THE next 12 months are shaping up to be critical in how the local building and construction industry copes with global and domestic changes, according to the latest industry forecasts by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).
The forecasts, which are prepared by economic modellers and overseen by an industry panel of analysts and researchers, provide rolling ten year forecasts of demand across residential, non-residential and engineering construction in Australia.
"The updated ACIF Forecasts are picking the big shifts of the last six months in work across the residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction sectors," said Peter Barda, ACIF Executive Director.
"There have been significant changes in the world and local economies since our last update in April," which Mr Barda said pointed to weakening demand.
Mr Barda said the updated forecasts, to be released in Adelaide on Tuesday 9 October, will outline how these changes will affect order books amongst consultants, builders and trade contractors, state by state.
A preview of the data and issues has been released and is summarised below. More information is available from the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) website at <http://www.acif.com.au/>.
New South Wales
A chart of non-residential building work in New South Wales shows signs that this sector is likely to rebound quite strongly from the GFC induced downturn, according to ACIF.
ACIF forecasts modest growth into the 2013/14 year for the residential sector, followed by solid growth in new houses and apartments. Retail, health, and office investment is expected to contribute to growth in the non-residential sector in the short term.
With Victoria's decade long boom in residential building at an end, and no major resource projects to drive engineering, the focus will be on whether the non-residential sector is able to come out of its GFC-induced slump and generate more projects and jobs, according to the forecasts.
Victoria's engineering sector is expected to flat across all parts of the sector in nominal terms, declining in real terms, while the apartment boom is said to be fast coming to an end.
Engineering construction has been the key driver in the Queensland industry for more than a decade and, despite the recalibration of some mining projects, looks set to continue to be the 'star' for another decade, according to the forecasts.
A return to growth in the residential sector is expected in 2013/14 after two weak years, with strong growth thereafter. The non-residential sector is expected to be flat across the board, with the exception of a few 'bright spots' such as offices and health.
Engineering has been the key driver for the Western Australian industry for more than a decade, and looks set to continue to be the dominant source of work for another decade, according to ACIF.
Very strong growth is expected to continue in the engineering sector, driven by mega gas and minerals projects, and investment in associated infrastructure. While some weakness in the residential sector is expected in the short run, reasonable growth is forecast from 2013/14 onwards.
The forecasts predict a solid medium to long term future for South Australia, with engineering to remain the dominant sector with strong demand in mining and related engineering over the next nine quarters, as well as telecommunications, pipelines and electricity.
Australian Capital Territory
The snapshot of work done and forecast for the ACT shows that engineering construction remains a dominant driver of work, while prospects for a return to growth in the residential sector are subdued.
In the long term, ACIF states that public sector investment in social infrastructure continues to be the dominant driver, well ahead of residential and commercial building.