29 November 2018 / Safety Alert

Fire Safety

Be prepared, listen to authorities and stay safe

As we head into the warmer months, fire safety should be at the front of everyone’s mind at home and on your projects. We’ve prepared a simple list of things to help you be prepared for fire threats.

Stay informed by following local news, listening to your local radio station or keep an eye on your state fire and emergency response services online (ie their website or social media) to stay up to date in what can be fast changing circumstances.

Things to consider and prepare for on your project before the Christmas break and at home

  • Have a fire safety survival plan in place, refer to it now and be ready to follow it (SES guides are available here).
  • If you don’t have a fire safety plan, or if your plan is to leave, identify where you will go if the situation changes.
  • Consider buying or making your own first aid kit with key essentials (a guide is available here).
  • Always follow instructions from authorities – it’s for your own safety.
  • Clean out and remove any dead leaves, branches and plants in your gutters, and around your property.
  • Move any flammable materials such as hazardous substances, doormats, wheelie bins and outdoor furniture away from your property.
  • Close windows and doors to minimise smoke exposure.
  • If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.
  • Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.
  • Contact your neighbours to see if they need help preparing for a fire threat.
  • Consider finding your essential items (ie identification documents, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing such as a long sleeve cotton shirt and trousers, and boots) in case you need to leave quickly.
  • Consider what you will do to protect your pets and / or livestock.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Advise family and friends of your intended actions if the situation changes.
  • If you are in immediate danger, call 000. If your property is damaged and you need assistance, call SES on 132 500.

Local Emergency Services

ACT

ACT Fire & Rescue / www.esa.act.gov.au

NSW

NSW Fire & Rescue / www.fire.nsw.gov.au

NT

NT Fire & Rescue Service / www.pfes.nt.gov.au

QLD

QLD Fire & Emergency Service / www.qfes.qld.gov.au

TAS

TAS Fire Service / www.fire.tas.gov.au

VIC

Country Fire Authority / www.cfa.vic.gov.au

Other Monitoring Services

Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)

www.bom.gov.au

News

ABC / www.abc.net.au

News / www.news.com.au

Live National Significant Weather Map

Other Recent Activities

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NAT - Reconciliation Day.jpg
27 May / Public Holiday

Monday 27 May 2019 (ACT only)

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13 May / Quality

Understanding the Changes to Concrete & Earthquake Codes

An ADG guide has been produced to help everyone understand the changes to Concrete and Earthquake Codes which is now available on the Document Library here.

These changes affect all buildings in all areas. This may affect the costing of jobs due to the required changes.

Does this apply to me / my project?

YES, it applies to all projects nationally where the project is approved on NCC2019. This means any project with a building approval issued after 1 May 2019.

All current projects based on NCC2016 or earlier remain on the existing AS1170.

Please ensure all products/systems comply with this, including imported products and systems such as curtain walls.

Downloads

Click the below to download the ADG guide that explains the changes in detail. QMBA and QBCC provide additional information on their websites below.

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13 May / Quality

Understanding the Changes to Concrete & Earthquake Codes

An ADG guide has been produced to help everyone understand the changes to Concrete and Earthquake Codes which is now available below.

These changes affect all buildings in all areas. This may affect the costing of jobs due to the required changes.

Does this apply to me / my project?

YES, it applies to all projects nationally where the project is approved on NCC2019. This means any project with a building approval issued after 1 May 2019.

All current projects based on NCC2016 or earlier remain on the existing AS1170.

Please ensure all products/systems comply with this, including imported products and systems such as curtain walls.

Downloads

Click the below to download the ADG guide that explains the changes in detail. QMBA and QBCC provide additional information on their websites below.

View More
Hutch Syd Corp-0342 (LowRes).jpg
20 May / Meetings

Monday 20 May 2019

Please participate in Monday’s meetings if possible.

8.00am / Site Managers / Foremen / Leading Hands / Apprentices

Held in Toowong training room and video conference from offices via Surface Hubs and Polycoms.

3.00pm / All Project Managers and Contract Administrators

Regions to join via video conference in each office, individuals out of the various offices to join by the usual teleconference facilities (details can be downloaded below). All Hutchies’ project related people from office or site are encouraged to participate.

5.00pm Dumplings and a beer / Brisbane only

It would be great if all could participate.

Remember to mute your line by entering *6 - to unmute, enter #6

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7 May / Quality

Temporary Fire Services including hydrants, fire hose reels and extinguishers are a requirement of the National Construction Code. They provide protection against the potential risk of fire on a building site during construction. Refer clause E1.9 below for specific details.

On building sites, there is risk of fire from construction activities, materials and fuel.

This may pose a significant risk not only to people and the project but also to neighbouring properties.

It’s important to remember that a building site does not have the permanent fire protection systems that protect people and property when the building is complete.

A summary of the requirements can be found here.

What do I need to do from here?

As always, careful planning of the works is necessary. Ensure that this requirement is managed through design.

Then, during construction, implement the requirement in a timely manner to ensure a compliant fire protection system is in place as soon as possible, and before the limits are reached during construction.

