Did you know that as much as 9% of the country’s population works in the construction sector? To help you find all about building in Australia, here we’ve collated the crucial construction industry statistics and related data.
Put on your hard hat and dig in!
Interesting Construction Industry Statistics in Australia, 2021
- Australia’s construction industry is worth $360 billion
- The private construction sector in Australia is worth $110 billion
- COVID may cause loss of 635,000 construction-related jobs
- Australia’s response to the COVID slump is $72 billion of infrastructure projec
- The public construction sector in Australia is worth $13.9 billion
- The construction industry employs over 1 million Australians
- Women make up about 12% of construction worker
- 94% of surveyed construction companies work on green building projects
- Between 2019 and 2023, residential construction will decrease by 25%
- Construction is expected to reach a 3.4% annual growth rate by 2025
General Statistics on the Construction Industry in Australia
1. How big is the construction industry in Australia?
(National Industry Insights)
Australia’s construction industry is worth $360 billion, contributing 9% to the country’s GDP. Most of the businesses in the industry are small, with 20 employees or less and are usually owned by Australians. Interestingly, while most Australian construction companies concentrate on the domestic market rather than overseas, most construction materials are actually imported.
2. The private sector of the Australian construction industry is worth around $105 billion.
The value of the entire Australian building industry in 2020 was $133 billion, of which $104.7 billion are attributed to the private sector.
3. The public construction sector in Australia grew to $15 billion.
In terms of construction industry sectors, the value of publicly funded civil engineering and construction services is significantly lower than private investments. In 2020, the Australian public construction sector was worth approximately $15 billion, an increase of almost $1 billion from the previous year.
4. Between 2019 and 2023, residential construction is expected to drop by 25%.
(Australian Financial review)
How many homes are built in Australia annually? In 2019, some 228,000 new homes were built across the continent. However, by 2023 that number is expected to decline to 176,000 new residential units. All in all, residential construction will likely drop by 25% in the period between 2019 and 2023.
5. In 2020, the value of non-residential construction work dropped by $12 billion.
During the 10 years between 2011 and 2020, the highest value of non-residential construction work was $47.98 billion in 2019. In this same period, the lowest value was reached in 2012 with $34.03 billion. The value recorded in 2020 was $35.92 billion, a decline of $12.06 billion compared to the previous year.
6. In 2019-20, half of all infrastructure construction was in transport.
In 2018-19, the Australian government spent $28.5 billion on roads, and in 2019-20 the transport sector took up 50.6% of all infrastructure construction. Even the latest jobs in construction industry figures were positive: about 612,500 Australian construction workers were employed in the sector as of August 2020.
7. Construction projects grow by 2% per quarter due to population growth.
So, where is the most construction work in Australia, you ask? As the population grows by 1.6% annually, so does the need for residential and social areas. In fact, 50% of Australians live in urban areas, with Sydney and Melbourne being home to 40% of the populace. As a result, the number of construction projects in Australia rises by 2% each quarter.
8. Top 10 construction companies in Australia.
(Sydney build expo) (Dun & Bradstreet) (Statista) (Dun & Bradstreet) (Growjo) (ADCO Construction) (Australian Financial Review)
How many construction companies are there in Australia? All in all, there are 360,000 Australian construction companies, ranging from small family businesses to global firms. Some of the biggest and most successful companies in the construction sector in Australia are as follows:
- CPB Contractors (40,234 employees and $7.29 billion in annual revenue);
- Lendlease (reported total revenue of $13.3 billion in 2020);
- Laing O’Rourke Australia (1,807 employees and $982.72 billion in annual revenues);
- Hutchinson Builders (2,735 employees and annual revenue of $793.2 million);
- Probuild (annual revenues of $2 billion);
- Nexus Infrastructure (823 employees and annual revenue of $211 million);
- John Holland (5,461 employees and $4.46 billion in annual revenue);
- Fulton Hogan (reported $4.33 billion in revenues in 2020);
- ADCO Constructions ( 500 employees and $1 billion in annual revenue);
- BGC (Australia) ( $1.9 billion in revenue).
