From the CEO

Whilst the eyes and ears are occupied today and tomorrow on the Federal Government’s skills summit, on the ground here in WA we continue to battle against the challenges that a stimulus combined with skills and materials shortages has had on delivering new housing to our community.

At UDIA’s industry breakfast on Tuesday the Managing Director of Wormall Civil, Shane Wormall captured the crux of the situation saying his business has had to deliver 50% more in half the time with the added challenge of competing with large government infrastructure projects for workers and materials. Better coordination of infrastructure delivery was the key theme at the event in which we also heard from Water Corporation, Western Power, ATCO Gas and NBN.

We are a cyclic industry. Always have been, always will be. Perth knows this all too well as we tend to experience the highs and lows more acutely than anywhere else in Australia. In large part, the fire in our economic engine from the resources sector when raging burns through our labour capacity in housing construction and will always leave us short.

So what have we learnt from the implementation of the Building Bonus & Home Builder stimulus? How would we do things differently when we circle back to similar market conditions as we were in pre-covid? Better coordination of the delivery of infrastructure projects and the residential cycle is low hanging fruit that is getting old and mouldy as it has never been picked. The timing is also ripe for an independent review of the stimulus so as a State, we are better prepared for the next episode of déjà vu.

Spotlight on civil and essential infrastructure

Timing was ripe for our industry breakfast on Tuesday morning focused on the planning and delivery of essential infrastructure.  As our industry knows all too well, the challenges associated with cost escalations, materials delays and skills shortages continue to have a significant impact on the industry’s ability to respond to current housing demand.

This is by no means ‘new news’.  Indeed, UDIA has been working hard with stakeholders behind the scenes for many months now to look for the opportunities and both short- and long-term solutions to these issues.

There is no doubt that infrastructure planning and delivery is integral to our ability to get homes on the ground. We need fast, effective and affordable solutions to the challenges we are facing.

To read this piece in full, click here.

UDIA WA welcomes Housing Diversity Pipeline

This week UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck was interviewed by Channel 9’s Michael Genovese following the announcement by the State Government calling for development proposals for their Housing Diversity Pipeline.

UDIA WA welcomes this commitment from the State Government to work in partnership with the private and community housing sector in bringing more housing choice to West Australians.

The provision of social and affordable housing is the biggest social issue facing Australia right now and we need open-minded governments to welcome innovative ways of delivering a diverse range of housing at a range of price points.

The requirement to deliver a minimum of 20% social housing with at least half of those dwellings being one bedroom speaks to the significant need for more appropriate housing for those most in need.

Under occupation of housing across the spectrum is a significant issue in an environment where we have record low vacancy rates, so it’s great to see the government taking concrete steps to address this.

The timing of the delivery of these projects importantly will assist in smoothing out the spike in construction over the last couple of years to ensure a sustainable pipeline of work in the years to come.

For more information about the announcement, see here or watch the interview with Nine News here from 13:40.

UDIA National calls on Government to fast-track training and migration of skilled workers

Ahead of the Jobs & Skills Summit, UDIA National has called on Government to immediately fast track initiatives that resolve shortages in the construction workforce, including the need for tradespeople, skilled subcontractors, civil engineers, town planners.

“Our economy will struggle if training and skills targets are not expanded and fast-tracked. Even if migration figures increase, Australia still faces the challenge of being internationally competitive to attract the right talent,” said Max Shifman UDIA National President.

Construction represents 11% of the national workforce and delays from skilled worker shortages in our industry is contributing to a steep increase in costs and a rapid decline in housing affordability. Government must address the challenge of attracting critical workers in the middle of a housing shortage, particularly in regional areas.

The skills related issues, contributing to the current housing shortage include:

  • Construction job vacancies are up 80% since late 2019 (Arcardis Constructions Costs Index Report)
  • Circa 105,000 more workers are needed in less than 18 months (Australian Constructor Association).
  • This is almost 50% greater than the number of people who are qualified to fulfil the roles (Arcardis Constructions Costs Index Report).
  • Over the last 2 years, the shortage of workers has delayed housing construction by 6-18 months.

“Australia needs to be front and centre on attracting talent and reducing unnecessary barriers to entry if it wants to compete in globally competitive markets. We need to replace our population, help grow that talent, and provide jobs and affordable housing for new arrivals,” Mr Shifman said.

UDIA National calls on the Federal Government to fast-track skilled workers through migration, jobs and training, to ensure there is enough labour in the short and medium term, to reduce delays and bolster capacity. This will make a huge impact on reducing runaway delays and costs that are undermining housing affordability and delivery of homes to Australians.

