Our view on the COVID-19 Construction Industry Challenges

Over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has accompanied its many unprecedented challenges on numerous industries and individuals across Australia and the world. 

Notably, however, COVID-19 has imposed massive interstate product price increases in the construction industry. In the early 2000s, the industry experienced similar price increases, and although definitely painful, it was easier to control and manage due to sufficient access to supply. 

Contrary to the current uncertainty amongst the community, with border restrictions and lock downs, Covid has certainly forced pressure onto the construction industry in terms of supply and demand, as most items come to QLD from NSW and Victoria. 

Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie said, “The industry is undoubtedly and extremely exposed by its vulnerability of a lack of manufacturing in Australia, and more particularly in QLD.”

“There’s also the resource switch, where we have passed off our resources to other countries to develop for us, to then buy them back, waiting in line to markets of greater magnitude, such as Europe and north America.”

“We need to recalibrate our thought process about the supply chain for our industry. From a sustainable future point of view, the core thing for us at Sustainable is to source as many local products as possible, because we know, and it is without doubt, that the currently unmeasured embodied energy will be greatly minimised.”

As part of our Design & Construct management process, the Sustainable Team has been working closely with our clients, trying to circumnavigate some of those industry challenges with design alternatives and strategic purchase of materials. Unfortunately, some of the challenges have been completely unavoidable, placing an intense amount of pressure and time delays on our projects. 

An ability to forecast industry challenges, such as weather changes or supply delays, demonstrates that our team can tack very quickly and be nimble in design, material and specification to combat the market. These are the true benefits of working with a Design & Construct Team such as Sustainable.

Sustainable’s most recent Retrofit at Camp Mountain unfortunately operated at approximately 9-weeks behind schedule. Delays occurred mainly due to key product supply chain manufacturing of engineered products and the componentry industry. The closing of borders and lock downs in the southern states over the last 4 months, only further extended major challenges for both our in-house and on-site teams. Nonetheless, the Sustainable Team have been working extremely hard for all of our clients, trying to maintain delivery times and going beyond client expectations. 

“Our Team’s latest major transformations is of two exceptionally high-powered Sustainable Retrofits, both designed and delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homes that were once on life support are now well and truly alive as Passive Power Homes.” — Brett McKenzie

Above all, our valued suppliers of numerous years, with some of our partnerships reaching 3-decades, have been tremendously supportive in managing the cost increases and balancing that out for our Sustainable Team and our clients. With their support, Sustainable has successfully managed two amazing outcomes with our Sustainable Retrofit concept, with the homes completed in neighbouring streets at Camp Mountain. 

Mental Health Challenges within the Construction Industry

In recent years, greater awareness of mental health has become increasingly more apparent among workplaces and local communities, especially during the events of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) President Queensland, Peter Wood, models strong mental health awareness for the construction industry in his HIA Building News (Issue 3, 2021) statement. Wood discusses the “uncomfortable truth emerging” amongst the construction industry, signifying the challenges facing an industry traditionally discouraged from emotion mixed with the COVID-19 battle. 

HIA Queensland President Wood says, “Many of us are drained and feel as though we are ‘going to battle’ every day.”

“The last 18 months have been some of the most challenging that any of us have ever faced. The pressure is real, and the pressure is constant for many parts of our industry. A conversation may be all it takes to share the load of someone’s mental burden.”

The Sustainable Team, since our inception, have strongly advocated for mental health and wellbeing through not only workplace ethos, but through our Sustainable home designs, delivering truly mindful, all-inclusive and inspiring homes to live in.

Watch this space for Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie’s statement on Mental Health within the Construction Industry. 

HIA Charitable Foundation — “Let’s make a change together.”

Visit: https://hia.com.au/hia-community/what-we-do/charitable-foundation

The HIA Charitable Foundation is partnering with Beyond Blue to improve “the mental health and wellbeing of those working in the residential building industry by reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and encouraging help-seeking behaviours.” In doing so, the HIA ‘Bucket Hat Campaign’ has been introduced to start important mental health conversations with work colleagues, friends and family and to overall support the cause.

If you would like to enquire to purchase the ‘Bucket Hat Campaign’ hats, please contact: foundation@hia.com.au.


Phone: (07) 3201 1177