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Check out the latest news, industry trends, product innovations and best practices in the Australian Building and Construction industry from builders, builders associations and experts on Top4 News.
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Property market heading for oversupply on record building levels

Property market heading for oversupply on record building levels | Building Services | Scoop.it

The first cracks in the housing market are beginning to show and experts expect a gradual slowing into next year.


Australia’s residential property market could soon be in oversupply with construction at record levels despite falling new home sales.


Already, industry observers are calling the boom over, saying prices are flat or falling in all major markets except Sydney which is expected to also weaken soon.

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The big ask when it comes to building a new house

The big ask when it comes to building a new house | Building Services | Scoop.it

No question is a bad one when it comes to building a new house.


Where do I start? If you’re a first-home buyer, you really need to start by looking into your finances because that determines where you can start looking. A second or third-home buyer will want to start by looking at suburb-specific builders, because they usually have young or established families that are already integrated into the local community and schools. Knockdown and rebuild clients are generally less focused on affordability and all about building the dream design that suits and enhances their site and lifestyle.


What choices do I have when it comes to fittings, fixtures and styling? Will someone help me? It’s definitely worth asking your builder what interior selections are available to you during your build and what choices you will have to personalise the interior of your home. While some designs come with a predetermined interior colour option, other builders offer a more immersive-style selection experience, with qualified interior designers on hand to really help deliver your dream house as you see it.


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Woolworths to pull plug on Masters after Lowe's exercises put option

Woolworths to pull plug on Masters after Lowe's exercises put option | Building Services | Scoop.it

Woolworths plans to pull the plug on its loss-making home improvement business Masters after buying out joint venture partner Lowe's Companies for an as-yet-undisclosed price.


Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns said on Monday that Australia's largest retailer would sell or wind up the home improvement business, which has lost more than $600 million over the past four years.


The long-awaited decision follows the completion of a strategic review of the home improvement business, which includes Masters and Home Timber & Hardware, and Lowe's move to exercise its put option.

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Improved Productivity Key to a Better Construction Future

Improved Productivity Key to a Better Construction Future | Building Services | Scoop.it

The coming year must see Australian construction lock in the potential of a more lawful industry and measurably lift its productivity and effectiveness.


Australian construction costs are amongst the highest in the world. These costs stand out when compared to those of our immediate regional neighbours. Being more competitive in the Indo-Pacific construction market will increasingly define our industry’s future success.


Construction is often dismissed as being measurement resistant. The reality is that construction companies resist measurement. The institutions of construction make measurement comparison more difficult that it needs to be. This need not be so.

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Builders incentivised to meet market

Builders incentivised to meet market | Building Services | Scoop.it

Challenging conditions loom for homebuilders in WA, as demand for new housing slows after record-breaking peaks of activity last year.


A slowdown is generally considered a good time to buy, and property is clearly no exception - particularly when it comes to the construction of new homes in Western Australia.


WA's builders are in for a challenging few years, with housing starts expected to come off quickly from the record high of more than 31,000 homes started in 2014-15.

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Stage two of Margaret River bypass gets $58.3m

Stage two of Margaret River bypass gets $58.3m | Building Services | Scoop.it

The Western Australian Government has committed $58.3 million to complete the construction of a bypass road around the south-west tourist town of Margaret River.


The first 1.8 kilometre stage of the Margaret River Perimeter Road opened in May, connecting Rosa Brook Road with a new roundabout on Bussell Highway.  The timing for the completion of the second and final stage of the project was left hanging in the balance after it was overlooked in the 2015/'16 state budget.


At the time, Regional Development Minister Terry Redman blamed a lack of funding on the declining revenue generated by iron ore sales.

However, the release of the mid-year budget review this week shows money has been allocated to restart the project in the 2016/'17 and 2017/'18 financial years.


A new 5.4 kilometre stretch of road will be built linking Bussell Highway to the north, along with a new bridge over the Margaret River and an extension of John Archibald Drive to provide direct access to the town centre.

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Crackdown targets unlicenced Hunter builders

Crackdown targets unlicenced Hunter builders | Building Services | Scoop.it

Unlicensed builders in the Hunter have been prosecuted as part of a crackdown by New South Wales Fair Trading.


In the last month, four people have been prosecuted over unlicensed building works in New South Wales.


They include Karl Michael Roby, 41, who was convicted in Newcastle Local Court for accepting payment but failing to deliver goods and services, along with unlicensed contracting of residential building work.


He was ordered to pay fines and court costs totalling more than $25,000, and compensation to his three victims of almost $7,500.

Peter Haynes, 45, also known as Todd Garay, was convicted and ordered to pay almost $20,000 in fines and costs.


