.

We forecast the demand for 20 work types, for the next 10 years, across residential and non-residential building as well as engineering construction, across all states and territories. 

You can see the opportunities (and threats) coming - whatever you do, wherever you are.

Find out...

  • Which sectors are winners - and which are losers?
  • What impact will the Federal Budget have on housing, commercial building, and infrastructure?
  • Can the Reserve Bank keep interest rates this low for much longer?
  • Is new apartment development likely to continue at the current pace in NSW?
  • What about the declining residential market in WA and Queensland?
  • What labour requirements will the industry have over the next decade?
  • Are market conditions in any state likely to start to stimulate demand for new office, retail, industrial and other types of buildings?
  • What's happening to construction costs?

The unique partnerships between ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, plus the industry leading forecasters Kerry Barwise, Peter Downes, and Kevin Toohey using high quality data including Cordell Information is one of the industry’s cornerstone forecasts of our future prosperity.

How you can access the ACIF Forecasts

Posted on 18 May 2015 | 2:00 pm

New tools for BIM and PTI

New tools to help the industry get the best from Building Information Modelling and Project Team Integration are about to be released. ACIF and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council have signed off on a guide to procurement when using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Project Team Integration (PTI), and a set of required skills sets for people working with BIM.

The tools come after more than 12 months of work by the ACIF/APCC BIM Summit and its dedicated working groups.

The Procurement Guide is a comprehensive guide for clients and procurers of projects to make sure they match the objectives of individual projects and the appropriate use of BIM. It provides clients and their procurement staff or advisers with an outline of potential procurement practices, processes and steps which might be followed in developing effective procurement strategies for implementation of BIM and PTI on specific projects.

This Guide is also intended to promote consistency of approach on a national basis in examining the relevant tools, standards, strategies and development processes when identifying a model that best suits delivery using BIM.

The utility of BIM as a design, construction, and asset and facility management tool is only maximised if it is addressed at the Project Initiation phase of a project, as one part of settling on a procurement strategy.

This is because adoption of BIM and project team integration introduces several new options for decision making and will require budget consideration as well as consideration in terms of business need.

The project procurement strategy will define the process and management of the BIM model creation. It is imperative that the decision to use any delivery method be determined during project initiation so that BIM can be properly structured and managed to support the procurement strategy.

The adoption and implementation of BIM and PTI will modify the typical procurement process. By exploring all available information and options, procurers can ensure that opportunities for achieving increased value-for-money and improved infrastructure investment outcomes are readily identified and capitalised on.

While there are other documents in existence that deal with adoption of PTI and BIM, this Guide specifically addresses the procurement aspects of the use of BIM and PTI for individual projects. It takes into consideration pre-existing material and defines a ‘core’ set of commonly used baseline processes for developing procurement strategies that can be used to consider the suitability of adopting BIM on a specific project.

The Guide will be able to be downloaded free of charge from the ACIF and APCC web sites, and APCC and ACIF members will also be encouraged to make it available from their web sites.

The copyright in the Guide is owned by ACIF and APCC. The Guide will include a licence provision allowing:

  • unlimited downloads and use of the Guide for non-commercial use;
  • users who wish to use the Guide in full or part as part of a training program to apply in writing for a licence to do so from APCC and ACIF.

The Skill Sets crystallise the skills required by employers from staff using BIM, who are involved in the process of integrating project teams and managing them as they develop and use BIM models. They are a work in progress, and at present cover skills for architects, construction managers, trades, and consultants and project managers. There is an overarching matrix of skill sets.

The draft matrix and skills sets will released for industry comments early in June, to BIM Summit members, ACIF and APCC and their members, and through the ACIF members’ web sites. ACOF enews subscribers will have the opportunity to download them from the ACIF web site. They will be accompanied by a fact sheet explaining their purpose, and a set of questions to encourage consistent format of responses.

In addition, a series of roundtable discussions will be arranged with cross disciplinary representation, to review the skill sets in detail to determine whether they adequately describe skills required by employers.

The key question we will ask is, “do these skill sets meet your needs as an employer?”

Once the industry consultation has been completed, the skill sets will be “translated” in to competencies, and offered to the industry to use as the foundation for nationally consistent approaches to university, VET and on-line learning.

Encourage accrediting institutes (including the Australian Institute of Building, Australian Institute of  Architects, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, and Engineers Australia)  to use the competencies as standards to be incorporated in to the curricula of degree courses they accredit.

Given the scarcity of educators with the experience to instruct in this area, we expect that ACIF members might use the competencies as the foundation for specific training and CPD programs using practitioners as educators.  

Posted on 17 May 2015 | 2:00 pm

Register for FREE NCC

Australian Governments agreed to a major building regulation reform agenda, with one of the key initiatives of this reform package being: National Construction Code (NCC) being freely available Online from the 2015 edition.

Pre-registration to the free on-line NCC was popular, with approximately 33,000 registrations and 52,000 downloads. Now everyone can register to access the NCC >> Click here to register

Why register??

By registering with the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), other free material will be made available such as access to non-regulatory handbooks, YouTube clips and educational material, as well as access to all previous editions of the NCC.  Further material will be developed over time to help support training providers, industry associations, education institutions and regulators. 

Importantly, registering with the ABCB will enable us to advise users of future changes to the Code.

Australian Building Codes Board aims to register as many practitioners as possible to help build awareness and understanding of the NCC, and in so doing improve the capacity and capability of all who participate industry. 

 >> Click here to register with ABCB for FREE National Construction Code

 

Posted on 5 May 2015 | 2:00 pm

Digital first key to ATO’s new relationship with small business

Digital technology and online services will underpin the new relationship the ATO wants to forge with the small business sector.

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan told the Tax Institute that feedback is urging them to minimise red tape and provide equipment, systems, technologies, communications and software that enable easy interaction in the digital world.

“People love apps and want more information and services available on mobile devices, but also want to be able to use click to chat or after-hours call-back services like the one we have for small businesses.”

The Commissioner said more small businesses will soon be able to streamline their superannuation obligations using the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, and that the ATO’s online Small Business Newsroom is becoming a must for small business operators.

He foreshadowed further improvements to AUSkey and ABN registration processes and the release later this year of a new Personal Services Income (PSI) decision tool.

He also highlighted a more client-friendly approach to resolving disputes and to debt management which will focus on business viability and ability to meet future obligations.

“We are intervening earlier to prevent debts from escalating beyond people’s control – connecting with people to ensure they stick to repayment arrangements and prevent things getting worse.”

The Commissioner also launched a Reinventing the ATO Blueprint which can be found at ato.gov.au/reinvention.

“This blueprint describes the kind of experience that Australians want to have when they deal with the ATO. It will guide everything we do in coming years.”

>> Click here for full transcript of the Commissioner’s speech

Posted on 7 April 2015 | 2:00 pm

Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide

The Association of Consulting Architects (ACA) has launched the Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide

This Guide is a vital tool to assist practices in assessing the time and associated costs involved in providing an appropriate level of service for a broad range of building types.

The Guide provides a fundamental knowledge base for practices when developing fee proposals and budgets, based in the specifics of their practice. It can be used by practices of all sizes for a wide range of building types, and accommodates a range of service levels and procurement types.

The calculation guide combines information supplied by users about their practice’s overheads, costs, expertise and project particulars with historic data about required hours to generate a suggested fee. It enables practices to tailor this information and knowledge to the particulars of their office. 

The Guide means that architects are better informed about the real time and costs associated with projects, and will, therefore be in a better position to negotiate fees that represent adequate time and resources to complete commissions to an appropriate standard. This is to the benefit of all.

The Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide is an ACA member resource, and is available to all members at no cost.

“The release of this Guide, which has taken several years work to produce, is probably the most significant event of its type for the architectural industry in the last decade,” said Steve Kennedy, ACA National President.

"It is a potential game changer and something everyone has been asking for."

The ACA believes that understanding the time, costs and resources associated with completing a project is vital to the business viability of every architectural practice. Yet many practices struggle to accurately determine these factors when developing budgets and fee proposals.

The ACA Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide is a member resource that will guide architects in making better decisions about the time and resources they require to provide appropriate levels of service.

Simon Hanger, ACA – Vic/Tas President, says “If architects are better informed about real costs involved in projects, they will be in a better position to negotiate fees that represent adequate time and resources to complete commissions to an appropriate standard.”

The Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide will be released across Australia on a state-by-state basis, with each ACA branch hosting a seminar to familiarise members with the guide.

>> For more information and to enquire about membership with ACA to access this Guide, visit www.aca.org.au

Posted on 31 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

ACIF elects new Chair, Executive Committee

Ian Pedersen was elected Chair of the Australian Industry Construction Forum at the ACIF Annual General Meeting in Melbourne on 4 March. John Held and Robert Hunt were elected as Deputy Chairs, and Scott Williams as Honorary Treasurer.

ACIF Chair, Ian PedersenIan Pedersen is a strategic management planner and manager, and a structural engineer with more than thirty years’ experience in engineering, project and general management, business development, finance, and government and media liaison.

Ian is a Past National President (1999–2000) of Engineers Australia (EA) [The Institution of Engineers Australia]. In 1990 he was awarded the Institution’s National Professional Engineer of the Year Award for the role he played in the aftermath of the devastating 1989 Newcastle Earthquake.

Up to December 2013 he was Chair of EA’s National Honours and Awards committee for over 15 years and has been Chief of Judges for the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards since 2003.

ACIF Deputy Chair, John HeldJohn Held is a director of Russell Yelland architects, and is currently South Australian President of the Association of Consulting Architects Australia, and a member of the SA Construction Industry Forum.

ACIF Deputy Chair, Robert HuntRobert Hunt has been CEO of the Australian Institute of Building for 6 years. He is a former Director of Corporate Services for the Australian Medical Association, after 6 years spent working in senior roles for the Heart Foundation.

ACIF Treasurer, Scott WIlliamsScott Williams has been CEO of Fire Protection Australia for 6 years. He has extensive experience in business management, business development, and finance, across several sectors including telecommunications and global logistics.

>> Full list of the ACIF Board is available here.

Posted on 12 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

New Strategies, New Directions

ACIF is developing a greater focus on public policy and advocacy. Existing ACIF policy in these areas will be refreshed with a greater focus on advocating to federal, state and territory governments.

Following a day long strategic planning workshop the ACIF Board re-affirmed the Forum’s purpose. The Board settled on this reason for ACIF’s work.

“To ensure the wellbeing of the Australian Construction Industry.”

Our vision

To be “The cohesive, trusted voice of the Australian Construction Industry”

Our core activities will be

  • Policy and advocacy
  • Communication to the industry and decision makers
  • Developing useful technical information and guides
  • Forecasting of industry activity
  • Championing the values of innovation, collaboration, equity, and sustainability

ACIF is developing detailed strategies to advocate for positive change in three key areas – procurement, product quality, and skill formation and retention. 

Existing policy positions and technical work on the use of project team integration and building information modelling to drive productivity improvements for clients, end users and all parts of the supply chain, will of course continue. This work includes development of a guide to procurement on projects where BIM is used, a set of uniform competencies for people working on the technical and process aspects of BIM, and a checklist for capital works projects. All three pieces of work are being undertaken under the aegis of the Strategic Forum for the Australasian Building and Construction Industry, our joint venture with the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council.

Posted on 12 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

Capital works and infrastructure project checklist

The Strategic Forum for the Building and Construction Industry members Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) and ACIF are collaborating to action and implement the changes that are key requirements in unlocking improvement in the successful delivery of capital works and infrastructure projects.

Changing procurement behaviours, removing inefficiency and improving strategic collaboration to deliver excellent projects are central themes of the proposed Project Checklist.

All Australian and New Zealand governments have already taken steps to cut significant waste and inefficiency in their own procurement processes.  Governments are also taking action to improve procurement practice and improve the sustainability and competitiveness of supply chains.

It is acknowledged, however, that the experience and expertise in capital works and infrastructure delivery varies greatly and project failures are occurring. It is widely recognised that planning and monitoring plays a major role as the cause of project failures.

Improved project governance and control drawing on good project practice are key ingredients to mitigate risk and minimise failures.  The proposed Project Checklist will assist in supporting the achievement of project objectives and provide a consistent project control system.

Governments and industry recognises that there is “no one size fits all‟ solution to achieve optimal delivery of capital works and infrastructure projects.  The common characteristics for effective project delivery set out in the proposed Project Checklist should significantly influence change and an increased positive impact if applied consistently across the industry.

The aim of the proposed Project Checklist is to support public and private sector capital works and infrastructure providers to optimise the delivery of projects and reduce waste.  It is intended that the proposed Project Checklist will provide a structured approach to checking and actioning the necessary components/elements/key considerations of the entire lifecycle of a project i.e. cradle to cradle, where appropriate.

The project is being undertaken by a high powered working group drawn from government and industry, and will report to a broad based reference group also representing all parts of the industry.

Posted on 12 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

Fire Australia 2015

Fire safety depends on many factors. Critical to this is ensuring that fire safety products are designed, installed and maintained so that they are fit-for-purpose.

It is essential that the right decisions are made from conception through to completion and that appropriately certified products are selected and installed to ensure the reliability and  longevity of every system.

Fire Australia 2015 is the premier fire protection industry conference, attracting a wide range of representation from businesses, government and fire safety practitioners. 

Building on the success of the last conference and exhibition, Fire Australia 2015 will once again provide delegates the option of attending multiple streams over the course of both days. The streams will provide a mix of presentations focussing on

industry wide and industry specific topics. The industry specific streams will cover early warning and detection, fire suppression, passive fire protection and egress and bushfire. Presentations will address current issues, industry direction and challenges, and technical content relevant to those with an involvement in the fire protection industry.

>> Read more

Posted on 9 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

“Focus on what you can control”

Thanks to ACIF Sponsor Viewpoint Construction Software"Focus on what you can control.”

That’s a piece of advice especially relevant to owners of construction businesses and worth heeding for best project execution and financial success. Project owners inevitably face project delays, cost overruns, disputes, and litigation on many of their construction projects.

A new article by by Rob Humphreys, Vice President of Product Management at Viewpoint Construction Software discusses the causes of cost overruns within input from PWC. 

>> Read more


Improve control and mitigate risk

Source: PWC. “Correcting the Course of Capital Projects.” October 2013.

Posted on 9 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

Success - what does it look like?

The decision to develop an asset is but part of an organisations’ asset management planning. The decision to do so will be taken to deliver a service or benefit to the organisation or its stakeholders. These include users of services delivered by a publicly owned asset, shareholders of the owner of a privately owned asset, or the beneficiaries of a superannuation fund-owned asset.

All those assets are created and managed to deliver services. In the public sector the primary focus is on economic and social infrastructure. The private sector may also create assets for that purpose, but will also create them to meet a market need, and generate profit. On other occasions public sector agencies and private sector firms collaborate to deliver economic or social infrastructure using private sector finance.

The front end decision making involved in procuring an asset is often collegiate, and undertaken by a range of project sponsors - the client, financiers, and end users who, individually or jointly, determine the risk allocations and commercial terms upon which the work involved is offered to the market. The commercial and technical conditions are often influenced or even controlled by providers of finance, or the requirements of end users.

What can project sponsors and project team members do to achieve successful project and asset service delivery? How will they know if they have achieved success? Maybe that’s too obvious a question I hear you cry. Perhaps it is, but apart from the usual time, cost and functionality metrics, there are other markers of project success.

>> Click here to read Peter Barda's 5 part test of whether a project has been successful.

Posted on 18 February 2015 | 1:00 pm

Where is our Construction Strategy?

The UK Government published its strategy for the construction industry out to 2025, in July 2013. Developed over 6 months of consultation with industry, it is being implemented by a newly created Construction Leadership Council, co-chaired by the Rt Hon Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Sir David Higgins*, Executive Chairman of the UK’s High Speed 2 rail project). 

The full strategy is worth a look, but part of its attraction is the simplicity of its vision and associated metrics:

Our vision for construction in 2025 is:

1. An industry that attracts and retains a diverse group of multi-talented people, operating under considerably safer and healthier conditions, that has become a sector of choice for young people inspiring them into rewarding professional and vocational careers.

2.A UK industry that leads the world in research and innovation, transformed by digital design, advanced materials and new technologies, fully embracing the transition to a digital economy and the rise of smart construction.

3. An industry that has become dramatically more sustainable through its efficient approach to delivering low carbon assets more quickly and at a lower cost, underpinned by strong, integrated supply chains and productive long term relationships.

4.An industry that drives and sustains growth across the entire economy by designing, manufacturing, building and maintaining assets which deliver genuine whole life value for customers in expanding markets both at home and abroad.

5. An industry with clear leadership from a Construction Leadership Council that reflects a strong and enduring partnership between industry and Government Construction in 2025 is no longer characterised, as it once was, by late delivery, cost overruns, commercial friction, late payment, accidents, unfavourable workplaces, a workforce unrepresentative of society or as an industry slow to embrace change..

In short, by 2025 construction has been radically transformed.

Our joint ambition

By working in partnership, the construction industry and Government jointly aspire to achieve by 2025:

1. A 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets.

2. A 50% reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets.

3. A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.

4. A 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials.

These are long-term ambitions shared by industry and Government jointly.

You’ll find the full UK strategy here

*Australian Higgins is a former CEO of Lend Lease and head of the London Olympic Delivery Authority.

Where is ours?

Why can’t we have something equally direct and punchy? The Brits seem to be able to move on these things more straightforwardly (only one national government) where we continue to be entertained by squabbles between the Commonwealth Government and the 8 state and territory governments. You don’t need reminding of the farce of national uniformity for occupational licensing as a recent example. Or is it that our governments just don’t get construction?

In some other areas though cooperation and collaboration is alive and well. Neil Savery and his Australian Building Codes Board’s new strategy is a shining example of how a good idea, a good leader, and a good team, can overcome the internecine warfare and achieve real benefits for our industry and its customers – that’s all of us remember?

Posted on 18 February 2015 | 1:00 pm

Insolvency in the Construction Industry

You don’t have to talk to too many Tradies to realise just how many have been affected by insolvency in the construction industry. In the latter half of this year, the Senate Economics Committee will launch an inquiry into this practice, and make recommendations to the Abbott government to introduce changes to a legal and regulatory framework that continues to be manipulated.

There are insolvencies that involve no more than a simple refusal to pay bills. It is often alleged that head contractors have used their subcontractors as cash flow while a project is being built and then refuse to pay on completion. And then there is the practice of Phoenixing, where the assets of an insolvent company are transferred to a new company that has the same directors. To an outsider, it seems that our legal system often serves to protect the bad guys, and it comes as no surprise that unscrupulous means are used to recover debts, further damaging the reputation of the industry.

We want to hear from everyone who has ideas about what we, in the parliament, can do to help, whether they are developers or suppliers, lead contractors or sub-contractors. We will be seeking the advice of lenders, insurers, and lawyers involved in debt recovery, and of course, insolvency practitioners.

Senator Sam Dastyari
Chair, Senate Economics References Committee

>> If you have any suggestions, submissions can be sent to the Senate Economics Committee by 17 April by clicking here.
 

Posted on 18 February 2015 | 1:00 pm

Construction Technology Improves Productivity in Stalled Economy

When waste is high and productivity is low, improving your bottom line is an exercise in futility. There’s a hole in your boat and you’re bailing water with a spoon. Savvy construction business leaders see an opportunity, not a desperate situation. The wise realise it’s a critical time to take a hard look at processes and ways to improve by leveraging technology. 

Software can play a critical role in improving a company’s overall productivity. For example, the use of mobile technology, allowing remote access, increasing visibility via dashboards, and having timely and accurate reporting can make a big difference in how your financial decisions are made, how your projects are executed, how your bids are won, and so on.

>> Click here to read the full article by ACIF Partner, Viewpoint Construction Software

Posted on 10 February 2015 | 1:00 pm

Dates released for ONLY Briefings in 2015

ACIF Forecasts released at Briefings in May 2015ACIF Briefings - where Australian Construction Industry Forum releases the next ACIF Forecasts - in 2015 will be held in three cities, and ONLY in May.

Delegates to these key industry events will enjoy the first release of the ACIF Forecasts, receive a complimentary copy of the Australian Construction Market Report plus hear of new industry initiatives by ACIF and its partnering organisations.

Engage with industry leaders including Peter Barda, Executive Director ACIF (above) plus our panel of industry experts.

SAVE THE DATE or click on the links below to pre-register now for:

Posted on 10 February 2015 | 1:00 pm

Multi-user subscriptions save 15%

Companies and organisations wishing to have multiple users subscribe to ACIF's Customised Forecasts Dashboard are now able to have up to 5 users under the one subscription, at a saving of 15% per user.

>> Click here for more information

Powered by the industry’s own Construction Forecasting Council, with a dozen years of reliable forecasting for your benefit, ACIF Forecasts are published twice a year for YOUR business benefit, not its own profit. 

The Customised Forecasts Dashboard is an online 24/7 tool to tailor queries on the ACIF Forecasts database for businesses large and small to get accurate local or national data - and plan effectively. 

Posted on 29 January 2015 | 1:00 pm

Winners and losers by state - which one are you?

ACIF’s Australian Construction Market Report, covering the national, state and territory markets for residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction, was released in December. The Report gives forecasts out to 10 years for 20 asset types across the three sectors.

A free Summary Report is available from ACIF’s website for subscribers to ACIF's enews, called Website Subscribers. To download it now, simply subscribe here for free, then login to access the Summary Report here.

Subscribers can also access our Winners and Losers summary here (login first!).

Since the release of our May 2014 Construction Market Report, there have been a number of developments in the global and domestic macroeconomic outlook.

  • Global economic growth has been revised downwards following lower than expected growth in the first half of 2014.
  • Australia’s economic growth of 2.5 per cent in 2013- 14 was generally in par with what we had foreshadowed six months ago.
  • However, a sluggish recovery in Europe and a strong domestic currency means that interest rate rises are likely to be deferred to encourage consumption spending until at least the end of 2014-15 – a later date than thought earlier in the year.

The highly regarded forecasts are produced for ACIF by ACIL Allen Consulting and the ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, a unique group of the industry’s leading economists and analysts.

ACIF is proud to provide the construction industry with this Report, delivering forecasts of activity that provide cost effective inputs to planning for private and public sector organisations across the country, and in many overseas countries. We are grateful to the highly skilled and professional team that puts the forecasts together.

Our forecaster ACIL Allen Consulting provides the Report’s analysis of the factors driving supply and demand, the economic scenarios that underpin the forecasts, and a set of leading indicators that help track movements in economic conditions, as well as the Forecasts themselves.

Cordell Information provides critical data on projects with values of $20 million and above to inform our forecasts. Cordell is the leading authority on project activity and building cost information in Australia.

The members of our Construction Forecasting Council are leading industry economists and researchers. Members of the CFC provide the forecaster with relevant input data from their areas of expertise, identify issues requiring additional explanation. They review the recommendations of the forecaster during each forecasting cycle, and approve the forecasts before they are released.

Snapshots per state and territory are available here for ACIF's Website Subscribers, which is a free subscription providing you with ACIF enews and access to forecast and other information. 

>> Click here to subscribe for free and access this summary information PLUS a free Summary Report

Posted on 23 January 2015 | 1:00 pm

New year, new challenges - or not?

As we look forward into 2015, the challenges remain the same – or do they? Some seem to have become constants but others are assuming growing importance, and have become sources of greater concern, calling for concerted action. Here’s our list, including good and bad drivers of change.

Skill formation and retention

Increasingly organisations across the board are experiencing pressure to attract and retain skilled people. The apprenticeship system is so fragile, with completion rates so low that it verges on being broken.

We still don’t have a uniform national approach to licensing or mutual recognition of professional or trade qualifications. On top of that, what little work is being by the Commonwealth government seems overly concerned on dumbing down qualification requirements.

On top of that we still don’t have decent labour market information, unlike our Canadian friends who have been setting the pace with a reliable and respected system for forecasting labour trends for more than a decade.

Productivity

Where to start? The ongoing industrial relations tensions continue to occupy the minds of all employers, as do continuing inflexibilities in work practices. But there are plenty of other pressures that need to be dealt with.

Risk allocations have become increasingly lop-sided as market conditions tightened with the decline in activity in engineering activity as commodity prices fell, and non-residential building flat lined at best. Major contractors are being squeezed with unrealistic “take it or leave” risks.
Contract conditions are reflecting tough risk allocations and making business sustainability a lottery.
Work flows are still patchy, with the exception of residential work particularly in NSW. See the article on winners and losers.  Nimbleness in identifying opportunities and shifting to new sources of work is a critical competitive advantage, whether for big firms looking to projects smaller than they usually look for, or smaller firms looking sideways at new work types or locations. 
International competitiveness is becoming and even greater issue as overseas firms look to opportunities in Australia, and imports of materials, equipment and prefabricated structures make greater and greater inroads in to traditional supply channels. 

Procurement

Outdated procurement practices continue to hold back optimal utilisation of new technologies and innovations in design and construction. An apparent reluctance to look beyond the conventional approaches to contracting with head and trade contractors is limiting the scope for clients to win the productivity gains to be had from use of Building Information Modelling, and greater Project Team Integration.

Product quality concerns continue, with in some cases life threatening products avoiding quality systems. Thus one is growing in importance, as some exporters to Australia are going as far as fraudulently falsifying quality checks and performance certification. We need government action here to make sure there are effective systems in place to exclude products and materials that do not meet Australian standards.

Taxation

Tax is a concern for all businesses, with the inequities caused by trans-national tax avoidance distorting the responsibility for funding government programs. The political difficulties of changing the GST arrangements between states, or increasing the Medicare levy, are throwing an unfair burden on business across the board.

Investment

Investment should be a bright spot for the industry, with long term bond rates at record lows, enabling governments, if so inclined, to borrow at rates that make a marked difference to business cases, to fund transport and health infrastructure. Time for the industry to make the running with innovative approaches to unsolicited proposals using new financing structures?

