Home Builder Grant: The 2020 $25k Build & Renovation Grant

Who is eligible for home builder grants, and how much will they have to spend? Even the cheapest renovations will require householders to stump up $125,000 A house being renovated in Brisbane on Thursday. The federal government will give eligible Australians $25,000...

COVID-19: Contactless Site Induction APP

HIA Making space on site: COVID-19 site induction HIA has developed a COVID-19 site induction to help builders and trade contractors include COVID-19 into their regular site induction processes. The HIA Making space on site: COVID-19 site induction uses the HIA...

Solar Guide: 2020 Guide to Solar Supply/Install Requirements

This Solar & Renewable Energy Guide is for you if you're considering investing in Solar   The three main components of a solar power system 1.  The panels, which will usually be either monocrystalline or polycrystalline. These are the two main types of solar...
Home Builder Grant: The 2020 $25k Build & Renovation Grant

Home Builder Grant: The 2020 $25k Build & Renovation Grant

Who is eligible for home builder grants, and how much will they have to spend?

Even the cheapest renovations will require householders to stump up $125,000

A house being renovated in Brisbane on Thursday. The federal government will give eligible Australians $25,000 to build or substantially renovate under its new homebuilder stimulus scheme. Photograph: Ben Robinson/Benedictus Group

On Thursday the Australian government announced the homebuilder stimulus scheme, offering $25,000 grants for new homes or substantial renovations.

But just who is eligible for the cash and what are the strings attached?


Who qualifies?

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a current or prospective owner-occupier – not an investor
  • Be a natural person, not a company or trust
  • Be an Australian citizen
  • Earn $125,000 or less a year for singles or less than $200,000 a year for couples (based on your last tax return, which cannot be earlier than 2018/19)

For context, a single person earning $125,000 is in the top income decile, meaning they earn more than 90% of other Australians.

The income caps are the same that applied to the first home deposit scheme, although the average income of applicants to that program was $67,387 for singles and $109,525 for couples.


How long have I got?

To qualify, participants must enter into a building contract between 4 June and 31 December 2020. Construction must be contracted to commence within three months of the contract date.


What can I spend it on?

Grants must be spent to:

  • Build a new home as a principal place of residence valued at up to $750,000 (including land); or
  • Substantially renovate an existing home as a principal place of residence, with renovations valued at between $150,000 and $750,000 and the dwelling not valued at more than $1.5m before the renovation.

Even the cheapest renovation eligible for the scheme ($150,000) would require a grant recipient to spend at least $125,000 of their own money – meaning the scheme is most likely to be accessed by those with substantial savings or a willingness to borrow.

The renovation can be a combination of works (eg, a kitchen and bathroom renovation) but must be supervised by a registered or licensed builder.

On Thursday, prime minister Scott Morrison noted the “average price” for building a new home is $350,000, which suggests houses roughly double the average will be eligible.

The Housing Industry Association estimates at least 14,000 renovations costing over $150,000 are undertaken every year.

We asked readers what $150,000 buys when renovating a house – the most common responses were adding a new storey or an extension adding several new rooms, although some noted extensive internal renovations including structural work moving walls may fit the bill.

Are there any exclusions?

Homebuilder grants cannot be used for additions to the property that are not connected to the principal place of residence, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas, and saunas, nor detached structures such as sheds, garages or granny flats.

Renovations or building work must be undertaken by a building service contractor registered or licensed at the time the scheme was announced.


How much will it cost the taxpayer?

The homebuilder is expected to cost $688m although it is an uncapped and demand-driven program, meaning it may cost more or less than that depending how many people are eligible and who puts their hand up for the money.

The cost of $688m implies that some 27,520 grants of $25,000 will be made.


Are there any checks against rorting?

The revenue offices of each state and territory will implement the scheme and check for potential fraud.

The purchaser can require the builder to demonstrate that the contract price for the work is no more than for a comparable product (measured by quality, location, and size) as of 1 July 2019.


Can I use homebuilder in conjunction with other schemes?

Yes. Homebuilder can be used in conjunction with state and territory first homeowner grant programs, stamp duty concessions, and other grant schemes, as well as the commonwealth’s first home loan deposit scheme and first home super saver scheme.


