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May 2013:
Manufacturing Conference & Awards

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September 2013:
2013 Australian Steel Convention

Revising the Handbook
Get involved with this AISD initiative to modernise the content to reflect current practices of the industry...

Job Title Comp
Nation-wide competition for the Job Title that best describes what most “Steel Detailers” do these day.

Ethics in Big Business
Ethics is the essential but often silent ingredient in corporate governance, risk and compliance (GRC).

In This Issue

Presidents Message - Sailing into Changing Weather
Job Title Competition
$78 Billion in Queensland Construction Pipeline
Manufacturing Conference and Awards
Letter to the Editor
A Plan for Australian Jobs
New resources code to benefit Queensland businesses
QSCFIA (Queensland Steel Contruction & Fabrication Industry Alliance)
Australian Steel Institute Update
Gillard announces measures to encourage local content on major projects
Industry Platform Calls for Overhaul
Ethics of Big Business
Bloated Management and Poor Communication Blamed for Lower Mining Productivity
BlueScope steels for a recovery
John Leeworthy Retirement
Handbook Update
In times of volatile business conditions, it pays to keep your eye on the market
DCA Survey
DCA Education Fee Offer
For Sale - Tekla Standard & Advanced Steel Licences
Steel Detailer Profile
What to do When the Work Slows
Will 2013 be Australian industry's gap year?
BIM in Practice 2013
BIM Collaboration 2013
Returning Consumer Confidence Buoys Building Industry
Mentoring is a crucial component in times of change
AISD Member Project Gallery
WA lures Chinese with royalty cut on magnetite mines
Engineering Services Industry Crunched as jobs go Overseas
Inward-looking decision makers of the Steel Construction Industry
AGM of 2012 summarised
ASI online resources for the steel industry
Just for Laughs...


Presidents MessagePresidents Message - Sailing into Changing Weather
By Clayton Roxborough, (AISD-Qld, President)

Australia’s medium-to-large size Steel Detailing firms are planning their survival strategies for a more globalised Engineering Services Market, as they rush to keep pace with changing client demands, a rapidly shrinking list of potential forward orders and increasingly fickle clients.

Just which firms make up the “top tier” in Australia can be a hotly disputed issue, but firms vying for “top tier” work are facing one of the most rapid periods of change in our industry’s history.

The globalisation of our sector, growing demands from both corporate and private clients chasing value for money, and rapid technological change are forcing Australian firms to review their business strategies.

The market changes more rapidly now, so you need to be more attuned to those changes and need to be able to deal with them more quickly than, say, five or 10 years ago. Those that don’t change the way they need to, will probably get left behind…or wither and die.

The pace of change and the strategy to take their business through to 2015 (or whenever you see calmer seas) are major discussion points for many company owners and managers these days. Some will firmly believe that they understand how to chart the choppy waters ahead, but the measure of success will be how well one executes those plans.

The big dilemma now, for many well-established Australian firms, is the need to choose whether they want to be a “domestic” or an “international” service provider.

Over the last several years this question has driven Australia’s larger firms to make significant changes to the way they do things, to adjust to the different realities in the market and to ensure that they remain strong and profitable. The ‘realities in the market’ have included trying to satisfy the lust for growth shown by resource giants which, until 2012, spent money like drunken sailors, to those very same clients who, today, talk like spendthrift paupers.

But not all firms are “battening down the hatches and hoping for the best” as they react to an uncertain economic outlook, the prospect of more foreign competition and the need to scaffold their position in local markets. Some are responding by saying, ‘This is a pretty different market now and there are as many opportunities as there are threats. So let’s keep our eyes open and be ready’.

In my book, “foreign competition” includes the numerous shop-fronts that are popping up around the countryside, selling themselves as local businesses but getting all the work done by off-shore contractors. I won’t go on about this practice here but will happily share my thoughts in my next editorial.

Smaller firms have been conducting similar reviews. When you run into a situation where the economy turns one sector off (namely resources), you still need other project types to be able to keep paying the bills. Architectural and even residential projects continue to sustain many small to medium size firms.

Presidents Message

The local market is now very crowded and super-competitive across all sectors. The market is changing and client demands are changing so you’ve got to keep at the forefront of those developments in order to succeed (read survive). Perhaps you’ve got to set your strategy and be adaptable, but then embark on your strategy and implement it.

In another article in this edition, we highlight the inevitability of Engineering Services jobs being out-sourced overseas. It’s a reality that cannot be ignored. It will take a very mature, balanced and cohesive detailing industry to negotiate these seemingly daunting challenges that we have been presented with. I believe 2013 will be a turning point for the direction our industry takes into the next decade. It will probably the period that most determines how our industry will look, ten years from now.

The fact that we are on the doorstep of the fastest-growing region in the world, from an economic point of view, will not be lost on the true Captains and Navigators of our industry.

Clayton Roxborough
President – AISD Queensland

Job Title Competition

Now that the uptake of 3D modelling across our industry is almost complete, we thought it fair to say that your average Steel Detailer spends more time 3D modelling than 2D detail drafting.

In the 2012 Spring Edition of the “Eye for Detail” we announced a nation-wide competition to come up with a Job Title that best describes what most “Steel Detailers” do these days. From over eighty entries submitted from all over the country, the inter-state judging panel chose one winner.

Integrated Construction Modeller - ICM

Congratulations to Trevor Ritchie from Balpara in Victoria for his entry.Upon receiving his Apple Ipad as the prize, Trevor commented; “Integrated Construction Modelling is what any of us using CAD has been doing for a long time.  We have always had to consider other trades when modelling the steel.  More and more often our models are being requested by designers, builders and other trades, as they all understand that we are the only discipline producing a reliable and accurate model.  It is not a great stretch beyond what we currently do to integrate more information into our model.  Balpara have been doing this for many years. More than 12 months ago we started referring to it as ‘Construction Modelling’ and late last year we began to refer to it as ‘Integrated Construction Modelling’.  It is not so much ‘re-branding’ Steel Detailers but naming the additional service we provide”. 

Trevor went on to add “Ultimately I would like the ICM (Job Title CompIntegratedConstruction Model) to become the point of reference for everyone from the developer, designer to the rigger, plumber etc.”

I’d like to pass on my thanks for everyone who participated in this competition. In order to provide uniformity across our industry and relate this change in our profession to the broader steel construction sector, we urge all member companies to adopt this term in their documentation and vernacular.The AISD is looking into copyright aspects for this term to both drive & monitor it’s uptake.

Clayton Roxborough. Chairman - AISD National Steering Committee

$78 Billion$78 Billion in Queensland Construction Pipeline

The Queensland government is currently assessing $78 billion worth of significant construction projects with the potential to create 40,000 jobs, Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says.

In an address to the Major Projects Conference in Brisbane recently, Mr Seeney said the government is currently considering 35 major projects, and had already approved a number of significant schemes, such as the $1.4 billion Ella Bay Resort, the $1.6 billion Alpha Coal Project and the South of Embley bauxite mine since coming to office in March.

“Those 35 significant projects together have the potential to generate $78 billion in capital investment and over 40,000 jobs,” he said.

In recent times, the government has won plaudits from industry for a number of measures aimed at simplifying the process for developments to get off the ground. These include the establishment of a bilateral agreement with the federal government for environmental approvals, remove master and structure planning arrangements that the industry deemed inefficient and expand the power of the Planning and Environmental Court.

“That bilateral agreement requires the Commonwealth to adhere to timelines in the approvals process,” he told attendees at the conference. “Something that they have been woefully inadequate in doing in the past.”

calendarManufacturing Conference and Awards

The Manufacturing Conference, to be held in Brisbane on 30 May 2013, aims to start a skills-led revolution to ensure that the sector is positioned to meet the future economic growth of Queensland.

