A recent study by the Master Builders Association of Victoria has evaluated the annual earnings of hourly non-managerial employees in the construction industry and analyzed the impacts on the Australian construction industry and economy as a whole. The report’s findings highlight the enormous labor wage increase of construction workers under union contracts in Victoria, Australia and compared those earned wages to other major salaried workers in the area.
The study seems to have been sparked by upcoming Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) wage negotiations, in an effort to show how the past construction wage increases have hurt other industries and decreased Victoria’s ability to upgrade necessary infrastructure in the near future. Victoria, for those of us unfamiliar with Australian states, is located on the South-East side of the continent and contains the city of Melbourne. It is Australia’s second most populated state and the home of Australian rules football.
The chart below shows the average annual earnings for 18 of the most popular jobs in the state of Victoria and shows that only medical practitioners make more than union carpenters and unskilled construction laborers. These dollar amounts are in Australian dollars, which, at the current conversion rate, are roughly 31% higher than US Dollars. The cost of living is roughly the same as a standard American city, give or take a few percentage points, according to Numbeo. The annual earnings for union workers double the average earnings for all occupations and even top engineer salaries by $30,000 USD.
Conversion to US Dollars
Union Carpenter = $141,224 AUS = $97,605.56 USD
Unskilled Union Laborer = $130,859 AUS = $90,441.89 USD
Engineer = $93,673 AUS = $64,741.16 USD
Average of All Occupations = $68,479 AUS = $47,328.58 USD
The Master Builders Association of Victoria warns that wage increases in the construction industry are unsustainable and will damage the community and hurt those not in the construction industry, due to tax increases to pay for necessary construction. The associations report also points out that productivity increases have been slower in Victoria than in other parts of Australia and labor costs have outgrown that rate by more than 2.4 percent per year.
The report estimates that the city will have to spend nearly $700 million extra for necessary infrastructure repair to meet the demands of wage increases, which would be footed by the tax payers.
What do you think? Should union laborers feel bad about their wage increases? Should they accept lower wages during the next round of negotiations? Tell us in the comments below!
Full Report: Victorian construction– labour costs and productivity | Deloitte Access Economics
Jobsite pressures, such as time crunches and monetary issues can quickly tempt otherwise good people into making some pretty poor decisions. There are also others who use their construction business as a front for other illegal activities. Many people were arrested for a variety of reasons in 2016 and the list below should serve as both a reminder and a warning for those considering making bad decisions.
Every day, construction workers from around the world are doing amazing things on their specific job sites. In our minds, the coolest projects are any project that a construction worker is proud to have built, one made with care and quality. There are other factors that we consider to be cool, as well, including those that break down barriers and allow other companies to realize something they previously thought may not have been possible are actually possible. Many of the projects we chose for this year’s list highlight workers acting as pioneers for a specific type of construction and allowing the construction industry to grow by trying new things.
Many construction projects involve clearing heavily wooded and untouched areas, which can cause many complications, including interaction with unknown wildlife. It’s important for all companies to understand the impact their construction work can have on wildlife, not only to avoid costly issues with government regulations, but also be good stewards of the environment. Below are 12 stories from 2016 where construction projects interacted with wildlife and how each situation was handled.
One thing almost everyone agrees on: America’s infrastructure needs fixing.
Another thing most people agree on: No one enjoys the traffic congestion that results from bridge, road, and utility construction work.
Trenches are a construction jobsite hazard that happen on nearly every construction site involving dirt work, but, all too often their dangers are underestimated. In fact, trench related deaths in 2016 have more than doubled as compared to 2015. There’s no excuse for allowing a trench related death to happen, but it’s rare that job site supervision suffers criminal charges after one occurs. After the death of a 22 year old New York construction worker, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took a hard stance against those responsible and announced formally sentenced the on-site foreman last week.
Construction document control is the hot item right now with regards to industry technology. With several leading tech companies working tirelessly to convert all contractors from hard copy drawings to digital, the race is on to see who will emerge victorious. Not only are technology companies seeing opportunity in plan management, their also seeing opportunity with the new Windows platform. The Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops have given Apple products a run for their money recently for jobsite use, after jumping 20% in use in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to a new construction technology survey.
As far as technology goes, the construction industry is behind. We’ve done our best throughout the past couple of decades to resist all incoming technological advancements, because who needs some fancy, new-fangled computer machine when you’ve got hands made of steel and a work ethic that could shame an Alaskan sled dog? Well, these times, they are a changin’, and construction companies throughout the world are starting to realize the benefits of using better technology in both the office and in the field.
JBKnowledge, a construction technology company responsible for software such as SmartBid, SmartReality, and SmartCompliance, has recently released their 5th Annual Construction Technology Report, after successfully receiving over 2,600 participant entries.
A large focus of the construction industry, especially in recent years, is jobsite safety. Many large companies have significant resources set aside specifically for safety, but, unfortunately, that may be impossible for many small and medium sized construction companies to handle. As of the first quarter of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are over 768,000 construction companies currently operating in the private industry and over 6.7 million construction workers between them. That’s a lot of companies and workers to keep safe throughout the year.
It’s been a tumultuous year between several governmental agencies and businesses alike and, because of that, both sides have been repeatedly put into a state of limbo. Three new major rule changes have made headlines, especially in the construction industry, this year, including an injury and illness record keeping and reporting rule, a “blacklisting” rule, and an overtime pay rule.
Modular construction has been heralded by many as the next big thing in building structures quickly and cost effectively. By being able to construct parts of the building in a controlled environment, like a factory, workers can perform more efficiently, comfortably, and safely, ideally translating into shorter schedules and smaller costs. That theory got one of its biggest tests on a new 32-story residential building that recently opened in Brooklyn, NY.