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
When construction companies initially started to adopt mobile technologies like tablets and smartphones, there was a race between many construction technology companies to be the future leader in the area. As the years rolled on, it became less and less likely that one app was going to be the end-all-be-all, like AutoCAD became in the architectural design world. There’s not one app out there right now that provides every single function that a construction company needs, because each company is very unique. The solution? Integration.
[guest post] A punch list is a vital part of a construction project’s contract. It helps ensure that the contractor has completed the project in a satisfying manner and that all issues, such as damage to any structures as well as incomplete or incorrect installations, are taken care of before being paid.
Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
[guest post] The progress of construction sites is usually captured by taking still photos of different areas that have been subject to change. Documenting a full construction site requires a lot of pictures (usually more than ten per room), and even then not every corner of a room can be captured.
Augmented and Virtual Reality has always been designated for large headsets. Even with recent developments in the construction industry, like Microsoft Hololens and the DAQRI Smart Helmet, if you want to experience AR, you have to get used to wearing something you’re not used to around a job site. As cool as both of those technologies are, it seems that the ole trusty smartphones and tablets have been overlooked. A Danish BIM company has developed a smartphone and tablet application that leaves the headsets behind.
For many construction superintendents and project managers across the world, tablets are becoming one of the most important tools on the job site. They’re great for looking at plans, taking pictures, making notes, and running your favorite construction apps. Carrying a tablet does take up at least one of your hands, however, so it can be a hindrance if you need to help a co-worker lift material or climb a ladder.
According to OSHA, more than 40 percent of all heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry. Many more workers also become ill from extreme heat and humidity. With summer now in full effect, it’s time to re-evaluate your personal steps for keeping safe in the heat and how your company is going to help their employees stay safe.
On Tuesday, June 20, OSHA is set to propose a delay on new requirements for cranes and derricks in the construction industry at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH).
Trenches are dangerous, but many companies and workers continue to deny it. Or their actions make it seem like they do, at least. There’s never an excuse to let someone into a hole if it hasn’t been properly sloped, benched, or shored. Nevertheless, dozens of construction workers are killed and injured by trench collapses every year.
In order to get the bad taste of last week’s botched demolition, in which an adjacent building also got destroyed in the process, we needed to share a highly successful one. Priestly Demolition, a Canadian demolition contractor, has been the subject of our articles in the past and the company has even won awards for the best demolition in the world.