Boral Spinoff Directors Attempt Rescue Amid Australia's Struggling Home-Building Industry

Australia's home-building industry faces labor shortages, rising costs, and builder collapses, with Metricon urging training more women as a solution. The government aims to build 1.2 million homes in 5 years, but the industry struggles continue.

Trim Correspondents
New Update
Boral Spinoff Directors Attempt Rescue Amid Australia's Struggling Home-Building Industry

Boral Spinoff Directors Attempt Rescue Amid Australia's Struggling Home-Building Industry

Directors of a Boral spinoff company are trying to rescue the firm amidst the ongoing difficulties in Australia's home-building industry. The challenges builders face are having a broader impact beyond the construction sector itself, as shown by the problems encountered by the Boral spinoff.

Australia's biggest home builder, Metricon, has warned the government against relying solely on high immigration to address the issues in the struggling home-building industry. Metricon CEO Brad Duggan stressed that training more young people, particularly women, to become tradies is a more effective approach than simply importing labor. "A structural change is needed, including encouraging women to join the industry, as they currently make up only 0.5% of carpenters," Duggan stated.

The construction sector is dealing with a labor shortage and rising building costs, resulting in over a quarter of companies facing insolvency. Metricon, in collaboration with the Housing Industry Association, has initiated a paid, 12-week pre-apprenticeship program in Queensland to train women for the construction industry, aiming to address the labor shortfall.

The collapse of Collier Homes, another home-building company in Australia, has further highlighted the broader implications of the industry's struggles. Customers of Collier Homes have experienced significant delays and cost overruns, with one customer reporting that their build took years longer than expected, and costs increased by nearly $100,000.

The Commerce Minister has announced that loans from a $10 million government support facility for struggling builders are expected to start flowing in the coming weeks, following delays in the application process. However, there is conflicting information regarding the scale of the fallout from Collier Homes' collapse, with the Premier stating that contractors and suppliers are owed around $600,000, and the company lacking housing indemnity insurance.

Why this matters: The struggles in Australia's home-building industry have far-reaching consequences beyond the construction sector itself. The challenges builders face are impacting the broader economy and highlighting the need for structural changes and government support to address labor shortages and rising costs.

Despite the severe housing crisis in the country, there are some positive signs, as indicated by the high number of cranes active on residential construction sites across major cities. The crane index, which measures the number of cranes in the sky, has reached the second-highest level on record, with 540 out of 869 cranes working on residential projects, suggesting a rebound in confidence in the industry. However, the industry continues to face extreme conditions, including soaring material costs, labor shortages, and numerous builder collapses. The government has set a target of 1.2 million new homes over the next five years, emphasizing the need for more activity and construction to address the housing supply issue.

Key Takeaways

  • Boral spinoff company directors trying to rescue firm amid home-building challenges
  • Metricon CEO calls for training more women, not just relying on high immigration
  • Over 25% of construction firms face insolvency due to labor shortage and rising costs
  • Collier Homes collapse highlights broader impact of industry struggles on customers
  • Crane index suggests rebound, but industry faces extreme conditions like material costs