“The increased productivity from this strategy will further boost growth in jobs and in other industries, particularly as every dollar spent on housing construction flows into 40-plus sectors and generates $2.90 into the broader economy,” Mr Shifman said.

UDIA calls for action to reverse decline in dwelling approvals

With dwelling approvals at the lowest level in more than a decade, UDIA National has called for urgent action to reverse this concerning trend.

According to construction statistics released by the ABS this week, the decrease in the total number of dwellings approved in July was led by a sharp drop in approvals for private sector dwellings (including semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses and apartments but excluding houses) which dropped by 43.5%.

Approvals have been declining over the past few years and are now at the lowest level recorded since January 2012.

“Our concern is that this disproportionately impacts the more affordable end of the market, with reduced supply for those seeking to buy smaller dwellings such as townhouses or apartments, particularly near activity centres, close to established amenity,” said Maxwell Shifman, National President of UDIA.

This precipitous decline reflects the many challenges affecting the attached housing market, including continuous increases in red tape, planning regulations, rapidly escalating construction costs, and the removal of investment incentives (such as off-the plan stamp duty concessions and increased foreign investor surcharges). This has been exacerbated with the general negative concerns that have been growing against apartment living.

“Unless these issues are addressed with a great urgency, we will see a continued push away from densification in our cities, and even more pressure on greenfield development,” added Mr Shifman. “At a time when we need to be planning for population growth after a two-year hiatus, the last thing Australians can afford is a reduction in new home supply.”

UDIA National calls on governments to do everything possible to improve new dwelling approvals and supply, including reducing the regulatory burden, implementing cost reducing measures, and reintroducing incentives for off the plan buyers and investors to help underpin the viability of new projects.

Fundamentals of Community & Economic Development

UDIA WA are pleased to be providing a one day course designed for those who are looking to gain a greater understanding of the ideas and practices that foster sustainable community and economic development.

Whether you are working in a redevelopment area or greenfield location– a strategic approach to community and economic development is critical to the long term success of any urban development project. Get in early and do it right!

Taking place on Wednesday 7 September this exclusive, brand new one day course will enable those working in or with the development industry to understand, plan and deliver on community and economic development outcomes that will set up local communities for success.

Registrations close this week so book your place on the course, here.

Industry night of nights just weeks away

There are only an extremely limited number of tables left for the 2022 UDIA WA Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner set for Saturday 17 September, so now is the time to make sure you’re there to celebrate with us on the night.

Book your spot here.

If you worked on a project that has been nominated, we encourage you to show your support for your clients and the nominated projects by joining us at what is set to be the WA development industry’s night-of-nights, attracting over 500 key players in the industry.

Check out the full list of Nominated projects here.

There are also limited opportunities remaining to celebrate your success in the upcoming publication of the Awards for Excellence Winners Showcase magazine. This premium glossy publication celebrates the best and brightest in the WA development industry at the moment (Check out last year’s edition here).

With a very limited number of spaces left in the publication, now is book your spot. Get in touch with Communications Officer Chris Thurmott at for more information.

NCC 2022 set to lift home energy efficiency

Building Ministers have agreed to lift the energy standards of new homes through the National Construction Code (NCC).

As of NCC 2022, new homes and apartments will need to achieve the equivalent of “7 stars” NatHERS thermal performance.

A new annual energy use budget has been introduced for the first time. The budget will apply to the home’s major appliances such as heating and cooling equipment, hot water systems, lighting, swimming pool pumps, and onsite renewable energy systems.

This is a significant step towards achieving zero energy and zero carbon buildings in Australia.

For more information, read the announcement on this from the Australian Building Codes Board, here.

Over $1,000,000 raised for Homes for Homes

UDIA WA are happy to share the news that over $1,000,000 has been raised for Home for Homes through an ongoing donation scheme whereby a fraction of a house sale is donated to Homes for Homes.

The resulting fund is pooled with other contributions to support housing initiatives.

Homes for Homes is an independent not-for-profit organisation established by the The Big Issue with 0.1% of eligible block and home sales donated to Homes for Homes.

The initiative was set up in 2016 and the amount raised through this and other charitable efforts has now surpassed $1,000,000.

For more information about the initiative and how the funding has been used, click here to watch the video.

UDIA Online Access Code

UDIA WA are pleased to share a new Corporate Accommodation Rate Code for our members to receive 15% off accommodation with Crown Perth.

To access the discounted rates simply book via the Crown Hotels website and quote our Corporate Access code urband3357 in the promotional code field to receive your negotiated corporate rate.

Full instructions can be found here and for more information and T&Cs, click here.