05 December 2018

We’ve seen a lot of focus within the industry on three big topics this year: Cladding, Novation, and Contract Administration. And behind these, we’ve been called on to provide guidance on plenty of other emerging issues too. Have you kept in touch with the big issues for 2018?



Unsurprisingly, with the hearings for the Lacrosse trial just completed and the Grenfell Tower inquiry slowly progressing through its witnesses, consultants have been looking for guidance on specification of cladding and on managing past projects. We’ve seen BCA updates incorporating panel array testing, a ban on using certain ACP products on NSW high-rise, new approval or performance requirements for ACPs and EPS in Victoria, Tasmania, SA and WA, and new “chain of supply” legislation in Queensland.

Our Defective Building Products Recap webinar summarised the changes up to March, including the Building Code of Australia amendments. Since then we have written guidance for ArchitectureAU and the upcoming edition of Architects Victoria, an update on the NSW ban, and put on live events in Sydney (with Colin Biggers Paisley solicitors) and Melbourne (with the VBA).



Novation has become a hot topic this year as its use has started to spread from its historical home of high rise developments into government and university projects. It’s a crucial time to evaluate how this has changed the consultant’s role and examine the effect on project outcomes. We started 2018 with a survey to find out consultants’ experience (you can read the results here) and followed up with seminars in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We’ve also contributed to seminars and policy work with the Institute of Architects in Melbourne.


Contract Administration

The third big issue has been one of the oldest and most challenging: defining and fulfilling the consultant’s role in inspection of the works and contract administration. Our most popular webinar this year was Peter Quigley sharing his wealth of practical experience in Inspections and Certificates – A Study in Setting Boundaries. Then we went in-depth with half-day intensive courses with experienced architects from Hassell and Hayball. You can catch up on some of the key points from these events in our articles Ten Hot Tips for Inspections, and Tips and Traps for Issuing Certificates.


Industry Developments

As more and more practices start to use BIM in a meaningful way, our Technology in Practice webinar series shared the experience of Rod Perey from Architectus.

On the legal side, we wrote about the new Project Bank Account laws in Queensland and presented a cautionary take on copyright infringement.

In NSW, Urban Planning Group spoke on Managing Risk in the NSW Planning Process.

Our risk managers published a new informed Practice Guide, Security of Payment Overview, which outlines the basics of the complicated and variable state regimes.

We drew many of these issues together in case studies in two of our webinars: When Things Go Wrong … More Tales from the Trenches (with Thynne and McCartney solicitors), and Residential Projects… A Homeowner’s Dream but a Consultant’s Nightmare? (with our claims managers at Focus Underwriting).



As one of the greatest challenges for a medium to large consultancy practice, long and onerous contracts take away valuable time from design and planning work and often add extra levels of stress and hostility to a project. In Australia’s aggressive construction culture we can’t eliminate these factors but we work hard to provide guidance and support.

Our new informed Practice Guide on Contract Negotiations covers many fundamental issues, from formation of a contract to the Abrahamson Principles. It’s a handy checklist for experienced negotiators and a good foundation for beginners.

We’ve written articles on collateral warranties, limits of liability, joint venture agreements, and Consult Australia’s Model Client Policy.

Our webinar series included updates on Proportionate Liability and Unfair Contracts Legislation and guidance on Harmonious Sub-consulting.


Industry Involvement

For the Institute of Architects’ National Seminar Series, we delved into the vitally important (but often neglected) topic of briefing in our presentation Getting the Right Fit: From Briefing to Specification.

We’ve also put on CPD events for PIA and DIA and presented our series of in-house and group seminars for Planned Cover clients to over 2000 attendees.

Yes, it’s been a busy year! It takes the dedication of our entire team (myself, Natalie, Cordilia, Kathryn, Felicity, Marisa and Sandra) to produce such a range of guidance on top of our core contract review work.

We look forward to watching the industry make progress on these challenges in 2019. Iin the meantime, we’d love you to join our mailing list for news, articles, and information about our 2019 CPD program.


Wendy Poulton
Manager Risk Services


* Missed any of the guidance mentioned here? The linked articles are freely available, and recordings of our webinars are available for purchase, but we do not record our live events. Our Practice Guides are available to many Planned Cover clients and to informed subscribers, who can use their login to download them from our website.