7 May 2019 / Quality Alert

Temporary Fire Services During Construction

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
Non-compliant Site

Non-compliant Site

Compliant Site

Compliant Site

Non-compliant (left) and compliant (right) temporary hydrant works

Non-compliant (left) and compliant (right) temporary hydrant works

Valve Sets & Suction Lines

Valve Sets & Suction Lines

​Clause E1.9 – NCC 2016 Amendment 1​

Questions?

If you need additional support, please contact the Quality Team

Phone 1300 HUTCHIES

Email QualityTeam@hutchinsonbuilders.com.au

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9 September / Observation

A conversation could change a life.

Today is a reminder of the importance to check in on each other and ask R U OK?

Each of us have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic differently, but it has had an impact on us all. Some of us have been unexpectedly caught behind interstate travel bans, some in extended lockdowns, some living in hotspots, some at home with their families and some away from them.

It has been a challenge for each of us to adjust to new rules and restrictions which we have never had to deal with before.

We have all adapted in our own way to help ourselves and others. We have all done our best despite much of what we knew before having changed in so many ways.

For anyone struggling, know that there are genuine mates and the broader Hutchies’ crew around, people that care about you and are ready to listen and understand.

Now, more than ever, it’s a time to connect openly – a conversation could mean a lot to someone right now.

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25 August / Update

In response to feedback and ongoing reviews of Hutchies' systems, we've updated the Work Health & Safety Management Plan.

These updates better reflect the arrangements to manage health and safety on our projects. Hutchies' WHS Management Plan is used to identify project risks and the controls to be employed on site to manage those risks. 

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31 July / COVID-19

Lockdown announced

On Saturday morning the Queensland Government announced a 3 day lockdown period for the local government areas (LGAs) of South East Queensland (incorporating Brisbane, Gold Coast, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Moreton Bay, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Lockyer Valley).

The lockdown has now been extended to 4pm Sunday, 8 August at this stage. It has been announced in response to a growing cluster which started with a high school student at Indooroopilly State High School.

The lockdown is also mandatory for anyone who has been in any of the 11x LGAs since 1am this morning and is now elsewhere.

The construction industry is still considered an essential service. Sites will remain open throughout the lockdown period at this stage. Read on for further information.

Stricter lockdown measures

The Queensland Government announced the strictest lockdown measures that the state has experienced so far, due to concern of the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

There are only four reasons to leave home during the lockdown:

  • To buy essential goods / groceries, but only within 10km of your usual place of residence. Supermarkets will be open during the lockdown period. 
  • To go to essential work / school. Childcare is open but only for children of essential workers.
  • For exercise outside, but only within 10km of your usual place of residence. Only allowed to do so with one other person from a different household.
  • For health care. You can leave to get medical care and you can provide care to someone. You can also leave home to get a COVID test or vaccine.

Additional stricter measures have also been introduced to help stop the spread:

  • No visitors allowed at home. The only exception is to care for someone who needs help, but it is recommended to delay if possible.
  • Funerals and weddings limited to 10 people.
  • Mask wearing continues to be mandatory across the 11x LGAs. You must wear a face mask at all times when you leave home, including outdoors and for exercise, unless you have a lawful reason not to.
  • Mask wearing will now be mandatory for everyone at high schools, including students, teachers and visitors in the 11x LGAs.
  • Non-essential businesses must close (eg gyms / hairdressers etc).
  • Restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues can open but only to provide takeaway.

Hutchies' COVIDSafe sites

Construction remains essential in South East Queensland and it is important to ensure we are all working as hard as possible to keep it open in the face of ongoing outbreaks. All sites should urgently review the latest Hutchies' COVIDSafe Plan and ensure that their site is implementing the following at a minimum:

  • Regular cleaning of all site / office areas and high touch points
  • Mask wearing except when not safe to do so
  • Good hand hygiene
  • Maintaining 1.5m distance from others, including limiting numbers in hoists / lifts and crib / lunch rooms
  • Signing in using your sites' regular sign in process to provide contact details if required for contact tracing
  • Using video / teleconference software to hold meetings

Hutchies' offices in South East QLD

Everyone who works in Hutchies' offices across South East Queensland should be wearing a mask if they are working in an office during the lockdown period.

The Queensland Government has specified that people who can work from home should do so.

All face to face meetings in offices should be cancelled and replaced by video / teleconferences.

Hutchies' Toowong office

These instructions are particularly important in relation to the Toowong office.

The Toowong office is in very close proximity to the current outbreak.

If you can do your job from home, you must. You can go to the office to collect computer gear and anything else you might need to work from home during the lockdown period.

If you do need to go into the Toowong office, you must sign in using the Queensland Government QR code.

You must be wearing a mask at all times, including whilst seated. This is an important measure to stop the spread of airborne particles.

Exposure sites

The Queensland Government has provided an extensive list of exposure sites based on the movements of people who are linked to the Indooroopilly State High School cluster. More venues are expected to be added.

It is very important that anyone who is in, or has been in South East Queensland recently, checks the list daily.

If you have been to any of the venues of concern at the date and time identified, inform your Team Leader, get tested and follow the direction listed by Queensland Health.

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29 July / Update

Edition 1

Recent company snapshots have identified some pinch points in HammerTech utilisation. To assist, additional resources are available so watch this space for regular updates on all things HammerTech.

In this update you'll find:

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28 July / Training

Play the video below to see who has been crowned winner and runner up of Apprentice of the Year, Cadet of the Year and Future Leader of the Year.

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22 July / COVID-19

Keeping people safe

We've made some updates to our COVIDSafe Plan to incorporate the latest requirements across Australia.

All of Hutchies' sites and offices must continue to implement the key COVIDSafe measures we've had in place over the last 12 months, in addition to the latest local state / territory requirements listed below.

Some of the critical aspects of our COVIDSafe plan being focsued on include:
  • Regular cleaning of all site / office areas and high touch points
  • Good hand hygiene
  • Maintaining 1.5m distance from others
  • Signing in to provide contact details if required for contact tracing

The updates we have incorporated into our latest plan (version 4) includes:

Mandatory Check In & Sign In 

It is a requirement for everyone entering a Hutchies site or office that they sign in using our own process (ie HammerTech or Visitor Register) and if mandatory in your local state, must also check in using the government issued QR code system to assist with contact tracing if required.

Mandatory Masks

Masks are mandated in several areas across Australia presently, including New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and parts of South East Queensland. Hutchies' preference is that everyone in these areas, or if you cannot socially distance, wear a mask at all times, when it is safe to do so. 

This plan must be available on your project and to your clients. You should familiarise yourself with the necessary measures and continue to implement all requirements, including completing our weekly COVIDSafe inspection checklists for sites and offices.

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