Presented by PowerHousing Australia in coordination with CoreLogic, the Standard House Environmental Scan advises that the coming slowing in new home building could lessen the number of engagements for tradespeople and wreak harmful effects for areas like manufacturing and retail.

In its report, PowerHousing references forecasts from the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Australia and UBS, which anticipate the quantity of new home starts (sans the influence of the HomeBuilder program) to descend from 230,480 in 2016/17 to 100-120,0000 in 2020/21.

This, the report stated, would severely disrupt workflow.

In 2020/21, HDD Consulting predicts new home completions under its medium scenario falling from 215,200 in 2018/19 to 96,345 in 2020/21.

Even as the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder Package could facilitate about 15,000 to 25,000 new build starts, the grant will not begin to offset the expected fall in construction activity.

This trend, the report states, will result in major impacts.

It presents the sample of two frequently constructed home types provided by builders in greenfield areas: the three- bedroom Byfield design constructed by Simonds Homes and the three- or four-bedroom Barton design ‘standardised home’ by Metricon.

Before the commencement of these builds, the houses have provided ample employment for town planners, urban designers, surveyors, civil engineers, engineers, energy consultants, architects, interior designers and landscape architects, estimators, building surveyors and kitchen and bathroom building designers.

Once building starts, carpenters, concreters, bricklayers, joiners, electricians, plumbers, gasfitters, cablers, labourers, glaziers, landscapers, roofers, plasterers, renderers, painters, tilers, carpet layers, fencers, earth moving contractors, waste removal contractors, roof plumbers, air-conditioning installers and others, will find plentiful jobs to complete.

The report asserts that the ‘standard home’ design includes up to 43 occupations.

This involves 31 trades, subtrades and para-professionals employed from one to 90 days on any specific task.

The decline in activity could result in a corresponding fall in the quantity of trade engagements by 4.75 million across the nation.

The decline also will affect manufacturing and industrial sectors through a decreased call for bricks, paint, truss and framing systems, fibre cement, solar systems, guttering and other building supplies.

The building of a house the size of Baron or Byfield takes about 5,000 bricks; with every 10,000 residential units equaling the need for about 2 million litres of decorative paint.

Also affected will be categories of retail like hardware, nursery and flooring.

In hardware retail, for instance, housing activity requires the hiring of sales staff in stores as well as account managers, road sales representatives on the road, manufacturers, warehouse teams to fill orders and coordinate stock, freight suppliers, receiving pros and stock packers.

Other workers needed to continue store operations are transport mechanics, mobile plant sales and maintenance, cleaners, racking and store fixture manufacturers, facilities maintenance businesses, shopfitters, signage printers, IT companies, commercial builders, landscapers, line marking contractors, and more.

And all of these trade workers ‘feed’ in to another business—mainly, the food and hospitality business that feeds the tradies during the long workday.

Now, the predicted impact may not be quite this severe, depending on our noted comparison standard. A more realistic measuring standard might involve the 160-180,000 houses constructed across the nation in a typical year.

In truth, the housing decrease will most severely affect the realm of multi-residential building; a sector less intensive on a per unit standard in regards to labour and material standards in comparison with its stand-alone counterpart.

Yet Nicholas Proud, CEO of PowerHousing Australia, stated that the potential impact should not be ignored.

He calls for additional investment in social and affordable homes, to keep building practitioners employed and Australians housed.