Building Trades Shortage Continues

  • Article by: Sally Wood

Worst Recorded Building Trades Shortage Continues

The HIA Trades Report released on 5 November 2021 has revealed the severity of the skilled trades shortage in Australia. Across all states and territories, there is a significant shortage of all trades, caused by the huge growth in demand following the HomeBuilder government grants. The shortage is causing problems for potential home builders, and these have been exacerbated by a lack of available timber for building projects.

Report Reveals Worse Shortage on Record

The HIA Trades Report, released quarterly, provides a snapshot of the availability of skilled trades and any demand pressures on trades operating in the residential building industry. In the September 2021 quarter, the Trades Index declined from -0.53 to -0.69. Any number below 0 indicates a skills shortage.

“The HIA Trades Availability Index deteriorated further in the September 2021 quarter indicating that the industry is experiencing the most significant skills shortage since the inception of the Report in 2003,” said HIA Economist, Angela Lillicrap. “Skilled trades continued to be in high demand as a record volume of detached home building and renovations is occurring.”

bricklaying trades shortage

Shortages Affect All Parts of Australia

The shortages in trades have been felt across the board for the Australian building industry. “All regions across Australia are reporting an acute shortage of skilled trades and all trades are in short supply,” commented Ms Lillicrap.

Although some regional parts of Queensland and South Australia, and the city of Perth saw some availability improvements in the September quarter, there is still a strong pattern of decline.

“All trades recorded a deterioration in availability during the September quarter. Bricklaying continues to have the most acute shortage with an index reading of -1.30,” said Ms Lillicrap. “Finishing trades such as painting, plumbing and plastering recorded some of the stronger quarterly declines in availability. This reflects the large volume of projects initiated by HomeBuilder starting to reach completion.”

Problems Exacerbated by Shortage in Timber Supply

To make things harder for home builders, recent times have also revealed timber shortages which are predicted to get worse in the future. Master Builders Australia and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) released a joint report detailing the urgent action that must be taken to secure supply.

“Australia's timber mills massively increased production to meet demand during the COVID induced building boom, producing more timber than ever before in 2020/21,” the report states. “Despite this, Australia is currently experiencing severe timber shortages as demand soars and timber imports dry up. This is only a glimpse of what the future holds if we don't plant more trees to increase timber supply.”

building tradies wanted

HIA Call for More Trades

HIA have suggested that any aspiring builders should take advantage of the current situation to become accredited and begin work. “It is an excellent time to pursue an apprenticeship in residential building trades,” Ms Lillicrap said. “The boom in home building is expected to continue throughout 2022 and into 2023.”

For homebuilders looking to finish a project, it is recommended that they act quickly. If you're thinking about building a new home, now is the time to lock it in and get it on your builder's schedule.

Published: 12/11/2021
Author: Sally Wood