Category Archives: Construction

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Construction Skills Shortage

Building Trade News

First published Wednesday 4 February 2016 in North-East Business News
Author: Andy Richardson

A CONSTRUCTION skills time bomb is ticking, with shortages in key trades and professions, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Results from the FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey for Q4 2014 show small construction firms are experiencing particular difficulties recruiting carpenters, joiners and bricklayers.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “As the shock waves from the latest economic downturn continue to reverberate through the construction sector, concerns over diminished workloads have been replaced by concerns over skills shortages.

“This time last year, only 27 per cent of firms were struggling to recruit bricklayers – that figure now stands at a sizeable 42 per cent.”For carpenters and joiners, the figure has nearly doubled with 23 per cent of firms reporting issues in Q4 2013 and 44 per cent of firms now saying these tradespeople are hard to come by. We’re also seeing a rising and significant shortage of roofers, plasterers and site managers.”

Mr Berry continued: “The skills time bomb has arisen for a number of reasons. Around 400,000 construction workers left the industry since the downturn hit in 2007 and many will never return. If you combine this with an increase in workloads as the economy recovers, all the signs point to the skills shortage getting worse before it gets better.

“The FMB is working hard to help address this skills shortage but the Government must also play its part. If ministers could do one thing to help address the problem in the medium term, it should be to review its proposed apprenticeship funding reforms, which our members tell us will prevent them from being able to train apprentices. In the midst of a skills crisis, it’s the last thing the construction industry needs.”

Mr Johanson, spokesman for Local House Painters Glasgow said ” there is a desperate shortage of experienced painters and decorators in Scotland. The lack of companies taking on apprentices in recent years is now starting to show its impact on the industry” He went on to say, “That industries around the globe were appearing to be no different with his good friend Laszlo, is finding it difficult to find suitably qualified staff for his Sydney Removalists business to allow him to grow his business there. The owner of a local taxi business said the same about finding qualified drivers.”

Maul Products Pty Ltd Makes Debut in Australia

Wheel stop and Bollard supplier Maul Products has recently been launched in Australia to service the lucrative car parking market. Thousands of both wheel stops and bollards are damaged and replaced each year.

Marketing Manager for Maul said that they had strong forward orders for their concrete filled plastic wheel stops from apartment developers keen to use the fashionable new design that Maul had brought to Market.


Building a sustainable home doesn’t have to have expensive bells and whistles. With a few key design principals, a sustainable home can be built at little to no additional costs!

Chef and restaurateur Dan Zeidan and his partner Vicky Kordatou embarked on a colossal and experimental project to build their dream sustainable home. The home is located on a 10 acre property at Kinglake, an hour away from Melbourne. This is an area familiar to extreme climate conditions; it was one of the worst hit by the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

With the help of eco designer Joost Bakker, Dan and Vicky achieved a zero waste and flame zone rated home made from recycled and recyclable nontoxic materials including straw bale walls for insulation, fire proof magnesium oxide board as cladding and an exterior made up of a metal cage filled with crushed brick for a unique finish. For Dan and Vicky, aesthetics were not the top priority; rather they wanted a home that was functional and coexisted with its environment. The outcome is a home that will withstand and endure the harsh elements of this site and most importantly a home that was designed and built with sustainability in mind.

A sustainable home must respond to the local climate and surrounding environment, remaining comfortable with minimal heating/cooling demands. Here are some simple ways to incorporate sustainability design principles in your home.


Passive solar design uses the energy from the sun to heat, cool, and illuminate the home, resulting in low heating and cooling bills. There are three key elements:

1. Building Orientation
Choose a site or home with a good orientation for your climatic and regional conditions, this will maximise the site’s potential for passive heating and passive cooling. Good building orientation and appropriate room layout will bring warmth to living areas in winter and shade protection and cooling breezes in summer. In Australia, the ideal aspect is for main living areas to face north or north-east

2. Carefully designing the building envelope (roof, walls, windows and floors)
Careful consideration of window placement and size, glazing type (double or treated glazing), efficient heating and cooling systems, solar hot water, solar panels, green roofs, walls and facades, rainwater capture and greywater reuse can enhance the performance of your home.

3. Existing buildings can also be adapted or retrofitted to be more sustainable.
During a renovation, reorient rooms (where possible) for optimum solar design. Adding insulation to ceilings, walls and floors, and adding energy efficient lighting and water efficient fittings are also simple, effective ways to improve a home.


4. Green roofs, walls and facades
These features can reduce stormwater drainage and improve the thermal performance of a building by reducing heating and cooling. On a larger scale, it can help cool a city, create and preserve various habitats and promote ecological biodiversity which enhances our urban landscape and cleans the air.

IMAGE: CR Land Guanganmen Green Tech Showroom built in 2008 by Vector Architects in Beijing, China is a great example of a green wall application. For more images click here.

5. High Performance windows – when building, window systems are one of the high cost ticket items and selecting the right solution for your home is key. There are many window configurations on the market, from using low-e coatings, selective transmission films, inert gas fills and thermal breaks to a combination of these for the right application. Energy efficient windows will make your home more comfortable while dramatically reducing your energy costs and helping to create a brighter, cleaner, healthier environment.

Finally to help you with your next sustainable project and research don’t forget to attend the Sustainable House Day and keep the Sustainable checklist handy for your reference.

