THE route of the Gold Coast’s new ‘M2’ motorway has been locked in, with the final stretch now officially mapped out.
The State Government on Sunday announced the final route of the six-lane road had been gazetted, allowing it to be protected from new development.
It will run for 42km between Nerang and Logan and is tipped to take around 60,000 cars off the congested M1.
Dubbed the Coomera Connector, the new road will be located east of the M1 and, starting from Nerang-Broadbeach Road in Nerang, will travel through Helensvale, Coomera, Pimpama, Ormeau, Stapylton and Eagleby before connecting with the Logan and Pacific Motorway interchanges.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new road was essential to alleviating congestion on the M1 and would provide an important north-to-south transport link for north Gold Coast communities.
“With more than 180,000 vehicles travelling on the M1 each day and strong population growth on the northern Gold Coast, we need to plan for the region’s future transport demands,” Mr Bailey said.
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“We want people to spend more time at home with their family and friends and less time in traffic, and that means responsibly planning now for growing communities between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“Now, the entire 45 kilometre Coomera Connector corridor – including the final northern stretch to the Logan Motorway – has been officially gazetted as a future state-controlled road.”
The Nerang to Coomera section was gazetted in March 2016 and the Coomera to Stapylton section in May 2017.
The corridor has been identified in various public planning documents, such as published street directories, regional transport plans, planning studies and City of Gold Coast planning schemes since the 1990s.
Formerly known as the intra-regional transport corridor, the new road will provide more choices for local traffic and additional crossings of the Logan, Coomera and Nerang Rivers.
It’s also expected to cut travel time between the Coast and the Capital by reducing the number of local trips on the M1.
Mr Bailey said there was still plenty of work to do to bring the project to life.
‘‘The community will continue to be involved in future stages of planning for the corridor,” he said.
“Opportunities for consultation will be both in person at a series of information sessions and online.
“Community members will be able to learn more about the project and provide feedback using digital engagement tools such as collaborative mapping.’’
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The Palaszczuk Government has committed $5 million to undertake transport planning studies for the corridor.
Residents who live or have properties along the gazetted route have already been notified, while community information sessions are still being planned along the length of the corridor to gain community input into the short-listed options.
The community will also be given a chance to provide feedback about the project online.
A master plan will then be developed to determine the preferred option for the corridor and help determine how delivery of the project could be staged.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads says a timeline for construction has not yet been identified and will depend on the future traffic growth in the surrounding area and availability of funding.
The Department says it is also liaising with property owners regarding land sales and development applications and early acquisition of properties “may occur in some hardship circumstances”.
Planning continues to progress for the alignment.
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Construction Strong Despite Softer Approvals
New dwelling approvals have declined for a fourth consecutive month as the surge in detached housing, propelled by the federal government’s HomeBuilder stimulus, continues to drop out of the system.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for July show a seasonally adjusted total of 17,601 dwelling approvals, a dip of 8.6 per cent on June’s result and marked the lowest monthly total since January.
Building approvals were weighed down in part by a 24 per cent decline in detached house approvals from their peak of 15,443 in April to 11,671 in July.
The monthly decline in the total number of dwellings was broad-based, with private sector houses falling 5.8 per cent and approvals in private sector dwellings, excluding houses, falling 12.3 per cent.
Housing Industry Association economist Angela Lillicrap said the latest date indicated that the majority of HomeBuilder projects had now moved through the approvals process and were set to begin construction in the coming months.
Across July, the largest falls were in South Australia, down by 17.1 per cent, and Tasmania, 15.3 per cent.
Queensland, benefiting particularly from interstate migration, was the only state to record an increase in dwelling approvals with a 9 per cent rise.
Private house approvals in Queensland also rose, up 8.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.
The return of lockdowns across parts of New South Wales and Victoria meant approvals for private sector houses fell 4.2 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.
The rebounds from last year’s disruptions combined with major stimulus from ultra-low interest rates and HomeBuilder are now seemingly fading.
Detached-house approvals remain 43.2 per cent up on the same quarter last year but the rate of decline has now increased after falling by half the rate, 10.1 per cent, in June.
ANZ economist Adelaide Timbrell said the numbers were likely to fall.
“While the wind-back of fiscal support was always expected to lead to a fall in residential building approvals, the decline has been faster in recent months than the market expected,” Timbrell said.
“We know much of the increase in approvals represented a bring-forward of activity, so we expect to see more declines.”
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver shared that sentiment and said the increased rate of decline meant that the outlook for building approvals leading into 2022 was less certain.
“Next year risks seeing a slump in home building reflecting the pull forward of activity due to HomeBuilder, reduced demographic demand after two years of zero immigration and the risk that the latest lockdowns impact homebuyer sentiment,” he said.
Between March 2020 and March 2021 dwelling approvals have posted an 84 per cent increase.
Monthly approvals have since declined 25 per cent but are still up 21 per cent year on year and are sitting 8.6 per cent higher than their pre-pandemic level.
Private house approvals remain 28 per cent higher than July 2020 and 36 per cent higher than July 2019.