Organised by QMI Solutions, a national body that helps manufacturers implement workforce development strategies, operational enhancements and innovations, and link industry peers, the conference will see a range of high profile speakers take to the stage to discuss and debate the changing face of manufacturing.

QMI Solutions is also celebrating its 20 years anniversary this year, and the conference will also be a chance to look back at the last 20 years and the most brilliant manufacturing and engineering innovations, as well as take a glimpse at what the next 20 years have to offer, notably in the field of additive manufacturing, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

The Manufacturing Skills Awards, organised by Manufacturing Skills Queensland (MSQ), an industry body part of QMI Solutions that works closely with the Queensland Government to ensure the long-term competitiveness and capability of the manufacturing and engineering sectors, will take place on the evening of the conference. They aim to recognise outstanding contributions to Queensland manufacturing and engineering, showcasing industry successes and insights in twelve categories rewarding schools, apprentices, indigenous apprentices, trainees, students, teachers, training organisations and small to medium and large employers.

Letter to the Editor
By Emidio Giardini, (Westplan Drafting)

Dear Clayton,

I write to you in your capacity of Chairman of the AISD to highlight some issues that we have been trending over the past several years and are becoming pressing and of great concern. 

A major issue
is the practice of outsourcing of Detailing services to low-cost countries like China, Philippines and India to name a few, but I am sure there are others.

Obviously we are unable to match these countries on equal basis by way of comparison of labour cost and conditions imposed on us by our government. As a result of this cost variance we find we are not getting as much opportunity to even tender for many projects. This is the case for both commercial and resource projects.

We have been told by the resource sector that we must become larger and be able to handle larger project-parcels simply because this is the trend. The project managers are issuing larger packages of work for tender and as a consequence local companies, including our traditional clients, fabricators, builders etc. cannot handle them and hence are excluded or seen as uncompetitive.

We have taken this advice and formed an alliance, increasing our capacity some 5 fold in the process but all to no avail mostly due to the fact that we are unable to access the proper contacts. Having a bigger crew has not made any difference. We have tried quoting directly to the project proponents/managers but have found that they generally are not interested and in many cases we are not even afforded replies. 

The other big issue we are now confronting is that many Australian construction firms bidding for works are using offshore sub-contractors for detailing and fabrication, for almost any sized job. This practice, superficially at least, gives the impression of high local content but in reality most is done offshore. 

Many projects over here in the west are fabricated overseas and the general line we are given is that maintenance and upgrade works will need to be done locally, but the question is, who will have the skills to do this if the training of our youth is not happening now. 

I have raised this with a number of politicians locally but whilst they acknowledge the problem, I am afraid that the answer is politically motivated and as a result nothing has happened. We have had nationally recognised Steel Detailing Diploma course, developed by the AISD & TAFE, but it was cancelled after two or three semesters because we could not take up the trainees due to a lack of sustainable work. 

Does Government have a part to play?

It is my belief that governments of all persuasions are only interested in royalty income and appear to have very little interest in skills maintenance and improvements.
Without steady ongoing work being available who is going to take on the onus of training for the future?

It has become apparent to me that when Governments extol the need for forming Alliances they actually mean forming alliances with overseas, low-cost centres so that the cost basis is reduced. This is fine but who then gets the training benefit….. Expediters and document controllers perhaps?

I may be very naive but if we don’t train now who will be available to do the work when the maintenance and upgrade phase of the projects are required. It will be then that the project owners will once again deplore the skills shortage and ask for importing of skilled labour to cover the lack of training to meet this shortage. 
It seems that our politicians lack the foresight and clarity to see what is required as it seems that it is more expedient for them to pay subsidies for training etc. But who needs subsidies if you do not have jobs for the trainees to do and if you have the work I am sure most will not want the meagre subsidy.

There is a place for government involvement if the will is there. It must do something to ensure that our industry does not die through lack of resolve. 
I have attended a great number of forums and workshops over the past two years and the best I can say is that we have been shown great understanding and respect from people who can’t help but given very little support by those that can. 

The most obvious point that has come out of these presentations is perhaps a better understanding of what industry participation and local content actually means.
In general terms all a proponent has to do is afford the local companies the opportunity to participate on a competitive basis. I do not believe the proponent will dictate how much local content it has to include in its bid.

It stands to reason however that in order for the Tenderer’s bid to be competitive it must include a high level of foreign participation. It is entirely up to the Local Tenderer to determine how much is done where.

Shop detailing is now generally excluded from these packages and is usually awarded prior to Tier 1 registrations even being announced so it becomes a double whammy for shop detailing. From a purely selfish detailing perspective this would not be a big issue for us except for the fact that we will not know who, or where, procurement is located. By the time we find this out it is generally too late.

I trust I have gotten my message across and would welcome any questions you may have to clarify some of my statements. 

The purpose of this letter is essentially to stimulate debate on these issues before we lose an entire industry. The Government does not need to sink billions of dollars into saving the industry as with the automobile industry but surely we deserve similar treatment to preserve our jobs.

Yours faithfully,
Emidio Giardini
Managing Director
Westplan Drafting.


The Australian Government's Industry and Innovation Statement released 17 February 2013 outlines amongst other initiatives, enhancements to be made to Enterprise Connect to significantly increasing its footprint across industry.

It recognises that since 2008, Enterprise Connect has boosted the productivity and performance of Australian small and medium businesses (SMEs) in manufacturing, defence, creative, resources, clean technology, and tourism sectors. Enterprise Connect has helped more than 18 000 Australian firms become more productive, innovative, competitive and sustainable.

The Government has extended Enterprise Connect services to a wider range of SMEs and will provide advanced services to firms with strong growth potential. Eligibility has been extended to firms in the professional services such as Steel Detailing, as this sector provides essential support to the Australian steel construction supply chain and is an important part of the Australian economy.
For more information please go to manufacturing
Enterprise Connect will also continue to deliver competitiveness and linkage projects under the Government's Buy Australian at Home and Abroad initiative.

New resources code to benefit Queensland businesses

A new code of practice will see more major resources projects engage local industry suppliers, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney announced today.

new resources

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has introduced a Local Content Code of Practice for resources and energy projects, with APPEA’s support, to take effect immediately.  

Mr Seeney said the Code would be owned, led and managed by industry and focussed on ‘full, fair and reasonable’ access for local industry in all aspects of their projects. 
The benefits to Queensland’s economy of resources and energy investments are potentially huge – but the maximum benefit depends on Queensland companies and workforce getting access to major project opportunities. Resources projects need practical strategies to engage local industry if they are going to secure enduring community support, deliver projects effectively and maximise benefits for Queenslanders.

“We asked QRC to lead a process in partnership with the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) to establish a more effective, collaborative approach. “Our shared aim is to see project proponents commit to engaging proactively with capable local suppliers.”

The Code asks proponents to adopt practical local content strategies to make sure there is early engagement with Queensland industry, and inclusive procurement practices and provides for guidance and support for proponents to deliver effective strategies.

It establishes an implementation framework, and a group of industry stakeholders including suppliers to monitor and refine delivery. Importantly, the Code also provides a means to assess progress and report outcomes publicly.

Mr Seeney said project proponents would benefit directly from taking ownership of local content principles.  “The Newman Government will do its part in promoting adoption of the Code, in supplier education and helping to position local industry to tender successfully. The Government will watch closely how it is adopted and the outcomes it achieves, but I am confident of a positive and practical response from all involved.”

“The Code’s principles and its framework for practice have the potential to secure real benefits for Queensland.”.

QSCFIAQSCFIA (Queensland Steel Contruction & Fabrication Industry Alliance)
25 March 2013

Code of Practice a step in right direction
The Queensland steel industry has welcomed the announcement by the Queensland Government and Queensland Resources Council (QRC) on a new code of practice for the resources and energy sector.

The Code of Practice for Local Content introduced by the QRC requires proponents to adopt ways to make sure there is early engagement with Queensland industry.

