Building and construction industry remains resilient in the new year

John GelavisThe West Australian
Master Builders Executive Director John Gelavis.
Camera IconMaster Builders Executive Director John Gelavis. Credit: The West Australian

I will begin by saying Happy New Year and thank you for your engagement in recent years. I look forward to embarking on my New Year’s resolutions in the building and construction industry.

In 2021, the building industry experienced many challenges. Despite this, the industry has displayed a copious amount of resilience during the pandemic, among other outlying factors.

These are unprecedented times – they are about adapting to circumstances and navigating our way through the pandemic and other challenges that may arise within the building and construction industry and their clients.

Uncertainty will always exist around the reopening of borders on February 5, however Master Builders Association of Western Australia (MBA WA) and its members are prepared to undertake the hard work and come up with pragmatic solutions.

MBA WA has played a pivotal role in keeping the industry operational despite the impact COVID-19 had on employment figures.

The nation’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.6 per cent in 2021, with the construction industry ranking second in Australia for full-time employment out of 19 industries, employing more than 960,000 workers. In WA, the unemployment rate decreased to 3.8 per cent.

With the borders reopening, tourism will increase, creating new infrastructure and building projects and, in turn, new employment opportunities.

Our primary focus for 2022 is to strengthen the industry, making it more resilient and working with our members to ensure our sector remains an essential service and employs more people.

Last year, our efforts kept 4000 small and medium businesses open and more than 130,000 people employed. We plan on continuing these same efforts.

Let us put aside our hesitancies this year and look forward to new beginnings and new opportunities.

MBA WA will continue to be the leading voice for WA’s building and construction industry, ensuring the industry remains operational.

As I said in my last article of 2021, builders will face challenges during 2022 and fall behind on contractual obligations but, so long as communication and consideration is involved, the end goal will always be clear.

For more information about Master Builders WA or to become a member, go to www.mbawa.com.

Q&A with MBA Housing and Construction Director Jason Robertson

The Question

We are building a new home and the builder has stated that they have to change the brand of window frames due to the specified materials being unavailable. I understand there are difficulties in this current environment with materials, supply and disruption. Can they do this without letting me know?

The Answer

It does happen and, at times, when there are shortages of building materials and delays in supply, alternative products or materials to those nominated in the building contract must be used.

Builders will certainly do their utmost to ensure the product or materials you selected, and which are specified in your contract, are used. However, there are circumstances where materials will not be available for an extended period. Building contracts will differ in how this circumstance is treated.

Many building contracts entitle the builder to advise the owner in writing of the situation and request that they select substitute materials or products. Any change in costs is at the owner’s expense.

If the owner is unwilling to nominate an alternative product or wishes to wait for the preferred product to become available, contracts may then further entitle the builder to an extension of the contract period, plus any additional costs incurred.

In extremely rare circumstances, where the owner may be unreasonably stubborn and prepared to wait forever, the builder may be able to terminate the contract and claim redress against the owner.

Other situations can also occur. Mistakes do happen onsite and incorrect materials, or the wrong brand, can be mistakenly installed. Technically, since the product and brand nominated in the building specifications are part of the contract, you are entitled to the exact product you paid for. However, common sense will usually prevail whereby the parties agree that the products installed are acceptable with some compensation being offered by the builder.

In every case, communication is key. A good builder will always find a solution and it’s possible that when a different product has been used, it can meet or even exceed expectations.

Good luck with the build.

CONTACT Master Builders WA, 9476 9800, www.mbawa.com

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