Stimulus boost for building sector

18/06/2009 - 00:00

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WESTERN Australian architects and builders are set to cash in on the federal government's latest building industry stimulus package.

WESTERN Australian architects and builders are set to cash in on the federal government's latest building industry stimulus package.

In all, $579 million has been allocated to building primary schools around the state as part of the second round of the federal government's Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) program.

More than $351 million has been allocated to government schools, $165 million for Catholic schools and $62 million set aside for independent schools in WA.

This is in addition to $312 million for 265 projects in 183 WA primary schools announced in the first round of P21 funding.

The state government spends about $150 million developing school infrastructure each year.

The funding will be used to build new classrooms, gymnasiums, libraries and playground facilities including shade cloths at WA primary schools.

Woods Bagot managing principal (Perth) Andrew Lian, whose architecture firm handles building contracts for 25 Perth schools, said the P21 funding was an effective stimulus for the building industry.

"It's going to create lots of jobs, and it's going to create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for schools to expand," Mr Lian said.

"I think for us it helps us retain our staff but also gets us into good government work, where if we do perform well it gets us more government work."

The P21 funds will be spread across 800 primary school projects across WA, and hundreds of tradespeople, from carpenters to steelmakers, are likely to benefit from the scheme.

But the stimulus will not be providing architects with innovative challenges, as there are design templates in place to ensure facilities are a similar standard across all schools.

"Unfortunately it doesn't provide much innovation; it's a pretty standard thing that they're rolling out, but the purpose of it is really to stimulate, it's more for impact of jobs," Mr Lian said.

"There are standard templates; you're given what you're supposed to do, the plans are all done for you, it's like buying an off-the-shelf home and placing it on the ground."

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