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Regional update

March 11, 2019

HIA Elections

HIA has held its Victorian Regional Meeting of Members and the results of the HIA elections were announced. We thank Craig Muse for his two year term and acknowledge the great work he has done as President for all members and the team at HIA in Victoria. But his term has come to a close and he is handing on the baton.

We welcome and congratulate Andrew Gordon as HIA’s new Victorian President together with Steve Bright, HIA’s new Vice President.

As Craig spoke to the Annual Meeting, he described that it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with our Victorian Members during his two year presidency, mentioning in particular the support he has received from the Regional Executive Committee and the work they have done on behalf of members navigating the complex issues that have arisen in the residential Building Industry this past two years.

Craig also paid his respects to fellow Regional Executive Committee Member, and Life Member of HIA – George Kline – who passed away late last year. George, was truly one of our greats and had also been a recipient of HIA’s highest honour, the Sir Philip Lynch Award. Craig acknowledged on all of our behalf that we will all miss George’s wisdom, contributions and friendship.

Following is a full list of elected representatives announced at the Annual Meeting of Members - congratulations to the following:

  • Andrew Gordon – HIA Victorian President
  • Steve Bright – HIA Victorian Vice President
  • Craig Muse and Robert Griek – Immediate Past Presidents (who remain as members of the Regional Executive Committee)

Our Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs, of whom the Chairs are members of HIA’s Regional Executive Committee:

Training and PD Membership Services Committee:

  • Doug Stevens – Chair
  • Venise Reilly – Vice Chair

Kitchen and Bathroom Committee:

  • Miles Williams – Chair
  • Garrett Hebden – Vice Chair

Industrial Relations and Legal Committee:

  • Justin Cotton – Chair
  • Irena Watson – Vice Chair

Planning and Environment Committee:

  • Nick Drougas – Chair
  • Mark Whinfield – Vice Chair

Technical Committee:

  • Glenn Mitchell - Chair
  • Vice Chair is currently vacant

Brach representatives:

  • Hasan Sarac – South East
  • Stephen Fisher – Casey Cardinia

Together with our five additional members of the Regional Executive Committee:

  • Geoff Underwood
  • Colleen May
  • David Martin

And welcome to our new members of the Regional Executive Committee:

  • Roman Franetic
  • Rodney Radings

In his speech to the meeting Craig also thanked HIA Members, members of the Regional Executive Committee and the Policy Committees who contribute a tremendous amount of time and expertise, and continue to work tirelessly in the interests of our members. Craig also thanked retiring REC member Robert Pradolin.

Craig thanked the HIA Victorian team here in Jolimont and to those located in our regional offices in Geelong, Bendigo, and Wodonga and acknowledged there is no shortage of expertise on all building matters and our members greatly appreciate the work of the staff in contributing to our members success in business.

Housing Outlook for Victoria

Despite the housing market slowdown accelerating in the second half of 2018 under the pressure of the national credit squeeze, the strong Victorian economy continues on the back of a strong pipeline of residential work still to be done, ongoing overseas migration and a continuing public infrastructure boom. Despite concerns around land sales and declining multi-unit building approvals, detached dwelling approvals in Melbourne still reached a record high in 2018. Regional Victoria too continues to defy the state and the nation, with building approvals remaining strong. In 2018 there were an estimated 73,580 housing starts.

HIA has just released its quarterly economic and industry outlook report. The State and National Outlook Reports include updated forecasts for new home building and renovations activity for Australia and each of the eight states and territories. HIA’s Outlook for Victoria shows that activity is coming off historically high levels of activity and expected to return to the longer term average with over 50,000 homes forecast to be built for each of the next three years. But if the leading indicators do not improve in the first half of 2019, then the pipeline of building work that has expanded over recent years will be exhausted at a concerning rate.

Read the media release.

VCAT outcome

You may have seen in the press recently that a decision on the Lacrosse apartment building in Melbourne that was subject to the facade fire in 2014, was handed down in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) last Thursday.

The decision was that the combustible cladding on the building was non-compliant with the Building Code of Australia and not fit for purpose, therefore the Judge ordered the builder - LU Simon, pay the apartment owners damages of $5.7 million.

Whilst the decision applies to the builder, most of the money (97%) has been directed to be paid to LU Simon by the architect, the fire engineer and the building surveyor who worked on the project after the Judge found they had each breached contractual obligations in some way.

The judge noted that this ruling should not be taken as setting any particular precedent for bodies corporate more generally and the findings have been informed by the particular contracts between the parties in this case. However this judgement is a particularly relevant test case for how proportional liability can work in the building industry, whereby the responsibilities and associated liability being attributed to those key people that have critical roles in designing and approving compliant buildings.

In many respects the decision supports many of the recommendations of the Building Confidence Report prepared by Dr Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir on behalf of the COAG Building Ministers. It also reflects HIA’s submissions to that report, that substantial improvements can be made in addressing building compliance issues by addressing the quality of the plans being prepared and the accountability of those people preparing the plans and specifications.

Read the 227 page ruling on the case.