Master Builders recognises that reform takes time and requires a strategic approach. With the advent of the Association’s Strategic Plan, the Housing and Construction Councils changed their approach to policy creation and advocacy, adopting a framework to provide for transparency, consultation, accountability and evidence-based decision making in setting policy.
With the State economy adjusting to end of the mining and resource construction boom and immigration returning to pre-boom levels, the impact on the commercial sector has been highly competitive tendering on slim margins, and on the residential sector, the need to adapt quickly to activity levels well down on recent historical highs. In turn, Master Builders has needed to be more strategic, to prioritise and to be open to change in setting policy to meet members’ and industry’s needs.
The Association’s 2015-16 residential agenda saw policies approved on building in bushfire prone areas and on regulatory reform (including lobbying for private certification of town planners and, in time, further private certification of building services). Several other areas have been identified for policy development including housing affordability, housing indemnity insurance, Building Commission audit reports, energy efficiency requirements, universal access requirements and building licensing-registration requirements
Infrastructure, including the impact on strategic planning elements (such as infill development, metropolitan and sub-regional frameworks and public transport networks), is an issue identified as a high-level priority, as will be the impact of emerging, imminent technologies which will change building methods and products.
Research is underway on downsizing trends. This is crucial to the future of the residential market, and Master Builders’ project will assist the State Government’s strategic planning for residential design and precinct guidelines.
In the commercial sector, Construction Council efforts included focus on restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the introduction of a revised WA Building Code of Conduct covering a wide range of workplace arrangements including safety standards and drug and alcohol testing and the building union’s 2016 pattern EBA.
Harmonisation of WA’s laws with model Federal safety laws continued under review though Master Builders was disappointed by the WA Government announcement deferring the model laws to after the State election. The Association has lobbied for a smaller harmonisation package rather than the bloated Federal version.
Security of payment again has emerged as an important issue with the Government’s Building Management and Works agency adopting project bank accounts, the proposed WA Building Code of Conduct having a bearing and changes to the Construction Contracts Act in Parliament. As well as providing input on these issues, the Association continues to press for government (particularly BMW) to lead the way as a model client and example to industry at large.
OUR TOP SIX ADVOCACY ISSUES
1. AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION
Master Builders backs the Federal Government’s determination to restore the ABCC to ensure the building and construction industry has a strong watchdog to maintain the rule of law.
2. CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE WA BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
Master Builders is calling for updating of the 2002 Code of Practice for the WA Building and Construction Industry to provide consistency with the 2013 Federal Code of Practice for the Building Industry.
3. BUILDING IN BUSHFIRE PRONE AREAS
Working collaboratively with industry, Master Builders will identify improvements to the legislation, make recommendations and lobby the Government to implement the recommendations.
4. REFORM FOR GREATER EFFICIENCY IN REGULATORY PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES
The Association continues to lobby for statutory and strategic planning reforms including progressing electronic lodgment and advocating reforms to private certification and to local government processes.
5. HOME INDEMNITY INSURANCE
Master Builders continues to work with the residential sector and Government to resolve what needs to be done to make WA’s home indemnity insurance scheme equitable and more sustainable.
6. SECURITY OF PAYMENT
Master Builders supports ethical contractual payment arrangements and reforms to the Construction Contracts Act but will hold the Government to account where reforms result in unnecessary red tape.