Technology

BIM tools are taking us back to the future, as far back as Sir Christopher Wren building St Paul’s in London using the latest in coordinated, collaborative working through an integrated team designers and builders. There is no longer any question of “if” but rather the question is how fast and how widespread.

The Framework for the Adoption of Project Team Integration and BIM released by ACIF and the APCC in December, and its companion documents The Case for Project Team Integration and the Project Team Integration Workbook, are invaluable guides to adopting and using BIM, and harnessing greater project team integration to generate greater efficiency and productivity.

All three are available to download free from our web site using the links above.

New tools to help with procurement and management of projects are coming from ACIF and APCC in 2015. A Guide to Successful Asset and Project Delivery, a Guide to Procurement and Project Team Integration and BIM, and a set of competencies and other tools for BIM and Project Team Integration.

Keep an eye on the ACIF web site and enews for release dates.

High quality market information

Good information and knowledge are constants. ACIF continues to provide you with reliable and cost effective information and analysis to help navigate your organisations through all the challenges.

Posted on 23 January 2015 | 1:00 pm

Abolition of the Victorian Code

On 18 January 2015, the Victorian Government announced the abolition of the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry (Victorian Code) and its monitoring body, the Construction Code Compliance Unit.

The Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) will continue to manage the Construction Supplier Register and the Ministerial Directions for public construction tendering and contracting.

Contractors who are bidding for Victorian Government work and applying for pre-qualification on Victorian Government construction registers will still be required to meet safety and industrial relations management criteria but are no longer required to submit Victorian Code compliant Workplace Relations Management Plans and Health and Safety Management Plans.

Health and Safety Management Plans and Workplace Relations Management Plans must continue to be followed on current projects to the extent that they reflect legislative and contractual requirements.

The Victorian Code’s drug and alcohol testing and site security requirements no longer  apply, however, occupational health and safety policies and procedures remain.

The Victorian Code previously required client agencies to supply key public construction data to DTF. Timely and accurate client agency reporting on public construction provides valuable data for the whole Victorian government. DTF will continue to collect this data under the Ministerial Directions for public construction, and will provide further information for client agencies soon.

Activities that may breach the Fair Work Act, such as unlawful industrial action, will continue to be investigated by the federal regulator, Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC).

Activities that may breach criminal law, including trespass, can be referred to Victoria Police.

>> Department of Treasury and Finance will provide further advice shortly, if you have any urgent queries please call 1800 842 222.

Posted on 22 January 2015 | 1:00 pm

Senate inquiry into insolvency in the Australian construction indus

On 4 December 2014 the Senate referred an inquiry into insolvency in the Australian construction industry to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 11 November 2015.

The Terms of Reference for the inquiry are to report on the scale and incidence of insolvency in the Australian construction industry, including:

1. The amount of money lost by secured and unsecured creditors in the construction industry and related insolvencies, including but not limited to: 

  • employees, 
  • contractors and sub-contractors, 
  • suppliers, 
  • developers, 
  • governments, and
  • any other industry participants or parties associated with the Australian construction industry;

2. the effects, including the economic and social effects, of construction industry insolvencies, having particular regard to the classes of creditors in paragraph (a); 

3. the causes of construction industry insolvencies;

4. the incidence of 'phoenix companies' in the construction industry, their operation, their effects and the adequacy of the current law and regulatory framework to curb the practice of 'phoenixing';

5. the impact of insolvency in the construction industry on productivity in the industry;

6. the incidence and nature of criminal and civil misconduct related to construction industry insolvencies, having particular regard to breaches of the Corporations Law both prior to and after companies enter external administration and/or liquidation;

7. the current extent and future potential for the amount of unpaid debt in the industry to attract non-construction industry participants to the industry for the purposes of debt collecting and related activities and the extent of anti-social and unlawful conduct related to debt collecting and related activities;

8. the adequacy of the current law and regulatory framework to reduce the level of insolvency in the construction industry.

For information on making submissions contact the Committee Secretariat:

Senate Standing Committees on Economics
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3540
Fax: +61 2 6277 5719
economics.sen@aph.gov.au

Posted on 22 January 2015 | 1:00 pm

Software and engineers: a case study

Technology is one of the inevitables in our industry - Embrace it!

In this article, Union Square Software provide a case study for Adams Consulting Engineers and how it managed business growth and the demand for high quality, reliable information to manage and monitor projects from inception to completion.

"They were seeking a system that could encompass all aspects of project management, including managing project financials, in a reliable and consistent environment."

"...a solution that could support the company’s plans to grow across multiple offices while maintaining a standardised way of working."

"The practice wanted everyone to start operating with the system as quickly as possible, but understood that change can take some time for people to adjust to."

>> Click here to read the Case Study on Adams Consulting Engineers

Posted on 22 January 2015 | 1:00 pm

Winners and Losers revealed in new ACIF Construction Activity Forecast

Despite the now unavoidable decline in engineering construction activity in the medium term, Australia-wide construction expenditure is set to remain at levels much higher than the historical average, according to the latest forecasts from the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).

Australian Construction Market Report - Out NowThe forecasts are included in ACIF’s Australian Construction Market Report, covering the national, state and territory markets for residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction. The Report gives forecasts out to 10 years for 20 asset types across the three sectors. 

“Since the release of ACIF’s May 2014 Construction Market Report, there have been a number of developments in the global and domestic macroeconomic outlook,’ said Peter Barda, the Executive Director of ACIF. 

>> Need more detailed information for your business? ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard gives you total control over ACIF's database. Tailor a query perfect for your business. Find out more here...

>> FREE Summaries per sector are available for Website Subscribers. Subscribe here and after login, visit www.acif.com.au/forecasts

“Global economic growth has been revised downwards following lower than expected growth in the first half of 2014. Australia’s economic growth of 2.5 per cent in 2013- 14 was generally in par with what we had foreshadowed six months ago. However, a sluggish recovery in Europe and a strong domestic currency means that interest rate rises are likely to be deferred to encourage consumption spending until at least the end of 2014-15 – a later date than thought earlier in the year,” said Mr Barda. 

Variable % YoY across all sectors“In terms of total construction activity, New South Wales has had strong growth over the past six months, and is predicted to overtake Queensland as the state with the most construction spending by 2016-17. Residential spending in New South Wales is projected to be particularly strong whilst engineering construction declined in Queensland, leading to this shift in spending profile. As foreshadowed in our May forecast, construction activity in Victoria and Western Australia is already showing signs of subdued activity”.

Total spending in 2013-14 reached $233 billion, slightly lower than the $237 billion we had foreshadowed in May. The outlook for 2014-15 remains essentially unchanged at $228 billion, however the mix of construction work has shifted. The biggest change is in the residential sector: residential building is already spending to meet a backlog of pent up demand, which is arising from historically low interest rates and increased foreign demand. This is expected to lift total spending by nearly 17 per cent to just under $90 billion by 2017-18 from $75 billion in 2013-14.

Non-residential spending rose slightly in 2013-14 to $33.6 billion from $35.2 billion in 2012-13. 
Spending in engineering construction finally recorded a peak in 2012-13 at $128 billion, falling to $123 billion in 2013-14. Over the next few years, activity in this sector will wane to around $92.5 billion by 2017-18. The slowdown in mining construction will lead to associated changes in related sectors such as bridges, railways and harbours, and electricity and pipelines. Unsurprisingly, these effects will be most profound in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. A key bright spot in the outlook for engineering construction is roads spending, which is expected to see growth over the projection period. 

The highly regarded forecasts are produced for ACIF by ACIL Allen Consulting and the ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, a unique group of the industry’s leading economists and analysts.

“ACIF is proud to provide the construction industry with this Report, delivering forecasts of activity that provide cost effective inputs to planning for private and public sector organisations across the country, and in many overseas countries”, said Mr Barda. “We are grateful to the highly skilled and professional team that puts the forecasts together.”

“Our forecaster ACIL Allen Consulting is the largest Australian owned, independent, economic and public policy consulting firm in Australia. They provide the Report’s analysis of the factors driving supply and demand, the economic scenarios that underpin the forecasts, and a set of leading indicators that help track movements in economic conditions, as well as the Forecasts themselves.”

“Cordell Information provides critical data on projects with values of $20 million and above to inform our forecasts. Cordell is the leading authority on project activity and building cost information in Australia.”

“The members of our Construction Forecasting Council are leading industry economists and researchers. Members of the CFC provide the forecaster with relevant input data from their areas of expertise, identify issues requiring additional explanation. They review the recommendations of the forecaster during each forecasting cycle, and approve the forecasts before they are released.”

This important work is possible only with the ongoing support of Principal Partner Cbus, as well as Sponsors Australian Institute of Architects, Cordell Information, DesignBuild Expo, Engineers Australia, Property Council of Australia and Viewpoint Construction Software.

ACIF Forecasts are published twice a year in May and December. The Forecasts are available as Construction Market Reports with data and commentary, or as data reports tailored to the user’s needs from the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. More information is available on the ACIF website at www.acif.com.au/forecasts.

Posted on 7 December 2014 | 1:00 pm

New govt and industry resource on PTI and BIM

A Framework for the Adoption of Project Team Integration and Building Information ModellingIn a national first, government and the building and construction industry today released a national Framework elevating project team integration and building information modelling to the national stage.  A new joint government and industry resource A Framework for the Adoption of Project Team Integration and Building Information Modelling, developed by the Strategic Forum for the Australasian Building and Construction Industry, and was launched by the Hon. Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry this morning in Canberra.

The new publication is another in a series of resources published by the Strategic Forum, an initiative of the Australian Construction Industry Forum and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council, who have joined forces to produce resources for increased productivity, safety and sustainability for use by government and the construction industry.

The Framework identifies the key elements, underpinned by objectives and actions, that require a ‘whole of industry’ approach to encourage and support increased adoption of Project Team Integration (PTI) and BIM.

“The Framework and other resources we have produced are intended to improve both the process and the result when building assets for the ultimate end user – the Australian people,” said the Chairman of ACIF, Robin Fardoulys. 

“This document outlines proposed activities required to successfully implement BIM across government agencies and private sector clients, as well as construction industry service providers, including the facilitation of more integrated project teams from the outset. Its adoption embraces the new wave of technology available and being used on a number of large government builds, such as hospitals, and private sector projects. Embracing PTI and BIM on a project is the way the industry is heading.”

Neil Castles, Chair of the APCC Council of Chief Executives agrees: “BIM  encourages innovative practices together with productivity, time and quality gains applicable at every stage of the project delivery process without inhibiting competition or transparency.“

A ‘whole of industry’ approach will inspire more advanced and innovative use of BIM. The result being smoother construction processes with less wasted effort, and construction products, increasing end-user satisfaction   and longer asset-life for use by the community.

Electronic copies of the Framework are available on ACIF's website here and
APCC www.apcc.gov.au.

About Strategic Forum for Australasian Building and Construction Industry

An initiative of Australian Construction Industry Forum and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council

The Strategic Forum is a unique body that brings together key stakeholders in the Australasian building and construction industry. The Forum acts as an entry point and significant interface between government and the building and construction sector. It facilitates positive change and encourages greater productivity. Above all, it acts as a national forum to network and discuss issues that affect the industry.

This Forum is an entry point to facilitate joint pathways for improving building and construction industry productivity in Australasia. By working together to do this, we engender and encourage trust between the government and industry sectors.

Posted on 1 December 2014 | 1:00 pm

What makes ACIF Forecasts so different, so valuable?

ACIF develops tools to help everyone in the construction industry and those who use its services to be more efficient and productive. Some we produce on our own. Others are collaborations with our friends at the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council. 

  • Data to plan with.
  • Productivity resources to make your work as successful and profitable as possible.

Here's why these resources are so unique and so powerful.

Data to plan with

ACIF’s unique and powerful Forecasts of activity for residential and non-residential building and engineering construction will be released in December, in ACIF’s Australian Construction Market Report. It includes the national and all state and territory markets outlook overall, as well as the national and international markers of prosperity that drive demand for our industry’s services. The Report includes detailed commentary and charts covering all major asset types, as well as comprehensive construction costs trends for Australia from Rider Levett Bucknall. All your key planning data out to 10 years as well as 10 years of historical data.

>> Pre-order the Australian Construction Market Report here.

On top of the Australian Construction Market Report, ACIF’s Customised Forecast Dashboard gives you access to all the data behind the ACIF Forecasts and the Australian Construction Market Report. You can interrogate the database and download data and charts in ways to suit you, to produce your own customised forecasts of activity, across all three industry sectors, for 21 asset types, and out to 10 years. The ACIF has a video that that explains all, see it here.

>> Subscribe to the Dashboard here.

So what makes the Forecasts and the Dashboard so different and so valuable?

They harness the power of three key organisations.


ACIL Allen Consulting
Our forecaster is ACIL Allen Consulting, the largest Australian owned, independent, economic and public policy consulting firm in Australia. Their forecasts include analysis of the factors driving supply and demand, the economic scenarios that underpin the forecasts, and a set of leading indicators that help track movements in economic conditions. Forecasts cover the short term (8 quarters) and long term (10 years) for 21 asset types in residential and non-residential building and engineering construction.

Cordell Information
Cordell Information is the leading authority on project activity and building cost information in Australia. The Cordell Construction Projects division researches and tracks construction projects from early planning right through to when construction actually commences. Cordell provides critical data on projects with values of $20 million and above to inform our forecasts.
ACIF Construction Forecasting Council The members of our Construction Forecasting Council are leading industry economists and researchers. Members of the CFC provide the forecaster with relevant input data from their areas of expertise, identify issues requiring additional explanation. They review the recommendations of the forecaster during each forecasting cycle, and approve the forecasts before they are released. The ACIF  web site has details of the members of the Council.

 

The ACMR will be available for download in early December for $250. All our Customised Forecasts Dashboard subscribers have the opportunity to purchase the report for $200 (log in to the website before purchase so that your benefit can be offered to you).

>> View sample pages of the information included in the ACMR, or pre-purchase the report here. 

Posted on 23 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

15% off Cordell subscription

Cordell Connect special offer - 15% off for ACIF Dashboard subscribersACIF and Cordell have been working together for over 12 years providing industry information for the ACIF Forecasts. You can also use Cordell to see what is going on and where.

Until the end of 2014, ACIF Customised Forecast Dashboard Subscribers can enjoy a huge 15% off subscription to Cordell Connect.

When trying to grow your business, having access to quality project information and the ability to contact the right person at the right time is the key to success. Cordell has simplified this process.

Cordell has been researching and providing the Australian construction industry with comprehensive project information and leads since 1969, making them Australia’s leading supplier of construction information and intelligence. Cordell’s expert team research and track construction projects throughout the entire life cycle of a project, from the early warning stage right through to when construction actually commences. Reporting on over 100,000 projects per year, this information can be tailored exclusively to the needs of your business with Cordell Connect. This ensures you only receive leads and information that are relevant to your business, saving you time and helping to grow your business and monitor competitor activity more efficiently.

Plus, as Cordell Connect is completely web-based, you have access to project information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where you are – whether you’re onsite, in your office or at home. The project data is updated four times each weekday, so you can be sure that you have access to only the latest information possible.

>> Until the end of 2014 ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard subscribers are eligible for a 15% discount off Cordell Connect new member pricing. Just contact Cordell NOW and advise you are an ACIF Dashboard subscriber (Cordell will confirm with ACIF) to get this great benefit.

Posted on 23 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

Procurement policy changes

What do private sector suppliers (constructors, designers, and other consultants) want from government procurement policies and processes? Could changes in those policies and processes improve the way we deliver projects?

The Productivity Commission in its draft Report on Infrastructure Costs had a crack at some suggested changes, arguing that:

“There is significant scope to improve public sector procurement practices and lower bid costs for tenderers, with potentially large benefits for project costs and timing.”

Here are two changes in procurement approach suggested by the Commission.

  • Reducing bidding costs by investing more in initial design, contributing to the bid costs of tenderers, and requiring only cost‑relevant plans from all bidders, with the remaining ones required of the preferred tenderer.
  • Eliciting best value‑for‑money bids by improving the quality of information on possible costs by developing  initial designs using BIM, and, working with  industry to coordinate the establishment of common technical standards to ensure that the greatest benefits from the adoption of BIM are realised.

Both make sense, and could and should be applied to commercial building projects as well as infrastructure. There are other improvements that would make a difference. Here are 2 suggestions from ACIF’s policy on regulation.

Ensure procurement policy encourages collaborative working. Success in the future will involve greater attention being paid to collaborative working at all levels within a construction project. Procurement and tendering policies should support and encourage greater involvement of key stakeholders at the early stages of project development and should address the capacity of the industry to meet project objectives by allocating risk appropriately.

Government is a large customer. Demand innovation.  Government must encourage innovation by demanding innovative practices and sustainability on its projects. Done properly, demand side innovation will not inhibit competition or transparency. It can lift standards that flow across the public sector and to the private sector. These innovations include requiring the use of integrated project teams and the use of BIM. 

Encouraging public sector agencies to embrace change is a challenging task. It is not to be embarked on lightly, and patience is required. And yes, that is a partial lift from the Book of Common Prayer. The reasons are many and well known but it is worth reflecting on how the growing tide of support for BIM and its key driver, project team integration, is likely to generate sufficient momentum, and soon, to sweep away the perceived obstacles.

Clients approaching adoption of BIM, and the option of encouraging greater project team integration, with caution. There is some reluctance to adopt BIM as a tool to design and construct assets, and to manage them after they are commissioned.

In the public sector, each jurisdiction and the agencies within them are moving at their own pace. Some agencies are more advanced than others – those that regularly commission projects to deliver new or refurbished assets, and have significant asset portfolios to manage, are more advanced in their thinking and development of internal policies and processes. Agencies at the forefront include those for defence, health and education.

Key issues for public sector agencies include:

  • Assessing whether the costs of requiring the delivery and use of BIM models are outweighed by the asset’s whole-of-life benefits.
  • Identifying minimum threshold values of projects on which to require the use of BIM for designing, constructing or managing assets.
  • Assessing whether local suppliers (designers and constructors and asset managers) have the skills and resources to build and use BIM models.
  • Ensuring that smaller firms – whether designers or other consultants, or constructors – that are slower than others in using BIM are not disadvantaged.
  • Determining whether existing legislation, policies, or procedures are flexible enough to allow the early appointment of constructors to project teams to be part of the design process.
  • Determining the extent to which internal BIM or other project management capability is required when requiring the delivery and use of BIM models by suppliers.

Other related issues arise in considering the scope that government agencies and private sector clients have to encourage those bidding for design or construction work to use teams that integrate designers, trade contractors and head contractors.

The conventional approach to project delivery involves design work being undertaken by designers sufficient to enable the client to seek proposals and prices to construct an asset. This excludes constructors (including trade contractors who provide a head contractor with sub-contract proposals) from initial design.

A different approach is needed if we are to optimise the power of BIM to facilitate more effective collaboration focused on meeting client objectives is optimised. This alternative involves constructors (including relevant trade contractors) in the initial design as part of an integrated design team, regardless of the project delivery strategy selected.

This approach may involve challenging existing policies and procedures, which aim to ensure that the selection of suppliers is transparent and delivers value for money, and implementing alternatives in their place.

Clients, whether public or private, are addressing these issues in different ways and proceeding at their own pace. Nonetheless, the McGraw Hill  reports on use of BIM – globally and in Australia – point to the increasing adoption of BIM due to efficiencies and cost benefits. It is likely that, once the initial investment in systems and skills is made, BIM models and their use will be offered as a competitive advantage by early adopters, and eventually as a matter of course by all firms who wish to continue as suppliers.

It is reasonable to assume that the rate of adoption of BIM will increase as the number of clients requiring it grows. The challenges presently being considered by clients may indeed have a default response – industry will simply make BIM, and greater use of more effective project integration, part of its business-as-usual kitbag of tools.

These challenges, and others, are being explored in a Framework for Adoption of Project Team Integration and Building Information Modelling that is being developed by ACIF and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council.

>>The Framework will be launched on 2 December, and be available for download from the ACIF and APCC web sites.

Posted on 23 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

Uniform security of payment laws?

Its enough to drive you to drink! Do we need a national approach to security of payment legislation? Professor Phillip Evans from Curtin University who has been appointed to review the WA Construction Contracts Act raises the issue, as well as the difference in approach in WA from the Eastern states. The review of the Act will consider the desirability of a uniform approach.

In his discussion paper inviting submissions on the ACT Professor Evans makes the point that “The difficulty for Western Australia is that its model is considered by some legal academics to be largely better in practical operation than all other states. It is believed that little will be gained by adopting the majority legislative model as this is viewed as inferior in practice.”

Legal academics refer to the WA Act and its near equivalent in the Northern Territory as the “West Coast” model of security of payment legislation. All other states and the Australian Capital Territory have adopted a different legislative approach often referred to by these academics as the “East Coast” model.

Master Builders Australia describes the key differences in approach.

  • The East Coast model prescribe a statutory payments scheme that is and overrides any inconsistent provisions;.
  • The West Coast model maintains the parties’ contractual payment regimes to a large degree, rather than explicitly overriding them.
  • East Coast Acts only permit for statutory payment claims to be made up the contractual chain, which usually means a subcontractor making a payment claim against the head contractor. West Coast Acts allow for payment claims to be made up and down the contractual chain.
  • While both models allow for an adjudication scheme that determines payment claims as an immediate fast-track remedy, there are significant differences in terms of the provisions for adjudicator appointments, submissions which an adjudicator is permitted to consider and the way an adjudicator needs to adopt to arrive at his or her decision. The East Coast Acts are more restrictive in all these aspects than the Western Australian and Northern Territory Acts.

Calls for national uniformity in security of payment legislation have been made by the Cole Royal Commission, the Society of Construction Law Australia and Master Builders Australia. There are probably good reasons why there has been no attempt to harmonise the approaches. Just like 1901 really, when the Australian colonies agreed on a Constitution but have been squabbling ever since.

Is it time we took this up as a serious issue? Is there an appetite to review the East Coast approach and consider replacing it with something that looks like the WA approach?

>>Tell us what you think - send your email to ceo@acif.com.au. We’ll publish the most thoughtful response on the ACIF website and in our next enews, and reward the author with a bottle of Tasmanian single malt whisky

Posted on 23 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

New BIM and PTI resources to be released

ACIF develops tools to help everyone in the construction industry and those who use its services to be more efficient and productive. Some we produce on our own. Others are collaborations with our friends at the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council

In December we will release two new publications to add to our growing library of productivity resources.

Framework for the Adoption of Project Team Integration and BIM

Framework for Apotion of Project Team Integration and BIMThe ACIF and APCC have identified the key elements, underpinned by objectives and actions, that require a ‘BIM partnership’ approach between government and industry to encourage and support increased adoption of Project Team Integration and BIM.  These are:

  1. People: behaviour and capability
  2. Procurement and contracting
  3. PTI/BIM protocols
  4. Facilities management
  5. Information exchange and National Object Library
  6. Standards
  7. Technology

They are explored in a Framework for the Adoption of Project Team Integration and BIM, which will be launched in Canberra on 2 December, by the Hon. Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry. The Framework will be available for download after the launch from the APCC and ACIF web sites.

Guide to Successful Asset and Project Delivery

Guide to Successful Project and Asset DeliveryGuide to Successful Asset and Project Delivery: Getting it right up front will soon be available for download from the ACIF and APCC web sites. It provides a snapshot of the processes involved in planning, designing, and constructing capital works assets, and some of the existing resources produced by ACIF and APCC available to inform those processes. It is not intended to be, and is not, exhaustive. Rather, it seeks to provide those who may be unfamiliar with how those assets are created with an introduction, and links to further information.

The Guide has a considerable focus on collaborative working, and the integration of project teams. In common with most developed countries, our construction industry is project based, and relies heavily on bringing dozens and sometimes hundreds of separate organisations together to deliver an asset. Selection of team members (whether designers, builders, trade contractors or suppliers) is competitive. When the virtual project organisation created to deliver an asset has done its work, it is disbanded.

Whilst the competitive approach delivers value for money outcomes to clients and end users, it creates challenges for project teams.  That’s where our focus on collaboration comes in. The best projects deliver what end users want, and are happy places for team members to work. Good relations within project teams, like any organisation, need to be planned for, worked at, and managed. They encourage collaboration, and respect within teams for the skills and capabilities that team members bring to the project.

Following the processes for project initiation, team selection, and project planning suggested in this Guide and the resources it describes, will go a long way to ensuring that your project will deliver what you expected, when you need it, for the price you expected to pay.

Posted on 22 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

Sustainability celebrated at Awards

Australia’s top construction, engineering, architecture and design people and projects have been celebrated at the recent Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors Infinite Value Awards in Brisbane.

In their third year, the national Infinite Value Awards have established themselves as one of the most coveted accolades in the construction industry with this year’s focus being on sustainability.

Hosted by Channel 7 News anchor, Sharyn Ghidella, the awards attracted a high calibre of nominations with winners from across the eleven categories becoming eligible for the Award’s highest honours, Professional of the Year and Project of the Year.

Director of Rider Levett Bucknall, Canberra, Fiona Doherty, took out the Professional of the Year Infinite Value Award.

Selected by the judges for her proactive approach to cost saving and efficiency which is crucial to sustainable development, Fiona said it was very humbling to be recognised by her peers for the honour.

“After 25 years in the industry, it’s wonderful to receive this accolade and be professionally awarded. I’m very proud to have risen to the position I am in and I hope that I can inspire other women in the construction industry and help promote equality across the field” said Ms Doherty.

“I would say to all young aspiring professionals, stay focused and have a plan because things will pay off if you stick to them as this award proves” added Ms Doherty.
In keeping with this year’s sustainability theme, the Infinite Value Awards Project of the Year honour was taken out by the Sir Samuel Griffith Centre constructed at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus in Brisbane.

The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre is Australia’s first building relying entirely on photovoltaic arrays and hydrogen-hydride storage technologies to generate its power and deliver a truly innovative 6 star green rating.

The Centre can remain entirely ‘off grid’, generating and storing enough energy to power all its activity from the sun, water and oxygen.

