Archive for December 31st, 2010

Asbestos-contaminated soil
This provides advice for any person (including employers, removalists and commercial contractors) inspecting, removing, transporting or disposing of asbestos-contaminated soil.
Removing asbestos before demolition or refurbishment
This provides advice about identifying and removing fixed or installed asbestos before demolition or refurbishment work is carried out in a workplace, or on plant or machinery.

Preventing slips, trips and falls at work
This checklist should be used to help manage the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

Health and safety in construction procurement
This provides practical guidance to practitioners in state government, local government, statutory authorities and other agencies who procure, commission, manage and maintain government building and civil construction projects.

Bullying tools
Preventing and responding to bullying at work
This document provides examples of questions to ask when engaging an external trainer, mediator or investigator to assist you prevent bullying in your workplace or respond if bullying does occur.
Preventing bullying at work – are you doing enough?
This is a presentation for employers to use when communicating with staff about workplace bullying.
Preventing bullying at work – sample policies.
Preventing and responding to bullying at work – case studies

IPWEAvic Board member and General Manager Technical Services at Central Goldfields Shire Council, David Sutcliffe, reports on the issues faced by his council as a result of the recent storm damage and suggests some solutions which may be considered by central government.

In the case of Central Goldfields Shire, we have already spent around one million dollars since 4th September on emergency flood damage repairs, which is essentially repairing bridges and getting basic access to properties.  We are still assessing damage from the recent storms over the last couple of weeks but essentially a lot of the work undertaken in the northern part of our shire will have to be redone.

The estimated cost of the damage from the 4th September was $4.5 million. We estimate there has been a further $1.5 Million in damage in recent weeks.  The repairs are going to take many months to complete. 

Issue 1 – Cash flow
Our shire is unable to carry any significant debt for an extended time and the current debt needs to be cleared as soon as possible. We are fortunate that rate payments have recently come in and we are only half way through the financial year, providing temporary funds to cover current outlays.

Our council is unable to carry further debt and will have to cease repair works by Christmas (as current commitments to contractors can be finalised) until advance funds for emergency damage repairs can be obtained.

I understand that other councils in the region have held off undertaking repairs until they are allocated funds from the state government.

Issue 2 – Timing of works
With the harvest due we are fearful that farmers will be unable to accessing their crops to harvest and unable to truck out their grain over the damaged roads and bridges.

The ideal construction time is from now until May 2011.  If councils have to wait several months for finance to be put in place, it will put construction back into winter which is unlikely to be practical.

Issue 3 – Procurement
Our council has made good progress given our capacity and the work is many times bigger than our normal annual works program. There has been a lead in gearing up our supervision and bringing in our contractors although we commenced repairs immediately.  Our council was fortunate to already have a civil contractor plant hire panel contract in place which meant we were able to immediately engage contractors. 

The shear size of the repair damage has however used all of our local contractors.  We need to draw in new contractors to enable to repairs to be completed within 12 months. Consequently we have commenced the procurement process to obtain more contractors.  This process will take up to two months to complete.  There is likely to be a further lead time from appointing new contractors to getting them started.

The local Government Act Section 185 (5) provides a provision to simplify procurement for emergencies. Given the work will take a year or so to complete councils will not be prepared to class the work as emergency. However the Minister could give a direction to councils that they may consider repair work falls within the definition of emergency for the purposes of Section 186 (5) of the Local Government Act and this would assist many councils that have not yet put their contractor procurement processes in place.

To assist Local Government to effect repairs quickly you can:

  • Provide immediate cash advances (say 30% of estimated damage) and ongoing cash flow assistance for councils.
  • Speed up the funding processes to ensure repair work can continue over the summer period and priority can be given to farmers accessing their crops.
  • Minister to declare that storm damage repair work is considered emergency works for the purposes of the Local Government Act Section 186 (5) to free up the procurement processes.
  • Simplify the claim application processes to ensure resources are put into repairs rather than preparing extensive claim documentation. 

Comments to this approach are welcome and can be directed to David on Phone: 03 54610 602 or emailed to

Linking Melbourne Authority’s (LMA), Bill Hooker, provided an overview of the Peninsula Link Construction Project to the Civil Construction Alliance Meeting on 14th December 2010

A copy of his presentation is avaiable here.

It covers the project planning, facts and figures, who’s involved, delivery model, key challenges, community engagement and current status as at December 2010.

Presentation – Operation of Government Reference Group and Traffic Management Code

VicRoads, Alan Collins addressed the Victorian Civil Construction Alliance Meeting (held on 14th December 2010) on the operation of the Government Reference Group (GRG) and the recent amendments to the Worksite Safety-Traffic Management Code of Practice. A copy of his presentation is availalbe here.

It is imperative that anyone associated with civil construction and maintenance on public roads becomes familiar with the 2009 Regulations as they provide for a number of variations to previous requirements.

Areas of concern:

  • The issue of managing enforcement on roadworks is still of considerable concern to Alliance Members.
  • The lack of surveillance of roadworks signage is also of concern.
  •  The Alliance agreed that it offer to VicRoads William Tieppo, Chair of the GRG, representation on a smaller group to meet and to address how worksite safety on roadworks may be enhanced.

    IPWEAvic is an active member of the Victorian Civil Construction Alliance.  Angelo D’Costa from Department of Planning and Community Development, Local Government Victoria gave an update on Councils Reforming Business project to the Civil Construction Alliance Meeting held on 14th December 2010.

    Take a look at the presentation here

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