Rates likely to jump

The rising cost of a tradesman has barely matched inflation in the past year but rates are likely to jump in the next 12 months, with demand tipped to grow more than a quarter.

A survey of more than 6,200 WA trade job advertisements last year found the average increase across all trades was 2.5 per cent over the year.

This was more than twice the national one per cent average increase across all trades, based on more than 25,000 job ads.

The survey, by the Service Seeking website, revealed a big variation in the changing costs of individual trades, with WA’s hourly rates falling as much as 11 per cent (painters), and rising as much as 19 per cent (concreters).

Ocean Reef plumber Rob Thomas said his sector, which had a 3 per cent hourly rate increase to average $86.20 an hour last year, had a slow start to the year.

But it recovered quickly and has been busy since.

He said the quiet days of 2010 when the industry was struggling under pressure from the global financial crisis were far behind them. These days, he did not even have to advertise his business Lightning Plumbing because he got enough work through word of mouth.

He said if demand grew 27 per cent — as anticipated by the Master Builders Association — he would struggle to cope and may hire an apprentice.

The MBA forecast the huge jump in demand in the home renovation market this year, after years of moderate growth. It was expected to hit $804 million in 2014-15.

In the past three years, the WA renovation market had grown only 8 per cent, which was well below the 18.6 per cent average forecast for the next three years. An MBA spokesman said homeowners were ready to unleash pent-up demand over the next year in a Statewide renovation blitz.

Homeowners were preparing to renovate rather than sell because of continuing housing affordability problems.

And with extra demand, rates were likely to rise.

“Ultimately. the impact on labour costs will depend heavily on the demand for trades from other sectors, that is, new home building, civil and mining sector construction activity and commercial building work, ” the spokesman said.

Who’s in the money?

How trade rates have changed in WA

Trade 2013hr 2014hr % change

Painting $46.93 $41.62 -11.3%

Electrical services $92.67 $82.44 -11%

Gyprock and plastering $54.51 $48.90 -10.3%

Landscaping $56.86 $56.31 -1%

Carpentry $53.83 $53.65 -.3%

Plumbing $83.33 $86.20 3.40%

Home renovations $66.86 $71.55 7%

Concreting $54.54 $64.68 18.6%

Average $60.63 $62.13 2.50%


Source: based on 2488 jobs in 2013 and 3771 jobs in 2014, compiled by Service Seeking.


© The West Australian

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