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Here you will find the latest news and advice from the CCF WA. Keeping you up to date with CCF WA Events, Training, News and Articles on best practice civil infrastructure.
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CCF WA’s campaign for more certainty for the civil construction and associated extractive industries in the wake of the Eclipse decision has led to a constructive response from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). As we wrote in the recent CCF WA Bulletin Q1 2020, regulatory amendments since Eclipse had effectively addressed concerns that sand transferred from one site to another for land development could attract the waste levy (landfill levy). However, significant uncertainty remained where sand and other basic raw materials were offered for sale, and had led to the perverse outcome where long-term suppliers of high-quality construction materials were now being required to undertake regular and expensive testing to prove their product wasn't contaminated.
In response to CCF WA’s concerns, DWER has provided additional information supplementing the information provided in its factsheets: Assessing whether material is waste and Amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 – clean fill and uncontaminated fill.
DWER has advised:
The 2018 landfill category amendments are only relevant to material that is defined as waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) and Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007.
Testing is not required for waste that meets the definition of ‘clean fill’.
In classifying waste material as ‘uncontaminated fill’, it is not necessary to test for every substance listed in Table 6 in the Waste Definitions.
CCF WA has been advised that in response to industry concerns, the State Government has implemented a set of guiding principles for all works agencies to assist in the collaborative and pragmatic approach to the administration of works contracts during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Important aspects of these guidelines include:
Western Australia’s peak civil construction industry body has partnered with The Institute of Civil Infrastructure to launch the industry’s own continual professional development program for civil managers. In what is an historic, game-changing moment for the WA civil infrastructure industry, employers and individuals from leading hands to CEOs will now be able to access, anywhere in the State, civil industry specific learning, standards and recognition.
Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said the civil industry had a strong focus on improving the skills of its people. “The industry has recognised the need for ongoing professional development of our managers, including establishing recognised standards,” Mr Graham said.
“Such initiatives are most successful and valuable when driven from the ground up by the industry itself, and that is precisely what has happened here.
“We are delighted to be working with The Institute to launch in Western Australia an initiative which will support individuals, employers and the industry’s customers, such as the State Government.
“We are supporting the current generation of civil infrastructure managers and leaders, and constructing the next.”
The Institute of Civil Infrastructure was created as a not-for-profit organisation by the civil construction industry to provide industry-based standards, recognition and continuing professional learning for supervisors, manager and leaders.
“The Institute launched in New South Wales last year and has already proven itself with over 1000 continual professional development registrations,” Mr Graham said.
“Through this partnership with CCF WA, The Institute will now be offering their service across the entire State.
“As long as there is an internet connection, no one misses out due to location.”
The Institute delivers more than 70 courses that are selected by civil contractors to match industry’s needs. Courses focus on three categories: Technical Management, People Management and Business & Operations Management.
The Institute of Civil Infrastructure CEO David Castledine said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Civil Contractors Federation Western Australia for, through that partnership, all West Australians in the civil industry can now gain access to industry set standards and recognition that is uniform across Australia.
“The Institute offers a civil industry specific solution for individuals to control their futures, and employers to manage their risks and needs."
“The Institute is now open for all West Australians. Bookings can be made today.”
Visit iciaustralia.com for more information
Australia’s peak voice for the civil infrastructure sector, Civil Contractors Federation National, today acknowledged the announcement by the Federal Government of a $1.8 billion local government infrastructure stimulus, but said further investment is required to stimulate Australia’s economic recovery effort.
The new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program is a welcomed initiative but CCF National urges more money to be injected into this and other civil infrastructure programs across urban, rural and regional Australia.
CCF National has been advocating for the Federal Government to utilize the capacity of the civil infrastructure sector in Australia’s economic recovery efforts at a time when it has the capacity to undertake more projects and employ more workers,” said Chris Melham, CCF National Chief Executive Officer.
“Indeed, CCF National recently undertook a survey of its members which provided strong evidence that the sector has the capacity to take on more civil infrastructure projects and employ thousands more workers to stimulate the Australian economy.
“CCF National has been a vocal supporter for investment in civil infrastructure to manage the economic impact of COVID 19 and recently wrote to the Federal Government’s National COVID 19 Coordination Commission and the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) confirming the sector’s ability to lead our recovery efforts.