All projects need to have a programme that considers the activities and timing required to ensure compliance. Please ensure lead time works including boundary connections, procurement etc are included and a milestone linked to the E1.9 criteria are included.

Keep in mind boundary connections are usually a long process and may impact on permanent water sources for example, so temporary services may be necessary as an interim, where approved by the relevant authorities/designers.

Ensure consideration is given to any water tanks and fire pumps that are required to maintain the fire services protection at all times.

Please ensure safety audits include for regular checking for compliance of these requirements.

If there are any issues with achieving strict compliance, consult the Building Certifier/Building Surveyor/PCA, and any relevant Regulators and Fire Brigades to ensure the works don’t progress without suitable fire protection.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

There are a number of devastating consequences for Hutchies if we are found to be non-compliant. These include:

Risk to people & property
Several fires on other builders’ construction sites have caused damage to cranes.
Recently, arson on a Hutchies site caused damage and delays to the project.
Regulators & associated penalties
It varies from state to state but essentially this is non-compliance to the NCC – which is failure to meet legislative requirements, and failure to adequately (competently) supervise our projects.
This will attract disciplinary action which could include the following:
Contract
The works will need to stop until they are compliant. This could create considerable time delays and result in delay costs.
Public record
Disciplinary action goes on our public record as a black mark against Hutchies, typically for 5 years after an issue is finalised.
Even if no financial penalty is issued – the fact that a regulator had to issue Hutchies a non-compliance notice and had to direct us to rectify is written up against our name publicly for 5 years.
Licence demerit points / suspension / cancellation / sanctions
All states have different systems but non-compliance can contribute to licence restrictions/validity.
Every state is reliant on every team and every project they have under construction being compliant.
The regulator involvement can range from an improvement notice, to a direction, to a Show Cause notice, all the way through to licence restriction/suspension/cancellation if repeated incidents occur.
Financial penalties
Fines range from $110,000 to over $150,000. This is added to by our collective management time, plus legal fees in some cases which can lead to over $200,000 for one incident. Incidents can easily cost $500,000 if we fail to comply!
Industrial manslaughter
In QLD & ACT at present, with VIC proposed and potentially federally in the future, the lack of fire safety systems under the NCC falls under HSE and could involve industrial manslaughter charges.
Reputational damage
All of the above have reputational impact to Hutchies at a professional level – with government, financial (banking) and institutional investors all having significant concerns with compliance, and media coverage potentially putting significant focus and pressure on Hutchies.
Any damage to our reputation puts our pipeline of work at significant risk!
Check the relevant state legislation for more information:
QBCC – 2018/19 Compliance and Enforcement Strategy
QBCC – 2017 Contractual Obligations, Demerit Points and Bans
QBCC – Defective Work & Disputes
VBA – Compliance & Enforcement
VBA – Performance Audits
NSW – Licence Holder Overview
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7 May / Quality

Temporary Fire Services including hydrants, fire hose reels and extinguishers are a requirement of the National Construction Code. They provide protection against the potential risk of fire on a building site during construction. Refer clause E1.9 below for specific details.

On building sites, there is risk of fire from construction activities, materials and fuel.

This may pose a significant risk not only to people and the project but also to neighbouring properties.

It’s important to remember that a building site does not have the permanent fire protection systems that protect people and property when the building is complete.

A summary of the requirements can be found here.

What do I need to do from here?

As always, careful planning of the works is necessary. Ensure that this requirement is managed through design.

Then, during construction, implement the requirement in a timely manner to ensure a compliant fire protection system is in place as soon as possible, and before the limits are reached during construction.

All projects need to have a programme that considers the activities and timing required to ensure compliance. Please ensure lead time works including boundary connections, procurement etc are included and a milestone linked to the E1.9 criteria are included.

Keep in mind boundary connections are usually a long process and may impact on permanent water sources for example, so temporary services may be necessary as an interim, where approved by the relevant authorities/designers.

Ensure consideration is given to any water tanks and fire pumps that are required to maintain the fire services protection at all times.

Please ensure safety audits include for regular checking for compliance of these requirements.

If there are any issues with achieving strict compliance, consult the Building Certifier/Building Surveyor/PCA, and any relevant Regulators and Fire Brigades to ensure the works don’t progress without suitable fire protection.

Check the relevant state legislation for more information:
QBCC – 2018/19 Compliance and Enforcement Strategy
QBCC – 2017 Contractual Obligations, Demerit Points and Bans
QBCC – Defective Work & Disputes
VBA – Compliance & Enforcement
VBA – Performance Audits
NSW – Licence Holder Overview
View More
7 May / General

Guides to Standards & Tolerances for QLD, VIC and NSW have been added to the Document Library.

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1 May / General

The NCC 2019 has come into effect as of 1 May 2019, across all states and territories. It is now available on the Document Library. Team Leaders, Design Managers, Quality Managers and Cost Planning/Estimating Teams in particular should ensure they take the time to review the new NCC, making sure they are across the changes.  

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30 April / General

The ASAA (Australian Stone Advisory Association) Natural Stone Design Manual has been added to the Document Library. It's a good document to reference when it comes to natural stone installations on projects, with detailed information about design, selection, installation and quality expectations. 

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