Why is the commonwealth offering the scheme?

Wednesday’s March quarter national accounts showed dwelling investment in Australia fell 2.9% in the quarter and by more than 15% over the past 12 months.

The contraction is expected to be worse in the June quarter and construction lobby groups predict new dwelling commencements will decline by 50% by the end of 2020.

The government believes there is a shortfall of 30,000 new dwelling commencements in the second half of 2020.


What about social housing?

When asked about social housing on Thursday, the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, pointed to existing policies on social housing, including a $1bn national housing infrastructure facility.

“That means there are loans out there that significantly support more than 1,000 new dwellings as well as nearly 4,000 social and affordable dwellings,” he told Radio National.

Frydenberg said social housing was a “combined responsibility with the states” and noted the Victorian government’s $500m package to upgrade 23,000 social housing dwellings.

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COVID-19: Contactless Site Induction APP

COVID-19: Contactless Site Induction APP

HIA Making space on site: COVID-19 site induction

HIA has developed a COVID-19 site induction to help builders and trade contractors include COVID-19 into their regular site induction processes.

The HIA Making space on site: COVID-19 site induction uses the HIA SafeScan QR Code to enable a contactless site induction for everyone who enters a building site.

The one QR code can be used across all worksites wherever mobile device coverage is available.


How HIA SafeScan works

The following steps will help you with downloading and using the induction sign:

Builders and anyone responsible for managing access to a building site

  1. Download the HIA SafeScan COVID-19 site induction sign and add your preferred company email address for the return of completed site inductions.
  2. Make sure you are familiar with the process that people who enter your site will experience when they scan the QR Code:
    • Scan the QR Code using a QR code reader app or on newer mobiles use your camera to access the link.
    • Review the site induction form and the information that users will be requested to supply.
    • Review the attachments in the form. These provide users with the HIA Making space on site guidelines for new homes or renovations.
    • To test it works, fill in and submit the site induction form. Add in your preferred email address for receiving the completed induction forms to be sent to. Note: if possible, create a dedicated email address for receipt of the site induction forms (PDF documents) for your company, or for a specific site/project.
  3. Print the site induction sign.
  4. Laminate the sign and place in a prominent location at the entrance/s to the building site (ideally located next to a copy of the HIA Making space on site guidelines for new homes or renovations).
  5. Email any trade contractors, employees or suppliers, who will access your building site, with information about the COVID-19 site induction and explain how your company will use it. This should include advice that before entering the site they should complete the COVID-19 site induction by:
    • Accessing the COVID-19 site induction sign with the QR code.
    • Scanning the QR Code using a QR code reader on their mobile device.
    • Completing the site induction form on their mobile device. Note: Where more than one person from the same company is completing the site induction a single form can be used.
    • Submitting the completed site induction form to you by entering your preferred email address.


Visitors to a building site: trade contractors, employees or suppliers

Before you enter a building site all trade contractors, employees, suppliers, and other visitors need to:

  1. Locate the COVID-19 site induction sign.
  2. Scan the QR Code on the sign using a QR code reader or camera on your mobile device.
  3. Complete the site induction form on your mobile device.
  4. Where more than one person from the same company is completing the site induction, add the name and signature of each person doing the induction into the form.
  5. Submit the completed site induction form to the builder/site supervisor by adding the preferred email address they have provided.

For more information visit the HIA website –



The Government is seeking submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups on their views for priorities for the 2020-21 Budget. 

As a result of the Morrison Government’s disciplined budget management, the Budget is forecast to return to surplus in 2019-20. 

The 2020-21 Budget will continue with this discipline while also reflecting the Government’s plan for a stronger economy and securing a better future for all Australians. 

To ensure views can be incorporated into the budget process at an early stage, submissions are due by Friday, 20 December 2019. 

Further information on how to lodge submissions is available on the Treasury website.