Construction for the foreseeable future remains strong, with more than 121,000 HomeBuilder grant applications lodged, four times more than what was initially expected.
As a knock-on effect, almost four in five builders are now reporting “significant delays” in being able to secure concreters, joiners and bricklayers ,and an increase of up to 10 per cent in the cost of materials and specialist trades or labour, according to lobby group Master Builders.
Residential property construction times have also doubled across 2021.
A single-storey dwelling, which required six to eight months to build in 2019-2020, now requires between 12 to 16 months, while a double-storey home, which had previously taken 10 to 12 months, is now taking 14 to 20 months to complete.
Construction Delays Pushing Builders into Red
More than one in 10 construction businesses are struggling to pay their bills on time as the industry emerges as the worst hit by Covid.
The Creditor Watch report on business arrears showed the construction industry universally remained the worst performer when it came to businesses in arrears, often due to stalled project financing or other delays.
The construction industry, at 12.3 per cent of businesses overdue on payments, was closely followed by the hospitality sector at 11.2 per cent, which was historically a high-risk industry but even more so due to the impact of Covid.
Meanwhile, price pressures, labour shortages, supply issues and lockdowns were also slowing the sector.
Banks were contributing to the problems faced by construction businesses with project equity tied up, with lengthy settlement timelines.
Proportion of businesses 60+ days past due invoices
Across the country, the ACT was the worst performing state or territory while Sydney was the worst performing city, experiencing much higher rates of arrears than the other capitals.
Isolated cities such as Darwin and Perth were performing better than others with self-contained economies and mining boosting those areas.
Creditor Watch CEO Patrick Coghlan said a lot of smaller businesses were failing due to challenges with cash flow.
“With the Covid situation worsening across Australia, it’ll be interesting to see if the government income support for New South Wales and Victoria delays insolvencies in these states,” Coghlan said.
“Insolvencies across Australia have remained largely flat over the past year, particularly during the JobKeeper period.
“However, even regional businesses that mostly escaped the worst of the 2020 lockdowns are now facing the damaging financial impacts of the Delta strain.
“In the next 12 months, we expect there to be a roll through of postponed insolvencies now businesses are fending for themselves.”
Currently a quarter of all insolvencies in the country were within the construction industry with tiny profit margins impacting companies big and small.
Article Source: www.theurbandeveloper.com
Targets for Construction Code Shake-Up Revealed
Homes across Australia will be more energy efficient if proposed changes to the National Construction Code are pushed through for 2022.
Consultation has begun on the final tranche of the Australian Building Codes Board’s National Construction Code 2022, which has been flagged as the most substantial change to the residential construction code since 2010.
Proposed changes include raising the thermal performance of homes to a 7-star NatHERS rating, whole-of-home annual energy usage, and improving the provisions for retrofitting on-site renewables and electric vehicle charging equipment on multi-dwelling and commercial buildings.
RMIT University senior lecturer in the Sustainable Building Innovation Lab Dr Trivess Moore welcomed the more stringent energy efficiency requirements, which he said could reduce heating and cooling costs substantially.
“An increase from 6 to 7 stars would result in an average reduction in energy for heating and cooling of 24 per cent across Australia,” he said.
“The likely increase from 6 to 7 stars as a minimum performance requirement is a critical step on the path towards near zero carbon/energy housing … this will be the most significant revision to the residential construction code since .”
Moore said the performance of Australian housing was at least 40 per cent worse than its peers in similar climate zones in many other developed countries.
“Research undertaken at RMIT University found that more than 80 per cent of new housing in Australia is only built to the minimum 6-star standard, with less than 1.5 per cent built to the optimal environmental and economic performance of 7.5 stars,” Moore said.
Proposed changes will also provide for enhanced condensation management and whole-of-house energy usage, to help ratchet energy consumption ahead of the 2050 net zero carbon target.
Stage 1 of the consultation on the NCC 2022 proposed amendments included draft provisions for accessible housing, including wider hallways and reinforced bathroom walls, amendments to allowable lead levels for plumbing products that contact drinking water, egress windows for early childhood centres and primary schools, bushfire protection for non-residential buildings (fire resistance levels of construction materials), and the weatherproofing and waterproofing of commercial buildings.
HIA executive director of building policy Simon Croft said the 2022 code would be most the significant change to the national building code since its inception.
“[The changes are] shaping up as the largest single amendments … in terms of the volume of changes and the scope and impact of the proposed reforms, particularly for houses and low-rise apartments,” he said.
Plumbing product prices could go up between 10 and 30 per cent as a result of the changes, and the changes to accessibility could cause upwards pressure on pricing for new builds.
The National Construction Code is updated every three years, based on required regulatory practices, industry research, public feedback and Government directions. Each state and territory is responsible for administering it.
The Australian Building Codes Board said it would undertake a Regulation Impact Statement to determine the financial impact of the new provisions.
The board would also determine the timing for implementing the new provisions, including potential transitional arrangements with a view to adoption in the third quarter of 2022.
Consultation on Stage 2 of the National Construction Code 2022 relating to the energy efficiency measures closes on October 17.
Article Source: www.theurbandeveloper.com
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