Where Has The Building Industry in Queensland Come From?

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The building industry in Queensland, Australia, has seen consistent evolution since the state’s establishment in the 19th century. Initially, the industry was heavily influenced by its colonial origins, with architecture displaying a blend of British and local styles1]

However, the mid-20th century saw a shift towards more modern and functional designs, reflecting the unique subtropical climate and landscape of Queensland. The iconic “Queenslander” house – elevated homes constructed of timber and tin, with generous verandas – has been the symbol of this distinctive character[2].

In terms of economic impact, the building industry’s contribution to the state’s economy has grown substantially. According to the ABS, the industry contributed $22.5 billion to the state’s economy in 2016, accounting for 7.4% of Queensland’s gross state product[3].

What Is The Current State Of The Building Industry in Queensland?

Today, the building industry in Queensland is a pillar of the state’s economy, but it is not without challenges. According to Master Builders Queensland, in 2022, the sector faced a range of issues including skilled labour shortages, material cost increases, and supply chain disruptions[4].

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has seen an unprecedented surge in demand for new homes and renovations, partly driven by government incentives like the HomeBuilder scheme. This caused a sharp increase in residential construction activity, with approvals for new home builds in Queensland reaching a record high of over 50,000 in the year to November 2022[5].

The commercial sector, on the other hand, experienced a slowdown during the same period due to reduced business confidence and operational restrictions. As the economy recovers, commercial building is expected to regain momentum.

What Does The Future Hold For Queensland’s Building Industry?

Looking to the future, it’s clear that the building industry in Queensland will need to continue adapting. There are several key trends that will shape the industry’s evolution.

Will Sustainability Be The New Standard?

Indeed, one of the most prominent trends is the growing importance of sustainability. As society becomes more conscious of environmental impacts, there’s a growing demand for buildings that are energy-efficient, use sustainable materials, and integrate seamlessly with the natural environment.

According to a study by the Queensland University of Technology, 84% of consumers would prefer to live in a sustainably-built home<sup>[6]</sup>. This demand is reflected in Queensland’s residential building approvals, with a 20% increase in the number of sustainable dwellings approved in 2022 compared to 2018[7].

How Will Technology Influence The Building Industry?

Technology will also continue to shape the industry. From the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to plan and design constructions, to the implementation of drones for site inspections, technological advancements are transforming the way buildings are conceived and constructed[8].

Furthermore, digitisation is enhancing customer experience in the industry. Virtual and augmented reality technologies allow potential home buyers to visualise their future homes and make customisations more efficiently.

What Will Be The Role Of Policy?

Policy and regulation will play a key role in shaping the future of the building industry. The Queensland government has already shown a commitment to energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions through its commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050[9].

The building industry will certainly have a part to play in reaching this target. New rules and incentives are likely to encourage more sustainable building practices, which could drive changes in design, materials, and construction methods.

How Will The Workforce Evolve?

Addressing labour shortages is another critical aspect for the future of the building industry in Queensland. The sector has traditionally relied heavily on skilled tradespeople, and this isn’t likely to change. But with an ageing workforce and a shortage of new entrants, there’s a need to attract more young people into the industry.

Government initiatives, like the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, aim to provide training and employment opportunities in the building and construction industry<sup>[10]</sup>. Additionally, efforts are being made to encourage more diversity in the sector, including increasing the representation of women in construction roles.

What Will Queensland’s Building Industry Look Like in 2030?

Based on these trends, by 2030, Queensland’s building industry could look quite different from today. It’s likely to be an industry defined by sustainable, innovative and energy-efficient design. Technology will play an even more central role, not only in design and construction but also in the ways that builders interact with customers.

However, as the industry evolves, it will be important to balance these exciting new developments with the preservation of Queensland’s unique architectural history and character. After all, the “Queenslander” isn’t just a style of house – it’s a symbol of Queensland’s unique identity, and this shouldn’t be lost amidst the change.

With careful planning, strategic policy decisions, and a commitment to sustainability and innovation, Queensland’s building industry can continue to thrive and contribute to the state’s growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Article suggested by Ward Builders Sunshine Coast


[1] Australian Institute of Architects. (n.d.). Queensland Architecture. 

[2] Queensland Government. (n.d.). The Queenslander House. 

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). Australian Industry, 2015-16. 

[4] Master Builders Queensland. (2022). State of the Industry. 

[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022). Building Approvals, Australia. 

[6] Queensland University of Technology. (2022). Sustainable housing demand in Queensland. 

[7] Queensland Government. (2023). Building Approvals Data. 

[8] CSIRO. (2021). The future of Australian construction. 

[9] Queensland Government. (2021). Climate Action Plan 2050. 

[10] Queensland Government. (2022). Skilling Queenslanders for Work. 

Interesting Related Article: “Building a Sustainable Future: Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Social Impact Initiatives