The QRC invited the QSCFIA to provide a representative to sit on the Code Steering Committee that monitors the Code’s implementation and reporting.

“This is a step in the right direction and provides a framework for improved engagement between the resources sector and the Queensland steel industry,” stated QSCFIA representative Mr John Gardner, Queensland State Manager for the Australian Steel Institute (ASI).

Local content has been a topical issue for the Queensland steel industry with the supply chain suffering from increasing levels of imported fabricated steel entering the marketplace.

The QSCFIA estimates that the local steel industry supply chain is only receiving 10 percent of new construction steelwork for major resources projects being undertaken in Queensland.

“Much of this work has been done in Asia and driven largely by cost. This has meant a big loss in Queensland jobs and apprenticeship opportunities,” Mr Gardner explained.

Mr Richard Matheson, Executive Director of the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA) and member of the QSCFIA, expressed industry’s ongoing concerns with the Code’s transparency.

“There is a real fear amongst the local steel supply chain that the State Government will allow the resources sector too much capacity to self-regulate and undermine the integrity of the Government’s own approval processes for large projects,” he said.

“Ultimately, the Code provides significant opportunity for the Queensland local steel industry and economy to benefit as long as the Queensland Coordinator General upholds the Code at the earliest stages,” stated Mr Matheson.

John Gardner continued: “The proof will be in the pudding. Our members will provide us with feedback as to whether they are seeing more orders come through their door. That is the ultimate test of success.”

The Queensland Steel Construction and Fabrication Industry Alliance (QSCFIA) was formed in 2011 to address the decline of the steel local content share in Queensland and develop a climate of secure, long-term industry investment in the
Queensland steel industry.

Media Enquiries: John Gardner, State Manager Qld, Australian Steel Institute 0418 788 870
Find out more about QSCFIA on their website.

ASI LogoAustralian Steel Institute Update
By John Gardner, (Australian Steel Institute)

ASI held a wide range of seminars over the last 6 months.

Monday 12 November at Australian Institute of Architects Auditorium
National series of free presentations on the “Guide for Specifying Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel” – AESS with Canadian Speakers.   ASI has revised the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction’s guide to suit Australian conditions.  Video clips from the presentations can be viewed at:

Tuesday 20 November at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre 
Paid Bolting/Fastener seminar with international speakers from Hobson’s Engineering and the Australian Engineered Fasteners and Anchors Council (AEFAC).   Part of a national series.  The seminar included theoretical and practical information including bolt compliance/certification.   ASI is working with SCNZ on a “Bolt Charter”.

Monday 26 November at the Auditorium, TMR building Spring Hill
Free presentation “Safe Work and Design – Implications of the new Work Health & Safety Act 2011 on compliance in construction steelwork”.
Speakers were Ross Pritchard (TMR), David Ryan (ASI), plus speakers from Workplace Health & Safety Qld and Sparke Helmore Lawyers.  Further information is noted below under “Compliance” 

Wednesday 28 November at the BTP Conference & Exhibition Centre
Paid seminar - Economic Briefing breakfast presented by Mark Stephens, General Manager Corporate Projects with Arrium/OneSteel.

Prequalification – Opening the Gateway to Tenders  - held in Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone, Darwin and Toowoomba.
Free breakfast seminars in regional centres sponsored by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.  All attendees received a free copy of the ASI publication “Prequalification Guidance Document”.   The “Prequalification Guidance Document” can be downloaded from the ASI website at:

Compliance in Construction Steelwork  
The ASI held the seminar “Implications of the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 on Compliance in Construction Steelwork” on Monday 26 November 2012 in Brisbane

At this important seminar, the ASI through the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and Workplace Health & Safety Qld (part of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General) presented a compelling case for compliance to standards linked to the Qld Work Health & Safety Act 2011.

During this event Workplace Health and Safety Qld (WHSQ) presented answers to some prepared questions.   The ASI now has this response in writing and it can be downloaded from the ASI website at:

Additionally, the designers attending the seminar requested that the ASI prepare a checklist for engineers to assist them meet the requirements of the Act.    The final checklist has been signed off by the WHSQ and can be downloaded from the ASI website at:

The ASI is working to provide robust solutions for our steel community to meet their obligations under the WHS Act (2011), Regulations and Codes of Practice.  You are encouraged to check the ASI  website for upcoming seminars, reference material and new initiatives being put in place over the coming months. You are also encouraged to explore and contribute to the recently created eForum, where a specific category for discussion around this seminar has been created at:

Please direct any queries to ASI National Technical Development Manager Dr Peter Key at

2013 Australian Steel Convention
The 2013 Steel Convention is being held at the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast.  The convention will begin at 12.30 pm on Monday 9 September and finish at lunchtime on Tuesday 10 September.  This will allow the breakout sessions to be held on Tuesday afternoon finishing around 4.30 pm.    The awards dinner will be held on Monday night.  The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman has been invited to open the convention.

GillardGillard announces measures to encourage local content on major projects

The federal government has announced its plan to boost local participation in major projects, funded by a cut in R & D tax concessions to Australia’s biggest companies.

The Australian Financial Review and others report that under the Australian Jobs Act, projects worth $500 million or more require a company to prepare an Australian Industry Participation Plan, and projects over $2 billion will mean a company would have to employ Australian Industry Opportunity Officers in their global supply chain.

The Prime Minister announced the policy in Melbourne in February, saying that it would assist a manufacturing industry under pressure from factors including the strong Australian dollar.

"We can continue to be a manufacturing nation, we can be a nation in which people make their living through blue-collar jobs that aren't intermittent or insecure or low paid, blue-collar jobs that are highly skilled and highly paid,” she said in the announcement, reported by the ABC.

This industry statement was estimated to be worth $1 billion over four years, to be funded by a cut in the research and development tax concessions applying to the biggest Australian companies.

Industry platform calls for overhaul

A COALITION of Australia's biggest manufacturers is demanding that industry participation plans - a central plank of the Gillard Government's push to rescue the stricken manufacturing sector - be overhauled, claiming that local companies are being locked out of crucial contracts because the operators of important projects are "gaming" the schemes.


Manufacturing Australia, whose members include BlueScope, Amcor, CSR and Boral, has also called for changes to the government's contentious coastal shipping reforms, saying that it is costing 40 per cent more to ship bulk commodity goods such as raw sugar between Queensland and Melbourne than it does to ship comparable goods from Thailand to Melbourne.

The group has also challenged the government to beef up anti-dumping powers, saying the present policy must do more to address currency manipulation by Australia's rivals and to provide redress when foreign manufacturers receive subsidies.

The group's new chairman Sue Morphet, unveiled the policy manifesto as she visited Canberra to call for a reform agenda to boost the sector, which has struggled with the soaring Australian dollar as well as rising labour and other input costs.

"Industry, governments and communities alike must shift the perception that manufacturing in Australia is a 'sunset' industry whose future will be marked by continued decline." On the industry participation plans, the group claims the operators of large projects are gaming the system by using local companies only on services such as catering or housing, which would never be sourced from overseas, so they can avoid using Australian suppliers for manufactured products while still promoting their local engagement.

Manufacturing Australia also cited as gaming a practice of project operators to seek tariff concessions for imported capital by bundling components together into one large item, when in fact many of the components could be easily supplied by local manufacturers.

ethicsEthics of Big Business
By Clayton Roxborough, (AISD-Qld, President)

Ethics is the essential but often silent ingredient in corporate governance, risk and compliance (GRC) efforts. For company directors, GRC will always be found wanting when pursued without the engagement of a strong ethics culture to underpin their activities.

Peter Pearce is a Brisbane based Business Ethics advisor. In an opinion piece published in the latest ‘Company Director’ magazine, Peter declares that “if there is no active and engaged corporate moral compass fostered by, and guiding, those charged with the fiduciary duty to ensure proper conduct, bad things happen, even when there are apparently well-developed checking and regulating systems in place”.