Managing Director from Donald Cant Watts Corke Queensland, Mark Mammarella, headed up the quantity surveying team behind the Centre and said it was great to see innovation and sustainability celebrated on a national scale.

“We are extremely proud of this project; it’s an Australian first, the first of its kind to be powered off the grid in Australia which is a remarkable feat. As a result it has opened the door for other projects to use the new technologies we worked with in other development areas that will really benefit from such sustainability, such as rural and remote areas”, says Mr Mammarella.

Michael Manikas, CEO of the AIQS, said he is proud of the 2014 Infinite Value Awards winners and saying that the building and construction sector is one that is constantly pushing boundaries.

“The AIQS Infinite Value awards are all about highlighting innovation in the sector and these winners really are a snapshot of the future and what is possible for the construction industry,” Mr Manikas said.

“Maintaining awards programs like the Infinite Value Awards allows the industry and public to step back and recognise the innovation, commitment and success of our peers and the projects they work on,” he said.

This year’s winners include:

Project of the Year Sir Samuel Griffith Centre, Donald Cant Watts Corke

Professional of the Year Fiona Doherty, Rider Levett Bucknall

Coverforce Architectural Excellence Award Perth Arena, Ralph Beattie Bosworth

Engineering Excellence 8 Chifley Square, Mirvac

Conduit Recruitment Future Leader Award Irena Kuzman, MBMpl

Government Project Gold Coast University Hospital, Lend Lease

Innovation Project 50 Martin Place, MBMpl

Lifetime Contribution Mike O’Shea, MBMpl

Buildsoft Quantity Surveying Advocacy Dr Peter Smith, University of Technology Sydney

MBM Research & Teaching Prof Craig Langston, Bond University

Wood Solutions Sustainable/ Green Project Sir Samuel Griffith Centre, Donald Cant Watts Corke

Women in Construction Fiona Doherty, Rider Levett Bucknall

Posted on 2 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

Not enough classrooms, hospital beds and more

Demand Driven Forecasts 2014Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has today released new forecasts that show serious shortfalls or oversupply are expected for key building assets - including classrooms, hospital beds, office, retail and industrial space plus housing - in communities around Australia.

ACIF’s Demand Driven Forecasts 2014 start with population changes expected in 21 locales around Australia, determine the future needs of these communities, compared to the current and planned supply of each asset type.

Some regions will have be struggling to meet the needs of the community, yet other regions will see an oversupply of assets as the projected population will have a reduced need for some building types.

>> Find out more and purchase the Demand Driven Forecasts here

“Effective urban planning will only happen with sound information on asset supply and demand,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director of the Australian Construction Industry Forum, publisher of the Demand Driven Forecasts.

“Peering into the looking glass of the population we expect in 21 regions, we can see how their needs are set to change. Authorities have the chance now to plan for construction or re-use of community and other assets.”

Mr Barda was keen for readers of the Demand Driven Forecasts to understand the nature of the forecasts, however. “These Forecasts rely upon the published building and construction plans of governments. In some cases the Demand Driven Forecasts highlight where plans have not been released – or possibly made – and the potential gaps if action isn’t taken.”

Sample demand-supply chart from Demand Driven ForecastsThe Demand Drive Forecasts include charts for population projections to 2050, and the forecasts supply and demand for seven asset types to 2020. Matching the projected demand and supply for each asset is a ‘traffic light’ chart, highlighting the gaps.

The Demand Driven Forecasts use source data from government reports plus major project information from Cordell Information. Expert forecasters ACIL Allen Consulting analyse the data to produce the Demand Driven Forecasts for ACIF.

Sample Traffic Light chart from Demand Driven Forecasts

The Demand Driven Forecasts are part of the ACIF Forecasts, a suite of industry forecasts that provide the building and construction industry and its clients with a ‘compass’ to the future, so they plan to survive and thrive changing market conditions. ACIF Forecasts include a ten year outlook for work demand, labour requirements, major projects and the costs of building and construction. This work is supported by Principal Partner Cbus, plus Australian Institute of Architects, DesignBuild Expo, Cordell Information, Engineers Australia, Property Council of Australia and Viewpoint Construction Software.

Regions included in Demand Driven Forecasts

State Region
ACT Canberra
NSW Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong
NT Darwin
QLD Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast/Tweed, Mackay Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Townsville
SA Adelaide
TAS Hobart
VIC Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong
WA Perth, Mandurah, Pilbara

 

 

Posted on 12 October 2014 | 1:00 pm

How to gain benefit: BIM Framework and Other Guides

ACIF and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) are acutely aware of the need for optimal delivery outcomes that eliminate waste, maximise end user benefits, enhance industry participants and also increase the productivity of the Australian and New Zealand economies. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has the potential to deliver outstanding productivity gains to the Australian construction industry, and give clients of the industry buildings and infrastructure that are delivered on time, are more efficient and cost effective.

A study by the Allen Consulting Group found that accelerated adoption of BIM would increase GDP growth in Australia by 0.2 basis points in 2011, by 2025, it was estimated that GDP growth would be 5 basis points higher.  And also that the benefit cost ratio of early adoption of BIM would be around 10 (assuming a $500 million adoption cost).

These statistics provide clear evidence of the benefits and productivity gains achievable through the adoption of BIM.

>> Refer also to Resources > Productivity > Project Team Integration

In Australia and New Zealand the awareness of BIM is high and the drive for productivity is facilitating increased integration and collaboration of project teams.  However the commitment to and use of BIM and PTI is still relatively immature compared to other countries.

For Australia and New Zealand to achieve maximum benefits from the adoption of PTI and BIM, a number of activities need to be addressed with appropriate government or industry bodies taking the leadership role in championing delivery.

Different parts of the industry are working towards wider adoption of BIM software and practice in design, project site buildability, commissioning, and asset management. Design professionals are investing heavily in required technology and training. Trade contractors, particularly engineering services and structure trades, are doing likewise.

The industry’s professional bodies are working towards setting agreed national competency standards for people working with BIM software and management systems. Others are working hard to populate object libraries to make design faster and more efficient.

Industry however is but a servant of those who commission new assets or decide to refurbish existing ones. It will adopt new technology and systems when its clients demand them. It will willingly explore innovation in procurement, including early appointment of contractors to project teams with the intention of better integrating those teams, when its clients require it.

Industry and individual firms of designers and other consultants, constructors, trade contractors, and suppliers, are committed to working with representatives of clients and individual project sponsors to achieve wider and more effective adoption of BIM, of Project Team Integration, and to deliver better asset performance over the life of assets.

A joint working group of ACIF and the APCC are producing a Framework for the Adoption of Project Team Integration and Building Information Modelling to guide government and private sector clients, as well as design and construction professionals, to unlock those benefits. The Framework will be released in December.

Two other joint working groups are developing a guide to Procurement Models and Application of PTI and BIM Options articulating how to integrate BIM into each procurement model and different Roles and Responsibilities for each party, and a BIM Education Guide. BIM education and training in this context is about crystallising PTI and BIM knowledge and skills required by project participants of all disciplines and across all project lifecycle phases. 

More on these as they get closer to completion.

Posted on 10 October 2014 | 1:00 pm

Construction Product Quality Guide Released

Procurement of Construction ProductsThe Australian construction industry has developed a landmark guide to construction product quality, to address growing industry concern over product failures, and the attendant risks to workers and occupiers safety.

Led by the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC), a group of organisations representing government, designers, constructors and product manufacturers released a guide to achieving compliance for Procurement of Construction Products in September.  

As there are hundreds of thousands of building and construction products on the market - produced both domestically and internationally - it is extremely difficult to ascertain whether or not they all comply with the National Construction Code (NCC) and/or conform to the requirements of the relevant Australian or international standard where they exist.

The compliance and durability of construction products are major risk factors which need to be managed as they impact significantly on the service life and quality of building and construction projects.

Evidence suggests that the market penetration of non-conforming products in several key construction product sectors in Australia may be up to 50%2. This is a sobering and alarming statistic.

In Australia, there have been numerous instances in which non-compliant construction products have caused failure or damage to buildings, such as the collapse of buildings and motorway signs, and failure of key building elements, such as glass panels, steel fixings and more.

The most concerning consequence of construction product failure is its impact on safety. In the most extreme cases, such failure can lead to serious injury or loss of life. The potential risks to the community and construction industry workers are immeasurable and should not be underestimated. Without doubt, the use of faulty construction products puts lives at risk.

It is, therefore, vital that the industry works together to create an environment in which all stakeholders in the building and construction process, including the community, are confident that construction products meet a minimum acceptable level of quality and compliance, and are fit for the purposes for which they are intended.

It is important to understand the responsibility to determine whether or not a construction product is fit for its intended purpose and the profound consequences in the event that the product is found to be defective. However, the procurement of construction products has become increasingly complex, and information and guidance to assist the procurement process is scarce. In particular, for many 'safety critical' products, there is often a Iack of credible and accurate information available in Australia to assist stakeholders involved in construction projects to verify construction product compliance and conformance, in order to determine whether o not a product is fit-for-purpose.

This Guide seeks to assist in the decision-making processes for the procurement of construction products in Australia, with a view to elevating levels of compliance and providing a level of confidence to all parties in the supply chain.

An appendix to the Guide provides examples of a number of conformity assessment schemes or guides. By its nature, the appendix is dynamic and will change, therefore it is designed to be updated regularly.

>> The Guide may be downloaded here or the APCC web site www.apcc.gov.au

Posted on 9 October 2014 | 1:00 pm

Changes to National Construction Code

Neil Savery the General Manager of the Australian Building Codes Board and his Deputy Trent Bourne gave the ACIF Board a detailed overview of the strategic changes being implemented by the Board from the beginning of 2015, at our September meeting. The changes include making the National Construction Code available free of charge. 

Governments will now fund the entire ABCB operation, and the ABCB will no longer need to produce and sell annual revisions to the NCC to pay its way. From February there will be no hard copies of the NCC – it will be available only online.

The key for ABCB from here on will be to track who is using the Code, as it shifts focus from publishing to value adding – it will focus on how industry firms use the Code, and is investing in sophisticated online publishing software allowing for more sophisticated tracking of and support for users.

A new communication and awareness strategy is being developed including online training programs, webcasts, and videos. Pointsbuild has been appointed to deliver on line learning.

Further reform work continues, including identifying redundant, duplicated, and unnecessary, provisions. There are potentially hundreds of millions of dollars added cost that could be stripped out. 

>> A detailed summary is provided here.

Posted on 9 October 2014 | 1:00 pm

BIM resources together in one place

NATSPEC has released a national collection of BIM resources.

The NATSPEC National BIM Portal is a repository of documents and tools that will assist the implementation of BIM in the construction industry.

The National BIM Portal is home to the NATSPEC National BIM Guide, and also acts as the ACIF and APCC Project Team Integration (PTI) and BIM Knowledge Hub. 

NATSPEC is a not-for-profit organisation with the objective of improving the construction quality and productivity of the built environment through leadership of information.

NATSPEC believes that digital information, including 3-D Modelling and Building Information Modelling, will provide improved methods of design, construction and communication for the industry.

Further, NATSPEC supports open global systems. This will result in improved efficiency and quality.
NATSPEC’s primary focus is on the “i” (information) in BIM and how it is linked to digital models.

NATSPEC’s areas of interest include how specification information can be best integrated with BIM and the development of BIM guidelines and standards beneficial to the construction industry.

>> Click here to visit the NATSPEC BIM Guide

Posted on 4 September 2014 | 2:00 pm

New APCC Guide to Procurement

APCC Guide to Procurement of Construction ProductsThe Australiasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC), has launched the APCC Procurement of Construction Products – A guide to achieving compliance (the Guide).

The Guide is an important and valuable contribution to the efficiency and reliability of the building and construction industry. This new Guide has been jointly developed by 30 key construction industry stakeholders and supported by many others. 
 
Teresa Scott, Executive Director of the APCC said, "The Guide will increase awareness, provide guidance, understanding, and improved decision making in the procurement and compliance issues of construction products. "

"It is hoped that the Guide will provide procurers with greater clarity, reduce confusion and assist to ‘de-mystify’ matters relating to the conformance of construction products in Australia. 

"The guidance and conformity assessment schemes included in the Appendix provide useful and practical information and reference for procurers.

"The Guide fills an existing void by providing a solid non-regulatory and invaluable tool for the procurement of construction products in Australia and providing a level of confidence for all stakeholders involved in building and construction project delivery."
 
The Guide is accessible via the APCC website and here on the ACIF website.

Posted on 31 August 2014 | 2:00 pm

New Super Guarantee Rate

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reminding employers that they need to increase the compulsory minimum super payments they make on behalf of eligible employees.

Emma Haines, ATO Assistant Commissioner said the super guarantee rate increased from 9.25 per cent to 9.5 per cent on 1 July 2014 and employers must ensure they have calculated their super correctly for pay periods after that date.

“Super contributions are calculated based on the date you pay your employees. If this date was on 1 July or after then you will need to use the new super guarantee rate.”

“Employers can use the ATO’s online superannuation guarantee contributions calculator to work out how much super they must contribute for eligible workers,” Ms Haines said. 

For more information about super guarantee visit www.ato.gov.au/employersuper or seek help from your superannuation service provider.

Posted on 7 August 2014 | 2:00 pm

Project Team Integration – The Key To Optimising BIM

ACIF and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) have produced two important and valuable guides to help the construction industry improve productivity. The Case for Project Team Integration, and The Project Team Integration Workbook contain straightforward ways to improve project team collaboration and performance. They make a strong case for early integration of project team members, to get the best from all disciplines that can contribute to good project outcomes and, where it is used, from Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Collaboration amongst members of project teams in the construction industry is a good thing. It is a vital input to efficiency and productivity, reduction in wasted effort, and minimisation of disputes.  BIM will produce best results (design to achieve project sponsors' objectives, minimal changes, optimal buildability, designed-in operational efficiency) when all who can contribute are involved in designing and planning for the work they will perform for the project.

That requires               

  • integrating project teams to create, sustain and encourage the collaborative behaviour required of all members of project teams if optimal project outcomes are to be achieved; and
  • the powerful enabling tools presented by BIM, that optimise the process of planning, designing, constructing and operating assets.

Both developments have demonstrated significant improvements in time, cost and quality outcomes, when used separately. The industry is beginning to invest heavily in BIM to drive more efficient design, site management, construction methods, and asset management. It is also a key to driving greater productivity from supply chain arrangements, offering opportunities to standardise and modularise components.

The full benefits of BIM will not be realised without a delivery methodology in place that facilitates the integration of contractors, trade contractors and suppliers in the design process.

The benefits of early appointment coupled with use of BIM to develop design solutions to meet needs, are significant. The orthodox approach of appointing contractors only after designs are sufficiently developed to allow for tendering denies buyers opportunities for productivity gains, both in capital and recurrent cost.

Both documents are available to download free of charge here on ACIF website or www.apcc.gov.au.

ACIF and APCC will be holding workshops to demonstrate how the Workbook can improve project outcomes, and will present an hour long webinar on the Workbook in September for the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management. Dates will be announced soon.

Posted on 21 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Latest 'Scope for Improvement' Report

Law firm Ashurst has released the fourth of its latest of its Scope for Improvement Reports, "Project Pressure Points – Where Industry Stands".

Scope for Improvement reports on pressure points and industry practices in Australian construction and infrastructure projects – the key issues, trends and opportunities for change and improvement.  Since 2006, Ashurst has undertaken industry-wide research into projects worth more than $135billion.  Only around half of these projects have been delivered on time, on budget and to the required quality, and disputes have been prevalent.  This research formed the basis of Scope for Improvement reports in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

The fourth report reflects the views of participants in these projects on how well industry is responding to challenges and provides guidance on improved approaches to achieve better project outcomes.

This report identifies a series of major issues which continue to hamper the delivery of projects around Australia and which put at risk the prospects of industry participants and contribute to declining productivity.  The main obstacles identified in the report are these:

  • a shortage of skilled workers;
  • inadequate scoping;
  • use of inappropriate delivery methods;
  • poor risk allocation and management; and
  • unrealistic time and cost objectives.

>> The report and the previous reports are here.

Posted on 21 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Building Regulations Revolution

Just when you thought that most talk from governments about cutting red tape is, well, just hot air, out comes a really important change that delivers real gains for the construction industry. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has announced big changes to the strategic framework of regulation, and the systems that manage them.

The ABCB will make the National Construction Code (NCC) available on line and free of charge from 2015, and move to a three year amendment cycle in 2016. This is one of those cases that is so obvious and worthwhile that it makes you wonder why it wasn’t done years ago. The resources and effort needed to produce annual revisions can be re-directed to more useful tasks, and the need for industry to be on top of annual changes has gone.

The loss of revenue from selling the Code will be made up of a modest increase in budget funding, savings in production costs, and administrative efficiencies.

There are other equally important changes in the package of measures that will be welcomed by the industry.

The performance measures used by the ABCB will change to focus on uptake and use of the NCC, encouraging innovation. State and Territory departures from the NCC, the bane of those who work across borders, will be reduced as a big step towards national consistency. The imposition of higher prescriptive standards than those in the NCC by other authorities, such as local governments, will be limited.

Other innovations will focus on more efficient and effective delivery of the NCC on line, enhancing the design and appearance of the Code, increasing harmonisation of the building and plumbing codes, and the development of national practice notes to deliver greater consistency in interpretation.

Posted on 21 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Productivity Commission Report

The Australian Government has released the Productivity Commission’s Final Inquiry Report into Public Infrastructure. The Treasurer asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of public infrastructure in November last year, with terms of reference that included identifying ways to reduce infrastructure costs and address barriers to private sector financing.

The majority of reforms recommended by the Commission relate directly to state and territory governments, and the Australian Government has announced it will consult with them over the next few months before it releases its own response to the Report.

Here are the key recommendations.

  1. There is an urgent need to comprehensively overhaul processes for assessing and developing public infrastructure projects.
    1. There are numerous examples of poor value for money arising from inadequate project selection, potentially costing Australia billions of dollars.
    2. Additional spending under the status quo will simply increase the cost to users, taxpayers, the community generally, and lead to more wasteful infrastructure.
    3. Reliance on the notion of an infrastructure deficit, too, could encourage poor investment choices.
  2. It is essential to reform governance and institutional arrangements for public infrastructure to promote better decision making in project selection, funding, financing and the delivery of services from new and existing infrastructure.
  3. Well-designed user charges should be used to the fullest extent that can be economically justified. However, governments will have to continue to fully or partly fund some infrastructure projects and address equity issues.
  4. Significant institutional and longer-term road pricing arrangements will create more direct links to road users, taking advantage of advances in vehicle technology.
  5. Private sector involvement in infrastructure provision and/or financing delivers efficiency gains only if well designed and well implemented.
    1. Private financing is not a 'magic pudding' — ultimately users and/or taxpayers must foot the bill.
    2. Government guarantees and tax concessions are not costless and often involve poorly understood risks.
  6. Governments will have some capacity to fund more projects than under current fiscal and debt management practices, provided the reform package in this report is implemented to ensure the selection of projects with strong net benefits.
  7. Data problems limit analysis and benchmarking. A coordinated and coherent data collection process will address this and improve future project selection decisions.
  8. Nevertheless, there is evidence of recent significant increases in the costs of constructing major public infrastructure in Australia. Elevated labour costs due to the mining construction boom has been one factor, but no single input has played a decisive role in cost increases.
  9. Until recently, labour productivity growth in the construction sector generally has been sluggish. There is no conclusive evidence that Australian levels of productivity in construction are significantly different from other developed countries.
  10. The industrial relations environment in the construction industry remains problematic, mainly in general rather than civil construction, with the problems much greater for some sites, unions and states. Governments can use their procurement policies to drive reform, and penalties for unlawful conduct should rise.
  11. Despite significant concentration in the market for large public infrastructure projects, the market appears to be workably competitive today, though a few simple measures would make it more so and would reduce the cost pressures facing procurers.
  12. There is significant scope to improve public sector procurement practices and lower bid costs for tenderers, with potentially large benefits for project costs and timing.

ACIF is encouraged by the Commission’s willingness to address many of the issues and practices about which the private sector has been concerned for years, including the issues associated with the cost of the front end of delivering infrastructure. It has recognised that the costs of tendering on large projects could be moderated if clients spent more on initial design, rather than loading design costs on to competing bidders, and that it would be equitable to compensate unsuccessful tenderers for at least part of their tender costs. 

The Commission has understood that the progressive dismantling over two decades of government’s ability to procure and deliver assets, and the associated devolution of asset delivery from government to the private sector, have made it difficult to find “educated” public sector clients. It has suggested that clients become “more informed about the project they are wishing to purchase and for clients not to rush to market with untested scope documents. The importance of informed customers has equal relevance to other forms of government contracting. For example, for PPPs, the patronage risk analysis, undertaken by governments and any other information relevant to project risks should be provided to potential bidders to lower bid costs and elicit better costed bids.”

It goes on to suggest that Government clients should garner the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to provide a better understanding of whole‑of‑life project costs and potentially lower construction costs. The Commission recommends government clients should “consider provision of initial designs in a BIM format when the project is of sufficient complexity to provide for lower construction costs and the selection of the lowest ‘whole‑of‑life’ design option.”

The Commission has also identified the use of excessively tight rules on probity as a form of inefficient or excessive risk aversion, which can (and the industry knows that they do) increase the time and costs of procurement processes, and frustrate superior procurement options for some projects.

>> For the brave and interested, both volumes of the report may be downloaded here.

Posted on 21 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Standard Construction Contracts – Who Cares?

Much energy and time and resources are devoted to developing and maintaining standard forms of contract for the construction industry. Sometimes great energy and heat are spent arguing over whether standard contracts are worth the effort, doing little more than generating revenue for the organisations that sponsor and produce them. Those who argue that it’s not worth the effort now have useful and instructive research findings that demonstrate just why the use of standard contracts is important, and why we should care how they are produced and used.

The University of Melbourne Law School, with the support of the Society of Construction Law Australia, has published the results of a research project investigating current practice in relation to standard forms of contract in the Australian construction industry.

The research project relied on a web-based survey (which received 295 responses representing 379 projects) and 47 interviews with key industry personnel. The key findings include:

  • there is broad support in principle for the use of standard forms;
  • however, 54% of respondents believe that there is no current standard form capable of being used in Australia without substantial amendment;
  • 68% of contracts reported upon used standard forms;
  • of those, 84% were amended from the standard form;
  • the primary reason identified for amendment was the ‘need to shift risk’;
  • overall, AS4300-1995 was the most widely used form in Australia (used in 23% of projects using a standard form), followed by AS4000-1997 (18%), AS2124-1992 (17%) and AS4902-2000 (14%);
  • the form was chosen by the principal or principal’s lawyer in more than 80% of cases;
  • the dominant factor identified for that choice was ‘familiarity with the form of the party choosing it;
  • the extent and types of amendments to standard forms varied by form, contracting sector and value; and
  • overall, the highest incidence of amendment was in relation to extensions of time, delay damages, site conditions, variations, warranties, claims, security of payment, GST, workplace health and safety and limitations on liability.

The full report is available here.

Posted on 21 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Construction Products Quality – Achieving Compliance

Evidence suggests that the market penetration of non-conforming products in several key construction product sectors in Australia may be up to 50%. This is a sobering and alarming statistic. The Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) has been working with more than 20 other organisations to produce a guide to construction products quality compliance. 

The guide is close to being released on line by APCC and will address the growing concern of industry over product quality standards certification. The compliance and durability of construction products are major risk factors which need to be managed as they impact significantly on the service life and quality of building and construction projects.

It is important to understand the responsibility to determine whether or not a construction product is fit for its intended purpose and the profound consequences in the event that the product is found to be defective. However, the procurement of construction products has become increasingly complex, and information and guidance to assist the procurement process is scarce. In particular, for many ‘safety critical’ products, there is often a lack of credible and accurate information available in Australia to assist stakeholders involved in construction projects to verify construction product compliance and conformance, in order to determine whether or not a product is fit-for-purpose. 

This Guide seeks to assist in the decision-making processes for the procurement of construction products in Australia, with a view to elevating levels of compliance and providing a level of confidence to all parties in the supply chain.

Separately, the Australian Industry Group is leading a working group attacking the problems of non-compliance from another perspective, drawing on the evidence of widespread non-compliance in its November 2013 report The quest for a level playing field, The non-conforming building product dilemma.

Posted on 21 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Tradies National Health Month

Tradies National Health Month this August will boost and transform the health and safety of Australian tradies.

Safe Work Australia recently reported $8.7 billion in compensation costs for trips, slips and falls relating to 26,705 claims and with research showing that 80% of injured workers in Australia are tradesmen and labourers, this initiative is a must.

Tradies rely on their physical and mental health to do their jobs and ignoring aches, pains and body stress could result in disability and debilitation in the future. Steel Blue and the Australian Physiotherapy Association are providing tradies with the right tools to help them move well, stay well and assist in reducing the risk and severity of injuries.  

Throughout August, there will be events at work sites Australia wide with physiotherapists and Steel Blue representatives spreading the word. Physiotherapists will be hosting Q&A’s and providing tips for tradies in areas such as neck, back, shoulder and knee health. Steel Blue representatives will also take to worksites and highlight the full body health benefits of wearing correct footwear.  

“We are encouraging everyone to get involved and spread the word, so if you are interested in hosting a worksite event anywhere in Australia, please register online and we can organise physios, and Steel Blue reps who know the importance of proper safety in the work place, to make it down,” Ross Fitzgerald, General Manager of Steel Blue.

“A large proportion of life is spent at work and with tradies placing their bodies under a lot of stress in their day-to-day activities it is understandable that they may get hurt. The Australian Physiotherapy Association is passionate about keeping Australian tradies pain-free, moving well and living to their full potential,” said Cris Massis, Chief Executive Officer of Australian Physiotherapy Association.

All tradies are encouraged to register their support online and will enter a $4,000 prize draw to win the ultimate outdoor adventure and choose from the ultimate surfing, camping or fishing trip.