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Download Press Release Here

Industry groups call for Australia-wide action on building regulation

Industry groups call for Australia-wide action on building regulation


Australia’s fragmented approach to regulatory enforcement and compliance with building regulations requires a renewed commitment to national action to maintain public confidence in our built environment. The concerns of the signatories are characterised by the following:

  • Australian and international insurers are introducing strict cladding-related exclusions in mandatory professional indemnity insurance products for building practitioners in the building supply chain.
  • The discovery of major defects in buildings has significantly reduced the ability of those building owners to find an insurer willing to accept the risk.
  • State and territory governments have not taken a consistent and comprehensive approach to undertaking and completing audits of existing high-rise buildings with combustible cladding, nor developed a remediation strategy.
  • Governments are taking an inconsistent and fragmented approach to implementing reforms described in the Shergold-Weir report, which was released 18 months ago.

Though some action has been taken to amend the National Construction Code (NCC) and effectively eliminate the use of many types of combustible cladding on new building facades, the response of state and territory governments to dealing with cladding on existing buildings has been patchy and inconsistent.

The building, construction, property and insurance industries have continued their calls for state and territory governments to adopt a consistent and best practice regulatory response to the challenges presented by combustible cladding.

Positive action has been taken in some jurisdictions, however other states are lagging and the continued inconsistency in the approach across governments is manifesting in the crisis confronting building practitioners in the building supply chain. This has led to significant increases in professional indemnity premiums and a reduction in cover via exclusions on combustible cladding and non-conforming building products.

Building surveyors, engineers and architects are now struggling to obtain the insurance they need to do their job, which in turn could seriously affect future building or construction activity.

Consumers, building owners, building practitioners and their insurers need certainty and confidence in building regulation. Building and construction, when combined with the property sector, is the nation’s largest industry, provides the most full-time jobs and is a vital engine of economic growth. The economy must not be put at risk by the failure to provide certainty through a consistent approach in dealing with these issues.

The entire building and construction supply chain risks being further impacted by this continued uncertainty, and industry participants want to work cooperatively with governments to rebuild that confidence.

We urge the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to work together in providing
certainty through a uniform national approach to dealing with these matters.

What needs to be done

As organisations representing the building, construction, property and insurance industries, we urge the Federal Government to play a leadership role and bring together all state and territory governments to:

  1. Develop and implement a consistent and best practice Australia-wide response for risk assessment and a rectification strategy for existing buildings with combustible cladding with an agreed timetable that reflects the urgency of the issue. This will reduce confusion, clarify the scale of the challenge and support a viable professional indemnity insurance market that provides the coverage needed by industry participants and building owners.
  2. Establish a joint government-industry taskforce to oversee urgent and consistent implementation of all Shergold-Weir report recommendations across all jurisdictions.

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Property Council of Australia
Insurance Council of Australia
Ai Group
Australian Construction Industry Forum.
Master Builders Australia

Media contacts:
Ai Group: Tony Melville 0419 190 347
Insurance Council of Australia: Campbell Fuller 0407 170 500
Master Builders Australia: Ben Carter 0447 775 507
Property Council of Australia: Matt Francis 0467 777 220
Australian Construction Industry Forum: Stella McKinney 0423 663 544

Procore: The Australian construction industry is undergoing a technological transformation

Procore: The Australian construction industry is undergoing a technological transformation

The Australian construction industry is undergoing a technological transformation, creating a new and dynamic space with many construction companies emerging as fast movers – pioneering the use of technology as they drive efficiencies, motivate growth and improve safety.

To better understand how technology is being utilised in Australian construction companies, Procore Technologies and ACA Research conducted industry research to unearth statistics and insights to track the adoption and use of technology and innovation in the sector.

The new findings provide insight about how new technologies are influencing modern construction company processes. It seeks to provide industry, government and the education sector with information about how technology is being adopted, the skills required now and in the future, as well as the role that technology plays in helping the construction industry meet its commitments across a wide range of regulations.

Some of the findings indicate that there are direct correlations between technology usage and productivity:

  • 86% of respondents felt that increasing technology usage was an important means of improving business productivity
  • 62% felt that new technologies would increase business revenue
  • 59% expect an increase in profitability alongside increasing technology usage in their business.

These statistics alongside others, set a benchmark about how construction businesses use technology in helping them to meet ongoing challenges – such as employee productivity, employee skills, staff retention, rework, diversity and managing health and safety.

The construction industry faces many challenges in the next 12 months but by focusing on the adoption of new technology and the proper management of staff, businesses will be well placed to thrive. Those businesses that are better at adopting technology and improving the quality of their staff can expect to experience fewer productivity issues and increased revenue.


