From birth to starting school to working to ageing, our community needs the built environment to support people through many stages of life.

Australian Construction Industry Forum’s (ACIF) recently-released Demand Driven Forecasts ask a number of vital questions with respect to this issue. What will our population look like to 2050? What will the community needs be in the years to 2020? Do we have the facilities they need, or have we planned for it – if not, where is and how big is the gap?

ACIF forecasts show serious shortfalls or oversupply are expected for key building assets – including classrooms, hospital beds, office, retail and industrial space plus housing – in communities around Australia.

Demand Driven Forecasts 2014 predict population changes in 21 locales around Australia and determine the future needs of these communities compared to the current and planned supply of each asset type.

Some regions will have be struggling to meet the needs of the community, yet other regions will see an oversupply of assets as the projected population will have a reduced need for some building types.

“Effective urban planning will only happen with sound information on asset supply and demand,” said ACIF executive director Peter Barda.

“Peering into the looking glass of the population we expect in 21 regions, we can see how their needs are set to change. Authorities have the chance now to plan for construction or re-use of community and other assets.”

Sydney continues to grow, and the strain will be felt in short supply of four key areas, while space is needed for retail and offices will be in excess. It’s almost the reverse in Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, while Wollongong will enjoy oversupply of all forecast asset types except classrooms towards 2020.

For Victoria, the contrast between capital city and regions will be keenly felt. Melbourne is set for significant increase in the number of people aged 15 to 64, with stress on classrooms and hospital beds a likely result. Due to the past years of burgeoning home building, however, there will be excess supply of housing.

Ballarat by contrast, will have demand for attached dwellings and houses, an early oversupply of classrooms and almost balanced demand for offices and industrial space.

Geelong will experience almost no demand for work; all but two work types are expected to experience oversupply, and when there is demand it will be low-range.

Significant population change for Brisbane sees big demand placed on hospital beds, classrooms, and detached housing while attached housing is balanced before oversupply later. Cairns will see demand on most work types except for hospital beds and retail later in the forecast period. Gold Coast/Tweed growth continues and so does demand with retail being the first work type to reach and exceed demand, then housing. Work demand in Mackay continues with the exception of new attached dwellings, so too in Rockhampton.

Sunshine Coast will enjoy oversupply in four of seven work types included in the forecasts, where demand in classrooms, houses and industrial space will keep the local industry busy. Toowoomba will be in major need of hospital beds, office and industrial space plus houses, while classrooms and retail, plus attached dwellings will be in oversupply. Townsville communities will be calling for more building types except hospital beds and retail.

“These Forecasts rely upon the published building and construction plans of governments,” Barda said. “In some cases the Demand Driven Forecasts highlight where plans have not been released – or possibly made – and the potential gaps if action isn’t taken.”

Sample of Demand-Supply chart in ACIF's Demand Driven Forecasts

Sample of Demand-Supply chart in ACIF’s Demand Driven Forecasts


The Demand Drive Forecasts include charts for population projections to 2050, and the forecasts supply and demand for seven asset types to 2020. Matching the projected demand and supply for each asset is a ‘traffic light’ chart, highlighting the gaps.

The forecasts use source data from government reports plus major project information from Cordell Information. Expert forecasters ACIL Allen Consulting analyse the data to produce the Demand Driven Forecasts for ACIF.

Demand Driven Forecasts are part of the ACIF Forecasts, a suite of industry predictions that provide the building and construction industry and its clients with a ‘compass’ to the future, so they plan to survive and thrive changing market conditions. ACIF Forecasts include a 10-year outlook for work demand, labour requirements, major projects and the costs of building and construction.