A Master Builders Victoria-led (MBV) delegation has left for Europe, Canada, and the United States as part of an international research project to support Victoria's post-COVID building and construction industry. A vital component of this research project is a study tour to selected locations in Europe, the UK, and the Americas, to gather knowledge and first-hand insights into how key overseas counterparts in the industry are solving some of the issues Victoria faces.
In cooperation with the Victorian Government, MBV was delighted to host a networking reception in London last week with Australia's and the UK's building and construction industry members. The Westminster event provided the chance to discuss industry opportunities in the UK and Australia and share knowledge on best practices, innovation in sustainable building practices, and emerging trends in alternative supply chains and materials.
While in the UK, the MBV delegation also met with Brian Berry from the Federation of Master Builders and Eddie Tuttle from The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). It was great to speak to the Federation of Master Builders and Mr Tuttle about the building and construction industry in the UK, as we share the same issues of the supply chain, skills shortages, and training.
The MBV International Research team met with Dame Judith Hackitt, a member of the expert panel of the Building Systems Review here in Victoria. Dame Judith brought together a group to discuss regulations in building and construction in the UK. The team also met with Dr Mike Pitts from Innovate UK and Construction Innovation Hub Programme Director Keith Waller to hear about the UK's innovation agenda.
Meanwhile, the MBV delegation travelled to Birmingham last Friday to see the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, which was held in the city earlier this year. It was fantastic to meet with MBV member Lendlease and see their work at the Perry Barr Residential Scheme. Birmingham has a significant demand for 51,100 new homes by 2031. To help meet this need, Birmingham City Council is supporting and enabling new housing and enhanced community facilities across the city.
MBV also visited the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham to share international best practices ahead of Victoria hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The MBV delegation met with builders Wates Construction and Sandwell Council to learn about the centre's project delivery and its legacy plans for the local West Midlands area. The site includes an Olympic-sized pool, a 108-station fitness suite, an indoor cycling studio and a new football pitch. The visit showcased the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, how Wates built it during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the team's broader challenges to deliver the world-class venue on time. With the 2026 Commonwealth Games swimming and diving events to be held in Geelong, the MBV delegation was keen to learn more about Sandwell's legacy plans.
After jetting across the North Atlantic Ocean, the MBV delegation met with MBV member Multiplex to tour the Bay Adelaide North Tower in Toronto. It was interesting to hear about the challenges faced by the building and construction industry in Canada during COVID-19 and what changes had to be made to get the job done. We also had the opportunity to meet with John Flecker, Global CEO of Multiplex, and Catriona Comerford, Executive Director of People Global, at Multiplex's head office in Canada to discuss their work globally and brief them on the study tour findings so far. These conversations provide valuable insights and information to bring back to Victoria and share with our members and the broader building and construction industry. The Australian-first three-week study tour will investigate emerging trends in alternative supply chains and materials, circular economy, net zero buildings, regulatory reform, and innovation in sustainable building practices while examining best-practice skills, training, and migration.
MBV has partnered with the Victorian Government and RMIT University to undertake this research.