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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Sod turns on Project Independence Phillip

Project Independence has turned the sod on their newest project in Phillip, to create 30 further homes for people in Canberra with an intellectual disability.

Speaking at the sod turning ceremony, Housing Minister Yvette Berry said Project Independence is more than just “bricks and mortar”.

“I am absolutely proud to be representing the ACT Government today … in bringing more homes and lives to people with intellectual disabilities. And I know that the difference that it makes to their own lives … but also with their family and, more broadly, the community,” she said.

“That’s 30 more people in the ACT that will have homes to call their own, that they wouldn’t already have had the chance to.”

Project Independence provides people with the opportunity to acquire equity in a property, as well as to live as independently as possible. In addition to the future site at Phillip, Project Independence currently has residences in Latham and Harrison.

Concrete safety audit commences

The ACT Government has announced an audit within the construction industry to identify compliance and safety issues with the use of precast concrete panels.

Workplace Safety Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, said the audit would look at current levels of compliance for safety when using the panels, with WorkSafe ACT inspectors to provide advice to workers and site managers on the risks involved during installation and final prop removal stages.

“It’s important that workplace management understand the legal obligations they have when their employees engage in high-risk work.

“Outcomes from the audit will assist in the development of future engagement activities and audit processes. A final report will be made available on completion of the audit, allowing industry to proactively improve their safe work practices when using precast concrete panels.”

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said the extent of the audit would be driven by the level of compliance found with the “first 15 or so” site visits.

“The most common issue associated with the use of precast panels is the collapse of the panel during or after their installation. This is usually as a result of workers not being suitably qualified or licensed to undertake the work or failure to follow site specific Safe Work Method Statements,” he said.

The audit is in response to a number of incidents earlier this year on Canberra building sites, where concrete panels collapsed due to “inappropriate installation”.

Draft building code up for consultation

The ACT Government’s draft Builders Code of Practice, which will set out the minimum requirements for licensed builders in the ACT, is available for public comment.

Minister for Building Quality, Gordon Ramsay, said the local builders and industry bodies would be consulted over the coming weeks and given the opportunity to provide feedback.

“The Canberra community can rightly expect that licensed builders carry out their services with reasonable care and diligence, be accountable for the staff they employ, personally inspect relevant building work and ensure it complies with building standards and approved plans,” Minister Ramsay said.

Master Builders ACT has welcomed the consultation period, and CEO Michael Hopkins said the Code would bring the ACT “one step closer to a building regulatory system which supports industry and provides confidence to the Canberra community”.

“The current program of reforms present a rare opportunity to bring the ACT’s building regulatory system up to scratch. Rather than rushing to implement the Code, we urge the Minister to take the necessary time to consult with industry and community stakeholders to ensure the Code of Practice reflects best practice,” Mr Hopkins said.

The Code is expected to be introduced later this year.

For more information and to view the code, visit act.gov.au/buildbuyrenovate

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