5 March / Update

March 2019 / Building Code Compliance

Over the last two years, Hutchies has been subject to over 130 site visits, inspections and audits by ABCC inspectors. In each instance, we are confident that Hutchies’ Site Management Teams have demonstrated Hutchies’ compliance with the Building Code applying to each project.

Whilst evidence of compliance is encouraging, there is no sign that the volume of inspections and the focus on Hutchies’ projects is reducing. It is therefore essential that Hutchies’ teams remain vigilant in the area of Building Code compliance and that you contact Ben Young on 0400 577 953 if there is any aspect of the Code that requires clarification. Two particularly useful resources to refresh your understanding of the Code are Hutchies’ Site Management Industrial Relations Guides and the Building Code Self Audit.

Status of Hutchies' Code Compliance

Building Code 2016 requires that any builder or subcontractor who wishes to tender for Government projects is not covered by an Enterprise Agreement that contains certain non-permitted clauses.

Hutchies currently has Code 2016 compliant agreements in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. The process to have a Code 2016 compliant agreement registered in Queensland / Northern Territory is well under way, however, as it is not yet complete we are currently not permitted to submit expressions of interest or tender for federally funded projects nationally. If you are considering a project which may have federal funding attached to it, please contact Ben Young to discuss.

Right of Entry

Building Code 2016 requires that builders covered by the Code only allow Union Officials access to site in accordance with the Fair Work Act or Workplace Health and Safety legislation, however, in Queensland and Northern Territory, Hutchies’ current Enterprise Agreement includes a ‘Standing Invitation’ clause (cl 32.4) which means that until Hutchies’ Queensland / Northern Territory Agreement is varied to be Code 2016 compliant CFMEU Officials (including those without permits) are able to visit any project in Queensland and Northern Territory to meet with a member of the Hutchies’ Team.

Teams with projects in other States should follow the guidelines in the applicable Hutchies’ Site Management Industrial Relations Guide. If you are unsure of how to manage Right of Entry on your project, or if you are faced with a circumstance where there may be a breach of Right of Entry requirements, please contact Ben Young on 0400 577 953.

Paraphernalia

An area of the Code that has become a focus for the ABCC is the issue of paraphernalia.

Hutchies’ position with respect to paraphernalia is very clear. Site Managers are to ensure that no paraphernalia on the project implies that membership of a Union is anything other than a personal choice. An example of a non-permitted sign is one that reads: ‘No Ticket – No Start’. The Hutchies’ Site Management Industrial Relations Guides outline a procedure for removing posters that breach the Building Code and everyone is encouraged to re-familiarise themselves with that procedure.

To ensure paraphernalia does not breach freedom of association, Hutchies’ policy on sites where Union paraphernalia is present is to provide a balanced approach with Hutchies posters and flags around the project placed in alongside union paraphernalia. Each site must monitor the volume and type of paraphernalia on Hutchies’ projects by conducting twice daily inspections. If you require additional Hutchies’ posters or flags, please contact Sammy Fisher. Note: when rationalising the volume and type of Union paraphernalia on site, please be sensible regarding how the materials are dealt with. The sensible and respectful thing to do would be to remove those posters that are inappropriate and could be classified as breaches of the Building Code, and retain in your office and provide them back to the Delegate at the earliest opportunity. The Delegate will understand that Hutchies must comply with the requirements of the Building Code and the volume and / or type of posters displayed were not in accordance with those requirements.

Inductions

Ensure the Building Code and specifically Freedom of Association is covered in the induction using the standardised script which can be found on the Document Library

Ensure Delegates do not carry out inductions

Ensure all induction records are secured in a lockable cabinet immediately following the induction Ensure Hutchies’ Freedom of Association poster is displayed in the induction room. The poster is available on the Document Library

Training

If you or your team feel they need specific training on any aspect of the Building Code, please contact Ben Young to make the necessary arrangements.

Other points of note

Subcontract agreements

Remember to always use the updated subcontract agreements from Hutchies’ Document Library.

Non-citizens

The Code has specific requirements for builders or subbies wishing to engage non Australian citizens – if you are considering a new recruit that is not an Australian citizen and on any kind of visa, please contact Ben Young to discuss.

Delegates

Projects with Delegates are reminded that the Code requires Delegates to have a role outside of their delegate responsibilities – please contact Ben Young if you need to discuss.

Security of Payments 

Earlier this year we ran training nationally with respect to Hutchies’ obligation to report disputed or delayed payments to the ABCC. It is essential that everyone is processing claims and invoices regularly to ensure all payments are either paid by the due date or dealt with strictly in accordance with Security of Payments laws.  

Reporting of Stop work events

Hutchies has a requirement to report any industrial action on our projects. That is any stoppage that is not authorised or related to a legitimate concern for Health and Safety. If you have works stop on your project, please call Ben Young on 0400 577 953 on the day of the stoppage to discuss whether the stoppage is classified as industrial action. It is standard Hutchies’ practice to speak with Ben Young prior to submitting a report.

Sham Contracting

It is a breach of the Building Code and the Fair Work Act to engage in ‘Sham Contracting’.

A sham contracting arrangement is when an employer attempts to disguise an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement.

The ABCC website provides some guidance with respect to whether a worker is classified employee or an independent contractor. https://www.abcc.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/independent-contractors/how-determine-if-worker-employee-or-independent-contractor Teams must be taking all reasonable steps to ensure subbies are not engaging in Sham Contracting arrangements on our projects.

ABCC Inspections 

Hutchies continues to receive around two unannounced inspections / site visits per week from ABCC inspectors. During these visits inspectors typically request various documents for inspection and often ask for copies of these documents. Under Section 74 of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016, ABCC Investigators have authority to enter Hutchies’ sites and to inspect and make copies of documents while on site. In order for us to keep a record of the exchange of documents please make a second copy of any documents provided to inspectors and send them to the Code Compliance Team along with a summary of what was discussed during the visit. In instances where Hutchies’ people are being asked to provide a statement, please contact Ben Young so that appropriate arrangements can be made to have a support person present.

Other Recent Activities

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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.

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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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