Builders in hot demand – but need support to stop work going cold

12 April 2021

NEW home construction and renovations remain in hot demand across Queensland – but builders are calling for more support to ensure both the industry and consumers get a fair go in the face of continued price hikes, and trade and materials shortages.

Although the latest ABS figures show building approvals went up across all regions in the month of February as the industry got back to work after Christmas, it’s pretty clear looking at the approvals over the three months that the HomeBuilder and Regional Home Building boost grants have run their course.

All regions except the Gold Coast and Wide Bay Burnett are down over the past three months. The Gold Coast clocked a massive spike in approvals in February, thanks to a huge number of multi-unit dwellings getting the green light.

While the industry continues to hum along, Master Builders Deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said the figures highlight the need to ensure builders can deliver on their contracts.

“A survey of our members shows trade and material delays, and cost increases are substantial issues for builders and trade contractors, off the back of the increased demand we’ve seen,” Mr Bidwell said.

“For example, a third of respondents told us they’re waiting more than a month for timber orders to be filled, while roofing materials are just as hard to get, and timber and steel prices have jumped by more than 15 per cent.

“Delays in getting roof installers are at a critical level across the Southeast, as they’re all busy with insurance work from a hailstorm out at Ipswich back in October, creating competition between the insurance builders and new home builders.”

Mr Bidwell said the peak industry body is continuing to work to find practical solutions.

“We’re calling for the state government to provide more flexibility for builders to use extension of time provisions in existing contracts, in a way that’s also fair to consumers.

“Builders and their clients deserve a fair go – and it’s about helping smooth out the bumps by giving them access to mediation when it’s clear the builder can’t meet their timeline.”

Master Builders & ABS graph - Regional building approvals figures December 2020

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