Australia is a country where everything is beautiful enough to be called a dream. From jaw-dropping skylines to mesmerizing beaches to mind-boggling adventures. Not to forget the succulent dining options and the ultimate art scenes. Everything about this country is beautiful. However, the one thing that captures the attention of every individual who visits the country is the humongous high rises. The towering skyscrapers spread across every metropolitan city of the country is bound to leave you speechless.
Designing exquisitely and maintained in style these skyscrapers display the highly urbanized and modern lifestyle of popular cities like Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. With a GDP of $1.69 trillion, the country thrives with high income and higher purchasing power. As the population increases with every passing day, the number of high rises in the metropolitans of the country also keeps increasing. Being a developed nation, the annual growth rate of the country increases by 3.4% and the total construction work of the country also increases by 2% every quarter. It means that architects are using modern techniques and building materials to increase the standard of living in the country continuously.
Needless to say, that with such a high standard of living and Australia being one of the leading nations of the world the cost of construction of the country is also the highest in the world.
Sydney ranks in the top five most expensive cities in the world when it comes to the cost of living, especially when it comes to skyscraper buildings, commercial property, high rise hotels, or apartments.
In an annual data collected by AECOM, an engineering and project management firm in the United states Sydney ranks to be the most expensive city in 10000 projects. It is considered to be the most costly especially in the category of development due to high labor costs and the lack of collaboration among its stakeholders.
An average high-rise apartment building costs about$US2,000 in Auckland, in comparison to the costliest city where $US2,850 ($3,021) per square meter to build an apartment.
WHY SUCH HIGH COST FOR DEVELOPMENT?
The Business Council of Australia estimates Australian construction costs are now 40 % higher than in the United States. In Asia, they are a fraction of the cost of living in Australia. To cite an example in Beijing the cost per square meter of building a multi-story residential high rise is less than USD 1,000 compared to $2,850 here. As stated above the lack of collaboration is considered one of the prime reasons for such high costs. It is generally said the lack refers to the issues in government regulation. According to the builders and real estate companies, the process of getting approvals for projects involves a tedious period of 28 months, which results in unnecessary costs. On the flip side, the local government and planning authorities say that they have to balance the wishes of environmental groups, local authorities as well as developers. The discussions are what slows down the process and add to the cost.
The construction industry of Australia is home to some of the largest labor unions in the country. Disputes with such unions are bound to increase the cost for the developers. For example, recently there was a case of the Victorian construction company Grocon’s dispute with the CFMEU over one of its sites in Melbourne. Grocon complains the blockade of the site is costing them $10.5 million and is currently suing the union for these costs. The average labor cost in Australia is $7s per hour including overheads which rises to $85 when it comes to rich tradesmen. The workers work 36-hour weeks and receive 26 rostered days off in addition to their normal leaves. When it’s wet or hot they walk off on full pay. Quite recently, they have won a pay rise of 27 percent over four years – with no trade-off to lift productivity. These high wage rates have also been boosted by the mining boom in Australia that is now continuously competing with the non-mining construction sector for labor.
Even though the skyscrapers found in Australia are nothing short of mesmerizing, the cost involved in such construction looks to stay high for the foreseeable future in Australia because, even though the government constantly talks about decreasing red tape in the country, there is no execution of it. Thus developers look to keep enduring long waiting times for approvals. The union movement that has entrenched the construction industry of the country is also there to stay, thus making it difficult for developers to negotiate with laborers and keeping the cost of construction high for the time being.