The Hamilton South man accepted pre-payment from his victims totalling $85,000 for services including wall and fence construction, agricultural drainage and landscaping, turf laying and deck projects.

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What Village will become after Games

What Village will become after Games | Building Services | Scoop.it

A DINING hall which will transform into a supermarket, a dorm room which will morph into a chic one-bedroom apartment — the slabs have barely dried in the Athletes’ Village but construction crews already have the end game in mind.


Developers Grocon are footing the $533 million bill for the crucial piece of Commonwealth Games infrastructure and once the event is over, in return they will get to keep what will resemble a ready-made suburb.


As well as a major supermarket and 18 specialty stores, the post-Games development will also boast a seven hectare park, 1252 dwellings and is close to the health and knowledge precinct.


In a nod to their neighbours at the Southport Special School, there will also be a $200,000 disabled adult changing facility complete with hoist — only the sixth built in the state and the first outside Brisbane.

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Building boom taking place in backyards

Building boom taking place in backyards | Building Services | Scoop.it

Construction in NSW is reaching new records and more of it is happening in people's backyards, as they build on their own land in response to a tight housing market.


About 75 per cent more people are building on their blocks of land, as subdivisions or granny flats, than five years ago, according to government statistics released today.


The new statistics show that the increase occurs alongside a boom in construction generally. The value of construction in the state rose last financial year to $34 billion from $29 billion a year earlier.


Peter Phibbs a professor of Urban Planning and Policy at Sydney University subdivisions on larger blocks could become a substantial source of  housing supply as Sydney residents seek to make use of wealth tied up in their land. 

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Call for hot-weather rule change as teen fights for life

Call for hot-weather rule change as teen fights for life | Building Services | Scoop.it

Hot weather rules for commercial construction must be also applied to domestic builders, the CFMEU says, as an apprentice fights for life after collapsing in this week's searing weather.


Travis Mellor, 17, remains in a coma at Royal Adelaide Hospital after collapsing at a suburban domestic building site in 41 degrees on Wednesday.


SafeWork SA is investigating the incident.  


Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union SA state secretary Aaron Cartledge told InDaily union officials would meet with SafeWork SA to discuss how domestic builders could be included under state guidelines to ensure all workers were protected from extreme heat conditions.

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Safety alert on post storms/floods asbestos cleaning and removal

Safety alert on post storms/floods asbestos cleaning and removal | Building Services | Scoop.it

SafeWork NSW released a safety alert for home-owners, businesses and volunteers who are involved with the clean-up and recovery of structures damaged by recent floods.


SafeWork reminded everyone to safely handle and remove asbestos during clean-up.


“Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services, utilities companies or local council,” SafeWork NSW stated.  


When planning to remove less than 10 square metres of asbestos materials, people are advised to download the Asbestos: a guide for householders and the general public.  Removing friable asbestos, or 10 square metres or more of non-friable asbestos materials must be performed by a licensed asbestos removalist. 


Asbestos exposure can result to mesothelioma, which is an aggressive type of cancer. In Australia, the use of asbestos has been banned since the 1980s. However, as many as two or three structures built between World War II and 1983 still contain asbestos. About 670 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. It is estimated that more than 25,000 Australians will die from asbestos-related diseases in the next 40 years.

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Victorian builders banned from appointing surveyors

Victorian builders banned from appointing surveyors | Building Services | Scoop.it

Builders will be banned from hiring their own surveyors under a radical shake-up of Victoria's construction laws, which is aimed at tackling dodgy builders and unnecessary consumer costs in the $28 billion industry.


Owner-builders will be restricted to building just one house every five years under a crackdown on unregistered builders who use ownership as cover from regulations.


Builders will also have to re-register every five years, with the Victorian Building Authority given powers to inspect building sites and registrations.


The new laws were introduced to State Parliament on Thursday and establish a new mandatory dispute resolution process in a bid to stop costly tribunal fights between builders and owners.

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WorkSafe reminds builders to secure site before Christmas

WorkSafe reminds builders to secure site before Christmas | Building Services | Scoop.it

All Victorian builders are reminded to ensure the safety of their construction sites during Christmas break to prevent access and possible injury to the public.


Builders should consider safety measures to minimise risk. Poorly secured construction sites can pose risks to the public, especially children looking for adventure over the school holidays.


These risks can include falls from partially built structures and scaffolding, live electrical power, open excavations or building waste and rubble.


Marnie Williams, WorkSafe Executive Director said builders can do simple site clean-ups and security measures to ensure the safety of construction sites during this time of the year.


“Builders with sites in close proximity to homes, parks or recreational areas need to be vigilant about site safety and security during this time and manage risks appropriately,” said Ms Williams.