As the demand for new business, social and living spaces grows, so does the construction market and the businesses that serve it. A brief overview of the Australian construction industry indicates those listed above are currently the top 10 construction companies, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as there is much diversity in the sector.
Employment and Occupations in the Construction Industry
9. The construction industry employs over 1 million Australians.
(Back to Basics) (Statista)
As of 2019, 1.15 million Australians were employed in the construction industry, amounting to 9% of all Australian jobs. There has been a gradual increase in the number of employees since 2012 when there were 983,000 workers. Employment in the construction sector is predicted to reach 1.28 million people by 2024, but this may be subject to change, not least due to the influence of the Covid pandemic on the Australian construction industry forecast.
10. Women make up about 12% of construction workers.
(Back to Basics) (ABC News)
Women are breaking stereotypes and the employment of female construction workers is on the rise. The number of female construction workers increased by 34% in the 5 years between 2015 (44,583 workers) and 2020 (59,587 workers). In 2019, about one in eight or 12.1% of construction workers in Australia were female. Nevertheless, the trends are positive, as the number of Australian female apprentices in 2020 was 2,929, a 115% increase from ten years earlier.
11. The median age of the Australian construction industry employee is 38 years.
(Safe Work Australia) (Labour Market Information Portal)
According to the latest statistics, the highest proportion of construction workers are people aged 25 to 34 – 28.8%. Next are 35-44 year-olds with 22.5%, while 18.6% of the employees are 45-54 years old. Only 3% of the workers are aged 65+. In 2019, the median age of the Australian construction worker was 38 years.
12. 52% of construction workers are born overseas.
In Australia, the construction industry is one of the most culturally diverse. In fact, 52% of construction workers are those born overseas and another 39% are born in non-English speaking countries.
13. Most common jobs in the construction industry are carpenters and joiners.
By sheer numbers, the two leading occupations in the construction industry are carpenters and joiners, with a total of 105,900 employees. On the other hand, there were 50,000 building and plumbing workers.
Australian Construction Market Statistics
14. By 2024, the construction market is expected to have a 5.4% CAGR.
By 2024, the construction market is expected to show a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% and reach $253.1 billion. In the period between 2015 and 2019, the residential building industry had a CAGR of 3.3%, while the commercial construction market is predicted to show a CAGR of 5.9% in the following 3 years.
15. By 2024, infrastructure construction is forecast to grow at a 3.7% CAGR.
In 2019, the Australian infrastructure construction was worth $108.3 billion and is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% by 2024.
16. The largest infrastructure projects in Australia.
(I seek plant)
Here are some of the largest infrastructure projects in Australia:
- WestConnex – a 33km mostly underground motorway in Sydney, New South Wales, worth $16 billion;
- Sydney Metro – part of Sydney’s construction boom, a fully automated rapid transit system worth $12 billion;
- Melbourne Metro Tunnel – this Victoria project is worth $11 billion;
- Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail – worth $9.3 billion;
- Bruce Highway Upgrade Program – the largest infrastructure program in Queensland, worth $8.5 billion;
- West Gate Tunnel – a 4km toll-road in Melbourne, worth $6.8 billion;
- Cross River Rail – underground rail through central Brisbane, Queensland, worth $5.4 billion;
- Western Sydney Airport – worth $5.3 billion;
- Melbourne Airport Rail Link – worth $5 billion;
- Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan – involves major road and transport linkages, estimated worth $2.9 billion;
- M80 Ring Road Upgrade – a large project in Victoria to widen the freeway, on and off-ramps, and install a new freeway management system, worth $2.25 billion;
- METRONET – the Western Australia project is worth $1.84 billion.
17. 94% of surveyed Australian building industry stakeholders working on green building projects.
The 2,000 respondents of the World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report are industry stakeholders from 86 countries around the world, including architects, engineers, contractors, etc. According to the report, 94% of the Australian respondents were involved in green building projects. In fact, Australia was the highest-ranking country in the sphere, as about half of respondents reported that 60% of their projects were in the green building sphere. The report indicates that 64% of the surveyed stakeholders intended to have most of their projects go green by 2021.