You can take guidance from the regulatory system to steer your minimum efforts at good conduct, but not to tell you the difference between right and wrong. That comes from within and will only permeate your enterprise culture if pursued assertively from the top.

That’s the paradox of regulation. While it’s necessary to regulate the conduct of certain enterprise affairs, doing so sometimes disempowers the corporate moral compass.

Driving formation of an ethical culture is a job that starts at the top. Effective governance, sound financial administration, diligent project management of strategic HR practice don’t just happen. Why would we expect ethical culture to be different?

The ethical duty of company directors to maintain a business’ viability does not provide a licence to engage when times are tough in what you would otherwise view as unethical conduct.

As the saying goes, it’s easy to be good when it’s easy but not so easy when it’s hard.

I was reminded of this saying recently when I read in the ‘Financial Review’ about a case before the court in WA where three companies have been accused of paying Filipino workers less than $3 an hour to work on oil rigs off the West Australian coast. The men were employed through a network of contractors and labour hire companies and had entered Australia on 456 class short-stay visas.

Ombudsman barrister Paul Menzies, QC, told the court the men were paid just $US900 a month and worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The wage equates to around $30 per day, or $2.50 an hour. The Australian minimum wage is $16 per hour.

Woodside Petroleum was paying Maersk Drilling, a services business, $400 per day for each worker but through a third tier of contracting, the workers only received $30 a day.

But …..there is no allegation Maersk or Woodside have behaved improperly.
Even at $400 a day, these oil rig workers are dirt cheap as most Australian rig workers wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $1,000 a day.

I would have thought the question should not have been whether or not the behaviour was proper, but whether or not it was ethical.

After all that, much of the five-day trial was expected to centre on whether the vessels can be deemed “fixed platforms” for the purposes of the Fair Work Act.

Bloated management and poor communication blamed for lower mining productivity.

AUSTRALIA'S resource companies have themselves to blame for the productivity
problems that have blighted projects around the country in recent years, with adversarial contractor relationships and bloated layers of middle management contributing to budget blowouts and delays.

Research from the Centre for Innovative Practice at Western Australia's Edith Cowan University has found that poor communication and cumbersome reporting structures at major Australian projects mean it could take weeks for vital issues to reach senior levels of management, adding unnecessary costs and delays.

Falling productivity has become a major topic of debate after cost blowouts at big projects. Much of the discussion is centred on the need for government-led reform. But the new study, which involved a number of major contractors and companies, found a number of shortcomings had been built into project structures.

Richard Fulford, the chief investigator on the study, said the research had identified "startlingly poor" productivity on construction projects. In particular, the widespread use of sub-contractors in the industry had added unnecessary layers of personnel and impeded the flow of crucial information, while giving rise to an abundance of project managers who added little value. Those structures meant administration overheads had become a major cost. "It's certainly costing billions and billions of dollars over time," Dr Fulford told The Australian.

He had seen as many as 12 levels of subcontractors working between the main contractor and
the actual operations. "All the information has to be passed through this chain to be recognised at the highest levels," Dr Fulford said.
"In some of the major projects, it takes seven weeks for that information to be collated through that chain of organisation." Contractors have come to rely on subcontractors to mitigate the risk of carrying excess staff in the event of an economic downturn. But the extensive use of subcontractors has given rise to disputes over the pace of progress, leading to an adversarial relationship.

It has also meant many projects fail to reap the proper economies of scale. Dr Fulford, who has submitted his research to the International Journal of Project Management, said standardised methods of reporting for all layers of contractors and subcontractors could /simplify structures and substantially improve productivity.
The liquefied natural gas industry has been particularly prone to cost blowouts. The budget for the Chevron-led Gorgon project recently rose from $US37 billion to $US52bn.

BG Group's Queensland Curtis LNG project rose by 36 per cent to more than $US20bn.

Woodside Petroleum's Pluto LNG project was completed earlier this year for a final cost of $US14.1bn, compared with an original budget of $US11.2bn.

Woodside and NAB chairman Michael Chaney has repeatedly called for micro-economic reform in industrial relations, regulation, infrastructure and taxation as the key to turning around Australia's low productivity growth.

But Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman last week said that the industry needed to reassess its approach to major projects. "The shocking part of it is north of 30 per cent of our costs are white collar," Mr Coleman said.

He said much of the blame for the productivity problems lay in "inefficient, internal regulation-driven processes", the rise of remuneration consultants and out-dated processes.

"We are using construction techniques that we used 15 to 20 years ago," he said. "The way we think about things and the way we're managing logistics maybe was appropriate for $5bn projects, but it may not be appropriate for $50bn projects."

Source: The Australian

bluescopeBlueScope steels for a recovery

BLUESCOPE Steel is finally predicting an Australian steelmaking revival after low demand, high costs and a strong dollar forced it to halve steelmaking capacity, shut its export business and slash jobs during the past four years.

The Melbourne-based steelmaker released an unexpected first-half underlying profit and, for the first time since before the global financial crisis, has predicted a full-year profit.
The message from BlueScope chief Paul O'Malley is that the cost-cutting and restructuring has been done -- and the company is set to reap the benefits when the Australian market finally picks up.

And that could be this year.

"The company, which has axed more than 1300 jobs in the past two years and closed one of its two Port Kembla blast furnaces, is still faced with a strong dollar, slack demand and high costs. Making a profit in this environment means when the cycle turns and domestic demand replaces the small amount of loss-making exports the company still pursues, BlueScope should reap benefits. "There are a lot of indicators that suggest at the back end of this calendar year we might start to see a little bit of activity," Mr O'Malley said.

Analysts applauded the result, while the performance and outlook also buoyed the shares of the nation's only other listed steelmaker Arrium.

The banks were also expected to lend more to the mid-tier construction sector, something that had been absent in recent years, and the aftermath of the federal election could also be positive, he said.

Source: The Australian

AISD VicTasJohn Leeworthy Retirement
Founding member - AISD Victoria

John retired recently following well in excess of 50 years service in the Engineering/Drafting field of endeavour and at the same time has withdrawn his involvement with the AISD.

He spent his early years in the public service and later in private industry. He gained experience in a number of drafting fields, finally dedicating himself to structural steel detailing.
John’s involvement in the Victorian/Tasmanian branch of the AISD has been ongoing since inception.

He was an active member of the working party formed to achieve initial incorporation of the Victorian/Tasmanian Institute of Steelwork Detailers and later consolidated with the other states to form the Australian institute of Steel Detailers. John has held various positions within the Victorian/Tasmanian Branch including Vice President and President.

His involvement in working parties and his attention to detail is legendary within the Victorian Branch and he has been able to bring his wide and varied experience to assist dealing with the many relevant issues facing the industry.

His involvement in the development of a formal steelwork detailers training qualification and its national adoption was one of his finest contributions.

John’s contributions are appreciated and acknowledged by the AISD and all within the AISD wish him well in his retirement.

Peter Polson
Retired Director Fabcad Drafting P/L

HandbookAustralian Steel Detailers Handbook

The AISD is currently reviewing the Steel Detailers Handbook with the aim of modernising the content to reflect current practices of the industry and altering the layout and presentation to make it more relevant for today’s Detailers. It is intended that when the new edition is published, the Handbook should also fulfil the needs of training and on-going professional development within the industry.

The review process is being lead by AISD Victoria. This is a considerable undertaking for a volunteer organisation such as the AISD, so the strategy is for Victoria to provide the co-ordination and management for the exercise, with other state groups contributing to the development as and where required.

AISD Victorian President, Trevor Richie, of Balpara, reports that the review of the Handbook has passed the first stage with the mapping of a new content outline. This Table of Contents has been distributed to all state committees for approval and comment and we will now proceed to the next stage which will be incorporation of comments and feedback.

