Large commercial and engineering construction contractors are optimistic about the outlook for major project work over the next two years, the latest survey has found.
In a recent survey conducted by Australian Industry Group and the Australian Constructors Association, the nation’s largest building and civil construction firms said they expected their overall value of their turnover on major construction work to grow by 7.1 percent in 2017/18 and 6.8 percent in 2018/19.
This follows a less positive year in which major project turnover contracted by 2.1 percent in 2016/17.
Leading the charge is civil infrastructure, where turnover is expected to rise by 18.2 percent in 201718 and 16.0 percent in 2018/19 as strong gains in activity are expected in roads, rail projects, telecommunications infrastructure and pipelines.
Gains of 10.3 percent and 12.7 percent over the timeframe are also expected in private sector commercial building.
Weakness in resource sector construction, meanwhile, will be primarily concentrated in oil and gas.
Australian Constructors Association Executive Director Lindsay Le Compte said the sector is benefiting from significant levels of public investment in infrastructure in eastern states.
“NSW and Victoria are powering ahead with much needed construction to support metropolitan and regional infrastructure needs,” Le Compte said.
“This is very encouraging for industry as it will support the development and implementation of plans for sustainable industry skills development and job creation, as well as pave the way for more innovative approaches to procurement and project delivery processes to achieve better infrastructure outcomes for the community.”
“The larger infrastructure projects will also support additional construction and commercial development along project corridors and provide essential support to the wider construction sector.”
Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Officer Innes Willox said the survey suggested that the worst of the resource sector slowdown was behind us and the industry was benefiting from a wide range of road and rail projects along with work on the NBN.
Whilst the optimism in respect of activity is welcome news from the viewpoint of the sector’s workforce, the survey also indicated that the sector was running up against significant capacity constraints.
After adding 3.1 percent to their headcount in 2016/17, the nation’s 100 largest commercial and civil construction contractors say they expect to add a further 2.2 percent over the six months to December before adding a further 3.0 percent in the first half of next year.
Nevertheless, contractors are finding that employees, subcontractors, construction materials and equipment are all more difficult to source than what they have been at almost any other time in the past ten years.