In its submission to the ERC, CCF National’s recommendations were:
“On behalf of the civil infrastructure sector that contributes $135 billion to the Australian economy (8.1% of Australia’s GDP), employs 1.1 million Australians and comprises 345,000 businesses, CCF National continues to encourage the Government to better utilize the sector’s capacity in leading our economic recovery efforts,” Mr Melham concluded.
For further information: Mr Duncan Sheppard, CCF National Executive Officer, 0438 330 039
Construction industry groups have joined forces with the WA Police Force to launch the Partnership Against Crime Taskforce (PACT) with the aim of curbing theft on Western Australian construction sites.
The signatories to the PACT Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are the WA Police Force, security specialists Braven Group Services, Master Builders WA (MBAWA), the Urban Development Institute of Australia WA (UDIA WA), and the Civil Contractors Federation WA (CCF WA).
Central to the PACT program is an online crime reporting platform, where building and construction contractors can quickly and conveniently report crime that may previously have gone unreported. There is also a 24/7 phone number for members of the community to report crime and suspicious activity.
Braven will work with WA Police, ensuring all incidents are recorded, and sharing information that will assist in investigating the crime and improve the likelihood of the offenders being caught.
WA Police Community Engagement Division Executive Manager Bernie Durkin said building site crime created a huge unnecessary cost to industry and the consumer. "There is a cost to repair damaged property, replace stolen items and a cost to conduct investigations," Mr Durkin said. "WA Police fully support this partnership to assist with building site crime reduction.”
Master Builders Executive Director John Gelavis said: “Building site theft and vandalism has been a major issue in the Building and Construction industry over many years. The significant financial costs to builders and consumers along with the emotional stress to delayed completion times impacts both the community and industry alike.
“The PACT program would allow incidences of site theft and vandalism to be reported and investigated more effectively, reducing crime while saving police resources."
UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said: “From a developer’s perspective, this is such an important initiative given the obvious financial implications of theft and vandalism, however community safety is also critical, and at the end of the day we want to foster strong, cohesive and safe neighbourhoods.
“This pact not only addresses the significant cost impact of theft and vandalism, it adds a level of comfort for residents knowing that their street or neighbourhood is being closely monitored and any crime will be reported swiftly."
Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said CCF WA was proud to be part of this important initiative.
“While theft from building sites is probably more visible to the community, civil contractors are also constantly under attack from opportunistic thieves,” Mr Graham said. “On civil sites the main targets for theft include fuel, plant and machinery, copper pipe and electrical cable. Often, the damage done by thieves will be worse than the theft itself – for example, they will cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to steal a few hundred dollars’ worth of diesel, or they will rip out newly installed underground cable, requiring costly and time-consuming rework in addition to the value of the cable.”
Braven Group Services Director Craig Pages-Oliver said partnerships such as PACT had enormous potential to reduce crime and provide a significant saving of police resources.
“PACT will provide a conduit for businesses and the community to report crime with minimal effort,” Mr Pages-Oliver said. “This will mean more crimes are reported and we can build up a more accurate picture of the extent of construction industry crime.
“We’ll be able to ‘map’ the incident reports to identify high-crime areas, and demonstrate where more policing resources are needed.
“And by doing some of the preliminary investigative work, we will assist WA Police to identify and apprehend offenders.”
Western Australia’s civil construction industry has supported calls for direct Government stimulus to boost activity and save jobs in the residential subdivision construction sector.
The Civil Contractors Federation WA’s request came in response to a report released by the Housing Industry Forecasting Group (HIFG) today revising its forecast for dwelling commencements in WA this financial year down from 15,500 to 12,500. The HIFG report noted that COVID-19 “is likely to make an already bad situation worse”.
CCF WA CEO Andy Graham said the revised forecast could yet prove to be optimistic, with the full effects of COVID-19 still to be measured.
“What we do know is that new home construction activity in Western Australia, which was already at 20-year lows, is now going to fall at least another 20% this year,” Mr Graham said.
“That is deeply concerning news for those civil contractors and suppliers who rely on residential subdivision activity to stay in business.