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Australia Needs National Construction Governance

Australia Needs National Construction Governance | Building Services | Scoop.it

Better regulation of training and universal licensing are long overdue in Australia.


The dysfunctional aspects of builder licensing across Australia are known to many. The push to make uniform building regulations and implement a National Construction Code that is now freely available online is a good example of what can be achieved when we all work together. This is a fundamental reason for COAG to exist.


Unfortunately, a uniform approach to developing builder licensing remained as dysfunctional as ever in 2015. Let’s hope an innovative approach to our national governance recognises that uniformity of a national builder licensing scheme is a seamless and strategic link to the NCC’s performance objectives and would be of great benefit to the building construction industry and its consumers. It is achievable and should be viewed as a significant catalyst in achieving better standards of building construction within the contemporary built environment.

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Apartment approvals boom could be over in Sydney, Melbourne with slump in new construction permits

Apartment approvals boom could be over in Sydney, Melbourne with slump in new construction permits | Building Services | Scoop.it

There are signs the apartment approvals boom in Sydney and Melbourne has peaked after the latest building approvals figures showed a slump in new construction permits.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed total building approvals fell by a seasonally adjusted 12.7 per cent in November, with private apartment approvals tumbling by 23 per cent, while approvals to build standalone houses were almost flat, down 0.5 per cent.


Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk said the decline was much bigger than expected.

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Coast builders celebrate highest level of approvals on mainland

Coast builders celebrate highest level of approvals on mainland | Building Services | Scoop.it

RESIDENTIAL building approvals in south-east Queensland are leading the nation, with the latest results showing the outlook is positive for 2016.


Statewide, building approvals for November show a total of 4051 dwellings, up from 3702 in the previous month, seasonally adjusted.


This is in stark contrast to national approvals which were down 12.7% seasonally adjusted in November, because of a fall in approvals for high-rise apartments. Consecutive increases had been observed in the previous two months.


Approvals for units were up 9.4% in November, while the figures for detached houses remained steady. Overall, the total change from the previous 12 months is up by just over 26%.

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Australia's housing standards are failing its ageing population

Australia's housing standards are failing its ageing population | Building Services | Scoop.it

Many Australians want to grow old at home with family and friends. Yet most have homes that are inaccessible. Without intervention now, taxpayers will be asked to deal with the unintended consequences for the health, aged care and disability budgets.


We all know people who go to hospital and do not return home because they can no longer climb the stairs, get down the hall, or use the bathroom. The alternative is an extended hospital stay while they wait for expensive modifications, or placement in some distant residential facility.


Community and housing industry leaders agreed with the federal government a voluntary national guideline and a plan to provide basic access features in all new housing by 2020. Governments at all levels endorsed this agreement through their housing, aged and disability policies. This includes COAG’s 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy.

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High Rise: Higher Risk for Builders

High Rise: Higher Risk for Builders | Building Services | Scoop.it

News about higher-density living in WA tends to focus on changes to consumers’ expectations and investment opportunities. We also hear often about developers locking horns with conservative councils and Development Assessment Panels and the need for more efficient approvals processes.


But what about builders? They face particular legal and commercial risks that traditional home builders don’t. Our aim is to raise awareness amongst builders as to the nature and extent of those risks and how to minimise them.


Some of these risks arise because, usually, the consumer/investor and the builder each has a contract with the developer but they do not have a contract with each other. Despite this, there are certain legal duties owed by builders to consumers/investors which mean that builders are often literally exposed to greater risk than they bargained for.

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Last stand for Brisbane's post-war Dutch houses

Last stand for Brisbane's post-war Dutch houses | Building Services | Scoop.it

Dutch houses - built in the 1950s to provide affordable housing in Brisbane - are making way for a major redevelopment of Coopers Plains.


More than 300 houses were built by about 100 Dutch migrant workers, who brought with them almost all the materials and their families from Holland.


The Dutch project was considered a solution to Brisbane's post-war housing shortage of 17,000 homes, and also the lack of materials and labour.  Straight out of the 1950s, the Dutch-designed prefabs were made of concrete but untested in Australian conditions.


The Dutch company, J Krap Building Contractors, brought a whole concrete factory, roof tiles, timber floor boards, windows, doors and even the kitchen sinks from Holland. Only the concrete was sourced locally.


The Queensland government commissioned the construction of 1,000 houses in a joint venture with an Australian company Concrete Developments.

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An overnight solution to Melbourne's housing squeeze?

An overnight solution to Melbourne's housing squeeze? | Building Services | Scoop.it

One day a Melbourne apartment building had six storeys. The next day it had eight.


An extraordinary construction project in St Kilda has highlighted a possible quick way to accommodate Melbourne's growing population.


