Construction is one of the biggest industries in Australia, generating up to $360 billion a year. The construction industry is recently facing numerous challenges, however. Just last year, strict COVID-19 lockdowns created difficulties for construction companies and even paused major infrastructure projects. Workplace safety and building issues were also major concerns among the general public. To address these problems, federal and state governments established several new reforms in the construction industry. Here’s a list of the top five construction industry reforms to plan for in Australia:
Design and building practitioners regulation changes
Confidence in residential building industries is waning due to increasing reports of major building defects around the world. In response, the New South Wales Government reformed design and construction compliance reporting.
The reforms require Class 2 building work to follow regulated design elements, such as appropriate cladding fire resistance, and water-repellent features. Building companies must then declare their qualifications and compliant designs through the NSW Planning Portal. Builders will also be required to start construction following those specific design plans and be able to demonstrate their compliance. If builders need to perform tasks that vary from original plans, they need to immediately report the changes.
To meet these complex requirements, businesses must implement intuitive compliance procedures. They should use digital job forms modelled after the new regulations and provide online reporting channels to make it easy for users to stay compliant.
New energy efficiency performance requirements
Every three years, the National Construction Code (NCC) updates their building codes and requirements based on policy initiatives. In 2021, the NCC released new requirements regarding the energy efficiency of residential buildings in an effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The proposed changes recommend that homes must be designed and constructed in a way that reduces energy usage for heating and cooling. This entails leveraging insulative construction materials, installing airtight doors and double-glazed windows, and employing passive solar orientation for natural heating. The NCC also provides an annual energy consumption budget for heating and cooling systems that will be installed in the building.
Construction companies can adapt to these changes by partnering with the right material suppliers and subcontractors. First-rate HVAC subcontractors, for instance, can install more energy-efficient air-conditioning systems. Moreover, companies should train construction workers on the latest thermal building insulation techniques to better comply with NCC requirements.
More women in construction
To address the structural and cultural problems women face in construction, the Victorian Government recently announced the Building Equality Policy. Under this policy, construction companies have to meet certain targets and workplace conditions. By 2024, women must make up at least 3% of trades work, 7% of non-trade positions, and 35% of management roles in government contract work. Companies must also bring in more women registered as apprentices or trainees for construction contract work.
While these policies currently only apply to the state of Victoria, this could encourage other parts of Australia to enact similar construction reforms. This means businesses must consider establishing more inclusive hiring and apprenticeships programmes in the near future. What’s more, organisations must take stringent measures to prevent workplace violence and sexual harassment. Companies must build a respectful workplace through training and ensure every worker has access to mental health support.
Improving planning of project pipelines
According to Infrastructure Australia, the construction industry is experiencing declining productivity levels. The issue often stems from a lack of standardised and streamlined processes in project pipelines. That’s why recent reforms recommend companies to improve project outcomes through efficient and comprehensive planning.
The best way for construction companies to meet these recommendations is through project templates and job checklists. Templates expedite planning by detailing the different stages and milestones of each project, and can be reused for similar jobs. For infrastructure construction, project templates may include steps for engaging with suppliers, procuring equipment, scheduling site inspections and assigning work orders. Meanwhile, job checklists lay out all the activities and safety procedures involved in each project milestone. Establishing these standardised processes can expedite project execution and ensure contractors fulfil their contractual obligations promptly, thereby increasing productivity.
Embracing digital adoption
The Australian Infrastructure Plan also calls for increased use of digital technologies to increase productivity in government-funded construction projects. This involves leveraging innovative solutions like building information modelling software to visualise and plan large infrastructure projects.
Another recommendation is to promote open sharing of information between all project stakeholders through digital technologies. Construction companies can achieve this using cloud-based job management software like WorkBuddy. With WorkBuddy, teams have access to centralised operational dashboards and subcontractor management portals to better coordinate their efforts. The software can disseminate work orders, schedules, compliance forms, and other critical information to trades workers instantly via the cloud. By letting field workers access data from anywhere, construction companies can reduce tedious paperwork and unnecessary trips to and from the dispatch desk.
If you want to enhance your construction company’s capabilities, WorkBuddy is the best tool for the job. This leading job management software provides a wide array of features, including project templates, subcontractor management, compliance, and more. Book a demo today to find out how WorkBuddy can help your business adapt to the new construction industry reforms.