“Most of these companies have ongoing projects in the short-term, which means they may not qualify for targeted Federal stimulus such as JobKeeper. But as those current projects come to an end these businesses are facing an uncertain future.
"Opportunities are drying up for the rest of this year, and next year, as land developers respond to reduced demand by deferring planned new stages.
“The last few years have been tough enough – a sustained downturn in subdivision activity will inevitably lead to substantial job losses.”
CCF WA endorses recent calls from building and land development groups for immediate stimulus including an increase in the First Home Owner Grant; an increase in the first home stamp duty concession; and fast-tracked development of community housing and affordable land developments.
Western Australia’s civil construction industry congratulates the State Government for signalling a strong commitment to reducing red tape in infrastructure procurement by introducing the Procurement Bill 2020 into Parliament today.
Civil Contractors Federation WA CEO Andy Graham said Finance Minister Ben Wyatt deserved praise for championing much needed and overdue reforms. “Tackling some of the entrenched practices in Government won’t be easy and it will take strong and committed leadership to effect change,” Mr Graham said.
“CCF WA has been saying for many years that procurement red tape is a significant impost on businesses in the civil infrastructure construction sector, and that more can be done to reduce that burden through greater consistency in contracts, tendering processes and prequalification requirements.
“The current wide variety of documentation and processes has long been a source of frustration for Western Australian civil contractors and suppliers who typically work for a number of different Government agencies, authorities and corporations at one time.
“And of course, it’s not just industry that bears the burden. This is a significant internal red tape issue for Government. The synergies and efficiencies that will flow from more consistent procurement will save the Government in areas such as tender evaluation, contract administration and legal reviews.
“Ultimately, higher bid costs and administration costs are reflected in higher costs to taxpayers.”
Mr Graham said a more consistent approach to risk transfer in contracts should result from the reforms.
“Common sense dictates that State Government instrumentalities should take a consistent approach to fundamental elements of contract risk such as delays, damages and latent conditions,” he said. “Standardised contracts would allow everyone in Government and industry to become more accustomed to their rights and obligations. This would mean less time managing and interpreting contracts and more time focusing on the safe and efficient delivery of infrastructure.
“Procurement reforms will benefit Government and industry alike, reducing red tape, boosting productivity, and realising greater value for money from every dollar spent on infrastructure.”
A coalition of Industry Associations and Trade Unions have joined together to develop guidelines for managing the risks associated with COVID-19 on Western Australian construction sites.
The guidelines will be regularly updated and made widely available within the Building and Construction Industry.
The Building and Construction Industry employs over 120,000 Western Australians, 94% of who are employed in small businesses, and turns over around $33 billion each year.
As an essential service, WA’s building and construction industry has continued to operate during the pandemic, with appropriate physical distancing, hygiene and other controls in place to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus. To date, the industry has been successful, with no known cases of COVID-19 on construction sites.
Twelve industry associations and trade unions have agreed that maintaining up to date guidelines on how best to manage the health and safety risks from COVID-19 will support the industry’s continued safe operations, noting the need to manage these risks will be with communities and their industry for many months.
MATES In Construction CEO and coalition chairman Brad Geatches said: “While we’ve all been encouraged by the low number of COVID-19 cases in WA recently, publishing this guideline will help reinforce that the threat is still very real. The Federal Government’s new roadmap shows that physical distancing, hygiene and other COVIDSafe measures will need to continue to be observed on sites for some time.
“Our industry is large and diverse, so we decided it was important to capture the better practice COVID-19 risk management methods developed so far by the industry in one widely accessible
The guidelines address social distancing on site, hygiene, mental health and how to manage a range of possible COVID-19 related scenarios that could arise on a construction site.
The participating organisations are: CFMEU Construction & General Division WA; Civil Contractors Federation WA; Construction Contractors Association of WA; Construction Training Fund; Electrical Trades Union - Electrical, Energy & Services Division, WA Branch; Master Painters & Decorators Australia; Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association WA; MATES in Construction; National Electrical & Communications Association WA; National Fire Industry Association; Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union; and ReddiFund.
An up-to-date (as at 21/08/2021) COVID-19 health, safety and wellbeing guideline for the Western Australian building and construction industry is available to download below:
COVID-19 guide 08-21.pdf
The civil construction training package has undergone a major review. Significant changes to the structure of Certificate-level (traineeship) qualifications and units of competency are proposed, with the aim of ensuring the qualifications meet industry's changing needs.