Owners of the Adina Apartment Hotel building on popular Fitzroy Street wanted to add eight more apartments to the roof, without disturbing its paying guests for too long.


The solution saved them $500,000 in construction costs alone, as well as a year or more of noisy building at their business.


Western-suburbs builders Modscape made the modular apartments complete with toilets, light globes, ovens, stove tops and calcutta-stone benchtops in their Brooklyn factory in 16 weeks.

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Building of $1.2 billion Surfers Paradise tower fast-tracked

Building of $1.2 billion Surfers Paradise tower fast-tracked | Building Services | Scoop.it

Building of the Gold Coast’s new tallest tower has been fast-tacked to begin in the early new year.


Construction of a $1.2 billion 88-level tower in the heart of Surfers Paradise has been pushed forward to start in January 2016 after China-based conglomerate Forise Holdings settled the purchase of the former Iluka building site.


The tower will eclipse the current Q1 as the tallest Gold Coast highrise.


The first stage of construction will commence on-site mid-January with tenders already sent out to initial contractors.


The as yet unnamed project will be developed on the corner of the Esplanade and Trickett Street and will contain 693 apartments.

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ACT scores solidly in housing report

ACT scores solidly in housing report | Building Services | Scoop.it

The Housing Industry Association released the national scorecard this week on the health of the industry in each state and territory. The methodology measures activity in each jurisdiction against long-term averages across indicators of detached-home building, multi-unit construction, renovations, and construction labour force, housing finance and the turnover of establish home sales.


Each category provides a score between one and eight to give an overall number, which then ranks the best overall state or territory, which follows in second place and so on. The ACT achieved some strong scores in the areas of alterations and additions, housing loans to non-first-home buyers and the top score in Australia for housing loans for first-home buyers. We also rated very well for building approvals for apartments; established house transfers and the health of our construction workforce in the ACT.


The areas we were found to be weak in was new detached-home approvals, the number of apartments under construction and apartment transfers.


The standout result for the ACT was the eight out of eight score for housing loans to first-home buyers. This is an amazing result, showing we are getting, in percentage terms, more young people into the housing market. Given this great result, I would like the government to review its plans to reduce the grant for first-home buyers and the possible removal of the first-home owners grant all together.

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Construction ready to proceed in $150 million courts upgrade

Construction ready to proceed in $150 million courts upgrade | Building Services | Scoop.it

Construction of the major $150 million court precinct upgrade is ready to proceed, after the finances of the government's private partner were given the tick of approval.


The project is the territory's first attempt at using public-private partnerships to build major pieces of infrastructure, and will be a significant test for its "new path" of procuring large projects.


It will see the ACT Supreme Court revamped and joined with the Magistrates and Childrens courts building to form a modern, four-storey complex that fronts Vernon Circle.


The upgrades, particularly in technology, are sorely needed.   The ACT Supreme Court building is vastly out-of-date, and has been the subject of repeated criticism from judicial officers in the past few years.

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Cairns construction industry buoyed by spike in building approvals

Cairns construction industry buoyed by spike in building approvals | Building Services | Scoop.it

THE building sector is buoyed by new figures which show new housing numbers have jumped by nearly 15 per cent.


Master Builders’ analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures show that 1217 new dwellings were approved in the 12 months to the end of October, up 157 or 14.8 per cent.


In October 155 homes were approved, a 49 per cent jump on September (104). In August 86 were approved and in July 110.

Master Builders regional manager Ron Bannah said it was a good sign.


“If you go back two years ago we were averaging 77 a month,” he said.  “Now we are well into the 100s.”


Mr Bannah said his annual Christmas smoko on Wednesday was attended by 74 industry representatives who were “beginning of the end”.

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WorkCover warns of asbestos in old marblesheen swimming pools

WorkCover warns of asbestos in old marblesheen swimming pools | Building Services | Scoop.it

WorkCover NSW has sent a warning to pool builders through SPASA to be aware of asbestos in older swimming pool surfaces.  A small number of older swimming pools built before 1980 may have had minute levels of asbestos added to the marblesheen interior when it was first applied. The addition of asbestos to the marblesheen may have been used to provide for a more pliable interior during the application process as well as delivering a smoother finish to the end product.


Pools of this age are nearing the time where homeowners are looking to have them renovated.  SPASA NSW & ACT advises builders and technicians to approach all older marblesheen pools and their surrounds with the possibility that asbestos may have been used in or around the pool environment. If unsure, pool builders and technicians should seek expert advice from a licensed asbestos practitioner.


Some SPASA pool builder members have sent samples to NATA-approved laboratories for testing, at a cost of approximately $100 with a 24-hour turnaround.

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