Building and Construction Industry Warned: Beware of Non-Conforming Soffit Insulation

Building and Construction Industry Warned: Beware of Non-Conforming Soffit Insulation

Rigid soffit insulation being installed

Building practitioners and contractors are reminded to be on the alert for non-conforming soffit insulation as some importers and merchants try to liquidate obsolete stock. 

Under Australian Standard AS 5637.1, soffit insulation installed as an exposed lining has since NCC2016 been required to undergo an AS ISO 9705 standard full room fire test, with materials installed on both the walls and ceiling of the test room. 

The 2015 edition of Australian Standard AS 5637 Part 1, Determination of fire hazard properties — Wall and ceiling linings, was referenced in the National Construction Code 2016 Volume One (NCC) from 1 May 2016 with a three -year transition period. That Standard requires the test specimen to be fixed to three walls and ceiling of the test room rather than wall or ceiling alone. The transition period (set out in the NCC) allowed the use of test reports indicating the group number of wall and ceiling linings determined under versions of the NCC applicable before 1 May 2016, could be used up until 1 May 2019. 

Building Surveyors have the power under section 10(2) of the Building Act 1993 to accept compliance with the preceding regulation if they are satisfied, and certify in writing, that substantial progress was made on the design of the building element before the amendment commenced. In respect to compliance with AS 5637 Part 1, the Standard was first adopted in the NCC on 1 May 2016. Therefore, the relevant Building Surveyor would have to be satisfied that substantial progress on the soffit design was made before 1 May 2016 to issue a building permit after 1 May 2019 that allowed a soffit lining that was not compliant with AS5637 Part 1 to be installed. 

Compliance can also be achieved by other means, such as a Performance Solution that demonstrates compliance with all relevant Performance Requirements or at least equivalence to the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of the National Construction Code; or a determination of the Building Appeals Board. 

Further information about the operation of section 10(2) is provided in Minister’s Guideline MG-13 which is available on the VBA website, 

“While Australian insulation manufacturers have been aware of the expiry of the concession period, not all industry participants have shown the same level of due diligence when supplying and installing compliant insulation”, said Keith Anderson, Insulation Australasia’s Technical Spokesman. 

“I think the intent of the NCC2016 was clear in addressing a recognised fire safety issue with the NCC as it tightened up on the testing method, and it gave manufacturers a generous three years to transition. It is also clear that this concession period ended on 1st May 2019.” 

“Building regulators and practitioners need to be checking the credentials of all soffit insulation to ensure that Group numbers and Smoke Growth Rate Index (SMOGRARC) performance claims made are supported by a legitimate AS 5637.1 compliant ceiling and wall fire test report from a laboratory that is NATA accredited for the AS ISO 9705 test method.” 

It is important that all building practitioners involved know how to recognise a legitimate NCC 2019 compliant soffit insulation test report. The following is a guide to the key questions that should be asked: 

1. Does the test report state that the test is in accordance with AS 5637.1? e.g. AS ISO 9705 test with the specimen installed in the ceiling only is not acceptable for the determination of a Group Number under AS 5637.1. 

2. Was the test conducted by a test lab accredited by NATA for the actual test method adopted? 

3. Was the test specimen installation method consistent with how the product is installed in practice? e.g. is there any additional steel support, additional linings or caulking that may affect the result? 

4. Was the specimen tested actually the product specified for the project? e.g. some products come with a variety of facing materials that can significantly affect the result in a fire test. 

5. Does the test report declare the Group Number achieved? 

6. Does the test report declare the SMOGRARC achieved? 

RED Fire Engineers Technical Director MC Hui advocates extreme diligence to ensure that all testing is carried out by accredited testing laboratories. 

“Our message to architects, builders and insulation installers is to ask for full test reports, not just test certificates, to ensure they are issued by a laboratory that’s accredited to carry out AS 5637.1 testing,” he said. 

“Be diligent and check the authenticity of the fire engineer’s report.” 

“The reports must confirm the testing and determination of the material Group Number was carried out in accordance with AS 5637.1.” 

For further information on these changes to the NCC visit Technical Reports at: 

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