Encouraging signs for building industry

A STEADY commercial construction market has provided plenty of opportunities for Perth builders, with the 10 biggest holding a combined total of $210 million worth of metropolitan commercial building work.

And work should continue to walk in the door over the next decade with a leading economic forecaster predicting boom conditions.

The top 10 builders’ combined book order equated to one third of total approvals of $648 million for the year to June 30, according to a report commissioned by Business News.

Consolidated Constructions Pty Ltd heads the list, compiled by Construction Research Australia, with a 5 per cent market share, bringing in work of more than $30 million for four projects.

And, after a busy six months, Broad Construction moved up seven spots to second place with an order book of nearly $27 million, almost four times its $7.6 million order book for 2000.

Multiplex also gained ground from sixth spot for the 2000 year to third spot for the 2000-01 year as its workbook more than doubled to $26 million.

And though still ranked fourth, National-Cromlec-Commodore increased its book order from $18.6 million to $25.5 million.

A report by BIS Shrapnel gives an optimistic assessment of the building industry over the next decade.

The forecasters believe Perth, along with the rest of the nation’s capital cities, is heading for a 1980s-style boom as the availability of office space continues to tighten.

Total annual non-dwelling commencements are forecast to increase 65 per cent over the four years to 2005-06.

Master Builders Association director Michael MacLean described the commercial construction industry’s position as “steady with good prospects for further improvement”.

“I think we are in a reasonable position and we have some optimism for the sector, as we are confident there will be a number of reasonably sized projects announced in the next three to six months,” Mr MacLean said.

“There has been some wishful thinking in some camps, who have talked our industry up, but I think that is unwise at this stage.

“I would just say the signs are very encouraging.”

But it is not all good news, with Brown & Joy Industries, the eighth biggest commercial builder in the metropolitan area, going into administration last month.

The industry’s labour force would be stretched in coming months, as more projects come on line and the housing industry continued its recovery, Mr MacLean said.

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