Bigger and better each year as we reach more tradies - this year, Tradies National Health Month is also launching an online game featuring an Australian celebrity. More details to be revealed soon.

Posted on 15 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Which one - trade or profession, or job?

Imagine you are starting out in the building and construction industry. You know you want to be amongst it, but are yet to work out which type of player you are going to be - a high-skilled type, a low-skilled type or a tradesperson?

Could you base your choice upon where the prospects are for each?

ACIF Forecasts includes the outlook for different labour requirements across the country, with a rolling ten year forecast plus the past ten years actual requirements. Entrants to the industry, and their educators, can gain important information to inform their choice from the ACIF Forecasts.

The below chart from the Customised Forecasts Dashboard shows that for volume of opportunities, the 'fluro-vest economy' really is the way to go.

Labour Forecasts from ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard

>> Need the expert comments and analysis on the outlook for your state or territory across all sectors and work types, with the national outlook for reference? Construction Market Reports are here

Around $1 a day for leading industry data - Customised Forecasts Dashboard

>> Need full data set on your own tailored needs, for work demand, labour needs, projects coming up and construction costs? You need the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. View details and brief video on what it includes here.

Posted on 15 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Where to for engineering construction in WA?

Nationally, ACIF Forecasts show that engineering construction is expected to peak this financial year at $128 billion, just short of an additional $1 billion of spending observed in 2012-13. Many of the large-scale mining projects that have dominated this category and sector over the past five years are now coming to an end, and will be moving into production.

That said, there are several major projects that are still under construction or are committed. As a result, despite the imminent sharp downturn in total engineering construction spending, the absolute value of work done in this construction category will remain well above the historical average, and is projected to be around $110 billion in 2022-23.

Western Australia has the greatest change in prospects in engineering construction. For the people and businesses experience and committed to this type of work and location - where to from here?

The below chart from the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard shows the projections for WA engineering construction for Roads; Bridges, Railways, HarboursElectricity and Pipelines; Water/SewerageTelecommunications; as well as Heavy Industry inc Mining.

Demand for engineering construction in WA

>> Need the expert comments and analysis on the outlook for Western Australia and Perth across all sectors and work types, with national outlook for reference? Construction Market Report for WA and Perth is here

Around $1 a day for leading industry data - Customised Forecasts Dashboard

>> Need full data set on your own tailored needs, for work demand, labour needs, projects coming up and construction costs? You need the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. View details and brief video on what it includes here.

Posted on 14 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Resi in Sydney hotting up - New? Alts? Adds?

The ACIF Forecasts show improved demand for residential building in Sydney at last. But what TYPE of work should you aim for?

The below chart from the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard shows the short term demand for Sydney residential building for New Homes, New Other Residential, compared to Alterations and Additions (Large) and Alterations and Additions (Small). Which would you like to aim for?

Residential building outlook for Sydney from Customised Forecasts Dashboard

>> Need the expert comments and analysis on the outlook for NSW and Sydney across all sectors and work types, with national outlook for reference? Construction Market Report for NSW is here

Around $1 a day for leading industry data - Customised Forecasts Dashboard

>> Need full data set on your own tailored needs, for work demand, labour needs, projects coming up and construction costs? You need the Customised Forecasts Dashboard. View details and brief video on what it includes here.

Posted on 14 July 2014 | 2:00 pm

Employers: prepare for SuperStream

The ATO is encouraging employers to prepare for the introduction of SuperStream which will change the way they make superannuation contributions in the future.

In cooperation with their service provider or default fund, employers can opt-in to use SuperStream from as early as 1 July 2014.

The ATO expects most large and medium employers will implement SuperStream between July and December of this year.

SuperStream introduces a new standard for all employers which involves making super contributions electronically with linked data and payments.  All super contributions are treated in the same way – whether sent to a default or choice fund, an APRA fund or self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF).

“The main benefit for employers is that the SuperStream standard will simplify the employer experience and reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary variation and complexity that has crept into the system over recent years,” Mr Philip Hind ATO’s National Program Manager, Data Standards & E-Commerce (SuperStream) said.

The improvements mean employers will increasingly find that they can use a single channel when dealing with super funds, regardless of how many funds their employees contribute to.

“The need for reform of Australia’s superannuation system was highlighted in the 2010 Cooper Review which found the existing processes made poor use of technology and there was no consistency in the data required and how funds deal with contributions,” Mr Hind said.

“SuperStream is one of the most significant improvements to the compulsory superannuation system since its inception 20 years ago.

“All employers need to introduce changes in the way they currently make super contributions; although some who are already working electronically or have a clearing house partner will find these changes are relatively minor.”  

The ATO is focused on awareness raising, education and support for employers during the first few years of SuperStream as the new standard is adopted.

“All large and medium-sized employers need to prepare now to ensure they’re ready to transition to SuperStream at the earliest available opportunity,” Mr Hind said. 

“The ATO will provide flexibility and support to employers making a genuine attempt to comply with their obligations under SuperStream. This means you must have in place firm implementation plans with your service provider or default fund including a proposed completion date.  A large or medium employer must complete their implementation by no later than 30 June 2015.”

Small employers (those with 19 or fewer employers) have another year before they commence using SuperStream, starting from 1 July 2015but completing their implementation by no later than 30 June 2016.

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

WA is slowing down

Construction Market Report from Australian Construction Industry ForumEconomic growth in Western Australia is slowing, and as such the Government projects growth to slow to 3.75% in 2013-174 and to 2.5% in 2014-15.

ACIF projects spending in Western Australian engineering construction to peak in 2014-15, followed by a gradual decline as major resource projects come to an end. Although spending will fall quickly at first, the downward trend will likely flatten out at levels well above the historical average.

>> Click here for Construction Market Reports for all states and territories

>> Click here for the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to access the FULL ACIF Forecasts data set

>> View a recording of the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane, thanks to our media partners Building On Air.

Non residential building activity has grown strongly as support services demand grew with the rise of mining townships and rapid population growth. We anticipate these activities to slow down and trend at close to zero growth through to 2022-23.

Performance in residential building activity has been mixed in past years. By comparison to the surge in engineering expenditure, its annual growth has remained relatively flat. We project relatively weak growth in this sector, similar to its historical pattern.

The completion of several of the mega projects signals the beginning to a production and export driven economy, which will sustain output growth, albeit at a less exuberant pace than recent years. However, the transition period is likely to involve some pain. Business activity is showing signs of weakening, but this is unlikely to continue beyond the medium term, as revenue generated from exports will provide new opportunities.

ACIF projects total construction spending to contract for several years to come as engineering construction faces a sharp decline which will level by around 2018-19.

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

Up and up for NSW

Construction Market Reports from Australian Construction Industry ForumThe outlook for New South Wales’ economy is positive, with output growth projected to lead the rest of Australia as the booming states of Western Australia and Queensland feel the impact of a decelerating mining sector over the coming decade.

After years of sluggish performance, the residential building sector is expected to see significant improvements, driven largely by the relatively low interest rates and existing pent-up demand for new houses and multi-unit dwellings. There is also a healthy pipeline of engineering construction projects in mining, rail and roads that are already committed or on their way.

Overall, ACIF projects New South Wales to be one of the leading states in construction activity in the coming decade.

>> Click here for Construction Market Reports for all states and territories

>> Click here for the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to access the FULL ACIF Forecasts data set

>> View a recording of the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane, thanks to our media partners Building On Air.

The historical trend for each of the construction sectors in New South Wales has been unique. While engineering construction has enjoyed consistent year-on-year growth from 2003-04 to 2012-13, the residential building sector underwent periods of relatively low activity during the same period, with annual spending falling by as much as $5.5 billion between 2003-04 and 2009-10.

Activity in residential building has shown signs of recovery in the past two years, and is projected to continue on an upward trajectory through to 2022-23 as interest rates remain at low levels, providing plenty of liquidity in the home loans market.

Non residential activity took a small dip in 2011-12, however, like the residential building sector, has been on a moderate growth path since. Construction expenditure in this sector is expected to be far more modest in terms of annual growth compared to residential building.

Speakers for ACIF Briefing in Sydney

Ian Pedersen, Deputy Chairman, ACIF
Ian Pedersen is a structural engineer with more than thirty years experience in engineering, project and general management, business development, finance, and government and media liaison.
Ian is a Past National President (1999–2000) of Engineers Australia [The Institution of Engineers Australia), Chief of Judges for the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards, a Councillor of the NSW Business Chamber, and Chair of the  Chamber's Infrastructure Committee.  

Kerry Barwise, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting 
Originally commencing with the Allen Consulting Group in 1997, Kerry is now a leader within the firm’s Built Environment and Energy Efficiency practice areas. He started his career in providing economic policy advice at the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Treasury, where he was for 11 years. 
Kerry has planning and built environment expertise, and is particularly interested in the intersection of policy development in areas including land use, transport, urban design, sustainability, greenhouse gas abatement, renewable energy, and community development.

Nicholas Crothers, Director Research & Consulting, Jones Lang Lasalle
Nick responsible for managing the provision of strategic research services to all of Jones Lang LaSalle’s New South Wales business lines.
Nick joined Jones Lang LaSalle in 2008 having previously held the role of National Research Manager for Stockland Development, Research Manager at Dexus Property Group and National Research Manager at the Property Council of Australia.

Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management, Folkestone
Adrian has more than 20 years of experience in the funds management and real estate industries. He was formerly CEO Funds Management, UK and USA for Mirvac Group. He previously held senior positions at James Fielding Group, Deutsche Asset Management, Paladin Australia and the Property Council of Australia. Adrian is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Adrian has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the University of New South Wales and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.

Matthew Harris, Director, Rider Levett Bucknall
Matthew has worked in Professional Practice for some 20 years including 7 years as a Company Director and Shareholder of Rider Levett Bucknall.
Matthew began his career in the UK.  Since moving to Australia in 1994, Matthew has worked in senior positions with large consulting groups providing professional services in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong.  Matthew provides advice in Construction and Infrastructure Cost Management, with particular interest in financial engineering, methods of procurement and strategies for success.

Brian Seidler, Master Builders Association NSW
Brian has been Executive Director of the NSW Master Builders Association since 2000.  Prior to his appointment he was extensively involved in providing full time on-site industrial relations advice to a number of major development projects.  
He has served as a Director on several industry-related bodies including the Australian Construction Industry Redundancy Trust and the Allied Construction Employees Superannuation Fund.

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

It's our industry - but do we care enough?

ACIF’s latest forecasts for the industry and some interesting “births and deaths” numbers set me to thinking about our industry’s resources, and how we approach skills formation and retention. Our May forecasts presented a strong (though geographically patchy) recovery in residential building, non-residential flat-lining overall, and a decline in new engineering construction, albeit with current workloads still at historically very high levels.

Employment Forecasts from ACIF Forecasts May 2014The employment story was at first glance perplexing. Remember the skills shortage we had before the world crashed with the collapse of financial markets? And then the very real concern of a jobs blood bath as more than $60 billion worth of committed projects were canned.

You would think that the employment numbers from 2008 to now would show big shifts as activity waxed and waned. Not so. This graph tells the story of an industry with a remarkably stable workforce.

Sure, the year on year numbers change as GDP growth changes, but the swings were not severe – the biggest a 3% decline in 2009-10?

But it seems that smaller firms have less interest in skills formation, and encouraging young people to enter the industry, than larger firms with more invested in capital and reputation. 

>> Read more

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

SA adjusting to change

Construction Market Report by Australian Construction Industry ForumPerformance in South Australian construction activity is projected to have mixed results, says the May release of the ACIF Forecasts.

While the beneficial impacts of historically low interest rates will support some activity while the state continues to adjust to structural change, high exchange rates and labour costs have had an adverse impact on South Australia’s manufacturing sector.

Real gross state product (GSP) grew by 1.3% in 2012-13, which was a minor fall from the 1.8% growth recorded in the previous year.

>> Click here for Construction Market Reports for all states and territories

>> Click here for the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to access the FULL ACIF Forecasts data set

>> View a recording of the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane, thanks to our media partners Building On Air.

Total construction spending in South Australia increased by 3% in 2012-13. The main driver of growth was a surge in engineering construction.

Total construction spending is anticipated to fall in 2013-14, stemming from a tapering-off in engineering construction and non residential building activities.

>> Click here for the South Australian Construction Market Report

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

Key drivers may ward off negative state for VIC

Construction Market Reports from Australian Construction Industry ForumConstruction activity was negative in Victoria in 2012-13 despite strong growth in the residential building sector. A larger contraction is projected for 2013-14 at approximately minus 1.5%, driven largely by the projected reduction in residential building activity.

While there is a lot of attention on negative outlook for manufacturing in the state, the key driver for construction has been population growth and lower interest rates. However, these are unlikely to be insufficient to ward-off the contraction in residential activity foreshadowed for 2013-14.

>> Click here for Construction Market Reports for all states and territories

>> Click here for the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to access the FULL ACIF Forecasts data set

>> View a recording of the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane, thanks to our media partners Building On Air.

Deceleration in growth is expected to be particularly pronounced in residential building. Engineering construction is predicted to only have minimal change in the next two years before returning to a gradual upward trend from 2016-17 onwards.

Non residential building activity is anticipated to continue to on a very marginal growth trend, average around 1.5% annual growth over the forecast period.

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

Job cuts to hit ACT building industry

Construction Market Reports from Australian Construction Industry ForumJob cuts in the Australian public service are likely to be significantly impact the economic outlook for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

The Federal Government has flagged intentions to reduce the public service workforce by up to 14,000 people, with some reports suggesting that over 5,000 of this to come from the nation’s capital. Lower employment in the ACT would impact personal consumption levels and put additional downward pressure on housing demand, reversing previous strong growth. 

>> Click here for Construction Market Reports for all states and territories

>> Click here for the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to access the FULL ACIF Forecasts data set

>> View a recording of the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane, thanks to our media partners Building On Air.

Overall, the subdued economic outlook for the ACT is expected to adversely impact construction spending. ACIF projects marginal growth in Construction activity in the ACT over the projection period, at less than 0.5% per annum.

The surge in residential building spending observed between 2008-09 and 2011-12 has come to an end, and demand for new houses as well as apartments and townhouses is anticipated to dip.

That said, the Territory Government has been active in seeking residential development opportunities in recent years, and a long list of approved residential and mixed-use projects in both green and brown field sites exists. The fall in residential building activity may be quicker than what is projected by our forecast model, if planned projects are placed on hold as the economy slips into sluggish growth.

Non residential activity has been strong in recent years, but a sharp drop was observed between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Although there is some potential for a flurry of activity to take place in this sector further down the track, the projection is of a modest growth to 2022-23.

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

QLD building - peaking in 2013/14?

Construction Market Reports from Australian Construction Industry Forum available now​Large-scale investment in Queensland mining and associated infrastructure have meant that engineering construction expenditure has grown at a speed, and to amounts, at unprecedented levels. As a result, over the past decade Queensland’s economy has been booming, fuelled by the surge in mining activity. 

In its latest Construction Market Reports, ACIF projects the peak in Queensland's construction spending to be reached this year, in 2013-14. As construction of many of the mega projects come to completion in the medium to long term, the state’s income is set to continue on an upward trajectory, resulting from the increased capacity to export coal and gas to international markets.

>> Click here for Construction Market Reports for all states and territories

>> Click here for the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to access the FULL ACIF Forecasts data set

>> View a recording of the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane, thanks to our media partners Building On Air.

Although activity in engineering construction is expected to hit a turning point this year, the fall in annual spend in this sector will be slower than the speed at which it rose. Many major projects remain in the pipeline, with several more proposed but not yet committed.

As personal income levels continue to rise, we expect to see some of that wealth to pour into the residential building sector, which has been subdued over the past five years.

Construction activity in Queensland over the past ten years is a tale of two stories. Spending in engineering construction has grown by nearly sixfold (approximately $7 billion in 2003-04 to $39 billion in 2012-13), whilst growth in residential and non residential building expenditure has been much more modest in comparison.

Although the tapering in engineering construction activity may seem drastic in the short to medium term future, existing large-scale investments such as the ongoing Australia Pacific LNG development (approximately $23 billion) and those in the project pipeline (for example, Port of Hay Point Dudgeon Point Development worth approximately $10 billion), will continue to sustain spending in this sector above historical levels.

In addition, we have interviews with members of the Queensland Briefing expert panel one by one.

>> Click here to see Kerry Barwise, Executive Director for ACIL Allen Consulting 

>> Click here to see John Crittall, from Master Builders Association

>> Click here to see Paul Megram, from Rider Levett Bucknall

​>> Click here to see Leigh Warner, Director JLL

Posted on 23 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

Dashboard code saves Members 25%

ACIF Member organisations are the power behind ACIF and its new Customised Forecasts Dashboard. ACIF Member organisations - which are the Institutes and Associations listed here - can provide their members a special code to get a 25% discount on the new Dashboard subscription. How do you use it?

1. Contact your Association or Institute to ask for the 'ACIF Dashboard Code'. They may have it included in a website or enewsletter where they list special benefits for their members. The code will look like 'ACIF-XXX-XXX'.

2. Visit ACIF's website and click on the 'Subscribe' button in the top menu. Then select 'Customised Forecasts Dashboard Subscription'.

3. Complete the subscription form, and proceed to make payment for your new subscription. It will cost less than $1 a day for 24/7 access to the full ACIF Forecasts database.

4. At the Payment Method screen, see the box requesting the discount code. Type in the code as it has been provided to you, and proceed to complete your payment. You will now save 25% off the full price of a 12 month subscription.


This is where you apply the Dashboard Code provided by your Association or Institute

 

 

Posted on 3 June 2014 | 2:00 pm

DDD: Dashboard Delivers Data

All the numbers that matter - how much $$ will be spent in YOUR area in YOUR type of work. How to use the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard.

Subscribe to Customised Forecasts Dashboard here

The Customised Forecasts Dashboard makes it easy for businesses large and small to use our Forecasts database to get accurate local or national data - and plan effectively.

  • Four Forecasting tools in an easy to use online Dashboard.
  • Query the ACIF Forecasts database on Work Forecasts; Labour Requirements; Projects in your area; and find out the Big Picture for construction costs.
  • Data is available for upcoming work for residential building, non residential building and engineering construction.
  • Select from 20 work types, and locations by states and/or capital cities.
  • Forecasts can be generated as short term of eight quarters or a long term of ten years. The information is delivered as both data ready for further processing and as charts ready for inclusion in reports.
  • Forecasts data comes from high quality sources including ABS, Cordell Information and expert economic reports, before analysis by ACIL Allen Consulting.
  • The Forecasts are scrutinised by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of economists and industry experts from finance, housing, commercial property and more.
View this brief video presentation to find out more

Subscription to the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard is available for $400 for 12 month’s online access, with 25% off for members of ACIF Member organisations using a valid discount code at checkout.

>> Details and online subscription are available here.

Posted on 29 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

See it yourself - online now

Did you miss the recent ACIF Briefings, but still keen to know what the forecasters say are the factors affecting YOUR business over the next ten years? Well, you can find out.

ACIF has partnered with Building On Air to present the recent ACIF Briefing in Brisbane online, available for anyone to view, which are available here.

In addition, we have interviews with members of the expert panel one by one.

>> Click here to see Kerry Barwise, Executive Director for ACIL Allen Consulting 

>> Click here to see John Crittall, from Master Builders Association

>> Click here to see Paul Megram, from Rider Levett Bucknall

​>> Click here to see Leigh Warner, Director JLL

For the full ACIF Forecasts data release for May 2014, subscribe to the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard here.

Expert analysis and detailed commentary per state are outlined in the Construction Market Reports available here.

Posted on 29 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

New forecasts, new ways to use them

The ACIF Forecasts have been released for May 2014.

Over the last two weeks, delegates to the ACIF Briefings have heard first hand the trends and drivers that will impact their business. Overseen by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, the ACIF Forecasts are the industry’s ‘compass’ to the future and your upcoming work for the next decade. 

Now, how can you use the ACIF Forecasts?

1. Construction Market Reports for each state and territory

2. NEW Customised Forecasts Dashboard - customised ACIF Forecasts data and charts tailored to your needs, for less around $1 a day

3. View a recording of the ACIF Briefing


Construction Market Reports available for all states and territories here

Construction Market Reports are released today for each state and territory here. Each Report includes the expert analysis and detailed commentary on the industry nationally by ACIL Allen Consulting, including macro-economic outlook, activity shares by sector, the industry’s need for labour and skills, and detailed national outlook for residential and non residential building, and engineering construction, by work type.

Then detail on the outlook for your state and capital city, including major projects from Cordell Information. All Reports include Construction Costs Trends by Rider Levett Bucknall.

>> Click here for more

Customised Forecasts Dashboard released today! Subscribe here!ACIF’s new Customised Forecasts Dashboard is launched today as a new data portal for businesses to extract the data they need from the ACIF Forecasts database.

Easy to use, the Dashboard delivers data and charts for short term (8 quarters) or long term (10 years) forecasts for 20 work types in any state or city; labour and skill outlook; lists of major projects in your area, thanks to the Cordell Information; plus the outlook for construction costs. To learn how to use the Dashboard, see the video on the ACIF website.

Subscribe to the Customised Forecasts Dashboard for around $1 a day. 25% Discount if you are a member of an ACIF Member organisation (click here for ACIF Member organisations, then contact them for your discount code).  

>> Click here for more

Thanks to our Media Partner, Building on AirWondering what happens at an ACIF Briefing? Thanks to ACIF media partner Building On Air, for the first time you can view a recording of the ACIF Briefing in Brisbane on 14 May 2014. In addition to a 5 star breakfast and networking opportunities, the Briefing saw ACIL Allen Consulting deliver the key issues for the industry - and what is driving them - then the outlook both nationally and for Queensland.

Following was a Q&A with a local expert panel, featuring Leigh Warner from JLL, John Crittall from Master Builders Association, Mark Burow from Rider Levett Bucknall and Kathy MacDermott from the Property Council.

>> Click here for more

Posted on 24 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

QLD has been booming - now what?

Queensland’s economy has been booming over the past decade, fuelled by the surge in mining activity. Large-scale investments in mining associated infrastructure have meant that engineering construction expenditure has grown at a speed, and to amounts, at unprecedented levels.

ACIF projects the peak in construction spending to be reached this year, in 2013-14. As construction of many of the mega projects come to completion in the medium to long term, the state’s income is set to continue on an upward trajectory, resulting from the increased capacity to export coal and gas to international markets.

ACIF presents the latest ACIF Forecasts at the upcoming ACIF Briefing in Brisbane on 14 May 2014. Register online here or download a registration form hereSpeakers for the Brisbane Briefing are listed below.

Although activity in engineering construction is expected to hit a turning point this year, the fall in annual spend in this sector will be slower than the speed at which it rose. Many major projects remain in the pipeline, with several more proposed but not yet committed.

As personal income levels continue to rise, we expect to see some of that wealth to pour into the residential building sector, which has been subdued over the past five years.

Construction activity in Queensland over the past ten years is a tale of two stories. Spending in engineering construction has grown by nearly sixfold (approximately $7 billion in 2003-04 to $39 billion in 2012-13), whilst growth in residential and non residential building expenditure has been much more modest in comparison.

Although the tapering in engineering construction activity may seem drastic in the short to medium term future, existing large-scale investments such as the ongoing Australia Pacific LNG development (approximately $23 billion) and those in the project pipeline (for example, Port of Hay Point Dudgeon Point Development worth approximately $10 billion), will continue to sustain spending in this sector above historical levels.

Speakers for ACIF Briefing in Brisbane

Robin Fardoulys, Fardoulys Constructions and ACIF Chairman 
Robin is a Past President of the Australian Institute of Building (2006 – 2008) and a member of the Australian Building Codes Board. He was appointed to the Queensland Building and Construction Board on 1 December 2013. He has been Chairman of ACIF since 2009.

Kerry Barwise, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting
Originally commencing with the Allen Consulting Group in 1997, Kerry is now a leader within the firm’s Built Environment and Energy Efficiency practice areas. He started his career in providing economic policy advice at the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Treasury, where he was for 11 years. 
Kerry has planning and built environment expertise, and is particularly interested in the intersection of policy development in areas including land use, transport, urban design, sustainability, greenhouse gas abatement, renewable energy, and community development.

Mark Burow, Director, Rider Levett Bucknall
Mark is the Managing Director of Rider Levett Bucknall Queensland Pty Ltd, a position he has held since 2001.  He has worked in the property and construction industry in Queensland since 1972 and was appointed a Director of Rider Levett Bucknall Queensland Pty Ltd in 1987.
During his career, Mark has been involved in a diverse range and size of projects throughout the Pacific Basin.  This diverse background has enabled him to specialise in strategic advice, cost planning and management.  

John Crittall, Director Construction Policy, Master Builders Association QLD
John is the Director of Construction Policy at Master Builders since 2003. He is responsible for the key areas of Industrial relations, workplace health and safety, legal and contracts and training within Master Builders Queensland. He has had over 25 years of experience with the industry. He currently sits on the Queensland Governments Workplace Health and Safety Board and is also a Board member of BIGA training and CIPQ.  John has an Honours Economics degree, and a Masters.

Kathy McDermott, Executive Director, Property Council of Australia, QLD Division
Before joining the Property Council in 2010 Kathy was General Manager – Property and Finance, Rowland Group. 
Her 28 year career in property includes 11 years as a journalist for The Australian Financial Review, seven as the Queensland bureau chief.  Kathy has also worked in corporate communication roles in Australia and London.

Leigh Warner, Director Research, Jones Lang Lasalle
Leigh heads Jones Lang LaSalle's Queensland Research team and also co-ordinates national retail market research. Leigh has a strong background in economics, previously working as an economist for the Reserve Bank of Australia and Queensland Treasury. Since joining Jones Lang LaSalle in 2004, he has also provided strategic consulting advice to both private and public sector clients. He holds an honours degree in Economics from the University of Queensland

 

Posted on 4 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

NSW on the way up - will you get some of it?

