20 Years of Membership with HIA!

The Sustainable Team are honoured to receive and announce an impressive milestone: Achieving 20 Years of Membership with Housing Industry Association (HIA).

We proudly endorse our long and strong relationship with HIA, where in 20 years the Sustainable Team have received over 40 HIA GreenSmart Awards, both locally and nationally.

What a great time to reflect on Sustainable’s 20 Year HIA Membership with one of Sustainable’s proudest moments in their early years — 2003 HIA National GreenSmart Building of the Year Award. CEO Brett McKenzie and the Sustainable Team were awarded the National Building of the Year in Perth for the 2002/2003 Brookwater Landmark Display Home (refer to images below). This was, and still is, a notable achievement in Brett McKenzie’s career and for the Sustainable Team as a whole.

Thank you HIA, Sustainable take pride in sharing this longstanding relationship.

Mental health amongst the Construction Industry

The Sustainable Team has certainly endorsed Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) transparency with the impeding challenges and mental health concerns currently suppressing the Australian Construction Industry. 

We’ve certainly been weathering this perfect storm.

Brett McKenzie | CEO

In the HIA Building News Magazine (October, Issue 3), HIA President Queensland Peter Wood wrote a raw and honest industry account, titled ‘Take care of each other as we weather the storm.’ Wood’s statement unravels the truth about what has been happening in the construction industry over the last 18 months, describing it as “one prolonged crisis”, whilst also placing a large emphasis on mental health. A few of Wood’s most striking statements are detailed below.

As our industry fights on during 2021, there is an uncomfortable truth emerging. Many of us are simply not okay.

…construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from a workplace accident.

The pandemic and subsequent HomeBuilder boom have meant that many of us have had to deal with consistent challenges over an extended period of time. 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 the industry.

HIA Economics tells us that we are roughly nine months into a 12 month cycle of material and labour supply issues. Things will improve, but the ride to get us to that point is rough, and our industry is a bit battle-scarred.

Peter Wood | HIA President Queensland

Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie has been managing these industry challenges closely with our clients, staff and sub-traders, and has been open about that since early October of 2020. These are the exact concerns that Brett has had with what is ahead for the industry; and the ‘Perfect Storm’ has certainly happened.  

Brett McKenzie said,

It feels like we are another six to 12 months off of being able to come out of the other side of it, so it is absolutely critical that we manage this by looking out for each other, being transparent and honest with our clients, suppliers and work force.

With more significant roll out ahead, it is important for us at Sustainable to communicate this with our Team of employees, trades, suppliers and clients, and for our clients to support us as we support them.

And that dove tails into a really important factor of what we do from a long-term master planning life cycle of our Sustainable Homes — creating spaces that provide not only refuge, but inspirational spaces that deliver all the emotions of life; so our buildings are not just living and breathing, they are also supportive and provide structure for us to keep a healthy mind. 

Even though our Sustainable Team has faced many challenges — in terms of supply and demand with chasing materials and the fragmented pressure of the industry — our business operates under a well-developed Sustainable D&C Management process, which is solely based on permanent internal training and mentoring. 

This means that we are able to manage these challenges as best as we possibly can for our clients and minimise any cost impediments where possible, as our profiles are well prepared and we are strong believers of what we do for our clients. 

Brett McKenzie continues to express his thoughts on the matter,

It has certainly been frustrating and stressful for everybody. It is a daily management struggle — all the best laid out plans from yesterday at five o’clock turned to crap at five this morning.

Industry standards of fixed price contracts and funding models do not consider a pandemic with rapid rise of costs with no access to materials.

In 2003 we had a massive price increase, but we had a very good supply of materials. Today, we are dealing with rapid cost increases and massive supply shortages, something the Australian construction industry was not prepared for.

Unfortunately the uncertainty and also the already evident situation that is causing some businesses to not be able to weather the “Storm”, thus clients, sub-trades and employees were effected enormously.

The accessibility of materials and all the sorts of pressures being placed on the industry are causing enormous stress, so it is important for us to make sure that we have healthy minds, which is a major passion of our Sustainable Philosophy to design healthy homes.

Personal and mental wellbeing is in our Sustainable DNA. Our passion, since our inception 35 years ago has been to design healthy, sensory homes that promote improved mental wellbeing for all occupants of the home, including visitors. 

Our Sustainable Homes are designed to provide retreat and support that continually regenerates and influences healthy minds. We design homes so that our client’s can live in spaces that are inspirational, to live in spaces that provide retreat, and to live in spaces that allow them to value that space, and for it to be uplifting and healthy to them. 

Sustainable are major supporters of the HIA Charitable Foundation (HIACF) who have partnered with Beyond Blue, providing resources to individuals to help manage mental health in the construction industry. 

For anyone growing up in Australia, a bucket hat is a symbol of protection and exploration.

HIA Charitable Foundation

The latest part of their agenda is their “Bucket Hat Campaign”, which Sustainable have taken part in. The HIACF Bucket Hats are designed to open up conversations across the construction industry and beyond, so that we can keep a healthy mind and feel supported through these challenging times.

If you would like to enquire about purchasing the bucket hats for you or your team, contact: foundation@hia.com.au

Beyond Blue is available 24 hours a day on 1300 224 636 for anyone that needs assistance.

Or the following charities are also available:

Mates in Construction1300 642 111

Lifeline13 11 14 

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