Trevor said “the last thing we want is a “Balpara Detailers Handbook” so we are looking for participation of members from other states who are eager to write/re-write a chapter, and make the document a truly nation publication. Interested parties should contact the Vic/Tas president and obviously, all contributions will be greatly appreciated.

Once complete, we hope to make the handbook available on-line. The existing publication was originally only available in hardcopy and it’s widely thought that this has contributed to its limited distribution and uptake within the broader industry.

If you’re keen to be involved in this project, please contact Trevor at


Eye on the MarketIn times of volatile business conditions, it pays to keep your eye on the market
By Clayton Roxborough, (AISD-Qld, President)

A greater focus on the market and client needs can only be good for business. Market orientation must be one of the least understood principals in business, and probably more so in the many small to medium enterprises that make up the Australian Detailing industry. Despite significant evidence that adopting a market orientation can be beneficial, many companies do not adopt this approach, preferring instead to remain focused on some combination of marketing, production and R&D to improve or even maintain their bottom line.

Even companies that are very customer focused may not be market oriented.

Market orientation is the degree to which your company;

  • Seeks, receives and analyses client feedback
  • Shares this information throughout the internal workings of the business
  • Responds in a coordinated manner to changes that occur to their clients, or indeed their client’s clients.
  • Focus on finding or even creating opportunities where none previously existed.

The benefits of market-oriented behavior include:

  • Higher levels of sales, market share and profits (remember them?).
  • Improved employee morale and commitment to the business because staff will feel more connected to the client and the project, and have a sense of purpose and motivation.
  • The ability to respond more quickly and more decisively than those who are not market orientated, which is a source of competitive advantage.
  • Less friction between Management and Production. Who has not seen the disruptive tension that can occur between the project manager (driven by time & cost) and detailers (driven by quality and performance)?

Market orientation is part of organizational culture. Where the business owner or manager values client feedback, seeks it and shares it with their personnel who are then empowered to act on it in a collaborative and coordinated fashion.

A company’s culture usually develops from the founder’s beliefs. Most drafting firms start with a relatively high degree of market orientation because their founders typically start with one of two good clients, then lose focus on the rest of the market. Over time, the market or competitive situation changes and often by the time the company realises this it may be too late to establish or re-establish new relationships in the broader market.

As an organisation grows, founders typically employ like-minded individuals and this leads to a homogenous organisational culture. Of course, once a culture is embedded in an organisation it can be difficult to change.

The company Directors however, are responsible for organisational culture and they are also responsible for ensuring the organisation under their control achieves the best outcomes for the company’s staff & owners.

Market orientation is one of the topics planned for discussion that the next AISD Queensland Business owners meeting. The next meeting is currently scheduled for mid to late May. Unfortunately, our usual venue, the Carina East Rugby League Club is undergoing re-development so we have been forced to find an alternative. Once this is done, meeting details will be sent out to all our Company & Sole Trader members. As in all previous years, we’re happy to receive your suggestions or requests with regards to agenda topics and meting format.

Digital Construction AcademyQualifications and Training for Steel Detailers and Construction Modellers.

In recent years, the AISD has been instrumental in the development of a nationally recognised tertiary qualification for our industry. The ‘steel detailing’ course is the MSA30208  Certificate III in Structural Steel Detailing.

One of the few Registered Training Organisations currently delivering this qualification, Digital Construction Academy, is currently undergoing a major review of it’s academic portfolio with an aim to developing exciting new proposals for qualifications in the BIM sector.  

Curriculum Leader at Digital Construction Academy, Mr Todd Dunlop, believes strongly as advocates and adopters of BIM ideology that an innovative approach is required in the creation of new academic courses and qualifications for the BIM sector which will fully embrace current, new and developing technologies.   


In driving these new qualifications, the people at Digital Construction Academy would like to invite you to provide valuable input as an industrial stakeholder.   Your involvement is extremely important to us and offers you the opportunity to:

  • contribute to the  shape, form and content of a dynamic new qualification set
  • participate in the development of the qualifications as they evolve
  • ensure a significant industrial context is an integral element to these new qualifications 

To take part in their survey, please follow the link: 

You will be directed initially to open a couple of documents to review the course proposal framework and you may save these and examine at your leisure.   You may return to the survey through the link at any time, and the survey itself should take you no longer than 10 minutes or so.

Your survey response and views expressed are recorded confidentially and will not be published without your express permission.   To ensure the privacy of the data, the survey link is uniquely tied to your email.   If you know of another colleague or partner who would like to participate, please reply to this email with their details and a separate link can be distributed to them.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Kind Regards

Todd Dunlop BA BSc(Hons) MAITD
Curriculum Leader

Digital Construction AcademyDCA Education Fee Offer
Digital Construction Academy is a nationally Registered Training Organisation providing fully online qualifications for CAD / BIM specialists in the fields of drafting, design, detailing and technical operations across the built environment industry.

Digital Construction Academy is committed to providing a modern, 21st century strategy in providing the most up-to -date and relevant learning experience in developing student skills and knowledge base, and in meeting the needs of individuals and employers in the provision of best-fit qualifications for today’s (and tomorrow’s) industry.

DCA offers training discounts to those who hold professional membership.

Click here for more information about courses and discounts on offer.

forSaleFor Sale

Following their recent decision to exit the Steel Detailing Industry, The Coppin Group now has some software licences that they wish to sell.

  1. Two Tekla Standard 18.1 licences (out of maintenance -
    since Jan 2013)
  2. Two Advance Steel Premium 2013 licences with maintenance till 27/02/2014 plus free upgrade to Version 14.
  3. Training for one individual in Advance Steel

They have approval from both Tekla and Advance Steel (Graitec) for the licences to be sold with the business name and used by the buyer.

The licences are within two separate business structures and can be sold separately or as one package.

The asking price will be significantly reduced to provide for a quick sale.

Please direct expressions of interest to;

Shane Coppin



  1300 311 445      
+61 3 8692 1072     
+61 417 045 702

PO Box 3102 Wheelers Hill, Victoria, 3150
PO Box A620 Sydney South, NSW, 1235
profileSteel Detailer Profile

In this edition of ‘Eye for Detail’ we interview John Papazis, director of  South Australian firm, ‘Australian Steel Detailers’ (ASD).

Situated in Adelaide, ASD are specialists in structural steel workshop drawings and a corporate member of the Australian Institute of Steel Detailers (SA). The company was established in 2001 and claims a wealth of drafting experience and a solid reputation within the building industry.

During John's 20 years in the Adelaide drafting scene, he has developed a reputation as an analytical and problem solving drafter who ensures deadlines are achieved and accuracy is maintained. John has developed strong bonds throughout the industry and takes pride in his sound professional relationships with his customers by producing a high standard of steel shop drawings.

Eye for Detail - Hi John and thank you for agreeing share your thoughts with us today. Can we begin by asking, what was your detailing story pre-ASD days?
JP- I started in the field of Steel Detailing with ‘Structural Drafting Services’ in 1988 as a trainee. I began on the drawing board and then progressed into AutoCAD.  After I finished up at ‘Structural Drafting Services’ in 2001, I entered into a business partnership with Greg Hammer, creating Australian Steel Detailers.

Is there anything about the early days in your career that you miss now?
The quality of documentation has progressively changed over time. In my early career, there was more planning and preparation about the project prior to commencing.

What’s the history of ASD?
ASD was started in 2001, in partnership with Greg Hammer and we each worked from our home offices. In 2003 we moved into a commercial office employing a detailer, and in that same year we ventured into 3D software.

In 2005 we felt the need to expand again and moved location to Goodwood where we grew from 3 to 7 modellers. However, we expanded quickly and as a result our quality dropped. Therefore we reduced our work force, and continued to grow more slowly, developing and implementing work procedures that ensure a high quality product.