The revision includes:
Click below to view a summary of the draft changes:
Summary of draft training products_Civil Construction_20200504.pdf
Click here to download a zip file with details of proposed revisions to qualifications and units
(Or you can go to https://www.skillsforaustralia.com/project-page/civil-construction/ and click on 'Training Product Development'.)
PwC’s Skills for Australia is seeking feedback on the draft training products until close of business Friday 29 May 2020. You can email the team direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. CCF WA Members are welcome to provide feedback to CCF WA at email@example.com.
Fifteen years ago, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced an “all-Western Australian consortium” of Doric and Brierty would build new railway stations at Rockingham and Warnbro, while another local company was awarded the Mandurah station contract.
A year earlier, the largest Mandurah rail line contract – for track laying and associated civil works – went to a consortium that included local contractors MacMahon and Multiplex.
These WA businesses benefited from a de-bundled approach, with design and construction of the Mandurah line packaged into nine separate contracts, giving local firms multiple opportunities to deliver key components of the project.
Times have changed, and nowadays most mega-projects – those exceeding $500 million in value – are delivered as single contracts. The Thornlie-Cockburn line and Yanchep extension have been bundled, despite being about 50km apart. The Morley-Ellenbrook line is also being procured as one main contract, albeit with some enabling works tendered separately.
These METRONET mega-projects are well beyond the financial capacity of local mid-tier contractors, which is why increasingly they are asking “what about us?”. Last week, recently formed lobby group Australian Owned Contractors lamented bundling of the Morley-Ellenbrook line “will once again result in a foreign tier one contractor delivering the project”.
The frustration is understandable. Proud Australian companies feel they are being locked out of major infrastructure projects in their own country.
The METRONET procurement strategy seems to conflict with the State Government’s strong commitments to local capability and jobs. When queried on this, it points to industry participation plans, which require head contractors to prove they are prioritising locals for subcontracting opportunities.
The reality is participation plans make little difference. Nearly all subcontracts on WA infrastructure projects are already delivered by local companies, mainly SMEs.
It’s WA’s mid-tier contractors – companies that have the financial capacity to deliver $10 million to $150 million projects independently, as head contractor – that miss out. These companies aren’t structured to subcontract and get no benefit from participation plans.
If we’re serious about building local capability, we need to provide more mid-tier head contracting opportunities for those local contractors that have continually demonstrated their commitment over many years to developing, training and maintaining a Western Australian workforce – not just on-site construction workers but also permanent management, engineering, administration and support staff in many and varied roles. Furthermore, they have built strong relationships with local suppliers of goods and services. In short, they are the lifeblood of the Western Australian civil construction industry.
This is not a jingoistic call for foreigners to be sidelined or for locals to be favoured. We’re asking for balance, and for a more equitable mix of contract sizes. CCF’s analysis of last year’s State Budget papers shows that $10 million to $150 million contracts could make up less than 15 per cent of WA’s major transport project pipeline by 2021/22 – down from about 40% currently – as the State Government ramps up METRONET.
Redressing this looming imbalance is vital to ensure we don’t lose local capability. In an infrastructure landscape increasingly dominated by billion-dollar projects, a creative and flexible approach is needed.
The New South Wales Government successfully de-bundled its massive $4.5 billion Pacific Highway upgrade into dozens of major contracts by hiring a tier one ‘delivery partner’ to assist with contract management. Here in WA, Main Roads has ensured at least some mid-tier involvement in the $800 million Bunbury Outer Ring Road project by strongly encouraging the inclusion of mid-tier contractors in the tier one-led consortiums – something that should have happened on the main METRONET projects. Main Roads is also considering a de-bundling strategy for the $275 million Bindoon Bypass.
The local industry doesn’t expect every infrastructure project to be de-bundled. There’s a place for mega-projects in the mix too. But if WA’s civil construction industry is to maintain our hard-won capacity and skilled workforce, we need a stronger pipeline of mid-sized contracts.
CEO, Civil Contractors Federation WA
(This opinion piece was published in The West Australian, May 1, 2020)
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