The outlook for New South Wales’ economy is positive, with output growth projected to lead the rest of Australia as the booming states of Western Australia and Queensland feel the impact of a decelerating mining sector over the coming decade.

After years of sluggish performance, the residential building sector is expected to see significant improvements, driven largely by the relatively low interest rates and existing pent-up demand for new houses and multi-unit dwellings. There is also a healthy pipeline of engineering construction projects in mining, rail and roads that are already committed or on their way.

Overall, ACIF projects New South Wales to be one of the leading states in construction activity in the coming decade.

ACIF presents the latest ACIF Forecasts at the upcoming ACIF Briefing in Sydney on 16 May 2014. Register online here or download a registration form here. Speakers for the Sydney Briefing are listed below.

The historical trend for each of the construction sectors in New South Wales has been unique. While engineering construction has enjoyed consistent year-on-year growth from 2003-04 to 2012-13, the residential building sector underwent periods of relatively low activity during the same period, with annual spending falling by as much as $5.5 billion between 2003-04 and 2009-10.

Activity in residential building has shown signs of recovery in the past two years, and is projected to continue on an upward trajectory through to 2022-23 as interest rates remain at low levels, providing plenty of liquidity in the home loans market.

Non residential activity took a small dip in 2011-12, however, like the residential building sector, has been on a moderate growth path since. Construction expenditure in this sector is expected to be far more modest in terms of annual growth compared to residential building.

Speakers for ACIF Briefing in Sydney

Ian Pedersen, Deputy Chairman, ACIF
Ian Pedersen is a structural engineer with more than thirty years experience in engineering, project and general management, business development, finance, and government and media liaison.
Ian is a Past National President (1999–2000) of Engineers Australia [The Institution of Engineers Australia), Chief of Judges for the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards, a Councillor of the NSW Business Chamber, and Chair of the  Chamber's Infrastructure Committee.  

Kerry Barwise, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting 
Originally commencing with the Allen Consulting Group in 1997, Kerry is now a leader within the firm’s Built Environment and Energy Efficiency practice areas. He started his career in providing economic policy advice at the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Treasury, where he was for 11 years. 
Kerry has planning and built environment expertise, and is particularly interested in the intersection of policy development in areas including land use, transport, urban design, sustainability, greenhouse gas abatement, renewable energy, and community development.

Nicholas Crothers, Director Research & Consulting, Jones Lang Lasalle
Nick responsible for managing the provision of strategic research services to all of Jones Lang LaSalle’s New South Wales business lines.
Nick joined Jones Lang LaSalle in 2008 having previously held the role of National Research Manager for Stockland Development, Research Manager at Dexus Property Group and National Research Manager at the Property Council of Australia.

Adrian Harrington, Head of Funds Management, Folkestone
Adrian has more than 20 years of experience in the funds management and real estate industries. He was formerly CEO Funds Management, UK and USA for Mirvac Group. He previously held senior positions at James Fielding Group, Deutsche Asset Management, Paladin Australia and the Property Council of Australia. Adrian is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Adrian has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the University of New South Wales and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.

Matthew Harris, Director, Rider Levett Bucknall
Matthew has worked in Professional Practice for some 20 years including 7 years as a Company Director and Shareholder of Rider Levett Bucknall.
Matthew began his career in the UK.  Since moving to Australia in 1994, Matthew has worked in senior positions with large consulting groups providing professional services in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong.  Matthew provides advice in Construction and Infrastructure Cost Management, with particular interest in financial engineering, methods of procurement and strategies for success.

Brian Seidler, Master Builders Association NSW
Brian has been Executive Director of the NSW Master Builders Association since 2000.  Prior to his appointment he was extensively involved in providing full time on-site industrial relations advice to a number of major development projects.  
He has served as a Director on several industry-related bodies including the Australian Construction Industry Redundancy Trust and the Allied Construction Employees Superannuation Fund.

Posted on 4 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

Victoria - just how much will your market change?

Construction activity was negative in Victoria in 2012-13 despite strong growth in the residential building sector. A larger contraction is projected for 2013-14 at approximately minus 1.5%, driven largely by the projected reduction in residential building activity.

While there is a lot of attention on negative outlook for manufacturing in the state, the key driver for construction has been population growth and lower interest rates. However, these are unlikely to be insufficient to ward-off the contraction in residential activity foreshadowed for 2013-14.

ACIF presents the latest ACIF Forecasts at the upcoming ACIF Briefing in Melbourne on 20 May 2014. Register online here or download a registration form here. Speakers for the Melbourne Briefing are listed below.

Deceleration in growth is expected to be particularly pronounced in residential building. Engineering construction is predicted to only have minimal change in the next two years before returning to a gradual upward trend from 2016-17 onwards.

Non residential building activity is anticipated to continue to on a very marginal growth trend, average around 1.5% annual growth over the forecast period.

Speakers for ACIF Briefing in Melbourne

Earl Sakareassen, Managing Director, OP Industries, Deputy Chair ACIF
Earl is the Managing Director of the O.P.Industries Group of Companies.  He has spent 40 years in the mechanical services industry.  He is the National President of the Airconditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association  (AMCA), and a past Victorian President of AMCA. Earl was elected Deputy Chairman of ACIF in March 2011. 

Kerry Barwise, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting 
Originally commencing with the Allen Consulting Group in 1997, Kerry is now a leader within the firm’s Built Environment and Energy Efficiency practice areas. He started his career in providing economic policy advice at the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Treasury, where he was for 11 years. 
Kerry has planning and built environment expertise, and is particularly interested in the intersection of policy development in areas including land use, transport, urban design, sustainability, greenhouse gas abatement, renewable energy, and community development.

Geoffrey Bills
Geoffrey Bills is an independent economist with long experience of analysing and forecasting economic activity in Australia. He is a member of ACIFs Construction Forecasting Council. In the past he has been the chief economist of BHP, a senior lecturer in business administration at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the Stock Exchange of Melbourne. He has been running his own consultancy since the 1980s.  

Kimberley Paterson, Research Manager – Victoria, Research and Consulting,  Jones Lang LaSalle
Kimberley joined JLL in Melbourne in 2013 and is the research manager for Victoria. She is responsible for the provision of strategic research services to all of JLL’s Victorian business lines. Kimberley’s primary responsibilities include analysis of key trends and drivers of the Victorian commercial property markets, providing quarterly updates of market forecasts and regular reporting on market performance. 
Kimberley joined JLL in New Zealand in 2004, before transferring to the Central London Office Agency team as a research analyst. She  has a Bachelor of Communications from the  Auckland University of Technology, NZ

Asher Judah, Deputy Executive Director, Property Council of Australia Victoria Division
Asher is a policy and media professional with over eleven years experience with industry associations in the property, construction, manufacturing and farm business fields. 
Asher has been published on a number of public policy matters including planning, population growth, tourism, agriculture, China and the environment. He is also a contributing author to the public policy books, Really Dangerous Ideas and Right Social Justice, Better ways to help the poor.

Chris Robinson, Director Rider Levett Bucknall 
Chris Robinson has had over 30 years' experience in the construction industry including 9 years at Multiplex Constructions, as Cost Planning Manager of the Victorian Branch.
Chris was appointed a Director of the RLB Melbourne practice in 2006.
Chris’ experience on both the client and contractor side in his career has given him a clear understanding of contract and risk transfer. Involvement with major developers has given a good understanding of the full spectrum of the development industry non construction related issues.

Posted on 4 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

SA helped by low rates - but how much?

High exchange rates and labour costs have had an adverse impact on South Australia’s manufacturing sector. Real gross state product (GSP) grew by 1.3% in 2012-13, which was a minor fall from the 1.8% growth recorded in the previous year.

Performance in construction activity is projected to have mixed results. The beneficial impacts of historically low interest rates will support some activity while the state continues to adjust to structural change.

ACIF Construction Market Report for South Australia and Adelaide will be released 26 May here.

Total construction spending in South Australia increased by 3% in 2012-13. The main driver of growth was a surge in engineering construction.

Total construction spending is anticipated to fall in 2013-14, stemming from a tapering-off in engineering construction and non residential building activities.

Posted on 4 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

Govt cuts hit ACT construction - but how much?

Economic outlook for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is likely to be significantly impacted by the job cuts in the Australian public service. The Federal Government has flagged intentions to reduce the public service workforce by up to 14,000 people, with some reports suggesting that over 5,000 of this to come from the nation’s capital.

Lower employment in the ACT would impact personal consumption levels and put additional downward pressure on housing demand, reversing previous strong growth. 

ACIF presents the latest ACIF Forecasts at the upcoming ACIF Briefing in Canberra on 15 May 2014. Register online here or download a registration form hereSpeakers for the Brisbane Briefing are listed below.

Overall, the subdued economic outlook for the ACT is expected to adversely impact construction spending. ACIF projects marginal growth in Construction activity in the ACT over the projection period, at less than 0.5% per annum.

The surge in residential building spending observed between 2008-09 and 2011-12 has come to an end, and demand for new houses as well as apartments and townhouses is anticipated to dip.

That said, the Territory Government has been active in seeking residential development opportunities in recent years, and a long list of approved residential and mixed-use projects in both green and brown field sites exists. The fall in residential building activity may be quicker than what is projected by our forecast model, if planned projects are placed on hold as the economy slips into sluggish growth.

Non residential activity has been strong in recent years, but a sharp drop was observed between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Although there is some potential for a flurry of activity to take place in this sector further down the track, the projection is of a modest growth to 2022-23.

Speakers for ACIF Briefing in Canberra

Robert Hunt, CEO, Australian Institute of Building
Robert has been CEO of the AIB since 2009. He is a Qualified Accountant (CPA), and  graduate of the University of Canberra. He has more than 20 years senior management in membership organisations including 5 years as Deputy CEO of the Federal Office of the Australian Medical Association and 7 years as Corporate Service Director of the National Heart Foundation. He is Canberra born and bred and out of business hours is a fine Merino wool farmer. Or should that be a farmer of fine Merino wool?

Kerry Barwise, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting 
Originally commencing with the Allen Consulting Group in 1997, Kerry is now a leader within the firm’s Built Environment and Energy Efficiency practice areas. He started his career in providing economic policy advice at the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Treasury, where he was for 11 years. 
Kerry has planning and built environment expertise, and is particularly interested in the intersection of policy development in areas including land use, transport, urban design, sustainability, greenhouse gas abatement, renewable energy, and community development.

Andrew Balzanelli, Managing Director, Jones Lang Lasalle
Andrew joined Jones Lang LaSalle in 1988, and was appointed Managing Director for the ACT in 2009. Andrew has been involved in the property industry for over thirty three years, successfully positioning commercial property for lease and sale in Sydney’s Southern and Northern suburbs and CBD from 1996 to 2009, and now in Canberra.  Andrew is a current member of the PCA’s planning and economic committees for the ACT and has presented commercial market overviews at PCA, API and Industry forums in Sydney and Canberra.

Mark Chappe, Director, Rider Levett Bucknall
Prior to joining Rider Levett Bucknall in Australia in 1998, Mark was a senior partner of a quantity surveying practice in Durban, South Africa. He was involved in various building and engineering construction sectors, and was also a part time lecturer in quantity surveying at Natal University.  In Australia, Mark has managed both pre-contract and post-contract quantity surveying services on projects varying from less than $1 million to over $2 billion.  He is a past president of the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveying. 

Jim Service AO, Executive Chairman, JGS Property
Jim's experience is extensive and unmatched. From 1959, he has held senior and executive roles in investment, finance, property, development and construction before founding the JGS Group in 1981. He is a Fellow of the Australian Society of CPAs, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries, an Honorary Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building, a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a past President of the Property Council of Australia and a Doctor of the University of Canberra.
Jim has been involved in all phases of the JGS Group since the company's establishment, and his focus on providing clients with unambiguous advice has rightly earned him, and JGS, an enviable reputation of experience, knowledge and integrity.

Posted on 4 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

What happens after the boom in WA?

ACIF projects spending in engineering construction to peak in 2014-15, followed by a gradual decline as major resource projects come to an end. Although spending will fall quickly at first, the downward trend will likely flatten out at levels well above the historical average.

Non residential building activity has grown strongly as support services demand grew with the rise of mining townships and rapid population growth. We anticipate these activities to slow down and trend at close to zero growth through to 2022-23.

ACIF Construction Market Report for Western Australia and Perth will be released 26 May here.

Performance in residential building activity has been mixed in past years. By comparison to the surge in engineering expenditure, its annual growth has remained relatively flat. We project relatively weak growth in this sector, similar to its historical pattern.

Economic growth in Western Australia is slowing. The Government projects growth to slow to 3.75% in 2013-174 and to 2.5% in 2014-15.

The completion of several of the mega projects signals the beginning to a production and export driven economy, which will sustain output growth, albeit at a less exuberant pace than recent years. However, the transition period is likely to involve some pain. Business activity is showing signs of weakening, but this is unlikely to continue beyond the medium term, as revenue generated from exports will provide new opportunities.

ACIF projects total construction spending to contract for several years to come as engineering construction faces a sharp decline which will level by around 2018-19.

Posted on 4 May 2014 | 2:00 pm

We need a National Skills Strategy

The Productivity Commission's draft report on Infrastructure Costs released in March is a thorough and detailed study of the structural and operational issues surrounding the way the industry delivers  economic infrastructure, and in particular the argument that we pay too much for it.

The draft report reviews the relationship between the historically high levels of activity in the infrastructure markets, and the resultant high demand for appropriate professional and trade skills that created skills shortages. Remember them? All the talk was about skills shortages as the mining and gas development boom took off, and before the GFC applied the hand brake. We are still debating the merits of, and the need for, 457 visas for some mega projects.

The draft report points to "the intermittency of construction projects as one of the most important drivers of skill shortages". It identifies the fact that "most occupations are highly specialised, requiring years of experience before reaching proficiency".

The Commission sensibly suggests that "consistent occupational licensing across jurisdictions would also improve geographic labour mobility, providing one avenue for addressing regional shortages".

Equally sensibly it makes the point that "no single policy can address all skill shortages in construction and, indeed, it would not be feasible or cost‑effective to avoid skill shortages during transient boom periods".

The Commission suggests two responses to the skills issues. One is that the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency should make and publish regular projections of labour demand from public infrastructure construction. The other is that "the administrators of training funds should … agree on suitable guidelines that will be able to meet the current needs of industry, as well as their likely future needs in an environment where there is a more continuous flow of infrastructure investment".

The more I thought about those recommendations the less helpful they appeared to be. Here's why I think they miss the mark, and why we need a National Skills Strategy.

>> Read more under ACIF Opinion

Posted on 28 April 2014 | 2:00 pm

Demand Driven Forecasts: what HAS to be built

ACIL Allen Consulting has updated the 2012 ACIF Demand Driven Forecasts, and will be published in addition to the next Construction Market Reports in May.

These Forecasts deliver demand driven forecasts for 21 locales around Australia by using demographic modelling to consider the expected changes in population and community mix, outputting this in terms of social infrastructure needs.

This includes the need for housing delivered as the number of new houses and new dwellings that will be required, while non-residential demand is delivered in square metres anticipated for office, retail and industrial uses. Demand for health care is delivered as number of hospital beds and education needs in terms of the number of classrooms required.

ACIF Demand Driven Forecasts use data from 2012 to 2020 to determine the additional demand over that period for:

  1. Hospital Beds (number of beds);
  2. Classrooms (number of rooms);
  3. Houses (number of dwellings);
  4. Attached dwellings (number of dwellings);
  5. Retail space (thousands of square metres);
  6. Office space (thousands of square metres); and
  7. Industrial space (thousands of square metres).

Projection charts shown for each of the above demand types are incremental new demand, supply and cumulative gap in the future, beginning in 2012.

The demands for these services are derived from demographic modelling using the Our Nation model, which has been updated using ABS’ census 2011 data and the Australian population projection released in 2012. The demand for each of the services is based on how each of the cities examined grows and ages.

Details of the demographic assumptions of this model and how they relate to infrastructure/services can found at www.propertyoz.com.au/ournation.

The supply-side projections represent new additions to the corresponding indicator that are currently expected, projected or committed. They are calculated by:

  • Extracting available project level data in the Cordell Information database;
  • Corroborating this data with government budgets; and
  • Assessing this against the state-level shares results presented in the ACIF Forecasts. Where insufficient data is available from the database or government budgets, the shares are used as the primary driver of supply.

ACIF Demand Driven Forecasts are a useful addition to the planning tool box of anyone interested in knowing where demand for particular kinds of work is coming from.

Posted on 28 April 2014 | 2:00 pm

Learn about new Forecasts Dashboard

Subscribe to Customised Forecasts Dashboard hereSince 2002, ACIF has provided the industry with a compass to its future, as the ACIF Forecasts details the upcoming demand for work across all sectors, as well as what is happening with construction costs and labour requirements.

The Customised Forecasts Dashboard will make it easy for businesses large and small to use our Forecasts database to get accurate local or national data - and plan effectively.

  • Four Forecasting tools in an easy to use online Dashboard.
  • Query the ACIF Forecasts database on Work Forecasts; Labour Requirements; Projects in your area; and find out the Big Picture for construction costs.
  • Data is available for upcoming work for residential building, non residential building and engineering construction.
  • Select from 20 work types, and locations by states and/or capital cities.
  • Forecasts can be generated as short term of eight quarters or a long term of ten years. The information is delivered as both data ready for further processing and as charts ready for inclusion in reports.
  • Forecasts data comes from high quality sources including ABS, Cordell Information and expert economic reports, before analysis by ACIL Allen Consulting.
  • The Forecasts are scrutinised by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of economists and industry experts from finance, housing, commercial property and more.
View this brief video presentation to find out more

About the ACIF Forecasts

Subscribe to Customised Forecasts Dashboard here

Since 2002, ACIF has provided the industry with a compass to its future, as the ACIF Forecasts details the upcoming demand for work across all sectors, as well as what is happening with construction costs and labour requirements. Forecasts are released May and November at ACIF Construction Forecasts Briefings, and are published as Construction Market Reports available here.

ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard

In May 2014, ACIF released its new Customised Forecasts Dashboard make it easier for the industry to access our Forecasts, and to get accurate local or national data to plan effectively.

The new Dashboard provides subscribers with access to data in four key areas: work forecasts; labour requirements, major projects, and the Big Picture, which looks at construction costs.

Select from 20 work typesUnder work forecasts, subscribers can customise a query on the upcoming demand for their business over the next ten years. Queries can be specific to each business, forecasting work for residential or non residential building, or engineering construction, for over 20 work types and for locations across Australia. Forecasts can be generated as short term of eight quarters or a long term of ten years. The information is delivered as both data ready for further processing and as charts ready for inclusion in reports.

Results available as data or charts

Also included in the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard are tools to query where the major projects are, using data from Cordell Information, as well as information on what kind and quantity of workers will be needed plus what is happening with the costs of construction.

Subscription to the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard is available for $400 for 12 month’s online access, with 25% off for members of ACIF Member organisations using a valid discount code at checkout.

>> Details and online subscription are available here.

Posted on 13 April 2014 | 2:00 pm

Design and Building gained insights at DesignBUILD

The twenty eighth year of the successful DesignBUILD 2014 finished on a high last Friday 4th April, giving the design, building and construction industries insight into trending materials and products from both local and offshore suppliers. The real highlight however was the event’s booked-out, Industry Insights seminar program which delivered 15 engaging sessions and 21 speakers from Australia’s leading building associations and architectural thought leaders.

As the exclusive business platform for the industry, DesignBUILD brought together nearly 5,000 professionals of various trades, from architects, to manufacturers, contractors, project managers and even tradies.

Spanning 3 days from 2-4 April in Melbourne, the event delivered an impressive showfloor that comprised Innovation Alley; featuring groundbreaking technology and products, Project Next; an in-situ sustainable product showcase, Industry Insights; an engaging series of seminars and various networking and information sessions in support of Sustainability Day on the Thursday.

A delighted Exhibition Manager, Ali Mead comments “DesignBUILD continues to acknowledge what the market requires from the industry, by delivering new, sustainable product innovation shown by the caliber of exhibitors this year”.

“DesignBUILD represents a microcosm of the design and building industry. This was by far our most successful year in terms of pre-bookings for the Industry Insights seminar series, with an overwhelming attendance,” she said.

Standout seminars at Industry Insight included Association of Building Sustainability Chair, Sid Thoo and General Manager of the Australian Building Codes Board, Neil Savery. The sessions were especially well attended by architects with over 15 CPD accredited seminars offered as part of the program.

Exhibitor, 3D Printing Systems won the Visitor Voted Innovation Alley New Product of the Year Award for the easy to use 3D desktop printing system, UP Plus 2.

Ms Mead also observed visitor’s engagement with Project Next, which partnered with sustainable building consultants, Australian Living to produce a uniquely interactive show feature. “Visitors were really hands on, and took away clear ideas on how to better design and build sustainable spaces. They got a lot from being able to see the products in-situ, and ask experts on-hand how the building materials would interact to create sustainable outcomes,” she said.

DesignBUILD will return to Sydney in 2015 to the Sydney Showground, Olympic Park on 28 – 30 April. For more information, visit www.designbuildexpo.com.au.

Posted on 9 April 2014 | 2:00 pm

ACIF and government release productivity guides

Download the Case for Project Team Integration hereThe Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) have produced two important and valuable guides to help the construction industry improve productivity.

Download Project Team Integration Workbook here

The Case for Project Team Integration, and The Project Team Integration Workbook contain straightforward ways to improve project team collaboration and performance. They make a strong case for early integration of project team members, to get the best from all disciplines that can contribute to good project outcomes and, where it is used, from Building Information Modelling (BIM).

"Collaboration amongst members of project teams in the construction industry is a good thing", said Robin Fardoulys, Chairman of ACIF, announcing the release of the guides with John Tondut, Chair of the APCC Construction Leadership Group.

"Collaboration is a vital input to efficiency and productivity, reduction in wasted effort, and minimisation of disputes. BIM will produce best results (design to achieve project sponsors' objectives, minimal changes, optimal buildability, designed-in operational efficiency) when all who can contribute are involved in designing and planning for the work they will perform for the project."

"The industry is beginning to invest heavily in Building Information Modelling (BIM) to drive more efficient design, site management, construction methods, and asset management", said Mr Tondut. "It is also a key to driving greater productivity from supply chain arrangements, offering opportunities to avoid design clashes and reduce variations during project delivery."

"The Australian construction industry has, presently, a fragmented approach to BIM, and to the use of supply chains. There are significant benefits to be had for clients of the industry from the adoption and widespread use of both tools, said Mr Fardoulys."

"Government as buyer in Australia could spur on the productivity gains to be had from both, by normalising the market by encouraging the use of BIM, and requiring contractors to nominate the members of supply chains they will use, on all Commonwealth Government projects," said Mr Fardoulys.

"The more challenging and potentially more rewarding, opportunity lies in government challenging the orthodox approaches to ensuring probity and value requirements are met, by finding innovative ways to appoint project teams before design solutions have been finalised", he said.

"Ideally, government procurement policy should encourage collaborative working. Productivity gains will come from greater attention being paid to collaborative working, rather than the traditional trade and professional discipline 'silos'. Silos inhibit collaboration and the ability of all parts of the industry to contribute to design, buildability, and generation of value for money service deliveries from capital works assets. "

ACIF and the APCC are continuing to work together to pursue ways to encourage the selection of members of project teams before the scope of design is settled, to facilitate those opportunities, including negotiation.

Posted on 9 April 2014 | 2:00 pm

Report: The Business Value of BIM in Australia and New Zealand

McGraw Hill Construction has released its report on The Business Value of BIM in Australia and New Zealand. The Report makes fascinating reading – it can be downloaded here.

The Report is based on surveys of more than 400 firms in Australia and New Zealand, distributed by ACIF and its members the Airconditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, and Consult Australia, amongst others.  AMCA, Consult Australia and the AIBS were contributing partners.

The Report makes fascinating reading. The Introduction to the Report points to new adopters coming on board, and existing users planning aggressive expansions of their BIM programs.

"In fact, 51% of firms are engaged with BIM on more than 30% of their projects today, and this number is expected to increase dramati­cally in the next two years-74% report that they will be engaged in BIM on more than 30% of their projects by the end of 2015.

The research findings suggest that business benefits and returns from BIM are key drivers behind that planned growth.

  • Positive Return on Investment (ROI) for BIM: Reported by 75% of firms, with 30% citing ROI of 25% or more.
  • Positive View of Potential Benefits from BIM: 52% of firms report that they can gain more than they already receive, and 39% believe that they are just scratching the surface of what they can gain.
  • Change the perception of BIM's efficiency for smaller projects, since 54% of non­users working only in Australia and New Zealand (compared with 38% of those working in and out of Australia and New Zealand) report that it is an important/very important factor delaying their use of BIM.
  • Demand by owners, including a govern­ment mandate, can be a key factor in helping to spur adoption. Significantly more non-users working only on in-country projects believe that their competitors and clients are not using BIM, compared with their peers at global firms. This suggests that education is needed in this market."

The Report findings were presented at seminars run by AMCA and Consult Australia in March. Stephen Jones, a senior director from McGraw Hill presented key findings. The following slides from his presentation tell a very positive story about the benefits of BIM for clients and designers and constructors.

Short Term BIM benefits ANZ users reporting to benefits

Implementation level has more impact Constructors most emphatic about top 8 factors

>> Download the report here

>> Download the presentation from the launch here

Posted on 1 April 2014 | 1:00 pm

ACIF New Policy Compendium Released

Download the ACIF Policy Compendium hereACIF has released a policy compendium, making recommendations to increase productivity across seven areas.

  1. Housing Affordability
  2. Design and Construction for a Sustainable Industry
  3. Government Economic Management - Regulation
  4. Occupational Licensing
  5. Procurement
  6. Workforce Development and Relations
  7. Workplace Health and Safety

"The policies have been developed by working groups of ACIF Board members," said Peter Barda, Executive Director of ACIF. "They represent the considered and consensus positions of the construction industry as a whole. The policies and key recommendations will be submitted to relevant government and industry leaders for discussion and implementation via policy and process changes."