Has there been a defining project or period for ASD?
Not so much a defining project, but a defining field. The mining field is not as cut-throat as commercial for budgets. Documentation seems to be better, therefore less variation work, which means fewer disputes. Jobs are on time and within budget.

What are the most satisfying aspects of your work?
Every so often we carry out a project where the design documentation is at a good standard with minimal questions, start / finish within the initial time frame allocated and move on to the next project (like the good old days!)

What do you see as the biggest benefit of AISD membership?
The AISD creates a great network of colleagues which in turn helps each other with problems at hand, information sharing and advertising quality detailers.

What do you see as the main challenges facing our industry?
Offshore detailing and a further decline in documentation (ironically helps detailing not going offshore)

What software package does ASD use and what were the deciding factors that prompted your choice?

We use Pro-Structures and Tekla for visualizing, eliminating errors and increasing productivity along with producing data to suit client demands
You mentioned Off-shore detailing as an emerging challenge for you. This is a comment concern I’ve been hearing from other AISD corporate members along with "Local shop-fronts for off shore detailing". How has ASD been affected by this?
In SA we currently have major state and federal government projects being detailed off shore and we are finding some local fabricators are now engaging offshore detailers directly for small commercial projects (50 to 200 hrs). The South Australian government has setup a state government enquiry program (Industry Participation Advocate) to investigate the growing concerns from local business. They met with the AISD (SA) at our March meeting and collated our concerns. It was a positive response from AISD members and felt that local government is trying to combat this problem.

John is currently the President of AISD (SA).

Please feel free to contact John or Greg regarding their services.
They will welcome your enquiries with respect to future projects. Address
Suite 3, 147 Goodwood Road
Goodwood, SA 5034

Email Details:
Telephone: (08) 8271 6555
Fax: (08) 8271 1338

What to do When the Work Slows
By Ian A. White CPEng, RPEQ, WAI Engineering.
Chairman AISD (NSW)

No doubt, there are those who have felt the pinch when work slows. When that happens, maybe it is time to start taking a long hard look at what we do and how we do it.

There are many things we can do to improve our competitiveness, and what better time to do this than when we have time on our hands. The worst thing we can do is nothing, and wait for work to come our way.

What can we do to make us more competitive?

Standards1. Standards.
There would be many who think they follow industry and national standards, however the reality is that many of those who think this way could never be more wrong. There are also those who believe that adherence to standards stifles performance and creativity. Again, they could never be more wrong.

In Australia, we have an Australian Standard for Technical Drawing – AS 1100 in its various parts. Maybe those in the business of preparing technical drawings should start out by actually buying a copy of the standard rather “believing” they know what it contains and so conform.

Now that you have the standard, go through it and make sure that you prepare your drawings in accordance with it.

  • Are your drawing sheet borders in accordance with the standard?
  • Do your drawing sheets contain the minimum required information?
  • Do you have a standard set of layers and a standard layer naming system?
  • Are you using the correct linetype patterns? Yes, the patterns are defined in detail.
  • Are you using the correct line grouping?
  • Are you using the correct text font?
  • Are you using the correct text heights?
  • Are you using the correct pen width for the particular text height?

Remember that if you go down the path of pre-qualification; as more and more businesses and governments now require this; adherence to standards is not an option, it is a requirement.

Libraries2. Libraries.
Just about anyone preparing technical drawings will have accumulated a library of various components, blocks, cells and sub-assemblies over the years. The big question is “are they CLEAR, CONCISE, COMPLETE and CORRECT”?

The reality is that most libraries develop in an ad-hoc way. Someone needs to get something done quickly, and so everything is rushed to get the job out. The library then ends up being bloated with unnecessary information or missing information. Also, library items are not flexible, and various features in CAD software are ignored rather than used to simplify a library.

  • Just looking at AutoCAD,
  • Do you understand the use of the floating layer (layer 0)?
  • Do you know when to use specific named layers?
  • Do you know when to use DEFPOINTS over a named layer that is non-plotting?
  • Do you know how DEFPOINTS links to other layers?
  • Do you know how DEFPOINTS treats certain object types?
  • Do you know when to use a specific colour/linetype/line width rather than BYLAYER or BYBLOCK?
  • Do you know what BYBLOCK is?
  • Do you know when to use XREFs, and should paths be explicitly set?
  • Do you know how and when to use dynamic blocks?
  • Do you know how and when to use attributes and fields?

  • So you don’t use AutoCAD. Well, most CAD packages will have similar features, and so you need to know about the features in the package you use.

Training3. Training
Every organisation can do with training on a regular basis. Not only does it give individuals a chance to explore features they never knew existed, but it makes sure that they actually keep up to date with what is happening with their software and their industry.

When considering training, look to formal structured training offered by a Registered Training Organisation where you have qualified trainers and assessors, over getting someone from the company, or someone who claims they can conduct the training. After all, what could go wrong? Well, you will find out, and it will cost you a lot more than you think if you do not do it properly.
When you do not use formal structured training which is assessed, you generally end up with bad habits and practices becoming entrenched in the organisation, and it becomes much more difficult and expensive to rectify things later.

Customising4. Customising.
With any software that is used extensively, significant benefits can be realised through customising. In the main, most users of software use just a fraction of the capability of the software, even though they believe they are “super users”. Sadly, a lot of software ends up with “eye candy” features that do not lend themselves to customising, however even with these obstacles, there is a lot that can be achieved.

Here are some examples.
Having the date and time a drawing is saved recorded in the drawing;
Having the drawing sheet placed on the correct layer;
Having text and dimensions placed on the correct layer;
Having the drawing limits set automatically;
Having the menu system customised so that you can use both hands.
Again, get someone in to do this for you rather than stumble through this.
These may seem insignificant however consider the problems when you have multiple users, each doing their own thing. You can draw a line on a piece of paper and put it in a time capsule. Open it in a million years and as long as the paper has not evolved, it will still be a piece of paper with a line on it. With CAD, you have a whole lot of information attached to every part of a drawing, and trying to figure out what someone has done with the CAD file can prove time consuming and expensive.

Doc Management5. Document Management Procedures and Processes.
Many preparing technical drawings have no formal document management systems or even a formal drawing register. They will have no naming conventions or drawing numbering conventions. As a result, you can end up with two drawings on the same project with completely different file naming and drawing numbering systems.

What do you do when it comes to revisions?
Do you keep an electronic copy of the previous revision, or do you simply overwrite the file with the latest changes?
How do you manage and record drawing records, submissions, responses to queries, etc.?

Get someone in to set things up for you.

Totally Paperless6. Go Totally Paperless
With the advent of PDF files and PDF printers, it became so much easier to reduce the amount of paper being shuffled between yourself, the structural engineers, the project managers and the fabricators. But there is a lot more to a PDF file than just reducing the use of paper.

Did you know that:

PDF software that can restrict the ability to change the drawing, while allowing the recipient to add comments and return the marked up PDF file;
PDF software that can restrict everything except viewing and marking up the PDF file;
PDF software that can correctly merge overlying lines;
PDF software that can allow stamps to be applied to the PDF file only, and these stamps can also date and time stamp the PDF files;
PDF software that can take the custom fields from AutoCAD and add them to the properties of the PDF file;
PDF software can allow you to do take offs making it easier to come up with estimates;
PDF software can allow you to manage the submission and review process.

So summarising things, you can see that there is a lot that you can do when the workload is down. Rather than sit around waiting for the next job to roll in, you can go through your systems and make sure that you are ready to roll with significant improvements when things do turn around and the work rolls in.

Above all, do not keep doing the same thing and expect the result to be different.

It is not without cost. What you must realise is that doing nothing will actually cost you more in the long run.

