You can talk about a number of topics within major construction in Australia, such as safety issues, government regulations, improving the design process etc.

Two recent announcements – the federal budget and Infrastructure’s 10 principles for an infrastructure led COVID-19 recovery – can catalyse a new era of sustainable infrastructure. Among the measures announced by the Morrison Government, a massive $14 billion has been allocated to new and accelerated infrastructure projects, including Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail and the Western Sydney international airport.

Shovel ready projects, like smaller scale road safety, will receive $3 billion. A further $1.9 billion investment in next generation energy technologies will support low emissions and renewable technologies and help the federal government reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Australia’s 10 principles have been warmly welcomed by industry. The principles include selecting projects and reform initiatives that enhance productivity, improve sustainability, build resilience and encourage innovation, as well as coordinated action on climate change and other disasters.

Our challenge is to ensure the multi-billiondollar investment ahead delivers jobs and growth today, and secures positive social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes for many years to come. By embedding sustainability into decision-making at the earliest stages of projects we can consider whole-of-life outcomes of infrastructure. We have clear evidence that sustainable infrastructure projects not only deliver better environmental outcomes, but also maximise social, cultural and economic benefits.

Independent analysis undertaken by RPS Group, IS Rating Scheme Return on Investment, finds infrastructure projects rated under the IS Rating Scheme will deliver up to $2.40 in benefit for every dollar spent.

IS-certified as-built assets have delivered accumulated reductions of 14% in energy, 27% in water and 31% in materials when compared to declared baselines.
We know infrastructure contributes around 70% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. But an infrastructure-led recovery from COVID-19 can create jobs, enhance national productivity and build sustainable community assets. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Ainsley Simpson
Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia

It’s heartening to see a promising bounceback in construction following Melbourne’s second lockdown as the number of jobs per company on Fergus software platform reached pre-COVID levels in November.

With this accompanying a 3.3% rise in GDP over the last quarter, Australia’s economy and construction industry are so far poised for recovery.

During March and April, Victoria’s 2020 jobs were higher than in 2019 due to an influx of home improvement jobs during the initial lockdown period.

This continued as Victorians saw more freedom in May, June and into the beginning of July before a sharp decrease in trade work when the second lockdown restricted the number of workers that could be on site.

As restrictions have lifted, so has the job creation number, putting trades businesses back to work at a time when they’re usually winding down for the year.

The data shows that tradies are having a strong end to a difficult year. The Federal Government’s HomeBuilder program, which had seen 7,636 applications in Victoria on November 20 – more than any other state – is likely to be playing a role in the recovery.

We are really encouraged by this latest data. This has been a really turbulent year for tradies – for all small business owners. To see new jobs being generated faster than at any point this year in the period after Stage 4 lockdown is great news for our trades, our customers, our families and our economy.

There are a lot of families out there who aren’t going to have the same kind of Christmas that they usually do because tradies are going to be catching up on the work that has been lost throughout the year.

A recovering housing market and healthy infrastructure pipeline will hopefully keep demand for construction strong in the early months of 2021, helping our industry power an economic recovery from a very difficult year.

By David Holmes
Fergus Job Management Software for Trades Businesses

I recently read a fascinating BBC Future article which suggested that we were at a ‘hinge’ in history – a defining moment when the decisions made now can fundamentally affect the future of our civilisation. We are certainly at a similar defining moment in the history of our industry. The complexity of construction
is accelerating, projects are getting larger, and the social, economic and environmental stakes continue to rise. Meanwhile, evidence suggests that we are struggling to keep up with the demands of society; project delays, cost over runs, contractual claims and quality issues are still rife. It is no longer an option to
continue doing things the same way.

With a plethora of traditional, segmented and industrialised design solutions available, and an increasing range of technologies and approaches to utilise, it can be challenging to understand risk and make informed choices. One thing is sure; drawing a line between design and construction is no longer viable.

Permanent and temporary works design and construction methodology must be considered in conjunction with an overall Construction Methodology and Erection Sequence (CMES) to deliver holistic value.

It is now possible, powered by BIM and Digital Design techniques, to digitally rehearse construction and assess options in a way that is interactive and ensures all stakeholders have clarity and confidence to make better decisions including the ‘how’, not just the ‘what’.

This increases certainty, an increasingly rare and valuable commodity. Go to to see RBG’s approach and how our journey in Virtual Design and Construction is evolving.

By Paul Mullet
Group Engineering and Technology Director
Robert Bird Group

by Andrew Hogg

If there is one thing we have learnt over the last few months, it is self reliance. Not just personally, but also a reliance on locally made products and services.

The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on world wide logistics may be felt for months and even years to come. This is forcing clients, designers and contractors to seriously consider buying Australian made to ensure programme impacts are mitigated.

The focus on local suppliers and manufacturers to support a sustainable construction industry is creating a unique opportunity for the Australian supply chain to demonstrate (through innovative approaches) that it can provide high quality product at competitive pricing.

Indeed, the current environment provides our local supply chain with a real incentive to surprise the market with its innovation, ingenuity and comparable pricing thereby securing a long term pipe line of work.

On the sustainability side of things, a competitive and robust Australian supply chain, will mean Greenstar points for use of locally sourced products will be an
“easy-get”, rather than scrounging through product receipts to pull enough evidence together to hopefully meet the target.

So the challenge is there for the entire construction process – for clients to demand Australian Made; for designers to specify Australian Made; for contractors to source Australian Made and for the supply chain to provide high quality Australian Made products at competitive pricing.

This must be a pathway to a self perpetuating, job intensive recovery.

by Andrew Hogg
National Director Clients & Strategy,
Project Management
Savills Australia

Laurie Green, Managing Director | Cut to Size Plastics

Construction companies across Australia are benefitting from cost-effective measures to ensure their infrastructure assets are protected against the effects of our harsh climate.

Repeated heating and cooling over many seasons eventually results in older assets buckling or cracking when old bearings have exceeded their lifespan, corroded, lost their flexibility or become bound rigid. This often happens with bridges, pipelines, aqueducts, ramps and other structures.

These structures still have to carry the same loads, or transport the same contents, but now offer much less protection at all to vital contents, including people and vehicles on bridges and water, slurries, oil, gas and chemicals in pipelines.

Technology has come a long way since many of these items were first installed some 30 to 40 years ago. One focus of Cut To Size Plastics and its Hercules Engineering division that has been gaining momentum in recent years is cost-efficient and maintenance-free alternatives.

Slip joints and structural bearings can now incorporate high performance combinations of engineered thermoplastics and stainless-steel facing surfaces that don’t break down in the way that earlier types of bearings used to deteriorate.

They are engineered to accommodate the vertical and horizontal stresses imposed by expansion, contraction and varying loads, thereby greatly reducing downtime and maintenance.

Engineering for low maintenance is essential whether you are involved in carparks, walkways and bridges, or working on elevated section of pipelines serving remote resources and industrial projects where you can’t afford to have pipelines out of commission or needing frequent maintenance.

Lauries Green Managing Director Cut to Size Plastics
Laurie Green, Managing Director