Australian Construction Industry Challenges
18. What are the major challenges in construction?
(Back to basics) (Quarles) (Site Book)
The following are among the biggest issues and challenges facing the construction industry in Australia today:
- Safety risks
In Australia, the construction industry has the third-highest number of fatalities – 26 per 100,000 workers. The construction incident rate in the country is 15.2 serious claims for 1,000 construction workers, 23% of which were a result of slipping, tripping, or falling.
- A possibility of the projects going over time and over budget
Delays are a common issue, especially for large projects. It usually takes 20% more time to finish a project than was planned beforehand. Also, the cost can sometimes be a little higher than expected, usually about 10.6%.
- Problems with productivity
About 14 hours a week are dedicated to dealing with and resolving conflicts, rather than actual construction work.
- Equipment breakdowns
Approximately 40% of the projects end up costing more than anticipated solely due to construction technology breakdowns and replacing the equipment.
19. Construction is not considered a particularly innovative sector.
(Back to basics)
Along with agriculture and transport, construction is among the industries that are quite slow to innovate. Some companies don’t even use computers to do their paperwork and data processing, and many more are wary of hastily adopting innovations and the latest in digital technologies in their work.
20. Implementation of safety standards in Australia.
All building work in Australia must be in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), which is contained in the National Code of Australia (NCA). Within this code are the minimum requirements for safety, health, amenity, and sustainability while designing and constructing buildings in Australia. A single, nationally consistent BCA was formed in 1992. This code still undergoes changes every year, as well as its requirements regarding new homes and renovations.
21. Skills and labour shortage in the Australian job construction market.
(Back to basics)
The current shortage in skills and labour is truly a worldwide phenomenon: 27 of the 46 researched markets are affected – that’s nearly 60% of surveyed countries! Australia, in particular, is experiencing skills shortages in occupations such as architects, building associates, construction project managers, urban and regional planners, and others.
Covid 19 Impacts and Responses in the Construction Industry in Australia
22. COVID may cause the loss of more than 635,000 construction-related jobs.
(Master Builders) (Tmp Builders) (Research and Markets)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in the construction sector decreased by 5.3% in 2020. The total value of construction work completed in the country decreased by 2.8% in the first three quarters of 2020.
In the worst-case scenario, the outbreak could result in the loss of as many as 464,300 jobs in construction and 171,600 additional jobs in construction-related sectors, a total of 635,900 lost jobs. According to the Master Builders Association predictions, commercial construction activity in 2020-21 may decrease by 17.3%.
23. Australia fights COVID slump with $72 billion in infrastructure investments.
(Business wire) (APH)
In response to the pandemic, the Australian government approved 15 infrastructure projects worth a total of $72 billion. The initiative will, directly and indirectly, support around 60,000 jobs.
24. The COVID pandemic raised prices on imported construction materials.
When a number of factories in China shut down due to the pandemic, the process of importing construction materials in Australia was severely disrupted. Not only did the flow of goods slow down, but the prices of some of the imported building materials increased by 15-20%.
25. Construction is expected to reach a 3.4% annual growth rate by 2025.
(Research and Markets)
The effects of the pandemic aside, what is there to say about future construction industry trends In Australia? The sector declined by 6.6% in 2019 and a further 4.4% the next year. But things are looking up in 2021 and the industry recorded a growth of 2.6%. Looking further into the future, estimates project an annual growth rate of 3.4% in the three-year period 2022-2025.
Construction is certainly one of the biggest and most productive industries in Australia. Despite the downturn, the industry faced after the 2015-16 boom and the 2020 pandemic, these construction industry statistics signal business is picking up again. We can expect to see exciting new infrastructure projects, housing units, and public spaces emerge in the coming years, so stay tuned for more Australian construction news.
- ABC News
- ADCO Constructions
- Australian Building Codes Board
- Australian Financial Review
- Australian Financial Review
- Back to Basics
- Business Wire
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Housing Industry Association
- Labour Market Information Portal
- Master Builders Australia
- National Industry Insights
- Parliament of Australia
- PR Newswire
- Renew Economy
- Research and Markets
- Safe Work Australia
- Sydney Build Expo
- TPM Builders