Do this when you have the time. Generally excuses are offered. You don’t have the work coming in, so you don’t want to spend the time and money to do this. Then when you do have the work, you can’t afford to spare anyone to do this. If you do not review what you do and make the necessary changes, nothing will change and you will end up in the same place again and again.

What to do

Further Points
This gives you a starting point where you can improve your management and efficiency. In future articles, we can look at time keeping, setting rates, invoicing, cash flow, and keeping the work rolling in.

Will 2013 be Australian industry's gap year?

The Australian Industry Group's annual outlook report - Business prospects in 2013: Australia's gap year?- highlights the impact of the structural changes and significant challenges the Australian economy is experiencing and will continue to experience throughout 2013. Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox said: "With the mining investment boom slowing and with other sectors struggling, there are no obvious candidates set to pick up the slack. The report poses the question: will we make the most of 2013?".

Will 2013 be Australian Industry's Gap Year The survey – which is based on responses from 350 business leaders across manufacturing, construction, services and mining businesses – found that over half of all CEOs expect general business conditions to deteriorate in 2013 and a third expect no change. In services, 42% expect deteriorating conditions, while in mining, 47% expect conditions to worsen. Indeed, some key parts of the economy are looking at a severe deterioration. This will come on top of a tough year in 2012 for many businesses - 58% of all CEOs said 2012 had brought worse
business conditions for them than 2011.

Perhaps we should use this year to reinvigorate productivity growth and establish the foundations for a more resilient and diversified economy. "We have the opportunity this year to build capabilities; to get on the right track with reforms to training; to lift business innovation; to make sensible changes to workplace relations arrangements and to commit to a phased improvement in Australia’s tax arrangements."This election year is an ideal opportunity for political leaders to take the initiative and commit to agendas that build the longer-term drivers of a growing and prosperous economy," Willox said.

Source: Manufacturing Monthly, 15 February, 2013


bimBIM in Practice 2013
By Phil Shanks, (Jackson-Roxborough Consulting)

I attended this seminar in Surry Hills Sydney this February. It was a two day seminar covering a range of topics BIM related however not a great deal of practical examples were shown for my liking.

I have to admit, I have a great respect for John Mitchell, he is passionate and dedicated to the cause; to attempt to facilitate change in the construction industry. Not an easy job being in the mix with such a conservative industry.

Click here to see the line up.

Some of the topics which interested me were:

The National BIM Strategy
How to Achieve Open Communication from Conception to Post Build
A New System Architecture for OpenBIM: BIM based Process, Benefits, and Opportunities
BIM from a Contractors Point of View: Model Based Construction
Why Clients Shouldn’t Pay a Cent Extra for BIM!
I may be bias as a Tekla user, but spending time over a few days with Leif Granholm made me realise just how progressive this company is. The concept of the DRUM project really tackles the concept of BIM Servers and integration head on. I wish them all the success in making this work.

Read more HERE

I can’t help but think that BIM is becoming somewhat of a dirty word in the industry – a little too much talk and not a great deal of action. I was hoping to see a greater attendance and more builders and owners as I believe these are the ones who need to know about this stuff.
Perhaps I'm naïve..

bimBIM Collaboration 2013
By Phil Shanks, (Jackson-Roxborough Consulting)

In February I delivered a presentation on BIM collaboration with my Engineer friend and IFC testing partner, Brett Taylor of Bornhorst and Ward.

Refer to this for the flyer

Leif Granholm opened the presentation with a Tekla insight and an overview of the DRUM project, read more here.

I can only hope that we were able to convey real practical examples of workflow using 3D models between an Engineer and Steel Detailer.

We took this a step further with demonstrations of a 3D design review process using Navisworks that we have developed. See more here.

After our presentation Leif turned to me and said – the basis of some of what Brett and I had discussed was what the DRUM project was all about. I was thrilled to hear this from him

returning confidenceActivity in the building industry is showing signs of improvement.

CONFIDENCE in the building industry is gradually improving with a growing belief that the residential sector has finally moved into recovery mode.

The Master Builders quarterly Survey of Industry Conditions report showed activity generally higher than the lows of 2011 but still weaker than expected, given relatively strong economic fundamentals and low interest rates.

Master Builders housing policy director Paul Bidwell said a gradual improvement in trading conditions continued in the residential and commercial sectors during the March 2013 quarter. "These are expected to strengthen further over the three months to June 2013," he said, "however, conditions are still not set to reach satisfactory levels in the near future.

"As in previous quarters, was constrained by weak demand, lacklustre confidence and a tight lending environment. The wet and wild weather in some regions of the state during the first three months of 2013 also hindered activity and contributed to the subdued conditions."
Cost and availability of finance plus the planning approvals process were among major business constraints.

The survey also showed that turnover and profitability for builders had both declined, but looked set to return to more satisfactory levels for the first time since the March 2010 quarter.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed building approval numbers for dwellings lifted 3.8 per cent in Queensland during February.

Nationally the number of approvals rose 3.1 per cent, after falling the previous two months. Increases were also seen in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria but falls were reported in NSW and Tasmania.

mentoringMentoring is a crucial component in times of change.

Adapting to change is one of the key components in ensuring businesses and industries survive and thrive. Truly successful businesses take time to future proof their industries and develop their staff so they can stay ahead of the game.

Research has always shown that employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers them career development opportunities.

When looking to make changes in the work place, employers and managers need to consider the environment they are creating for their staff. They need to ensure there are structures in place to help team members reach their goals and progress to that next level.

Senior Detailers & Checkers need to take time to share their knowledge. Helping Cadets and Trainees take the next step in their personal development not only benefits them but also aids the overall development of the company. In the long term, creating a mentoring culture will help influence the development of what our industry will look like in the years to come.
The immediate impact of good mentoring is that the Cadet will bring the confidence and knowledge they gain from the experience and put that added skill set into practice in the drawing office.
The more long term benefit of mentoring is that by this process, we are creating empowered leaders who will shape and drive our industry through the next generation of change.

AISD Member Project Gallery

Member: Steelcad Drafting Pty Ltd
Project: ROM Bin, Hope Downs, WA
Detailed: 2012
Tonnage: 271
Description: Mild steel Chute lined with Bisalloy 500


Member: BDS VirCon
Project: Hay Point Ship Loader
Modelled & Detailed: 2012
Tonnage: 1200
Description: Shiploader & Tripper


Member: BDS VirCon
Project: Kestral Coal Mine
Modelled & Detailed: 2012
Tonnage: 500
Description: Surge Bin & Support Structure

WA lures ChineseWA lures Chinese with royalty cut on magnetite mines

Gindalbie Metals' first commercial shipment of iron ore to China at port in Geraldton, WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett has announced a royalty concession for magnetite mines, in a move he says illustrates to China that his state welcomes its investment.

Speaking at the official opening of Gindalbie Metals' Karara mine, Mr Barnett said a magnetite royalty rebate would be considered on a project-by-project basis, in an attempt to to boost the fledgling industry that supplies China's steel industry.

Depending on iron ore prices, Karara may pay around $15 million in state royalties in the first year of operations, rising to $30 million the following year, Mr Barnett later told reporters.

Magnetite ore requires expensive processing prior to export, whereas virtually all of the state's existing production is "direct ship" iron ore that can be fed directly into blast furnaces to make steel. The state's magnetite industry has for years been pushing for relief from royalties because of higher start-up costs compared to direct-shipping ventures.

Li Ruogu, the chairman of China’s Export-Import Bank, said that Chinese investors were increasingly cautious towards Australia because of the strict national interest tests applied by Foreign Investment Review Board.

Source: The Australian – April 09, 2013

Engineering Services Industry crunched as jobs go overseas

Improvements in technology, the strong dollar and increasing global competition have sent hundreds of jobs overseas in the past few years, suggesting time is running out for Australian Detailing firms to reinvent themselves and remain globally competitive in this high-skilled, service-based industry.

