Welcome to the spring edition of On the Job.
After much of the country experienced a winter as cold as the arctic, the arrival of spring is as welcome as your team winning the grand final.
That feeling you get when you warm your face in the sun is nothing compared to the warm glow you feel when your mobile starts to ring off the hook again! Thanks to the overabundance of home, gardening and reno shows on the box, many owners are inspired to give their place a bit of a spruce up or turn their thoughts to building – which can only mean good things for the industry and your bottom line.
And speaking of the bottom line, warm weather and longer daylight hours also tend to bring out the light-fingered, so make sure you protect your back pocket with the right insurance!
In this edition:
- Jobsite theft
- Passive houses
- Insuring tools
We hope you enjoy this edition of On the Job.
The BuildCover and TradePlusCover Team
...even the dunny roll holder
Job site theft is the scourge of the industry. So how do
you protect your back pocket when the materials
you’re responsible for get nicked?
Trend Alert: Aggressive about
The rise in passive housing is set to change the way
Tool theft is a constant worry for tradies. Protect your
assets with tool insurance.
News in Brief
- Cash jobs set to become illegal.
Following a recommendation of the Black Economy Taskforce, legislation has been drafted which would make cash payments in excess of $10,000 an offence. From 1 January 2020, it will be a criminal offence to make or accept a payment from businesses that include $10,000 or more of cash. The limit will apply to all cash transactions equal to or in excess of $10,000 and include all cash deposits into bank accounts and all consumer to consumer transactions. The maximum penalty would be two years’ imprisonment and/or 120 penalty units ($25,200).
- Industry calls for skilled labour.
Employers are calling for the Government to tackle growing skills shortages that are threatening an unprecedented pipeline of infrastructure projects and renewed employment demand in the mining sector. Research by AiGroup found 75% of employers were having difficulty recruiting qualified or skilled workers to fill vacancies. The biggest shortages were among technicians and trades workers. The call comes in the wake of figures revealing apprenticeship and traineeship numbers have fallen from 446,000 in 2012 to 259,385 last year, while the number of older workers has risen, with 610,676 people aged 65-plus still working in June this year, up from 300,107 in 2009.
- Tradie concerns revealed.
The St. George Bank Tradie Economy Report has found the top business concerns for tradies were being paid on time, profitability, the ability to pay bills and managing cash-flow. They were least concerned about the political landscape, competing with larger businesses, and having a succession plan. The research also found 75% of tradies aspire to be self-employed in the next 12-18 months and 40% of tradies are female.
- Tradie jobs no-one wants.
South Australian employers are bemoaning the fact that there are jobs for tradies going begging because young Aussies are ‘too scared to get their hands dirty’. A lack of interest in trades careers is seeing employers look oversees to fill manufacturing, welding, carpentry and electrical positions. The Marshall Government’s Skilling South Australia initiative to create 20,800 additional apprenticeships and traineeships over four years is geared towards addressing this situation.
- Tradies earn more than uni grads.
The Daily Telegraph has compared the average career earnings of tradies with those of someone with a bachelor’s degree – and found the tradie often comes out on top. Figures from the federal government’s Job Outlook website show a machinist could earn $3.12 million over a 40-year career, an electrical distribution worker $3.02 million, an electrician $2.91 million and $2.38 million for a plumber. Meanwhile a university-qualified advertising executive could earn $2.8 million over 40 years, a counsellor $2.76 million and a human resources manager could expect to earn $2.79 million.
- Vic Govt announces cladding grants.
The Victorian State Government has announced a $600 million package to tackle combustible cladding in the state. A series of grants will fund rectification works on hundreds of buildings found to have high-risk cladding. The Government will directly fund $300 million in rectification works and introduce changes to the building permit levy to raise the other $300 million over the next five years. The program will be overseen by Cladding Safety Victoria (new agency), which will manage funding and work with owners’ corporations to progress works.
- NSW Parliament to investigate building industry.
An inquiry into the regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes by NSW Government agencies has been launched by the Public Accountability Committee of the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council. The Terms of Reference for the inquiry include insurance arrangements, and protections for owners and purchasers, including the effectiveness and integrity of insurance provisions under the Home Building Act 1989.
- NSW building reforms.
A NSW state building commissioner has been appointed to investigate and take disciplinary action for misconduct in the building industry; oversee end-to-end licensing and auditing across the industry; and drive legislative reforms. The creation of the role is part of a state-wide legislative overhaul which will see building practitioners required to register; the creation of a new duty of care to make it easier for homeowners to seek compensation against negligent building practitioners; and require compliance of all building designs and constructions with the Building Code of Australia.
- ACT Builder’s Code of Practice.
The ACT Territory Government has implemented a series of substantial reforms to improve building quality. A Builder’s Code of Practice will be introduced which sets out the builder’s responsibilities when engaging or contracting people to carry out building work; levels of supervision; critical stages to check that work is compliant with codes and standards; a process for handling client complaints; and record-keeping requirements.
- SA Budget to stimulate building.
The South Australian State Government’s 2019/20 Budget has included a $104.5 million housing stimulus package designed to help first homebuyers into the market. The Treasurer noted that the package was “a deliberate and targeted response to the well-documented challenges faced by the local construction industry”, which had seen a modest softening in the housing market and several local building companies entering receivership.
- WA Govt to protect subbies.
A bill to help protect subbies by establishing a specialist investigations unit within the Small Business Development Commission has been introduced into WA Parliament. New legislative powers will enable the commissioner to compel head contractors for state government projects to prove payments to subcontractors. The commissioner will also be able to shield subbies from retribution for lodging complaints.
- WA builders fined.
A Perth building company has been found to be negligent and fined $5000 by the Building Services Board for winning a contract to renovate a chocolate store in Fremantle but then failing to carry out or supervise the work, instead allowing an unregistered third-party to carry out the building work. Another construction company has been fined $38,000 after pleading guilty to charges over the death of a 17-year-old worker on the site. The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons who were not their employees were not exposed to hazards. More serious charges have been laid against the deceased’s employers, who have been charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing death. Another two businesses and their director have been ordered to pay almost $90,000 in fines and costs after falsely claiming (in an online business registry where they quoted a building contractor registration number) to be authorised to perform work only a registered building contractor could carry out.
Lighter side - An unfortunate experience
A couple in Florida have made what could be a first when it comes to insurance claims – for a “lightning-activated toilet explosion”!
When lightning struck the septic tank, it detonated the methane gas that had built up and resulted in the toilet exploding, according to a USA Today report.
The owner told the media outlet that “it was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard; sure glad I wasn’t in there”.
The plumber repairing the damage wrote in a Facebook post that the toilet explosion sent “porcelain airborne like a missile”. The shattered porcelain actually penetrated the bathroom wall and parts of windows were blown out by the blast.
The second-generation plumber told USA Today that neither he nor his father had ever seen anything like it and that the lightning-sparked toilet detonation may be “a first in plumbing history”. He recommended that people avoid using the toilet during a thunderstorm!
On the upside, the owner’s insurers have said they will cover the damage.
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