The year is now well underway and conditions for the residential building industry are still challenging. While the supply of materials and labour is gradually improving and cost increases are moderating there are still difficulties that may continue well into the year.
Consumer confidence continues to be impacted by regular interest rate increases. There is no certainty as to how many more increases are to come but hopefully, in the coming months, these will stop. It is even possible that the Reserve Bank has overshot and may need to consider interest rate cuts later this year or early next year.
“Consumer confidence continues to be impacted by regular interest rate increases.”
In the meantime, consumer uncertainty means that sales of new homes and probably renovation work will continue to slow down. However, with the shortage of rental properties and the likelihood of more migration the demand for new homes should return eventually. This means we may experience a return to a boom, bust and boom cycle.
National Construction Code
In the last article, we mentioned the importance of the National Construction Code changes. It is critical that everyone in the building industry makes themselves aware of these changing requirements. With so much attention on livable housing and seven-star energy efficiency changes commencing from October 2023, it is easy to forget that the first set of NCC 2022 changes commence from 1 May 2023.
“It is critical that everyone in the building industry makes themselves aware of these changing requirements.”
These May changes include a complete restructuring of the NCC. There is also a re-ordering of Volume Two with a new format and different numbering.
Other May changes include:
- the new Housing Provisions Standard that replaces Section 3 of NCC 2019;
- new internal and external waterproofing changes including changes to waterproofing of showers requirements and treatment of falls for floor wastes;
- revised masonry, slabs, glazing, steel framing and windows fixing and flashings provisions;
- updates and revision to a high number of referenced Australian Standards;
- fire safety and cladding changes to Volume One; and
- changes to performance solutions in Volume One.
HIA urges builders and trades to make themselves familiar with these May changes as soon as possible.
Continuing professional development
There has long been an expectation that continuing professional development (CPD) will soon be required for registered builders. When implemented CPD will require builders to undergo some training each year to retain their registration. Note that CPD is not just about technical skills and knowledge but also business skills such as workplace safety, managing contracts and financial literacy.
“Note that CPD is not just about technical skills and knowledge but also business skills such as workplace safety, managing contracts and financial literacy.”
To date, CPD has been voluntary for builders. This is expected to change soon with the Victorian government expected to release draft regulations for public comment. When this happens HIA will provide further information to members and seek their views on the proposals.
HIA members may contact our Technical Services and Workplace Services teams to get further advice about the impact of NCC 2022 or CPD on their businesses. Our website and regular emails will also have updates.