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
Scissor lifts are on most typical construction job sites and they’re an often overlooked hazard. Too often, liberties are taken with the lifts that create unsafe conditions, which can cause injuries and deaths. OSHA recently released the results of their investigation of 10 fatalities and 20 injuries involving scissor lifts and released their findings in what the organization refers to as a “Hazard Alert.”
There’s no doubt that bridge demolitions by implosion are extremely fun to watch, but the fireworks show and big splash into the water below can sometimes overshadow other demolition projects that don’t allow implosion. Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) recently won two 2016 World Demolition Awards for one of those projects where implosion was not an option and they have also produced an incredibly detailed video of how they did it.
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 in America. There are also countless more that have come and gone. According to Statistic Brain, only 47% of construction startup businesses are still operating after year 4. Personally, I've seen many people break off from a construction company and create their own business; some are still in operation, others have failed.
Try to imagine .0015 inches, it’s not easy to visualize. Now, rip one of the hairs off of your head and that’s about half of the .0015 inches, which is the allowable variance of a concrete floor that one contractor is working on right now.
Augmented reality on construction job sites has been a focus of several technology companies in recent years. As of now the clear leaders in the category have been the DAQRI smart helmet and glasses and the MIcrosoft Hololens. Early this year, DAQRI introduced their new smart glasses, which are the lighter and more mobile version of their fully protective smart hard hat. The new DAQRI product is a clear competitor for Microsoft’s Hololens, which is also a smart headset product. Backed by the powerful construction technology company Trimble and in a partnership with the University of Cambridge, the Hololens is getting tested with 2 new concepts specifically for the construction industry: Automated Progress Monitoring and Automated Bridge Damage Detection.
The following is a guest post from Kari at Appfluence, maker of Priority Matrix, a priority management solution that helps construction teams execute more effectively, by centralizing project information and enhancing communication.
As a manager, it’s not uncommon to ask yourself, ‘am I doing this right?’ Even the most experienced managers in the construction industry consistently strive to learn different methods of management that allow them to increase their team efficiency and deliver more successful projects.
An acquisition of Interline, a home repair and maintenance products firm, and a 2 year trial run of delivery services has positioned The Home Depot (THD) to begin offering same day deliveries for professionals.
Adding more space to premises, be it a domestic property or another premises such as a clinic, school or college, comes at a price.
It is expensive to have the building designed and built, especially using traditional methods. There are is also the question of disruption with contractors on site.
There is a viable alternative: modular construction.
Tragedy struck a Florida construction company last week after 3 construction workers passed away while working underground below a newly paved road. Another volunteer firefighter is in critical condition, and possibly in a coma according to WSVN Miami, after entering the manhole trying to save the victims.
No matter how fun demolitions and demolition videos might be, there’s an inherent danger to performing them that cannot be overlooked. Just last year, a different parking garage collapsed during a demolition in Houston, Texas, which landed on one of the excavators performing the work. Thankfully, no one was injured in that collapse, but it could have been much worse.