6. Sustainability checklist for designing a new home or renovating a home

  • Locate rooms most used (kitchen, lounge and bedrooms) on the side of the house orientated to the North.
  • Locate rooms to take advantage of winter sun and cooling summer breezes.
  • Consider window size and placement to promote and enhance cross- ventilation to the south, east and west.
  • Thermal mass can be achieved by locating utility areas (laundries, bathrooms and garages) on the south or west where possible, avoid locating sleeping rooms on the west.
  • Structures such as carports or sheds that will block northern sun should be minimised if located on the northern facade.
  • Overall landscape design and plant placement should funnel cool breezes and block or filter harsh winds.
  • Vegetation should be pruned to avoid blocking out winter sun. Planting deciduous vegetation that allows winter sun to penetrate and provides shade during summer is a great option.

7. Sustainable House Day

Since 2001, Sustainable House Day (in collaboration with the Australian Solar Council) has given visitors a chance to inspect houses that have been designed, built or renovated with sustainability in mind. This year’s event will be held on Sunday 13 September from 10am to 4 pm. For more information and a list of participating homes near you, visit

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Home Security

The technology available for residential homes in 2016 is simply extraordinary. Wise Group Home Security in a recent release predicts continuing strong growth in home automation solutions and predicts this global trend will continue globally for some years to come.

Consumers have only had the old type of alarm panel as their past home technology interface. Shortly, according to industry insiders, consumers are going to have solutions that will allow communication and interaction with their home on an extraordinary number of levels in real time.

A recent report by United States research house, Transparency Market Research, valued the global home automation market at US$4.4 billion in 2014 and predicted it would increase at a compound annual growth rate of 26.3 per cent until 2020, taking the market to over $US12 billion.

Transparency Market Research found trends boosting the market were automated solutions used for lighting, safety and security, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning), entertainment, energy management, as well as many others.

Mr Kyle Gray, Wise Group Solutions Business Manager said, “architects and engineers were now looking more closely at home automation options and although Home Alarm Monitoring has played a high priority in the past, more emphasis is being placed on such things as managing energy usage through heating and cooling applications. He went on to say, “with the advancements in technology, confidence in wireless solutions has grown significantly and we are also seeing a greater call for this type of home automation solution.”

The prolific number of new products coming to the market in the ‘affordable’ automation space clearly indicates that the home automation market is growing at a rapid pace and there’s no sign of it abating.

From what designers have hinted at having on the drawing board, the possibilities in home automation solutions are endless. These new applications will put the automation panel as being a key component to not only greater home security but also play a major roll in home energy savings from the time it is installed.

You can learn more about Wise Group Home Security and their Home Smoke Alarms by visiting their website.


Business Contact

Mr Kyle Gray

Wise Group Home Security

Level 2, 233 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW Australia 2000

+61 02 9210 0000



Waste Management During Construction

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Construction wastes are unwanted materials produced by building construction. This include building materials such as lumber, electrical wiring, brick, concrete and wood as well as waste from site preparation such as tree stumps, dredging materials and rubble. Construction waste may contain asbestos, lead and other hazardous substances. Building waste can be as high as 10 to 15% of the materials, there is a big opportunity to reduce this waste. Many elements of construction waste can be re-used and recycled.

Building materials and other construction wastes like refuse building materials, surplus and hazardous wastes must be properly managed and disposed of to reduce the risk of pollution. Proper waste disposal, recycling, spill prevention, proper material handling and cleanup measures can reduce the potential for contamination of surface or ground water.

Every year around 1000 slips or accident in construction sites results in someone fracturing bones or dislocating joints. These accidents can cause permanent disability and has a huge impact on work and personal life. Many of the incidents are caused by something in the person’s way such as construction materials or waste. Sensible waste management during construction can reduce waste, reduce disposal and transportation cost, save on raw materials and improve safety whilst protecting the environment.

Efficient identification and sorting of materials is important in waste management. Materials may be sorted into a number of containers provided by service companies that specialize in management of construction waste. Waste management companies offer construction sector a number of specific tools and solutions which can help reduce the amount of produced waste, re-use and recycle more materials as possible, make efficient use of resources and save on the cost of waste disposal. They will determine the most effective and safest way to remove and collect construction materials from the site.

Waste management companies provide pre-demolition and refurbishment audits. They give detailed information on what materials can be reclaimed and recycled to reduce the cost and environmental impact of waste. This information can help bring savings by re-using existing materials and earning from selling materials that are not needed.

From small construction projects to large scale development waste management companies can advise on the proper type, size and placement of skip bins to keep the job site cleaner, safer and more efficient. Typical skip bin size ranges from 3 to 9 cubic meter containers. When dumpster is too big for the site dumpster in a bag can be the best waste removal solution. This is perfect for small projects or sites with limited space.

Roll-on roll-off is a cost effective and efficient system for bulk waste removal. This is best suited for commercial and industrial customers who generate large volumes of waste and have the space to store containers on-site. RORO is ideal for dense, bulky, non-compactable materials like timber, wood, concrete, steel, bricks and soil.

Skip bins containing construction waste are collected and transported to diversion facilities to be sorted. Diverted materials are incorporated in new products as recycled materials or processed for reuse. Materials distained for landfills include refuse, contaminated waste materials and materials without commercial value. Waste management is an important part of project development. Efficient and effective waste elimination and reduction maximize resource recovery, reduce waste to landfill and improve environmental sustainability.