All News

  • Drug and alcohol training reduces workplace substance abuse

    New research has identified that businesses are capable of reducing workplace substance abuse through the implementation of drug and alcohol first-aid programs. A study conducted by researchers at the Nation... more
  • Infrastructure Australia appoints new CEO

    Ms Romilly Madew has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Infrastructure Australia, replacing Mr Philip Davies who departed the organisation in 2018. Both the Australian Government and the building ... more
  • Scientists develop energy-generating brick

    An international team of scientists, led by the King’s College Department of Chemistry in London has developed a thermogalvanic brick that generates electricity as long as the two faces of brick are at differ... more
  • Queensland’s construction industry set for further reform in 2019

    In the wake of public and industry concerns over the structural integrity of the NSW high rise apartment development, Opal, Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni has stated that maintaining conf... more

Researchers are turning old clothes into high-end building materials

Researchers at UNSW Sydney have developed an effective process to turn old clothing and textiles into high-quality building products such as flat panels. Led by Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology, the researchers have been scientifically reforming common waste items using prototype technology to convert low-value waste into high-value building products and materials. The process builds on work through the centre’s one-of-a-kind e-waste microfactory which can transform the components of discarded electronic items (e.g. phones or laptops) into new and reusable materials which can then be used to manufacture high-value metal alloys and carbon. Rather than using electronics however, the green microfactory uses a similar process to convert old clothing and mixed waste glass into valuable insulation and building pa... more

Profits, projects and pressure: a 2019 industry forecast

Kenny Ingram, Global Industry Director at global enterprise application company, IFS, has gazed into his crystal ball for the construction, engineering and infrastructure industries and made some bold predictions for 2019. Mr Ingram believes that 2019 will see a digital leap forward as many construction companies explore integrated business software into projects for the very first time. “Tighter margins, global skills shortages and new industry entrants are all ramping up the pressure on traditional construction businesses to deliver greater productivity and more integrated, cost-efficient projects, on time, every time,” he stated. Prediction 1:  50 per cent of all construction projects worldwide will include modular content by 2022, driven by the growing global skills shortage. IFS reported that in 2018 they saw four times greater customer activity around modular co... more

Crane operator fined for overloading crane and injuring worker

A crane operator has been fined $4400 (and ordered to pay $4700 in costs) after he overloaded a crane and injured another worker when the crane collapsed. Robert Anthony Hoekzema pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting another person and was recently fined at Perth Magistrates Court. In June 2015, Mr Hoekzema was employed as a casual crane operator under the direction of H’VAR Steel Services Pty Ltd on a project managed by Doric Construction. The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) said that a four-storey commercial building was under construction in Karratha when concrete panels were being picked up from a rack using a crane and lifted over the top of the building. Mr Hoekzema was operating the crane and was aware that some of the lifts he was performing would be beyond the specified maximum capacity of the c... more

Australia sees continued strength in construction applications

Leading property analysist, CoreLogic, have released the latest edition of their ‘Cordell Construction Monthly’ which states that 2,210 projects entered Australia’s construction work pipeline in November - with a combined worth of $25 billion being almost double the 3-year medium value. In commenting on the findings, CoreLogic commercial research analyst, James Shang, said that the number of new construction projects entering Australia’s pipeline was just below the yearly high of 2,292 which was recorded in October. “Although the total estimated value of new projects is approximately 16 per cent lower than the yearly high, it’s a strong indicator of continued strength in construction applications,” he stated. According to the report, infrastructure projects continued to dominate new project work in both quantity and value over November, although apartments and uni... more

Report tracks Asia Pacific green building trends

CBRE has released a new research report which tracks recent green office building trends in the Asia Pacific region and describes the market drivers which could interest investors seeking to strengthen their commitment to ‘greening’ their portfolios. The report, titled Green Buildings: Everything Investors Need to Know, states that there are several drivers of growth of green office buildings in the Asia Pacific region. They include: Government regulations and incentives In Australia, all commercial offices larger than 1,000 square metres must perform energy efficiency evaluations and disclose their National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). Further to this, all Australian government offices with a net lettable area larger than 2,000 square metres must achieve a minimum 4.5 out of 6 NABERS stars. Some states have also introduced their own measures, such ... more

Victoria to introduce Australia’s highest workplace health and safety fine

Victoria will soon implement the nation’s highest maximum workplace health and safety fine (over $16 million) along with industrial manslaughter laws after Labor retained power in the recent state election landslide. A key pre-election commitment from the Andrew’s Government was to introduce tougher penalties for businesses that do the wrong thing - this includes significantly increasing the penalties for employers whose negligence leads to the death of an employee. Labor’s commitment also includes adding an industrial manslaughter offence to the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. In announcing the commitment in May, the Labor Government said penalties needed to be a “strong enough deterrent to make employers take workplace safety seriously and not rely on deep pockets to avoid accountability while cutting corners on safety.” “We’ll amend the... more

Important changes proposed for security of payment in WA

On 22 February 2018, Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations, the Hon. Bill Johnston MLA appointed Barrister John Fiocco to make recommendations to improve the security of payment for subcontractors in WA’s building and construction industry. The findings of the 359-page report were released today. The Security of Payment Reform in the WA Building and Construction Industry was developed over a six-month period and involved extensive stakeholder consultation with 19 industry organisations and seven State Government agencies. The report said the security of payment problem facing subcontractors appears to be driven by three factors. The first factor is the hierarchical contracting arrangements or ‘contractual chain’ used to deliver construction projects. Money passes down the chain from the owner at the top, through head contractors to subcontractors, sub-subcontract... more