At a time of record homelessness and great pain in the building industry with a 13.7% fall in new home approvals in Queensland and 15% fall on the Sunshine Coast as well as growing insolvencies, the State Government has announced more cost and red tape to make it worse.
State Member for Maroochydore, Fiona Simpson MP, said COVID has increased costs and caused building supply chain disruptions, but Public Works Minister de Brenni has added to the pain by his fumbling of the adoption of mandatory new construction standards, disregarding industry and homeowner concerns.
Fiona Simpson MP said “Builders warn that the changes to the construction code will add at least another $30,000 to the cost of building the average house – that is not small bickies.
“The principles of the new code are laudable with predicted average savings by the Minister of a $185 per year. The execution is a failure and will further reduce housing supply and no one knows exactly when and what specific format these new rules will apply and the full impact of loss of housing yield.
“I support improving housing accessibility for the disabled and improving energy efficiency but doing it in a way that saves money rather than reduces housing affordability and supply. This can be achieved by working with the building industry rather than against homeowners and builders.”
Michael Roberts, HIA QLD Executive Director, said the changes to the Construction Code are the most significant this document has ever had and with at this stage just 12 months to implement all of this there will be significant non-compliance in the building industry.
Michael Roberts said “I have discussed my concerns with the Minister and he won’t listen, it just falls on deaf ears. This will affect every person associated with the building industry, not just those that work on site, but also engineers, architects, certifiers, town planners, and so on.
“Just for a start standard house plans need to be re-drawn, display homes will be non-compliant, everyone has 12 months to understand and the new legislation and the details aren’t due out until 1 October. To impose this level of change on an industry that has battled to survive over the last two years in deplorable.”
A media release* from the Minister does not provide any detail into these changes, nor does it provide any legal certainty. The media release is also flippant in its disregard for the costs and concerns for those who want to build their home. The government continues to fail to respond to the housing crisis with any empathy, care or concern for those affected and they are failing to listen.
*Link to Minister’s Media Release: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/96047