"Underpinning each of the policies is the conviction that it is important for the industry takes a strategic view of the way assets are designed, constructed, operated and maintained. Productivity improvements require rigorous examination of the way we do things. It goes without saying (or should) that if we are to do better, we need to do things differently. We need to be prepared to challenge the orthodox approaches that have changed little over decades. "

"We need to be innovative

  • in how we assist clients to prepare performance briefs, 
  • in the ways we put project teams together,
  • in how teams are managed,
  • in how we embrace technology, and
  • in the ways we empower integrated project teams to work together to deliver the functionality clients want."

"For that to happen we need clients of the industry to encourage designers and constructors to innovate. Government clients, particularly the regular buyers of construction services, are substantial organisations and should be prepared to demand innovation."

"Trying to do things differently can involve risk. The construction industry is used to taking and managing risks.  Many of the assets we build, particularly non-residential buildings and engineering infrastructure, are in effect prototypes. Designers and constructors are used to managing the delivery of prototypes. What they are not comfortable with is taking risks to deliver enhanced functionality without the potential costs of doing so being recognised by their clients."

"Designers and constructors are understandably reluctant to advocate innovative approaches – whether to design, material selection, or construction processes - when  the risk of additional costs is to their account, but benefits all accrue to their clients. Particularly when the result of innovation that is less than optimal is for the designers or constructors or both to be taken out to a paddock and shot. Figuratively at least."

"The ACIF policies suggest many ways in which clients and the industry itself can innovate and make significant improvements to productivity. They will be promoted widely in the hope that we can stimulate an ongoing critical review of how we do things. Let's acknowledge that if we all keep doing what we've all been doing, we are all going to get what we have all been getting."

The full Policy Compendium is available for download below, or read each policy here.

Posted on 1 April 2014 | 1:00 pm

Registration opens for Construction Forecast Briefings

ACIF Briefings are your six-monthly opportunity to receive the latest macro and local economic outlook for your lifeblood - cashflow. Registrations are open now for events in six cities.

ACIF's rolling ten year 'outlook' is developed and delivered by the best minds in the industry. ACIF's Construction Forecasting Council reality tests the forecasts developed by ACIF Allen Consulting, providing the industry with its most relevant and reliable outlook for the next decade. At these Briefings, learn about the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard to be released in May.

Register online now for Briefings in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth or download the registration form here.

Over a five star breakfast, benefit from a unique ‘reality filter’, as a discussion panel of local industry leaders follows the release, adding their insight on the data, the industry and its future.

The May 2014 update delivers the outlook for demand for housing and commercial building, and infrastructure and engineering construction. ACIF will also present the new Customised Forecasts Dashboard, our new portal for subscribers to generate their own forecasts for their work type and location, using the ACIF Forecasts database.

Register for Briefings in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and be first to get the latest information. Breakfast and network with potential clients, partners and competitors plus receive a complimentary copy of the Construction Market Report for your state – valued at $200.

Posted on 31 March 2014 | 1:00 pm

New Forecasts Dashboard is a compass for the construction industry

In May, Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will release its new Customised Forecasts Dashboard, a new data portal for businesses large and small to generate tailored Forecasts that give them specific and relevant information on their business prospects.

New ACIF Customised Forecasts DashboardSince 2002, ACIF has provided the industry with a compass to its future, as the ACIF Forecasts details the upcoming demand for work across all sectors, as well as what is happening with construction costs and labour requirements.

“Our new Dashboard continues the forecasting service we have provided to the industry for more than 12 years,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director for ACIF.  “The new Dashboard makes it easier for the industry to access our Forecasts, and to get accurate local or national data to plan effectively.”

Select from 20 work typesThe Forecasts source data comes from high quality sources including ABS, Cordell Information and expert economic reports, before analysis by ACIL Allen Consulting. The Forecasts are scrutinised by ACIF’s Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of economists and industry experts from finance, housing, commercial property and more.

The new Dashboard provides subscribers with access to data in four key areas: work forecasts; labour requirements, major projects, and the Big Picture, which looks at construction costs.

Results available as data or chartsUnder work forecasts, subscribers can customise a query on the upcoming demand for their business over the next ten years. Queries can be specific to each business, forecasting work for residential or non residential building, or engineering construction, for over 20 work types and for locations across Australia. Forecasts can be generated as short term of eight quarters or a long term of ten years. The information is delivered as both data ready for further processing and as charts ready for inclusion in reports.

Also included in the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard are tools to query where the major projects are, using data from Cordell Information, as well as information on what kind and quantity of workers will be needed plus what is happening with the costs of construction.

Subscription to the ACIF Customised Forecasts Dashboard will be available for $400 for 12 month’s online access. Details and online subscription will be available at www.acif.com.au/subscribe.

Posted on 31 March 2014 | 1:00 pm

Productivity Commission Key Findings

The Productivity Commission has released its Draft Report on Public Infrastructure: Provision, Funding, Financing and Costs. It's not for the faint hearted – more than 580 pages. Here are the key findings.

  • The overriding message of this draft report is the need for a comprehensive overhaul of processes in the assessment and development of public infrastructure projects.
  • There are numerous examples of poor value‑for‑money arising from inadequate project selection.
  • Without reform, more spending will simply increase the cost to users, taxpayers, the community generally, and the provision of wasteful infrastructure.
  • It is essential to reform governance and institutional arrangements for public infrastructure to promote better decision‑making in project selection, funding, financing and the delivery of infrastructure services.
  • Well-designed user charges should be used to the fullest extent that can be justified. However, governments will have to at least partly fund some infrastructure projects and address equity issues.
  • Significant road pricing and institutional arrangements are proposed to create more direct links to road users and to take advantage of advances in vehicle technology.
  • Only if implemented well does private sector involvement in infrastructure provision and/or financing deliver efficiency gains.
  • But private financing is not a ‘magic pudding’, ultimately users and/or taxpayers must foot the bill.
  • Government guarantees and tax concessions are not costless.
  • Governments have the capacity to fund more projects than under current fiscal and debt management practices provided the reform package in this report is implemented.
  • Data problems beset the detailed analysis of the costs and productivity of public infrastructure construction, and of the effects of various policies. A coordinated and coherent data collection process can address this and improve future project selection decisions.
  • Nevertheless, there is evidence of recent significant increases in the costs of constructing major public infrastructure in Australia. The mining construction boom has been one factor, but no single input has played a decisive role in cost increases.
  • Until recently, labour productivity growth has been sluggish. There is no conclusive evidence that Australian levels of productivity in construction are higher or lower than comparable countries.
  • Despite significant concentration in the market for large public infrastructure projects, the market appears to be workably competitive. However, there are some uncertainties, including whether this applies across all market segments.
  • There is significant scope to improve public sector procurement practices and to lower bid costs for tenderers, with potentially large benefits for project costs and timing.
  • The industrial relations environment in the construction industry remains problematic, though this appears to mainly relate to general rather than civil construction, with the problems much greater for some sites, unions and states. Governments can use their procurement policies to drive reform, and penalties.

The Commission is holding public hearings on the Draft Report in three cities – Melbourne on 9 April, Brisbane on 11 April, and Sydney on 14 April. Not a lot of time to absorb and reflect, but there you are.

Posted on 23 March 2014 | 1:00 pm

Engineering Workforce Study Issues Paper released

The Commonwealth's Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) has published an Engineering Workforce Study Issues Paper.  The paper is the first stage of AWPA’s Engineering Workforce Study and is intended to canvas views from key stakeholders. The Paper can be sourced at www.awpa.gov.au. The final Study is due to be released in August 2014.

AWPA’s Engineering Workforce Study will contribute to existing work on the engineering workforce including the 2011 Inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations into the shortage of engineering and related employment skills.

The key aims of the Study are to:

  • examine important trends in the demand and supply of a skilled engineering workforce
  • examine barriers to workforce participation by women, mature-aged and Indigenous workers
  • identify factors influencing the employment of skilled migrant engineers and the participation of higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET) students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects
  • identify best practice approaches to challenges related to skills development and utilisation in the engineering workforce.

The outcome of the Study will be a set of workforce development strategies for industry, tertiary education sector and government to improve the participation of under-represented groups in the engineering workforce, to improve ongoing skills development for the engineering workforce and to promote effective utilisation of engineering skills.

The Issues Paper draws on the existing body of research and previous discussions with stakeholders, including the Engineering Pathways seminar held in December 2011 and the Engineers Working Forum 2011–12, both convened by AWPA. The issues highlighted in the paper reflect the challenges facing the engineering workforce. The paper is intended to stimulate discussion, seek stakeholders’ views on the issues raised and to scope if there are additional issues for inclusion in the Study.

The industry has been invited to consider the Issues Paper and to respond to the questions for discussion. It is also looking for examples of successful programs or initiatives that support the attraction and retention, development and utilisation of engineering skills. AWPA would like to feature a number of case studies in its final report and would be delighted to receive examples.

Responses to the questions and case studies to the Secretariat at engineeringstudy@awpa.gov.au  are invited by 26 March 2014.

AWPA will convene a roundtable meeting in coming months to build on the responses and case studies and to discuss effective workforce development strategies for the engineering workforce. The discussions at this meeting will shape the final Study. More information about this roundtable will be provided in the near future.

Posted on 23 March 2014 | 1:00 pm

Review of OHS Accreditation Scheme

The Commonwealth Government is undertaking a targeted review of the Australian Government Building and Construction OHS Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme), administered by the Federal Safety Commissioner.

The Government supports continuation of the Scheme but has established the review to identify specific options to reduce red tape and compliance costs, without compromising safety outcomes. The review is expected to be completed by 30 June 2014.

The industry is invited to make submissions on the issues raised in a discussion paper available here.

Submissions should be provided as early as possible but no later than 4 April 2014 to ofscreview@employment.gov.au. Enquiries about the review can be made by email to the same address, or by phone to 1800 652 500.

Posted on 23 March 2014 | 1:00 pm

Living Away From Home Allowances

The Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors' Association of Victoria (AMCA) is campaigning  to address a significant issue arising from regulatory changes to Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) on rural and essential construction projects.

The legislative changes to the LAFHA were implemented on 1 October 2012.

Prior to these legislative changes, the majority of LAFHA was not taxable either to the employer or the employee, and the LAFHA was a deductible expense to the employer. As such, LAFHA has been historically utilised as a form of compensation for those working and living away from home.

The changes have altered the very essence of LAFHA, and limits the circumstances in which a reduction of taxable value of LAFHA will be available to employers.

Employers must now pay fringe benefit tax (FBT) on the entire amount of all LAFHA benefits payable to employees unless the new legislative conditions are met (which are extremely onerous on employers).

This is, of particular concern for Victoria, given the State is sparsely populated, with the majority of the skilled workforce being located in Melbourne and a huge proportion of workers required to live away from home when working on interstate and rural projects.

The Effects

1. Cost

The changes have already started causing serious economic harm in the Victorian construction sector. AMCA estimates that the cost implications using 18 employees as a guiding example is approximately $280,117. This means that for any additional sub-contracting firms (e.g. electrical contractors' and various specialist trades) engaged on an interstate / regional project, the aggregate cost implications are in the millions of dollars. This cost burden is simply unacceptable, and unmanageable, particularly in an already struggling economy.

2. Apprentices

AMCA is particularly concerned about the impact of these changes on apprentices working within the sector. Under the legislation, if an apprentice does not own or rent a house (commonly they live with their family when not on site) the employer will be liable to pay FBT on the entire amount of LAFHA payable to the apprentice. This would discourage the promotion of apprentices' working on rural and regional projects. As such, AMCA fears that the cost implication will be too great for businesses to absorb, and we have serious concerns that this will adversely impact the use of apprentices in the sector.

3. Substantiation Requirements

Significant changes have been made to the reporting obligations for food and drink expenses to be reimbursed for employees on LAFHA arrangements.

Recent tax rulings relating to food and drink benefits payable in relation LAFHA arrangements set a "reasonable amount" which is payable to the employee for these expenses. If employees claim more than the "reasonable amount", strict requirements regulate the reporting requirements for these expenses.

Workers in the construction sector largely receive above the specified "reasonable amount" and employers will need to ensure their employees comply with the substantiation requirements to obtain FBT concessions.

Employers in the construction industry will face difficulties in ensuring that their employees comply with the substantiation requirements (i.e. production of receipts to justify expenditure on food and accommodation). This is largely due to the commonality of employees utilising the allowance to boost their rate of pay, and not obtaining and retaining the required receipts when paying for food / accommodation. Again, the impact is an enormous cost implication on employers.

Immediate Action Required

Many of AMCA's members are tendering for work on major projects across Australia and particularly in rural areas (e.g. Ararat Prison, Bendigo Hospital, Tasmania Hospital, and Adelaide Cricket Ground). There would be numerous other Australian wide projects which will be impacted adversely.

Employers will be increasingly sending employees to live away from home in remote areas, or areas in which the work cannot be carried out by local residents.

The cost implications of these legislative changes are already being felt, and will increasingly impact on tendering and project costs going forward, affecting the entire supply chain from the sub-contractors, the builders and those that they engage to work on the projects.

Further, the changes provide a disincentive to train and utilise apprentices — clearly in contra to the intent of the legislation and the future of the industry.

AMCA has asked to meet with the Minister for Employment and the Treasurer and the formulation of a building and construction whole-of-industry employers' workgroup to include AMCA, Australian Construction Industry Forum, Australian Constructors Association, Master Builders' Association, National Electrical and Communications Association, National Fire Industry Association and Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia to assist with resolving this issue.

Posted on 23 March 2014 | 1:00 pm

Innovation, Strategy and Risk in Construction book

The industry has a new, thoughtful, and valuable, piece of work on innovation, risk and strategy. With the cute sub-title 'Turning Serendipity into Capability', Martin Loosemore's new book Innovation, Strategy and Risk in Construction integrates insights from business and government leaders with contemporary research, to help built environment professionals turn serendipity to their own advantage by building greater inno­vative and adaptive capacity into their operations. Accessible and full of practical examples, the book argues that traditional business strategies which seek to systematise innovation and eliminate uncertainty need to be balanced with more flexible approaches which acknowledge and harness uncertainty.

See also ACIF Opinion article 'Innovation - What's in a name?'

The missing key to innovation, it is argued, is to turn serendipity into capability. The author proposes a simple model which allows managers to tap into the increasingly dynamic and interconnected nature of the construction industry. Innovation does not occur in isolation within individual firms, but through collaboration. Each stakeholder in the construction industry has a responsibility to drive innovation, and this book will be key reading for consul­tants, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and clients, as well as policy makers and all serious students of construction management.

Martin Loosemore is a Professor at UNSW, Sydney, Australia and a Visiting Professor at Loughborough University, UK. Martin was an advisor on work­place productivity and reform to the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry and a member of Australian Government's Built Environment Industry Innovation Council.

Innovation, Strategy and Risk in Construction is published by Routledge.

Posted on 16 February 2014 | 1:00 pm

New Building and Construction Procurement Guide

The Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) and Austroads have released a Guide which consolidates current jurisdiction-specific approaches to procurement and contracting of civil (road and bridge) and non­residential building works and services into a single overarching framework.

A draft was released for industry consultation in late 2012 and has since been updated in response to the matters raised in the submissions. An electronic version the Building and Construction Procurement Guide — Principles and Options can be downloaded from www.apcc.gov.au.

The Guide is a prime example of collaboration. Representatives from Austroads and APCC member agencies in all states and territories directly participated in the Guide's development, and industry contributed to its content through both formal and informal consultation processes. As such, it is a publication written 'by practitioners, for practitioners'.

While the Guide has been designed to operate at a high level, and to complement existing jurisdictional and national guidelines, one of its main objectives is to bring all of this material together by presenting standard terminology and descriptors for commonly used delivery models, describing a baseline process for the development of procurement strategies, and providing information on recent developments in areas such as collaborative and ICT-based project techniques

The Guide also acknowledges and seeks to address some of the long-standing issues of concern raised by industry in areas such as risk allocation, and variability of tendering practices and contract documentation, by defining a series of agreed principles to be adopted within local frameworks.

Posted on 16 February 2014 | 1:00 pm

Australian BIM R&D Activity 2013 and 2014

One of the projects being undertaken following the BIM Summit held by ACIF and the APCC last November is the development of an electronic Knowledge Hub of the Benefits and Resources) associated with both PTI and BIM. The purpose is to create a register of BIM-related research and development projects for the design and construction industry in order to avoid duplication of effort and facilitate collaboration.

The Knowledge Hub will include materials such as:

  • Baseline benchmarking
  • Case studies
  • Research undertaken internationally and in Australia
  • A bibliography
  • Updated Conspectus of BIM Initiatives

NATSPEC, on behalf of APCC and ACIF, are collecting information on BIM related research and development being undertaken by government and industry organisations to populate the knowledge hub. The questionnaire NATSPEC are using is included in this enews.

We are encouraging everyone in the industry who has information to complete the questionnaire. If that's not you, forward this enews and the questionnaire to the appropriate person within your organisation for completion.

>> Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Richard Choy or Neil Greenstreet  at NATSPEC.

APCC-ACIF 2013 & 2014 BIM R&D Activity Questionnaire

The purpose of this questionnaire is to create a register of BIM-related research and development projects for the design and construction industry in order to avoid duplication of effort and facilitate collaboration.

Please provide information in the format shown.

Projects that your organisation initiated or has primary responsibility for during 2013 & 2014

  1. Project name: If appropriate, include a short name and the full/official name.
  2. Completion/expected completion date:
  3. Main participating organisations: List alphabetically.
  4. Description: 100 — 250 word overview using the following headings:
  5. Project goals and objectives:
  • Context: e.g. need, issues it seeks to address.
  • Proposed deliverables: e.g. report, white paper, policy, guidelines, tool.
  • Planned 2014 activity: e.g. sub-project deliverables, workshops.
  • Expected audience: e.g. clients, architects, engineers, contractors, QSs, all project stakeholders.
  • Approach, methodology: e.g. undergraduate research, survey.

Other information

  • Project contact
    • Name:
    • Position:
    • Email:
    • Tel:
  • Links: Provide hyperlinks to project website, project documents, reports, etc, if available.
  • Images: Attach any images that will help explain the project.

Projects that your organisation is participating in

  • Project name: If appropriate, include a short name and the full/official name.
  • Responsible organisation: Organisation that initiated or is leading the project.

Please return your response to Neil Greenstreet by 26 February 2014.

Posted on 16 February 2014 | 1:00 pm

Sustainability Management Course

The CRC for Low Carbon Living is inviting participants to a 3-day course on “Sustainability Management, Carbon and Water Footprinting – be smart and benefit from business opportunities” hosted by the University of NSW Water Research Centre.

Reducing environmental footprints makes business sense and provides real bottom-line benefits. Reliably quantifying reductions in direct or indirect carbon emissions is crucial to accessing the Emissions Reduction Fund under the Australian Government’s Direct Action Plan.

This 3-day workshop held 11–13 February 2014 at the University of New South Wales will help organisations take a pro-active approach to the development and implementation of sustainability strategies to manage and reduce their product and corporate carbon and water footprint.

Please find attached a course brochure including a registration form. See also the announcements here and here.

Posted on 30 January 2014 | 1:00 pm

Survey on Standard Form Contracts

The Law School of the University of Melbourne is undertaking research into the current use and effectiveness of the range of standard form contracts available to the Australian construction industry. The research project is funded by the Law School and the Society of Construction Law Australia. Respected construction lawyer Professor John Sharkey AM is steering the research work.

The project is one of national significance. It is hoped that the results will inform and influence debate around the cost effective and efficient delivery of future construction projects.

ACIF is assisting the work by encouraging the industry to respond to a survey.

We invite you to participate in an online survey in which you will be asked questions about your experience with, and use of, standard forms of contract. The findings of this survey are expected to be published in a report in mid-2014.

Participation is voluntary and participants can withdraw at any point in the survey. The questionnaire should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. 

If you would prefer to be interviewed rather than complete the survey, the University may be able to interview you by telephone or face to face at a convenient time. If you would like to do this, please email Rami Marginean (Research Assistant) and we will be in touch to make the arrangements.

This research has received ethics approval from the Melbourne Law School's Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG). Should you have any concerns about the conduct of the study, or you require further information about the project, please contact the responsible researcher, Mr Matthew Bell or Professor John Sharkey AM.

Posted on 30 January 2014 | 1:00 pm

NATSPEC Global BIM Education Report

NATSPEC has published a report summarising the current status of BIM education in a number of countries across the globe. The countries included in this report are the countries of the respondents to an email that Richard Choy from NATSPEC sent to a group of parties with an interest in BIM, in October 2013.

The email requested that respondents provide a paragraph outlining the current status of BIM education their country. This was interpreted in two ways, with the respondents either describing the current level of BIM awareness/use in their country or the current level of training/tertiary education available.

The responses indicated that BIM education and BIM awareness/uptake is currently at different levels of implementation across the globe. Tertiary education institutions are either already providing, or gearing themselves up to provide, BIM education on both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Some countries, such as the UK, appear to be leading the way in terms of the number of postgraduate BIM courses available at universities.

It would appear that the majority of BIM education available to date focuses on training in the use of particular BIM software packages. Training in open BIM concepts, BIM management and working in collaborative BIM environments, appears to still be in its infancy.

It is clear from the responses that awareness and uptake of BIM is certainly increasing, with BIM already widely adopted in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry or with industry/government preparing themselves for the imminent arrival of BIM.

An industry reluctance to change, a ‘wait and see’ approach and a shortage of experienced/educated BIM practitioners/technicians/educators is slowing the inevitable uptake of BIM in the AEC industry. It is clear that tertiary education institutions, with the support of government and industry, need to fully incorporate BIM education into their curricula, to provide the AEC industry with the ‘BIM-ready’ graduates required for the collaborative BIM working environments to which they will be part of in the future.

Download the full report here.

 

Posted on 30 January 2014 | 1:00 pm

Innovation - what's in a name?

Have you noticed that the construction industry doesn’t talk about ‘Research and Development’ much any more? Perhaps the constant reminders that we spend less on R & D than most other sectors (some fraction of three fifths of...) have made us altogether too depressed to talk about it, never mind do anything.

This article by ACIF's Peter Barda was first published on sourceable.net in December 2013.

Instead we’ve resorted to the more comforting and certainly less confronting notion of ‘innovation’.

‘Ah yes’, I hear a distant voice, ‘I can manage that. Just need to be a bit more clever than the other feller, and I’ll be right.’

Forget it pal. Just another version of ‘she’ll be right.’

I suspect that the currency the word ‘innovation’ has gained in the last few years reflects the discomfiture too many people and organisations in this industry, and others, feel when faced with the stark reality of R & D spending by our major international trading partners. I won’t bore you with the numbers - you’re too familiar with them already.

We are regularly outspent by Japan and many of the Europeans, and increasingly (again) the US. And it shows, I think, whenever we see some firm or other win a project or a part of it, at what industry gossip tells us is too low a price.

There are two issues involved here. The first is the unwillingness of an organisation to concede that one of its competitors may have won the job by being cleverer, by genuinely learning and applying a better way of doing things. The second, the flip side of the first, is that it is easy to blame losing on having gone in at “about the ‘right’ price.”

The notion that there is some ‘right’ price or range for construction projects defies their very nature. Each is unique. Each should embody and reflect a clearly defined understanding of client need, expressed through well crafted design and construction. The response clients are increasingly looking for is one expressed not through drawings or specifications, but with concise statements of the functions which a solution will deliver.

They want answers, not monuments.

Successful and profitable construction is increasingly not about materials and labour. It’s about having the learning, experience and skill to help the prospective client understand and articulate real need, and having the knowledge to meet the need better than anyone else.

The sea changes in role of the now disbanded public works agencies around Australia are a current and vivid example of the point. The old departments of state designed and constructed for tied government clients, employing considerable numbers of designers and constructors. Now the most highly prized skills in what remains of those agencies are those which assist the client develop needs analyses and preliminary funding proposals.

Peter Drucker in his book Post-capitalist Society captures the paradigm change succinctly:

‘Knowledge is the only meaningful resource today. The traditional factors of production - land, labour, capital - have not disappeared, but they have become secondary. They can be obtained, and obtained easily, providing there is knowledge.’

Research and development, particularly research, has seemed to be perceived as somehow inappropriate for the construction industry. Innovation ,with its connotation of almost accidental discovery of something new which may be useful, is rather easier to accommodate. John Williamson captures the ethos perfectly in True Blue

‘.... will you fix it up with wire,

just to keep the show on the road..’

Creaking along with the old skills, old knowledge, old approaches, won’t cut the mustard for very much longer. We can see that in the ownership of the largest constructors in Australia - foreign controlled many of them, or getting out of the game. At the specialist contractor end of the market, the same realisation that the financial and intellectual capital base needs to be substantial just to survive, never mind prosper, seems only just to be dawning.

The capital problem is easy fixed (!) - get big, go niche, or get out. Only the foolish client or head contractor will take a risk with a weak or over-stretched balance sheet, or financial management skills which don’t match the size and complexity of the project.

The intellectual or knowledge base is something else. It is much harder to deal with. It requires making the time to reflect on what might be rather than what has been, dissatisfaction with the present, curiosity, and determination to change. Above all else it requires the insight and patience to realise that knowledge at the edge, real breakthrough learning, won’t come by accident.

That requires research and the application of research to produce tangible, practical products or processes. And that in turn calls for time and money.

Innovation, as the word is used in the construction industry to suggest accidental breakthrough, is for mine a blind. To use the vernacular it’s b******t. It is and can be no substitute for building enterprise and industry cultures which recognise and reward sustained commitment to gaining new knowledge, to genuinely find new and valuable ways to meet client need.

Research and development might make us feel uncomfortable, but at least it throws down an honest challenge.

Posted on 26 January 2014 | 1:00 pm

So, what did we learn in 2013?

As we wave goodbye to 2013, its a good time time to reflect on what was another uncertain year, and the challenges and opportunities that present themselves for 2014.

