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
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a lot of jobsite safety rules since its creation in 1971. Some of those rules have become outdated, due to a variety of reasons, or have caused unnecessary confusion for companies due to wording. Earlier this month, OSHA proposed 18 revisions to existing rules, with many affecting the construction industry.
2016 has been a big year for OSHA, as the organization has raised the cost of fines for safety violations for the first time since 1990. Made, effective in August, fines were raised 78%, making the cost of a serious violation $12,471. The construction industry is by far the most affected by OSHA regulations, as it accounted for 43.3% of all citations, 52.92% of all inspections, and 44.16% of all penalties assessed from October 2015 to September 2016. Of all specific types of contractors, roofing contractors account for the largest quantity of citations (6,924), following by framing contractors (3,810), and masonry contractors (2,501).
It’s not often that a gigantic pack of construction vehicles are seen on the same site together, been when they do, it’s pretty memorizing. Some of our favorite construction videos of all time involve more machines than you would think could fit in one space, like this 10 hour demolition of a Canadian Overpass or this video of 116 excavators working side-by-side in China. Very few jobsites have the luxury of throwing a bunch of machines and labor on a project, but, if performed correctly, it can get a job done pretty quickly.
2016 has been filled with controversial law changes affecting contractors, like the first increase in OSHA fines in 27 years, OSHA’s new injury reporting rule, and new overtime pay rules. Industry groups have submitted comments hoping to ease the pain on contractors, but have not had any success overturning any of them. The next challenge facing contractors started with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order signed in July 31.
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Bosch, one of the construction industry's trusted tool manufacturers, has just announced an exciting new sweepstakes, giving you a chance to win $50,000 towards a new RAM truck or van. It is all part of a newly announced "Stand By Your Work" sweepstakes, which runs now through November 30th of this year.
Cranes are not only an extremely useful piece of equipment, but they’re also extremely dangerous if something goes wrong. Each year, there are several crane collapses and other crane related accidents that claim lives. Having said that, the last thing contractors need is for adrenaline seekers to start climbing and playing around on their cranes. The problem is, it’s already happening.
This 6-1/2” circular saw fits perfectly into the light duty category for circular saws. With the 4.0ah battery, 50 degree bevel, and 4000 rpm saw speed this model delivers performance comparable to many of the heavy duty saws on the market while still keeping a very reasonable price point.
We have a lot of safety rules in construction and it’s practically impossible to monitor your job site for compliance of every single rule. To complicate matters, many rules are based upon exposure limits, especially when airborne particles are involved. OSHA recently reduced the allowable exposure limit of silica dust, which is found in concrete, stone, and brick, before additional PPE or engineering controls are required. This rule change has caused a lot of grief among construction industry groups, who called the rule technologically infeasible, because what contractor is really set up to measure when 50 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter of air is actually reached?
Twitter, the social media site that people seem to either love or hate, has made people more aware of their surroundings and can be a soundboard for controversy. For some companies, Twitter is used for a large part of their customer service program, responding to complaints within the 160 character limit. Now, it seems, contractors could potentially have a powerful watchdog looking over their shoulder, as long as the tweets land in the right hands.