The window of opportunity for local businesses to build a place in what is now a global industry is closing as new players occupy strategic positions. There is a danger now that not only will we fail to take a role in the global marketplace but that we will de-skill our current workforce by moving key parts of production off-shore.

The end of the mining boom has put pressure on the economy, which has been buffered from the global financial crisis by peak demand from the engineering construction sector.

According to a recent report by the Melbourne-based National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, there is evidence that failure to deal with competitiveness of Australia's services industries is impacting the Federal Government's ambition to move toward being a knowledge-based economy and undermining the significant investment being made in education and training services," the report said.

After the finance sector, with 24 per cent of jobs 'at risk' of being offshored, 20 per cent of professional, scientific and technical services were similarly at risk. The same proportion of information, media and telecommunications jobs are also at risk.

JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said the services sectors had also been hurt by the high dollar and higher interest rates maintained by the RBA in recent years.

The NIEIR report, which updates a 2008 report undertaken for the Finance Sector Union and the Australian Services Union, said that jobs with a heavy reliance on information technology and routine work was under the most threat.

In addition, just last month New CFO of WorleyParsons, Simon Holt, told the Australian Financial Review that moving low-level engineering work and finance roles to Asia is how they “support and add value to customers”.

Listed engineering giant WorleyParsons will accelerate the transfer of low-level engineering work, such as drafting and detailed design, to Asia to cope with structural shifts in the global engineering sector and the impact of the high Australian dollar.

New chief financial officer Simon Holt said these so-called “high value centres” in China and India are “the way the world is going for engineering”. Mr Holt went on to claim that “Australia is now the most expensive place to do engineering. Most of the work we do is not done out of Australia, even within WorleyParsons, and hasn’t for some time now.”

services sectorCompounding the situation is an onslaught of new competitors in the Australian engineering market, which has challenged WorleyParsons to get out of ‘commoditised services’ and concentrate on work where it can maintain margins and not be drawn into a price war on charge-out rates.

The move to a shared services model will see WorleyParsons’ global team of 1100 “shrink a little”. “We’re replacing from one part of the world to another to get consistency and standardisation in the organisation,” said Mr Holt.

Which ever way he wants to spin it, it’s my opinion that, this move flies in the face of the advertised culture of Worley Parsons which their web site proudly declares…  “The partnering model Worley used was based on mutual respect and the understanding that local partners provided the essential knowledge to develop their regional markets. These principles still prevail today in the ongoing growth of the firm and are very much the culture of the organization.”

By Clayton Roxborough
Managing Director - Steelcad Drafting Pty Ltd

To the inward-looking decision makers of the steel construction industry in Australia.
By Phil Shanks, (Jackson-Roxborough Consulting)

I'm sure anyone reading this newsletter is feeling the pinch of the downturn, the rapid decline of the mining industry which was shut off like a tap some 6 to 8 months ago.

Anyone paying attention to the industry now will have realised what appears to be a mad panic by many fabricators & builders? to develop immediate business relationships in China or India?; but is it all too late? And is it a drastic U turn that will end in tears for many?

From what I have understood over the past 15 to 20 years as a Steel Detailer is; The steel construction industry is having  serious difficulty in coming to terms with technology – where and how to use it effectively. Those big decisions about ‘Process’, the ones which need to be made to assist in the shaping of a changing industry are always swept under the carpet. Why is that? I have an idea – because it’s all too hard – for some!

For many of us SMEs who spend a great deal of time and effort innovating and developing systems and processes to meet the needs of an industry incapable of coming to terms with the tough decisions – we are rarely or never called upon to offer what might be a solution to many of the problems.

There is a lot of talk around the country about BIM and IPD in particular however most of the seminars I have attended never deal with what I would call one of the most critical aspects – how do we stitch it all together? How do we manipulate process to bring all of these great ideas and systems into alignment so that efficiencies are developed across the board? Where are all of the great minds, those professionals in the construction industry who have some if not many of the answers? As all I hear is silence on the matter…

We are hearing of fabrication going off shore, engineering and Detailing as well, a quick fix but not a solution and a quick dollar for some – a long term vision? I think not!

AISD QldAGM of 2012 summarised
By Phil Shanks, (Jackson-Roxborough Consulting)

The AGM of 2012 was held at Carina East Leagues club on the 13th of November.

Clayton opened the AGM with a recap of the year to date. Much of this discussion was around the local content campaign March on Parliament in 2011 and the results of meetings with government members associated with this campaign. It appears that with the election of the new LNP government the momentum that had developed in 2011 to 2012 has withered somewhat.

There have been other developments on the Local Content issue with Clayton meeting with QMI to help develop industry to support local content. As well as the Western Australian ‘Rapid Alliance’ a group of Detailing firms in Western Australia building capacity by working together as one group:

“By combining our resources we bring decades of experience, drafting
all aspects of materials handling projects both onshore and offshore.
Individually our member client list is a who’s who of the Western Australian Resource & Construction Industry and by collaborating we have the combined capability to service the larger expansion requirements of these clients.”

Clayton also mentioned the document released by Howard and Partners on digital Steel - looking at IPD and centralised database of fabrication processes.

Treasure’s report:
Kerry delivered the Statement of Income which lists the Income and Expenses for the year, the balance was released in the financial report as tabled.

Nominations for committee positions were:

  • President Clayton Roxborough
  • Treasurer Kerry Lindemann
  • Secretary Philip Shanks
  • Peter Hempsall
  • Brad Backer
Election of the management Executive positions.

  • President – Clayton Roxborough – elected unopposed
  • Treasurer – Kerry Lindemann – elected unopposed
  • Secretary – Philip Shanks– elected unopposed
Election of four committee positions
  1. Brad Backer (Vice President) – elected unopposed – appointed Vice President
  2. Peter Hempsall – elected unopposed
  • ASI Honorary position retained for John Gardiner
AGM ended at 6.45pm and was followed by a general meeting #113

Clayton opened the meeting and introduced two presentations. One delivered by Kerry Lindemann on the topic of a project showcase – a Navisworks model of a shiploader BDS were involved in. The other was a presentation delivered by Phil Shanks on seminars he attended throughout the year.

Open forum discussion after dinner chaired by Clayton

There were many topics discussed, such as;
The development of the AISD Industry Standard Documents and the focus of having them completed in 2013, standardized and on the website.

There was much discussion on the design documentation awards and thought of ways to include another category which takes into account digital delivery (no drawings); It was recognized that there is a need for measurable criteria to enable a check list to be developed for this criteria. With the difficulty in finding quality design and the more design uptake and delivery of models as a design medium, there has been seen a need to recognise this.
It was discussed that the AISD could approach the Institute of Architects and address the issue of poor design documentation, which resulted in no Architectural award being given at this year’s ASI awards.

The ASI is looking at hosting a national seminar series on IPD. The focus being on early engagement of Steel Detailers in the design phase and how this process is expected to work. The committee will keep members posted as this develops.

The attendance of the AGM was fair and a good opportunity for all who attended to catch up and chat over dinner.

ASI OnlineASI online resources for the steel industry

The ASI has recently added a number of interesting resources to our online offering.

Architecturally Exposed Structural Steelwork eLearning videos

See the two new modules added to this really excellent 7-part video series by Canadians Terri Meyer Boakes and Sylvie Boulanger. This will be of special importance to everyone involved in designing, specifying or fabricating this type of steel.

Technical case studies
Ten new steel projects were selected from our 2012 Steel Design Award winners.

Reports on non-compliant steel failures
These non-compliance reports impacting on structural steel safety in the UK are presented by CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety). To report a non-compliant steel problem or discuss issues relating to this subject, join the eForum thread or contact Dave Ryan directly.

Safe design of structures and your risk
Presentation on the implications of the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 on compliance in construction steelwork, Brisbane, Nov 2012.

Just for Laughs...



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