As ACIF Construction Forecasting Council's Forecasts and Construction Market Reports have made plain, the signs in some sectors and locales of emerging recovery from the long tail of the 2008 GFC are more or less matched by continuing weak confidence and market conditions in others. The private sector has yet to recover its appetite for new commercial building, particularly new offices. Tenants are finding more and more sophisticated ways to get by with less office space. Retail space is being refreshed and expanded on the other hand, in the teeth of continuing growth in on line retail.

Both trends remind me of the observation of a one time National President of the Property Council, in the midst of a discussion around changes in demand for office space and the then emerging trend to tele-working.

"If you divide a single paddock into four smaller ones, and put a cow in each of the four, they will inevitably meet in the middle."

He was right of course, as he was about most things. We are social animals and will always need the companionship of our own kind, whether at work, shopping, worship, or being entertained. The amount of space we need may change but there will always also be the need to keep that space up to date. We need only look at the rapid uptake of Green Star buildings in a short time.

Apart from the space issues, the basic demographic drivers are in our favour. Notwithstanding the odd bleatings of the flat earthers urging us all to stop growth, Australia's population continues to grow. Each year we need to feed, water, educate, house and look after another around 180,000 people. Construction will always be a vital part of meeting those needs.

Consumption in North America is looking healthier than it has for some time. Some parts of Europe are also looking sounder than they have for some time – the Southern European Manyana aberrations aside – and that can only be good for consumer confidence and growing demand for manufactured goods. That in turn ought to help us to export rocks and energy to China, India, and South East Asia.

The demise of the mining boom has been over-stated. There are still many projects either mothballed or ready to start, once global commodities prices firm up. They will provide new work for many of our engineers and tradespeople once they crank up. And at the same time, our national order book for engineering construction is still at record levels.

Housing is making a decent run in many markets, fuelled by pent up demand, population growth, low finance cost, and rational planning law changes. 

Another significant issue that has affected us has been the early death notice for our manufacturing industry, and the auto industry in particular. We can look closer to home for evidence. We import a staggering amount of the manufactures we incorporate in to buildings and structures – steel, glass, cement, reo, and the list goes on.

We also enjoy some of the more bizarre regulations and protection rackets in the developed world. Why is it that our standards dictate a design for toilet pans that effectively make ours the only non-tradeable market for dunnies in the world?  Why does it cost us more than twice the price for a tonne of imported reo that the English pay for imported reo? Why are our ports charges amongst the highest in the world?

Talk of generating a worthwhile local import substitution manufacturing capability was once an issue – sometime in the 1980s. It seems to me it's time we revived that debate, partly to help find jobs for the soon-to-be displaced persons in manufacturing and partly to create worthwhile jobs for our kids.

The current Productivity Commission inquiry into infrastructure costs has a wide remit, and may be able to explore that possibility.

I'll finish with a brief mention of the strategic relationship ACIF is developing with its government counterpart the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council. We have been working with the APCC for a long time but this year made a more formal step towards giving the industry a place for genuinely strategic thinking. The two organisations made a start with an initial BIM Summit in November, and there will be more to come. My sincere thanks to John Tondut, Teresa Scott and the indefatigable Hyphen for a good year working together.

Peter Barda, Executive Director Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF)

Posted on 7 January 2014 | 1:00 pm

What does MySuper mean for Employers?

MySuperMySuper is a new, simple and cost effective super product that super funds will be offering to employers for use from 1 January 2014.

Alison Lendon, ATO Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation, said, “From 1 January 2014, superannuation guarantee contributions need to be paid to a fund with a MySuper product or an employee chosen fund.”

“As an employer, you should check that the default fund you’re currently using provides a MySuper product, or plans to do so by the new year deadline.

“If your existing default fund does not offer a MySuper product by 1 January 2014, you will need to switch to a fund that does,” Ms Lendon said.

Many superannuation funds have already launched MySuper products, and more will launch products through to the end of the year. Super funds have been contacting employers and advising of the new arrangements.

“We expect that for almost all employers, your existing default fund will offer a MySuper product, so you won’t have to make any changes.

“However, if you haven’t heard from your super fund or want to know more about their MySuper product, contact your fund before the end of the year,” Ms Lendon said.

The MySuper changes will deliver benefits to both employers and their staff. MySuper products will have a simple set of product features, regardless of who provides them. MySuper products will also ensure members do not pay for any unnecessary features they do not use.

MySuper steps for employers

Employers can be ready for MySuper by taking the following simple steps:

  • Check: Check your existing default fund arrangements. Has your default fund advised you about​ MySuper changes?
  • Contact: If you have not heard from your default super fund, contact them now.
  • Contribute: After 1 January 2014 make super guarantee contributions with your MySuper arrangements in place.

Posted on 16 December 2013 | 1:00 pm

Building Value Project update

The Building Value project is led by the University NSW and is funded by the Australian Department of Education Employment and Work Place Relations (DEEWR).  It is a legacy of the Orgill committee's review of the Building the Education Revolution funding of schools buildings. The database of those projects is being turned in to a tool for the industry, to assist with future planning of schools and other public buildings in order to achieve better value for money, including quality outcomes.

Sid Newton and Terry Aulich from the Alliance for Building Excellence, the group developing the database, gave a report to the ACIF Board this week.  In particular they reported that:

  • the Building Value Online web site was recently launched by RICS, and provides for secure management and analysis of project cost data;
  • this will deliver a standard method of analysis, full access management, reference-set filtering, a value dashboard and tailored slice-and-dice functionality, once populated with data;
  • data collection was now being progressed across the sectors and to permit international capital cost comparisons, school value framework development, school case study development and standard method of operational cost analysis;
  • industry engagement was now being sought with ACIF members to facilitate data to populate the database;
  • data gathering beyond the education sector school had been delayed whilst DEWR finalised its position on releasing data beyond the sector;
  • ACIF's support is sought, providing a forum to discuss the project, endorsing it, and by providing an informal reference group to assist to gather data.

More when we know more.

Posted on 5 December 2013 | 1:00 pm

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure Costs

The ACIF Board met in Canberra this week and began planning for a submission to the recently announced Productivity Commission Inquiry in to Infrastructure Costs.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are broad, covering capital raising and management, procurement and regulatory issues. The landscape it will cover has been the subject of many recent reports from the Grattan Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Business Council of Australia. The Commission itself published a draft report on approvals processes for infrastructure projects in August.

Some existing ACIF policies already cover some of the ground for the Inquiry. Others will need to be developed, if not for this inquiry (its 23 December deadline for submissions is rather short), then for ongoing discussions with the Federal and State Governments.

Many ACIF members have their own positions and policies on these issues and they will be used to craft a consolidated industry wide submission. More on this when complete, and of course after the draft report of the Inquiry is published.

Posted on 5 December 2013 | 1:00 pm

ACIF and APCC PTI and BIM Summit Success

ACIF and its government counterpart the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) held a successful Project Team Integration (PTI) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) summit in Sydney on 27 November. More than 20 people from public sector agencies and private sector organisations met to begin developing industry-wide protocols and knowledge resources to help adoption of PTI and BIM approaches to design procurement, and project management.

The BIM Summit begins the development of a "Knowledge Hub" to promote the better understanding of BIM activities underway and to avoid duplication of effort. It is not intended to crowd out or take over any work currently underway or planned. The focus of the Summit discussion and ongoing work is the procurement and adoption of BIM, and project team integration.

This joint APCC/ACIF initiative follows on from and complements a meeting of industry organisations convened by BuildingSMART in June 2013 in Sydney when the discussion focused on the National BIM Initiative.

There are 4 key outcomes from the project, each to be developed by a working group drawn from the public and private sectors. They will each report to the next Joint APCC and ACIF Meeting planned for mid-2014. Here's a snapshot of each of the projects. ACIF will keep enews subscribers updated with progress.

Project One:

Adoption of Project Team Integration and BIM Road Map

Develop an Adoption of Project Team Integration (PTI) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) Road Map for endorsement by APCC and ACIF members (and other key stakeholders).

Project Two:

PTI and BIM Knowledge Hub – Benefits and Resources

Undertake a scan for the purpose of developing an electronic Knowledge Hub – Benefits and Resources (collection point) for materials associated with both PTI and BIM.

Project Three:

Procurement Models and Application of PTI and BIM Options Guide

Develop a Procurement Models and Application of PTI and BIM Options Guide (BIM Procurement Guide) articulating:

1. How to integrate BIM into each procurement model;

2. Different Roles and Responsibilities for each party; and

3. Other inclusions and considerations:

Project Four:

Education and skills program for PTI and BIM

Develop a draft Strategy for an education and skills program for industry and clients.

Posted on 5 December 2013 | 1:00 pm

Forecasts bottom line: be prepared for change in place and work

The real bottom line of an industry forecast is the outlook for its people. The latest forecasts for the building and construction industry are set to reveal that while the total number of people working in the building of homes, businesses and roads remains steady, some people are best to prepare to move, as the location and type of work is soon to change.

Register now to attend the release of the ACIF Forecasts 12-14 NovAustralian Construction Industry Forum’s November release of the ACIF Forecasts show that the shudders of moderating economic growth are being felt across the country, directly affecting the types of work available for professionals and tradespeople alike in building and construction.

“The influence of international economics as well as domestic confidence and policy are strong across our industry,” says Peter Barda, Executive Director of Australian Construction Industry Forum. “The well worn patterns of past decades are no longer valid, and the emerging picture of the next ten years presented in this Forecast release are important information for businesses large and small.”

Record low interest rates are looming, triggering a strong rebound in demand for residential building and renovation. Due to homeowners and wannabes enjoying access to cheaper cash, the industry will benefit from new greenfield development, from suburbs increasing the number of apartments and townhouses, through to smaller scale improvements to existing homes. New South Wales leads the building rebound, offering opportunities for workers unrequired by a down-cycling Victorian residential sector, while the industry waits with baited breath for the cash-rich Queenslanders to open their wallets.

The non residential building sector will retain its flat trend however it’s what lies beneath the line that intrigues. Changing approaches to workplaces, including new ways to accommodate people in an office environment, are seeing a significant impact on the demand for office building and refurbishment. This sector is highly vulnerable to change, as a reduction in a capital city’s space per person by just 1m2 equates to three years net demand.

Contrastingly, a bullish retail sector is taking up the opportunity of a quiet time to remodel, extend and refresh, as the fears of internet shopping reducing overall retail spend evaporate.

Some of the workers to deliver these jobs will be coming home from the big money work in engineering construction. The ACIF Forecasts confirm that mining work has indeed peaked however the fall from the peak is steady with plenty of committed work yet to be completed. The new Australian Government’s promises on roads will pick up labour drifting from mining work, while the telecommunications category waits for confirmation on NBN, as indeed do another major telecoms players.

ACIF Forecasts are produced by industry body Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), with the next release at the ACIF Briefings on 12-14 November in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Followed by discussion and debate with local industry experts to clarify the biggest issues facing the industry in each region. More information and registration is at www.acif.com.au. 

Posted on 28 October 2013 | 1:00 pm

MBA's Bidwell joins the Brisbane panel

Register for ACIF Briefing in Brisbane nowPaul Bidwell, Deputy Executive Director for Master Builders Association Queensland has agreed to join the industry expert panel at the upcoming ACIF Briefing in Brisbane.

Paul's extensive knowledge of the construction industry, including policy and planning, adds even greater depth to the panel - and could add additional dimensions to the expected lively debate on the future for residential, non residential building and engineering construction in the state.

Paul joined Master Builders in July 2009 and has a long history in industry policy. He most recently worked with the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland, Herron Todd White Property Valuers and AgForce Queensland. Paul is a registered valuer with tertiary qualifications in urban and regional planning, and business administration. 

Paul joins a number of industry experts from across economics, property management, construction costing, and client groups at the Briefing to be held on Thursday 14 November at the Sofitel Hotel Brisbane. >> Click here for more details and to register.

Chair for the event will be one of Brisbane’s most successful builders, Robin Fardoulys. Robin’s perspective of the marketplace is enriched by his role as CEO of Fardoulys Constructions, as well as Board involvement with the Australian Institute of Building and as Chair of Australian Construction Industry Forum. Robin brings a balanced view as business operator as well as someone involved with industry policy setting and advocacy.

Kerry Barwise, Director, ACIL Allen Consulting is an expert in forecasting for the built environment. Kerry particularly interested in the intersection of policy development in areas including land use, transport, urban design, sustainability, greenhouse gas abatement, renewable energy, and community development. He started his career in providing economic policy advice at the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Treasury, where he was for 11 years.

Considering the costs of construction will be Mark Burow, Director from Rider Levett Bucknall. Over more than 30 years in the industry, Mark has been involved in a diverse range and size of projects throughout the Pacific Basin.  This diverse background has enabled him to specialise in strategic advice, cost planning and management

Executive Director for the Queensland Division of the Property Council of Queensland, Kathy McDermott brings to the Briefing over 28 years of experience in property, and a full view of the issues affecting Queensland’s community and businesses.  Kathy was The Australian Financial Review’s Queensland bureau chief for seven years and journalist for eleven.

Leigh Warner heads Jones Lang LaSalle's Queensland Research team as Director, and also co-ordinates national retail market research. Leigh has a strong background in economics, previously working as an economist for the Reserve Bank of Australia and Queensland Treasury. Since joining Jones Lang LaSalle in 2004, he has also provided strategic consulting advice to both private and public sector clients.

ACIF Briefing will be held Thursday 14 November 2013 at Sofitel Hotel Brisbane. Register online here or download the registration form here.

Posted on 21 October 2013 | 1:00 pm

Last days to contribute to BIM survey

Last days to contribute your input to the ACIF - McGraw-Hill Construction industry survey, and we encourage you to participate before the survey closes on 28 October 2013.

The survey will investigate Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption and implementation in Australia and New Zealand across the construction spectrum of all players, including architects, engineers, owners and contractors.

To begin the survey, click here.

The results of the survey will be used to produce a SmartMarket Report (SMR) on the Business Value of BIM in Australia and New Zealand, which will provide essential insights on how practitioners and participants are enjoying both quantitative and qualitative benefits from the use of BIM. The SMR will be released in November 2013 and will be widely distributed to the global design and construction industry.

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your responses will be completely confidential and used for this survey only. All responses will be analysed in aggregate, and no individual responses will be referenced or used in any way. In appreciation for your time, those completing the survey will have the option to receive this exciting new report.

Thank you for sharing your insights.

To begin the survey, click here.

If you have any trouble accessing the survey from the link above, please copy and paste into your browser: http://kadence.dubinterviewer.com/scripts/dubinterviewer.dll/Frames?Quest=90832&ass=101.

Posted on 15 October 2013 | 1:00 pm

Investigation into BIM - share your view

ACIF is pleased to partner with McGraw-Hill Construction on a new industry survey, and we encourage you to participate. The survey will investigate Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption and implementation in Australia and New Zealand across the construction spectrum of all players, including architects, engineers, owners and contractors.

To begin the survey, click here.

The results of the survey will be used to produce a SmartMarket Report (SMR) on the Business Value of BIM in Australia and New Zealand, which will provide essential insights on how practitioners and participants are enjoying both quantitative and qualitative benefits from the use of BIM. The SMR will be released in November 2013 and will be widely distributed to the global design and construction industry.

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your responses will be completely confidential and used for this survey only. All responses will be analysed in aggregate, and no individual responses will be referenced or used in any way. In appreciation for your time, those completing the survey will have the option to receive this exciting new report.

Thank you for sharing your insights.

To begin the survey, click here.

If you have any trouble accessing the survey from the link above, please copy and paste into your browser: http://kadence.dubinterviewer.com/scripts/dubinterviewer.dll/Frames?Quest=90832&ass=101.

Posted on 29 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

Opportunities for all trades and professions – with travel

ACIF Board recently enjoyed a presentation by a Government representative from Canterbury New Zealand, a region that has suffered enormous damage by natural disaster over the last three years.

The report highlighted that the need for help by – and therefore the availability for work for – all elements of the asset creation process are high, and will remain high for the foreseeable future.

Canterbury NZ needs all types of building and construction skills, labour, materials and project management. Now. The anticipated level of work still yet to be commenced as the district rebuilds after a series of earthquakes far outstrips the supply in that region, and the rest of New Zealand.

For more information, click here to email your enquiry.

Posted on 23 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

More money - by working smarter

ACIF and its government counterpart, the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC), have worked together over several years to enhance the efficiency and productivity of project teams. The focus has been on the benefits to be gained from better and earlier integration of project team members, and the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Two guides are set to be released soon – The Case for  Project Team Integration, and the Project Team Integration Workbook. These resources will help to promote collaborative processes and team culture, the keys to minimising wasted effort, reducing disputes, and creating excellent project outcomes.   

These publications will be released to the industry in the coming months. Additional resources set to be produced include guides to procurement for clients using BIM, and an education program to further understanding of the opportunities available for clients and project team members by using more collaborative processes on their sites. 

Posted on 22 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

Find out the future for construction and building

Register online for the ACIF BriefingsFiguring out where the future lies for a business in the building and construction industry?
Need to know what work is coming, and where?

For over ten years, ACIF Forecasts have been the industry’s own forecasts, with a reputation as reliable, highly accurate analyses of the demand for work across all types of work. The November Forecasts will deliver the short term and ten year outlook for demand for housing and commercial building, and infrastructure and engineering construction.

Over a five star breakfast, benefit from ACIF’s unique ‘reality filter’, as local industry leaders discuss the forecast and add their insights on the data, the industry and its short term prospects.

Register now for the ACIF Briefings 12-14 November in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and be first to get the latest information. Breakfast and network with potential clients, partners and competitors plus receive a complimentary copy of the Construction Market Report for your state – valued at $200.

Registration close 8 Nov 2013

Individuals $145
Table of 8 $1050 inc brand/name 
Register online now at www.acif.com.au/events or fax registration form to 1300 301 565.

Discussion panels

Sydney - Tuesday 12 November

  • Kerry Barwise, ACIL Allen Consulting
  • Nick Crothers, Jones Lang LaSalle

Melbourne - Wednesday 13 November

  • Kerry Barwise, ACIL Allen Consulting
  • Radley deSilva, Master Builders VIC
  • ​​Geoff Bills, Independent Economist

Brisbane - Thursday 14 November

  • Robin Fardoulys, Fardoulys Constructions
  • Kerry Barwise, ACIL Allen Consulting
  • Leigh Warner, Jones Lang LaSalle
  • John Crittall, Master Builders QLD
  • ​Mark Burow, Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Kathy MacDermott, Property Council

Program for each venue

7-7.30am  Registration
7.45am  Hot breakfast is served
7.55am  ACIF Briefing commences
8.35am  Expert Panel Q&A
9am  Closing remarks
9.15am   Ends (approx)

Please note that while ACIF will seek to maintain adherence to schedule, all times are approximate.

 

Posted on 22 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

Strategic Focus on Construction

ACIF and Australasian Procurement and Construction Council ​(APCC) have agreed to build on the relationship they have enjoyed for many years, with a new agenda on key high level issues affecting the industry.

This will begin with the establishment of an executive group to work between annual meetings of ACIF and APCC. It will identify the priority needs of the industry and government in improving productivity and, where appropriate, increased innovation, and the resources available for this to be done.

The executive group will establish working groups to deliver the following outcomes in aid of enhanced project team integration and adoption of BIM.

  • A procurement guide for project team integration. This will identify the barriers to innovation in procurement and wider adoption of optimal project team integration. It will formulate clear enabling tools, in the form of tools to aid in knocking down those barriers, and  simple guides for project team integration and adoption of BIM.
  • A clear statement of the role of BIM in the Australian context, explaining costs and benefits.
  • A strategy for a learning program for project team integration and BIM that considers formal learning at tertiary level, as well as on the job learning. It will consider the needs of constructors, designers, trade contractors, and suppliers.

As a first task, ACIF will prepare a conspectus of work being undertaken on project team integration and BIM, in Australia. An example is the ACIF and APCC document The Case for Project Team Integration, that is a useful starting point to develop a value proposition or business case to advance industry, government and community understanding of the benefits of BIM and of optimal project team integration.

Members of ACIF and APCC and other organisations working on technical and  commercial aspects of adoption of BIM and project team integration, will be invited to participate in regular (six- or twelve-monthly) summit meetings to review and share information on the projects they are undertaking. These will include BuildingSMART working groups, and the AMCA BIM-MEP initiative.

This meeting will act as a "Knowledge Hub" intended to promote better understanding of who is doing what and so far as possible share that work across the industry. It is not intended to crowd out or take over any work being done. It is intended to avoid duplication and facilitate collaboration.

Posted on 19 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

Building Control Supply Chain Survey

In July and August the Australian Building Control Board (ABCB) conducted a survey, with assistance from ACIF, to obtain information from industry as a whole and by sector, about if and where it believes there are real or potential opportunities to enhance the ‘building control’ supply chain.

The General Manager of the ABCB, Neil Savery, spoke to the ACIF Board at its 5 September meeting, to outline the reasons for the survey, and to give a snapshot of the results.  He explained that the building control supply chain used for the survey was virtual, and an attempt to reflect the interdependencies that exist between a number of key building control functions.

In total, close to 700 people responded to the survey, which contained 13 questions that sought both a quantitative rating and comments on the various features of the building control supply chain.

Here are the elements of the building control supply chain.

  • Education/Training                                                                                                         
  • Registration/Licensing                                                                                  
  • State and Territory Acts/Regulations                                                      
  • National Construction Code                                                                                       
  • Standards                                                                                                                           
  • State, Territory and Local Government Variations                                            
  • Product Certification                                                                                                     
  • Alternative Solutions                                                                                                     
  • Building Certification                                                                                                     
  • Contracts (Builders/Sub-trades)                                                                               
  • Practitioner Compliance                                                                                               
  • Monitoring/Auditing of the Building Control System                       

Mr Savery explained that understanding that there is no one body that oversights the entirety of this supply chain, the opportunity to identify enhancements may be missed and the possibility of introducing productive changes can become random.

As the components of the supply chain have been increasingly de-regulated and administration fragmented the need to monitor the system is imperative, although this is often isolated to specific areas of jurisdictional responsibility.

This means we don’t necessarily get the full picture as to how the system is performing and miss the potential to attend to less obvious risks.

As a general observation, many of the submissions made positive comments about the effectiveness of features within the building control supply chain.  Others tended to indicate a degree of confusion about certain aspects, particularly roles and responsibilities, and there were some who feel that features of the system need to be rebuilt from the ground up. 

A summary document is attached below for further information on the survey.

Posted on 19 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

Security of Payment solutions under discussion

ACIF’s joint meeting with APCC enables the building and construction industry to discuss key issues that affect the whole industry. The September meeting included a presentation from the WA Government on its planned changes to security of payment provisions.

The NSW and WA Governments are changing the ground rules on security of payment, following well publicised failures of building companies in those states.

Both are considering the introduction of project bank accounts, on a trial basis, to protect payments to subcontractors. The issue is not easy, and never has been. The use of trust accounts to protect payments has been proposed, and vigorously opposed, for more than two decades. The use of project bank accounts is an alternative to trusts, still removing some control of cash and cash flow from head contractors.

More on this as the trials take place.

Posted on 19 September 2013 | 2:00 pm

Engineering construction remains historically high in South Australia

Detailed analysis and expert forecasts for your area​Despite levels of engineering construction work in South Australia falling off from a peak, the state’s engineering construction industry still has plenty of work to do, say industry forecasts from Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).

The short term outlook shows a softening before a return to moderate growth, which remains at historically high levels for the state. Notwithstanding the Olympic Dam setback, there is still strong demand in mining and related engineering over the next nine quarters, as well as telecommunications, pipelines and electricity.

This forecast is something that the other sectors of residential and non residential building would relish, however, as the forecasts show an enduring flat market for these sectors.

“Businesses in South Australia need to keep aware of the work that is coming in order to stave off poor decisions,” said Executive Director of ACIF, Peter Barda.”The outlook for work outside of engineering construction remains soft throughout ACIF’s forecasting term of 10 years, so ACIF Forecasts are a crucial business resource to help businesses shape their plans to make the most of their market.”

Engineering outlook by ACIF ForecastsThe industry reports are developed from data generated by the ACIF Forecasts, industry forecasts of demand that are built on reliable indicators of demand, plus the input of a unique set of industry experts, so businesses and individuals are able to plan effectively.

“ACIF Forecasts have a reputation for accuracy because they are draw together not only high quality data but also infuse the results with the knowledge of our Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of experts who temper the numbers with an important reality filter.”

“South Australian residential and non residential building will remain soft for the remaining of our rolling ten year forecasting outlook,” said Mr Barda.

The chart at right shows the relatively strong outlook for the South Australian engineering construction sector.

Businesses can access information on residential, non residential building and engineering construction from the ACIF Forecasts, as summaries, data and state Construction Market Reports. All are available at www.acif.com.au.

Posted on 8 August 2013 | 2:00 pm

Victorian home builders to see fall back in demand

Detailed analysis and expert Forecasts for your state​Victorian residential builders have experienced a high level of activity over the past five years, the envy of all other states. Latest industry reports show that this level are set to fall back over the next three years, reveals industry reports. This may leave local home builders in Melbourne and Victoria to lament that their business is in a decline, when comparing with past good times.

The better news is that after a period of moderation, the residential building industry will resume good growth.

“It’s important for the Victorian building and construction industry to see the bigger picture and not to panic – the sky is not falling, however the surging business they have enjoyed over the past period will pull back to a more usual level,” says Peter Barda, Executive Director for Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).

“The ACIF Forecasts point to Victoria returning to pace with New South Wales, with Queensland close behind, cooling back from a surging local industry over the past five years.”

“The Victorian building and construction industry can see the bigger picture of demand for their services by referring to good quality industry data.”

“ACIF Forecasts have are generated with the data facts but also the local knowledge of what is really happening in the economic and social marketplace that drive Victorian building and construction.

