HISTORICAL: Wide Bay housing approvals highest in state
The Wide Bay's construction industry shows no signs of slowing down with many major projects underway in Bundaberg and the surrounds.
Constructions Skills Queensland (CSQ) believes the next two years will be particularly busy for local builders with a stream of commercial projects and the house building boom.
CSQ director of research and digital Queensland Robert Sobyra said housing approvals had seen an increase of nearly 25 per cent since before the pandemic.
"Approvals in the region are now running at $190 million a quarter - that's higher than any other region in Queensland," Mr Sobyra said.
"This comes at a time that builders are already flat out in the region because of large commercial projects like Bargara Waters Lifestyle Resort - these have all been approved in the last 12 months."
Mr Sobyra said the turnaround was partly due to the strong pipeline of work in the Wide Bay region as well as the government incentives that have assisted people to step into the property market.
He said with the incentives favouring regional Queensland towns like Bundaberg and Hervey Bay were reaping the benefits.
"Prior to the pandemic building approvals were already running at around $126 million a quarter - that's a strong number as it is but because of all these government incentives that actually rose to $190 million at the tail end of last year," Mr Sobyra said.
"The good thing about these incentives is that they're funnelled directly into new home building as opposed to just churning over the existing housing stock."
But concerns have been raised that this may impact the timeline and cost of projects and leave some of the industry's workers in high demand.
Mr Sobyra said demand for civil construction workers was expected prior to the pandemic but with the home building boom now in play he believes every corner of the construction industry will benefit.
"There's no doubt that demand for builders and tradies will be significantly higher over the next couple of years but there will also be a lot of workers from other industries who will be quite happy to take up that slack," he said.
"The challenge will be for employers to find workers that they're willing to give a go and that they're willing to train up to move into our industry.
"I think the pinch points are going to be much more in the supply chain of the building and construction industry - we're already hearing from builders that things like roof trusses are really hard to come by at the moment and they're slowing down builds."
CSQ chief executive officer Brett Schimming said the rate of new home approvals was much higher than any other time in the Wide Bay region's history.
"This comes on top of historically high levels of private investment in large-scale projects like the Bargara Waters Lifestyle Resort," Mr Schimming said.
"All of this will add up to a very busy couple of years for Wide Bay builders and tradies (and) we have lifted our forecast for building employment in the region by almost 15 per cent."
Mr Schimming said it places increased importance on training the local workforce so CSQ is currently ground-testing and making adjustments to its Annual Training Plan.
He said this will ensure investments in regional training programs were in line with the projected needs.
"CSQ is tracking 203 major construction projects confirmed for delivery over the next two to three years in Wide Bay and a further 155 potential projects planned but not yet committed," Mr Schimming said.
"CSQ's focus is on ensuring existing workers have the skills they need to complete all of what will be asked of the Wide Bay industry over the coming years."
The Wide Bay construction workforce is currently sized at around 9400 people with 690 apprentices currently being trained.
CSQ estimates the project pipeline is valued anywhere between $2.2 billion and $7.6 billion and forecasts it will deliver between 1577 and 4615 jobs for the region.
Major projects include the Bargara Waters Lifestyle Resort, South Beach at Elliott Heads and Burnett Harbour Marina Village among others.