What are the different sectors in the construction industry in Australia?
by Lisa Matlin
Posted: December 17, 2021
The construction industry is the third largest in Australia, generating over $360 billion in revenue. Over 1.15 million people were employed in construction in 2019, and another 118,800 jobs are expected to be added by May 2023. The projected growth is strong, and the annual income can reach $100,000 – $280,000 a year for Construction Managers, Site Supervisors, and General Managers. Construction is a huge player in Australia’s economy, producing around 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. A 2019 report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated that 12.1% of the construction workforce is female, but the numbers are set to increase in the coming years.
However, despite the projected growth, it seems there is a labour shortage in the construction industry. There are listed skills shortages in the occupations of Site Supervisors, Construction Project Managers, Bricklayers, Stonemasons, Carpenters, Plumbers and Tilers.
The government has been working with registered training organisations to address this skills shortage by offering new and existing training incentives to attract people to the construction industry. It’s also implemented the expansion of the apprentice wage subsidy scheme. So, if you’re considering re-skilling or upskilling, then now is a great time to get into the industry.
Different sectors within the construction industry
Residential building and construction
Residential construction involves building, repairing, and remodeling structures that are meant to “house” everything from people, equipment or supplies. It may include houses, apartments, nursing homes, and even garages and utility sheds. Residential construction is typically funded by private individuals or developers for their own use or for sale. Typically, a construction company will hire subcontractors to do the mechanical, structural, and electrical work of the project.
They will also hire workers to install everything from electricity, wiring, sewage systems and pavement. Jobs in the residential sector may include, carpenters, tilers, plumbers, painters, electricians, drywall installers, glaziers, brickmasons, and site surveyors.
Commercial building and construction
Commercial building refers to the repair and maintenance of existing structures, and the building of commercial structures, such as, schools, sporting arenas, shopping centers, hospitals, stadiums, retail stores, banks, offices, and other government buildings. The building costs are significantly higher than residential construction, and the duration of the project is typically much longer. Commercial projects are usually designed to be aesthetically appealing in order to grab a consumer’s attention, are typically well maintained, and have a good physical location. Commercial building makes up roughly one third of the total construction market and is usually funded by a company, or private owner.
Industrial building and construction
Industrial construction is a highly specialised sector, and more technologically advanced than commercial and residential construction. The number of contractors qualified to work within the industrial sector is quite limited as it requires significant construction and engineering expertise. Examples of industrial construction projects are those that deal with chemical, medical or power generators, such as the building of manufacturing plants, oil refineries, and steel mills. These projects are typically funded by for-profit companies and corporations, and they are almost always located on the outskirts of a town.
Heavy civil construction
Heavy civil construction helps shape the world around us and covers a wide range of structures we use that aren’t privately owned. It involves any work that is associated with infrastructure and transportation, and may include new projects, adding to existing projects, alterations, and maintenance and repairs. Whereas basic civil construction handles structures like public libraries, or city halls, the heavy civil sector revolves around big government and community projects and takes construction and design to another level. Heavy civil constructors build roads, highways, airports, railways, bridges, tunnels, sewers, and any other large government projects. Typically, they are complex and high budget endeavors that require a great amount of expertise.
Construction is definitely a good career option. With its projected growth and shortage of labourers, it’s an industry with a lot to offer. Plus - with so many different sectors, there are a variety of exciting job opportunities to explore. With the new government incentives aimed at supporting Australians with skilling and re-skilling, it really is the best time to enrol. Open Colleges offers many Building and Construction courses, which you can complete online.
Keen on finding out more? Chat to one of our friendly consultants today.