[Text Box: Figure 1 Residential building in Victoria has outpaced the rest of Australia for over 5 years, returns to comparable levels in medium term. © Copyright Australian Construction Industry Forum 2013] The chart below shows the relatively strong past period for the Victorian residential sector has been out of character with other states, and how it is now returning to pace with similar states. While the growth curve has changed, it is generally an upward trend for Victorian residential building.

Businesses can access information on residential, non residential building and engineering construction from the ACIF Forecasts, as summaries, data and state Construction Market Reports. All are available at www.acif.com.au.

Posted on 7 August 2013 | 2:00 pm

Positive prospects for Western Australian building

Detailed analysis and expert Forecasts for your stateBuilding and construction demand in Western Australia remains optimistic, with all sectors set to enjoy positive growth, say industry forecasts by Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).

The flow of demand across all sectors continues in this state, driven by a resources construction boom now passing its peak. Increased industry and population require a built environment to work, rest and play all of which needs to be designed, built and maintained by our industry.

“Businesses in this state are enjoying growth in demand the envy of all other states, however decision makers need to use good quality information to determine how to most effectively use their staff and resources,” said Executive Director of ACIF, Peter Barda.

ACIF Forecasts are an industry resource that provides businesses large and small with a reliable outlook for planning.”

The industry reports are developed from data generated by the ACIF Forecasts, industry forecasts of demand that are built on reliable indicators of demand, plus the input of a unique set of industry experts, so businesses and individuals are able to plan effectively.

“ACIF Forecasts have a reputation for accuracy because they are draw together not only high quality data but also infuse the results with the knowledge of our Construction Forecasting Council, a panel of experts who temper the numbers with an important reality filter.”

ACIF Forecasts for engineering, by stateThe chart below shows the relatively strong outlook for the Western Australia engineering construction sector.

Businesses can access information on residential, non residential building and engineering construction from the ACIF Forecasts, as summaries, data and state Construction Market Reports. All are available at www.acif.com.au.

Posted on 6 August 2013 | 2:00 pm

Queensland building and construction trending upwards

The popular rhetoric that the sky is falling in Queensland building and construction can’t be sourced back to fact, as construction industry data on upcoming demand shows good reason for uplift in sentiment.

Industry forecasts by Australian Construction Industry Forum show that Queensland is one of several states where the overall trend across all building and construction work remains in a positive direction.

Some areas of work will still need to get through some moderation in the short term, however the outlook for the next decade is upwards.

It is true - engineering construction has peaked - however the decline still leaves this sector at a historically high level even beyond 2022, so that there is plenty of work yet to be done.

The rate of growth in Queensland residential building work will outpace all other states, with forecast growth to be considerably higher than the aggregated Rest of Australia results.

Figure 1 Engineering construction in QLD remains high even on the post-peak declineNon residential building, which for most states of Australia is forecast to remain flat for the next few years, for Queensland will enjoy sustained growth over the longer term.

“Reading past the headlines is crucial when planning for your business,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director of Australian Construction Industry Forum.

“Business leaders are making decisions that affect staff and stakeholders. ACIF Forecasts give them high quality information draw from reliable data sources, ‘reality tested’ by our Construction Forecasting Council of industry professionals across financing, construction, government, property management and more.”

Businesses can access ACIF Forecasts summaries, data and state Construction Market Reports at www.acif.com.au. 

Posted on 31 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

Wild ride ahead for NT engineering sector

If vitamin D deficiency wasn't enough of a good reason to consider moving to the Northern Territory, ACIF's inaugural Construction Market Report for Northern Territory and Darwin has a reason: The below chart of total construction demand forecasts over the next 10 years.

ACIF Construction Market Report for NT and Darwin

The ongoing boom in mining and heavy engineering construction in this most remote of regions has seen a sharp rise in demand across all other sectors. It outstrips that of the other big player, Western Australia, and the Rest of Australia.

Construction Market Report for Northern Territory and DarwinWhy? Because miners need to sleep, eat, play, get patched up when they have done playing - so the need for housing, retail, health and other facilities grows.

ACIF Construction Market Report for Northern Territory and Darwin is available here. Construction Market Reports are available for all states and territories, and are based upon the ACIF Forecasts released in May 2013, generated for ACIF by ACIL Allen Consulting using high quality data including Deloitte Access Economics, Cordell Information and ABS.

Posted on 3 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

Tasmania outpaces rest of Australia in demand

ACIF Construction Market Reports are available for all statesACIF's inaugural Construction Market Report for Tasmania shows a variation in demand forecast for the apple isle that will bring some relief from two sectors that outstrips peers in other states.

While much of Australia is set to experience a flat to declining non residential building sector, due to its unique set of factors, Tasmania is set to see an outlying result in demand for non resi work. Chart below shows the significant difference between the forecast for Tas and the rest of Australia.

Demographics play a big part in this, as an ageing Tasmanian population has seen a spike in need for aged care facilities and health services. While the sharp uptick in demand for these assets will moderate when compared with the past decade, it will remain at relatively high levels.

The Tasmanian engineering construction sector too has good news from the ACIF Forecasts. There too are drivers in the local market and demographic that are seeing an increase in the level of engineering work that may make inter state migration an option for some players.

ACIF Construction Market report for Tasmania

ACIF Construction Market Report for Tasmania and Hobart is available now. Construction Market Reports are available for all states and territories, and are based upon the ACIF Forecasts released in May 2013, generated for ACIF by ACIL Allen Consulting using high quality data including Deloitte Access Economics, Cordell Information and ABS.

Posted on 3 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

BuildingSMART update

BuildingSMART, lead by John Mitchell, aims for Australia to catch up with parts of the rest of the world when it comes to adoption of and encouragement for, wider use of Building Information Modelling (BIM).  

In August 2012 the Australian Government and BuildingSMART released a strategic report outlining the support needed to drive the construction industry into a new efficient, low carbon era of BIM.

BuildingSMART almost won funding from the Commonwealth Government for a full blooded initiative to match the UK model, however sadly, the answer when it came was "we have no money".

John and his colleagues have been giving the industry the chance to be involved in key parts of an agenda to progress the efficiencies that BIM can deliver, through a series of seminars and workshops over the last two years.  Industry support for volunteer task groups has been tremendous. The latest information is at http://buildingsmart.org.au/  

In 2011 the UK mandated the use of BIM and supply chains to deliver 20% increases in value from construction - and they are getting spectacular results already. Part of the reason is that there is a properly funded and directed Task Group to help industry deliver the results, and refine and improve the efficiencies that BIM can deliver. Worth having a look at http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/.

Next steps?

Three working groups are driving work on a volunteer basis (Integrated Project Delivery, BIM Guidelines, Object Libraries) and, at a meeting in Sydney in June convened by BuildingSMART,  organisations representing large parts of the industry agreed to continue to work together on a national basis to generate more traction for the existing work, and the need to have it properly funded.

ACIF and its government counterpart the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council have agreed to prepare the next business case for the work, as well as finalising work we have been doing together for some time to set out the case for greater use of BIM and project team integration. (more on this in July)

ACIF will be convening the next meeting of the organisations and do what it can, with APCC, to drive a strong strategic focus on this work. We'll also be looking for volunteers to offer pilot projects – watch this space for details.

Posted on 2 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

ACIF Board embarks on policy refresh with one outcome

Originally intended to feed in to the COAG review of productivity originally planned to be completed this year, the ACIF Board has embarked on a wide ranging policy refresh by going back to basics, looking at the chain of activities and decisions that are part and parcel of delivering services from the design and construction and operation of capital assets. 

The diagram below gives an outline of where ACIF is heading in its review, and more information on the details of the policy refresh is available here.

The construction industry, and the wider built environment sector, operate to provide other parts of the economy with shelter and social and economic infrastructure. 

The designers and constructors and all other disciplines in the industry are wealth creators. As servants of other sectors we enable the creation of wealth for investors, owners and occupiers of assets. That's not just P&L and balance sheet wealth. It's the wealth that comes from many sources.

  • Enhanced roads delivering fewer accidents and more efficient goods distribution.
  • Mines and port facilities that enable the profitable export of minerals and energy.
  • Modern schools that encourage lower absenteeism and more satisfying learning.
  • Houses that minimise energy use.
  • Hospitals that make health service delivery more rewarding for clinical staff, and more reassuring for patients.

There are many more examples but what's just as remarkable is the way the industry is expected to, and does, switch itself up or down a notch (and sometimes a lot of notches) depending on investment and confidence in other sectors, and the global markets.

A little more than 2 years ago we had extraordinary demands being put on the industry to deliver unparalleled volumes of engineering construction projects. The mining industry, and concerns over water for our cities, saw demand skyrocket past residential building, historically the biggest sector of the industry. Now, as demand there is abating, the residential sector is accelerating, particularly on the back of demand for apartments in Sydney as well as other major centres.

Our latest ACIF Forecasts of demand point to slowing markets in some sectors and locales, and re-emerging demand in others. 

There are quite legitimate and important issues that affect productivity in our industry that deserve our attention. But the one thing that has been and remains a constant is our ability to rise phoenix-like from one big downturn and deliver what is needed whether housing, commercial buildings, or infrastructure.

Our policy refresh is starting with this high level understanding of the entire process of delivering services from assets, and then its component parts. It recognises that every discipline in the industry (and that includes people and organisations in the public sector) have roles to play in doing that, and each should be treated with the respect they deserve.  

Individual Board members are championing the review and development of policy in each of the areas picked up in the diagram. Given the breadth of ACIF's Members and the talents of its Board, the policies that will be finalised in the next two months will have been tested by a unique group of people representing the span of the built environment sector. Industry leaders working together as ACIF, with the single focus on achieving quality in the built environment as the outcome.

ACIF Policy Drivers and Outcomes

ACIF policy refresh in 2013 has one outcome - quality
 

Posted on 2 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

Deegan a deep thinker on infrastructure

The ACIF Board meets with other industry leaders over dinner the evening before its Board meetings. We were delighted to have senior executives from Boral, OneSteel, Rocla and Austral Precast join us for dinner in Sydney in June, and to have Michael Deegan, the Infrastructure Coordinator, speak to us after dinner about the challenges of infrastructure planning (or what has passed for planning in Australia for too long) and of course of funding the infrastructure we badly need if we are to remain competitive.

Michael was an outstanding choice for the role of Infrastructure Coordinator, with extensive experience in the public and private sectors. He takes seriously the business of delivering value to taxpayers and to his high powered Board. Part of that is to insist that his small team all demonstrate that, annually, they have made at least $1 billion worth of value to the community through their work.

The conversation with Michael was doubly interesting because of the release there or thereabouts of the Urban Coalition's "New Deal" recommendations for dealing with the crisis in funding urban infrastructure.

As is the case with all our dinner speakers and guests, what's said stays in the room – Chatham House rules.

Pity really – Michael is one of the few in Australia to have thought deeply about the role of strategic transport planning, and infrastructure investment, in driving wealth creation, productivity, and sustained improvement in the quality of life of all Australians. His informal discussion with us was stimulating and informative. Should be more of it.

Posted on 2 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

Policy refresh will need input

The ACIF Board has embarked on a policy refresh to look at the chain of activities and decisions that are central to the delivery of design and construction.

This work continues earlier work on industry policies, with ACIF policy areas are further developed than others. Over the next month we will be asking for comment on policy drafts and to suggest improvements.

Below are the high level objectives we see for some of the policy areas that affect each participant in the industry, to one degree or another.

Population and Demographic Change

Objectives

ACIF Members represent the bulk of firms in the construction industry delivering critical assets for the Australian economy. The industry is a servant of the rest of the economy. Its fortunes fluctuate with those of the rest of the economy. 

The construction industry in Australia has proved itself time and again to be capable of responding quickly and efficiently to high levels of demand for housing and commercial buildings, and engineering infrastructure. Despite the stresses imposed by economic slowdowns, firms in the industry have been able to maintain the human and technical and commercial capacity needed to deliver world class assets.

A key challenge for ACIF Members, and those in government concerned with the need to maintain an efficient industry, is to enable firms to have access to sound information on the changing shape and face of the Australian population. In addition to the data provided by the ABS, ACIF and its Members produce forecasts of demand for the industry's services.

A key addition to the information that would facilitate much smarter planning by employers, learning providers, and labour market policy makers, would be the establishment of a skills forecasting capability. ACIF urges the Commonwealth and other governments to fund the establishment of such a capability, modelled on the Canadian Construction Sector Council forecasting model.

Strategic Land Use and Planning

Objectives

The plethora of planning and land use instruments across Australia reminds one of de Gaulle's bon mot:

"How can anyone govern a country that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?"

Comprehensive planning reform is required right around the nation, with a particular focus on the needs of cities and housing development, including the introduction of a nationally consistent single approval process for detached housing and dual occupancy housing development.

ACIF Members believe that a keener focus by governments on urban design and planning will deliver real benefits to communities. This would be facilitated in part by having a Commonwealth Minister for Cities, and the appointment of a Government Architect, injecting similar rigour to infrastructure planning as the Chief Scientist does to scientific and research matters.

Government Economic Management

Objectives

ACIF is identifying the issues that impede productivity in the construction industry, and that limit investment in economic and social infrastructure and housing. It will propose changes in government policy to facilitate improvements in productivity and encourage investment, and that eliminate or reduce red tape that serves no economic or social purpose. These may include industry standards, licensing issues, local government requirements, red tape and green tape.

On the other hand, ACIF supports the retention of regulations that deliver real benefits to the community. It is producing a set of recommendations for the elimination or reduction of red tape in 7 areas, where there are good reasons for doing so.

Occupational Licencing

Objectives

A genuinely National market for all disciplines working in the industry, with consistent skill training standards and licencing and recognition standards across all jurisdictions.

Individual disciplines working in the industry support the need for more rigorous registration and certification requirements as means to maintain and improve the standards of work delivered to consumers.

Continuing professional education is a key to making sure quality standards are met.

Procurement

Objectives

1.Project sponsors serve their own interests best, and those of their project team members, when they pay as much attention to the ability of team members to work well as a team, as they do to the prices they have been quoted. By encouraging

2.Procurement policies and practices should encourage the selection of design consultants, head contractors, and trade contractors, on the basis of proven performance as team players, as well as their prices.

3.Value for money selection policies and practices should explicitly encourage the selection of other than lowest price firms, when it can be demonstrated that a higher priced firm is likely to deliver a lower whole-of-life cost.

4.Careful allocation of risk by project sponsors to those best able to manage it is a fundamental element of good procurement practice. It facilitates clear and rational allocation of responsibilities whilst delivering the time, cost and functionality required by project users. 

So, just a sneak peek at some of the elements of the construction process we're working on. More in coming weeks, and you'll have the opportunity to contribute to the policies.

Posted on 2 July 2013 | 2:00 pm

ACIF Forecasts available now

The May 2013 update the ACIF Forecasts has now been released.

ACIF Forecasts are highly accurate and credible short- and long-term forecasts of demand across all sectors. The Forecasts cover 21 building activity types, including new houses; housing alterations and additions; retail; industrial; health and aged care; roads; telecommunications, and heavy industry. The information is provided as rolling ten year forecasts in nominal terms, giving businesses clarity around market trends for the next decade.

ACIF Forecasts high-quality short- and long-term forecasts cover:

  • residential building construction activity;
  • non-residential building construction activity;
  • engineering construction activity;
  • construction employment;
  • profiles of national construction activity for major projects across Australia valued above $50 million for non-residential construction and above $100 million for engineering construction; and
  • analysis of the factors driving supply and demand, the economic scenarios that underpin the forecasts, and sensitivity analysis of the forecasts based on these variables. A set of leading indicators is provided that will help track movements in economic conditions.

How you can use the ACIF Forecasts

Posted on 26 May 2013 | 2:00 pm

Construction Market Reports released

Construction Market Reports for all states and territories are available nowACIF Construction Market Reports outline the big picture for the industry with the impact of international and domestic influencers, then delve into the detail for your state, and your capital city.

Contents include:

  • The Big Picture - national forecasts across all sectors, the outlook for the macro factors, including interest rates, inflation, unemployment and the $AUD.
  • Outlook for your state and capital city - with detailed charts and commentary for each sector, comparing your state to the national forecasts
  • Major projects - where are they, when are they starting and what are they worth?

ACIF Construction Market Reports are available for immediate download for all states and territories. Click here for more details.

Posted on 16 May 2013 | 2:00 pm

Mining construction demand has peaked, ACIF Forecasts show

Building and construction activity in mining has definitely peaked, updated ACIF Forecasts by the Australian Construction Industry Forum will show.

However, before the industry packs up its workboots to go home, decision makers need to take a close look at the facts about upcoming demand across all sectors.

“The ACIF Forecasts and the Construction Market Reports that provide the granular state by state analysis of the Forecasts show the whole picture,” said Peter Barda, Executive Director for Australian Construction Industry Forum. “Statistically, we can confirm that the rate of work has reached its highest point in recorded history, and is set to start falling, however look at the details – it will take ten years for engineering construction demand to fall to a level that is still more than double that of the work available ten years ago.”

The ACIF Forecasts show that it’s not just mining that is driving the growth in this sector, but also large Government infrastructure projects, and much more.

The spill on effect of the mining boom is not limited to engineering construction, either. People moving to live and work in mining regions has brought new demand for residential building, schools, retail space and other commercial building, so non-capital cities are seeing changes to work volume and types that benefit the local industry.

Changing demand in residential building will see the schism between Sydney and Melbourne grow, with one state to fare better over the next few years. While New South Wales can look forward to a long awaited though moderate improvement in demand for residential building, Victoria and particularly Melbourne will see a fall in demand.

“In the medium term, New South Wales will experience a slight increase in activity across several sectors. Changes in social structure, cost of living and aspiration will see the development of apartments and townhouses become an important area of work, especially in Sydney,” said Mr Barda.

“Over the past few years Melbourne has experienced a rate of residential work that is out of step with the rest of the country, and it’s about to move into a cycle of flattening activity that brings in back into line with other states.”

ACIF Forecasts will be released on 27 May 2013 at www.acif.com.au. Detailed analysis and commentary for each state and territory will be available in the Construction Market Reports available online from 17 May 2013

Posted on 15 May 2013 | 2:00 pm

State forecasts in summary

Below is a snapshot of the outlook for each state and territory, from the ACIF Forecasts to be released 27 May 2013. Construction Market Reports with detailed analysis and commentary per state and capital territory are available by clicking here.

The ACIF Forecasts are only possible due to the ongoing support of our sponsors:

Thanks to our Platinum Sponsor, cbus Thanks to our Silver Sponsor, Cordell InformationThanks to our Silver Sponsors, DesignBUILD ExpoThanks to our Silver Sponsors, Australian Institute of ArchitectsThanks to our Silver Sponsors Engineers AustraliaThanks to our Silver Sponsors Property Council of Australia

ACT - We expect a moderation in construction activity. A key driver is the short term moderation in activity in the residential sector – particularly in the multi-unit dwelling sector. NEED MORE INFO?>>

NSW - We are forecasting a short term moderation in construction activity. A key driver is the short term moderation in activity in engineering construction – particularly in the heavy industry sector. NEED MORE INFO? >>

NT - Construction activity in NT grows from current levels over the forecast period. The short term outlook is for activity levels grow sharply and peak. This is followed by a decline over the medium term. A key driver is the moderation in activity in engineering construction – particularly in the sectors associated with mining following the period of rapid short term expansion. NEED MORE INFO? >>

QLD - Construction activity in QLD grows over the forecast period, although the short term outlook is for activity levels to moderate before rebounding and growing strongly over the medium term. A key driver is the moderation in activity in engineering construction – particularly in the heavy industry sector. NEED MORE INFO? >>

TAS - A short term moderation in construction activity, followed by sustained growth over the medium term. Key drivers are the near term moderation in activity in the water and sewerage sector, and future growth in renewable electricity. NEED MORE INFO? >>

SA - The forecast is for a short term moderation in construction activity. A key driver is the moderation in activity in engineering construction – driven by large project deferrals. NEED MORE INFO? >>

VIC - Construction activity in Victoria grows over the forecast period, although the short term outlook is for a moderation in activity. A key driver is the short term moderation in activity in the residential sector – particularly in the multi-unit dwelling sector. NEED MORE INFO? >>

WA - Construction activity in WA grows from current levels over the forecast period. The short term outlook is for activity levels to grow and peak. This is followed by a sustained decline over the medium term. A key driver is the moderation in activity in engineering construction – particularly in the sectors associated with mining. NEED MORE INFO? >>

Posted on 15 May 2013 | 2:00 pm

Model WHS legislation summary by AIB

Australian Institute of BuildingAustralian Institute of Building (AIB) is a valued member of ACIF, representing building and construction professionals. Using the organisation's skill and experience in interpreting the regulations facing its members, AIB has provided a summary of the new Model Work, Health and Safety legislation.

Thank you, AIB, for this valuable service to the industry. Click here for more.

Posted on 14 June 2012 | 2:00 pm

VANZ: mapping the real world in a virtual one

The framework to deliver realistic visual simulations and models to help assess risks and benefits, and explore alternatives in infrastructure planning, design, and management is soon to be developed across Australia and New Zealand.

The creation of the ‘Virtual Australia and New Zealand’ (VANZ) Framework will formally commence on 10 July 2012 with a meeting of stakeholders, however this project has been in concept and consultation stage since 2010.

The project aims to deliver the Framework for a Federated ‘Statutory’ Virtual World, a highly secure 3D+ ‘true-to-life’ computer model of the natural and built environment (above and below ground, inside and out), including all structures at engineering scale.

A wide and expanding range of stakeholders are involved, from government, research and commercial organisations, with the aim to build a Framework for a Virtual World across Australia and New Zealand.

Once the Framework and the Virtual World have been developed, there will be benefits in many areas including building and construction, such as:

  • 3D models can help engineers to create better designs and reduce the risks, costs and time to deliver assets;
  • Architects, Engineers, Builders and Trades can more easily and more reliably locate underground services – with improving accuracy over time (as the data quality is improved through built-in correction processes) – avoiding design errors, data duplication and lost time; 
  • Storm, Flood, Fire and Earthquake Risks can be modelled with greater assurance, enabling authorities to better plan and regulate development (including specific building construction x location) and later using dynamic models to assess performance against regulation; and
  • The virtual world can also be used in asset management and in many other areas such as training.

Creating such benefits requires the seamless integration of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and related data sets - that uniquely represent each ‘property’, ‘legal boundary’ and ‘property related regulation’ in the real world.
Under the VANZ Framework, these unique data sets are referred to as ‘statutory’ data sets - as and when they are lodged with, or held by, the Local Government where the property is situated.

Such ‘statutory’ data sets need to be integrated across sites and local, state and national boundaries (within Australia and New Zealand), in a way that makes the data easily accessible by authorised users – allowing them to create their own 3D+ models of the world, using their own software.

Under the VANZ Framework, all property owners and their delegates (including all utilities and state infrastructure owners, etc) would remain free to source the data that represents their own assets from any provider in the market, on any terms they agree. They would also be free to determine the terms upon which their own data is made accessible under the VANZ Framework, including restricting access.

The VANZ Framework will simply operate at the ‘pre-competitive’ level, to facilitate access and secure integration between the different ‘statutory’ data sets – in a way that respects each data owner’s rights and obligations under the law.

For more information about VANZ, visit www.vanzi.com.au.
 

Posted on 12 June 2012 | 2:00 pm

Senate inquiry into engineering skills shortages

The Senate has set up an inquiry into the nexus between the demand for infrastructure delivery and the shortage of appropriate engineering and related employment skills in Australia. The inquiry will be carried out by the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committees.

The committee has been asked to consider the implications of the shortage for infrastructure delivery and the impact on economic development, cost, efficiency, safety and disputation, and the long term outsourcing of engineering activities by government on skills development and retention in both the private and public sectors.

The committee will consider options to address the skill shortage for engineers and related trades, for infrastructure delivery using alternative procurement models, and to consider effective strategies to develop and retain engineering talent in the private and public sectors through industry training and development, at enterprise, project and whole-of-sector levels. Incentives to the private sector through the procurement process to undertake skills development, and the consequences of skills shortage in the construction sector to the public sectors’ capacity to effectively procure and manage infrastructure projects will also be explored.

Submissions should be received by 3 February 2012. The reporting date is 30 June 2012.

Posted on 29 November 2011 | 1:00 pm

Scope for Improvement report

Blake Dawson recently presented to ACIF the third in a series of reports, 'Scope for Improvement'. Research into the construction industry over 6 years, the report outlines the key reasons for the project problems such as late dellivery and over budget.

While the report finds that the industry has improved since the first report in 2006, still only 48% of the $55 billion in projects surveyed were delivered on time, on budget or to the required quality - so that means that 52% were not.

A key strategy for improvement is through increased co-operation and communication, achievable with integrated project teams - from the client through to construction to property mangement - working together throughout the project.

The Blake Dawson report Scope for Improvement 2011 is available by clicking here.

Posted on 25 November 2011 | 1:00 pm

Updated ACIF Forecasts online now

ACIF ForecastsUpdated ACIF Forecasts have been released on the ACIF website.

ACIF Forecasts give you the most accurate and cost effective market information on where new work is coming from, and how much. In fact, whether you're interested in residential or non-residential building or infrastructure, we provide the industry with its very own compass to the future. ACIF Forecasts have a well deserved reputation for success over the past ten years.

Summaries across all areas of construction are available. In addition, ACIF Website Subscribers can use the Customised Forecast tools to query ACIF's database to generate their own forecast, even down to poscode level.

The information and analysis comes from KPMG Econtech's expert analysts, and ACIF’s own panel of distinguished industry economists, analysts and researchers, the Construction Forecasting Council. ACIF Forecasts answer the key questions: 

  • What will happen to interest rates, GDP, the A$, and employment? 
  • What is happening to demand for residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction? 
  • Where is the new work coming from? What types of work? 
  • What’s the impact of housing shortages and pent up demand for housing?
  • Where are new dwellings needed most?  
  • The mining industry continues to put huge pressure on skills. Where will the people come from?

Posted on 4 October 2011 | 1:00 pm

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