Australia’s Construction Industry Makes Two Positive Changes 2

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014
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Fortunately, there are people in the building and construction industry who look for ways to improve the way we work.

Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is pleased focus on two such contributions right now.

Actually Cutting Red Tape

While many consider government talk on cutting red tape to be just hot air, one really important change will deliver 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 will 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.

Achieving compliance and improved quality in construction products

Evidence suggests that the market penetration of non-conforming products in several key construction product sectors in Australia may be up to 50 per cent. 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 online by the 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.

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2
  1. Peter

    BCA free online is a good first step – but it still references so many Australian Standards, and $200+ a pop. Which for a small business, needing to reference content on a odd occasion, makes then out of this world expensive.

    To truly make that regulation content accessible – the need to also make these referenced standards freely available as well

  2. David Chandler

    Rationalizing Australia's construction industry standards and compliance regimes is important. But the push to cut red tape and further encourage self and independent third party certification alternatives is fraught with danger. Governments have been slashing and burning Australia's investment in developing new standards and ensuring that qualified practitioners are up to the mark. These issues are national and systemic. ACIF and the APCC seem to ignore the declining building standards and non-compliant that everyone is talking about except them.
    This is not a time for government to abrogate responsibility to ensure a fit for purpose built environment in a rapidly changing global industry.