8731.0 - Building Approvals, Australia, Jun 2004  
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Feature Article - Focus on the South Australian Construction Industry


DEFINING THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

The construction industry consists of those businesses engaged mainly in the construction of residential and non-residential buildings (including alterations and additions), engineering structures and related trade services. This includes, for example, the construction of dwellings and recreational facilities, schools and hospitals, and infrastructure for transport, water and electricity supply and telecommunications.

Division E of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) is devoted to the Construction industry and is subdivided into General construction and Construction trade services. General construction includes Building construction, which incorporates Residential building (houses, flats etc.), Non-residential building (offices, shops, hotels etc.) and Non-building or Engineering construction (roads, bridges etc.). Construction trade services includes Site preparation services and Building structure services (bricklaying, concreting etc.), Installation trade services (plumbing, electrical etc.), Building completion services (painting and decorating, glazing etc.) and Other construction services (landscaping etc.).

CONTRIBUTION TO GROSS STATE PRODUCT

In 2002-03 the Construction industry in South Australia contributed 7.0% to the Gross State Product (GSP), making it the fourth largest industry behind Manufacturing (14.7%), Property and business services (9.1%) and Health and community services (8.1%). Nationally, construction contributed an estimated 6.7% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2002-03.

The impact on the Construction industry of the introduction of The New Taxation System in July 2000 can be seen in graph 1. There was a substantial increase in construction activity in 1999-2000 as work was brought forward prior to the introduction of The New Tax System, followed by a downturn in 2000-01 after its implementation. The introduction of the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) and the Commonwealth Additional Grant (CAG) coincided with a recovery in construction activity from 2000-01.

Graph 1 shows that the Construction industry in Australia contributed to GDP at a higher level for four of the five years than the contribution of the South Australian Construction industry to GSP. In 2002-03 the reverse occurred, indicating a higher level of contribution of the South Australian Construction industry to GSP.

Graph 1. Contribution of Construction to GSP and GDP
Graph: Contribution of Construction to GSP and GDP - SA



ACTIVITY

The value of construction activity in South Australia, in current price terms, rose from $2,495.6 million in 1998-99 to $4,202.9 million in 2002-03, an increase of 68.4% over the five year period. The value of construction activity fell substantially from 1999-2000 to 2000-01 (-15.1%), as shown in graph 2. However, from 2000-01 to 2001-02 the growth (25.0%) experienced in the value of construction activity regained the previous fall, which is higher than the national percentage increase (15.1%), over the same period.

Graph 2. Total Construction Industry, Value of Work Done - SA
Graph: Total Construction Activity, Value of Work Done - SA



Movement in the value of construction activity in South Australia over the five years from 1998-99 to 2002-03 was driven mainly by Residential building. Over the five year period the value of Residential building activity rose from $885.4 million in 1998-99 to $1,550.1 million in 2002-03, an increase of 75.1%. This was higher than the increase experienced at the Australian level where it rose 54.1% over the same period. Over this five year period, the value of work done on Houses in South Australia increased 74.4% ($562 million), while the value of work done on Other residential building rose 79.0% ($103 million). In 2002-03, Residential building activity accounted for 36.9% of total construction activity in South Australia, less than the Australian level of 44.5%.

After Residential building, Engineering construction experienced the next largest percentage increase in value from 1998-99 to 2002-03. The value of Engineering construction activity rose from $1,038.6 million in 1998-99 to $1,766.4 million in 2002-03, an increase of 70.1% ($728 million), compared to the Australian increase of 29.1%. In 2002-03, Engineering construction activity contributed 42.0% of total construction activity in South Australia, compared to 34.5% of total construction activity nationally.

In South Australia the value of Non-residential building activity increased from $571.6 million in 1998-99 to $886.4 million in 2002-03, a rise of 55.1%. Nationally, Non-residential building activity increased 3.9% over the same period. Over the five year period, Non-residential building's share of total construction activity in South Australia fell from 22.9% in 1998-99 to 21.1% in 2002-03. Nationally, the value contribution of Non-residential building to total construction activity fell from 26.7% in 1998-99 to 21.0% in 2002-03.

Over the five year period the largest increases, across the majority of activities contributing to the value of construction, occurred from 1998-99 to 1999-2000. During this period, the value of Residential building activity increased 35.0% and Engineering construction activity increased 37.2%.

VALUE OF WORK DONE, Construction Industry - SA

1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
Type of activity
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Residential building
Houses
755.3
995.4
831.8
1,056.5
1,317.3
Other residential building
130.1
200.0
174.0
199.5
232.9
Subtotal
885.4
1,195.4
1,005.8
1,256.0
1,550.1
Non-residential building
571.6
629.4
623.9
776.7
886.4
Engineering construction
1,038.6
1,424.8
1,129.5
1,417.4
1,766.4
Total construction
2,495.6
3,249.6
2,759.2
3,450.1
4,202.9

Source: Building Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8752.0); Engineering Construction Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8762.0).


BUSINESS INVESTMENT

The value of private new capital expenditure in the South Australia Construction industry was $149 million in 2002-03, compared to $59 million in 1998-99. Nationally, over the five year period, private new capital expenditure in the construction industry increased 10.6% to $1,980 million in 2002-03.

PRIVATE NEW CAPITAL EXPENDITURE, Construction Industry - SA

1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Total construction
59
80
80
44
149

Source: ABS data available on request, Private New Captial Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia.


INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES

There were 10 industrial disputes in the Construction industry in South Australia in 2002-03. These 10 disputes invovled 1,000 employees and resulted in 3,800 working days lost.

In 1998-99, the South Australia Construction industry recorded 67.5 working days lost per thousand employees due to industrial disputes. Over the next year this increased substantially to peak at 355.6 working days lost per thousand employees in 1999-2000, compared to the national level of 389.1. In 2002-03 the number of working days lost per thousand employees in South Australia had fallen to 144.1, lower than the national rate of 234.8.

INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES, Construction Industry - SA

1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03

Number of disputes (no.)
6.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
10.0
Employees involved ('000)
1.8
3.3
0.9
0.9
1.0
Working days lost ('000)
1.5
8.8
1.7
1.6
3.8
Working days lost per '000 employees
67.5
355.6
69.3
64.4
144.1

Source: ABS data available on request, Industrial Disputes, Australia.



EMPLOYMENT

Number of employed persons

In 2002-03, the Construction industry employed 6.6% of the state's total workforce, making it the sixth largest employing industry behind Retail trade (14.8%), Manufacturing (13.6%), Health and community services (12.4%), Property and business services (9.8%) and Education (6.9%). Over the five years to 2002-03, the number of persons employed in Construction increased 26.2% from 36,700 persons in 1998-99, to 46,300 persons in 2002-03. Nationally, employment increased 15.1%.

The South Australian Construction industry employed 46,300 persons in 2002-03, 78.6% were employed in Construction trade services and 21.4% were employed in General construction. Between 1998-99 and 2002-03, the number of persons employed in Construction and trade services increased by 45.6%.

Over the five years from 1998-99 to 2002-03, all of the Construction trade services recorded increases in employment. The largest rise in the number of persons employed occurred in Other construction services increasing by 4,300 persons, followed by Installation trade services, increasing by 2,900 persons.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), Construction Industry - SA

1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
('000)
('000)
('000)
('000)
('000)

General construction
Building construction
8.5
9.6
10.4
10.0
7.3
Non-building construction
3.2
3.0
2.9
2.9
2.6
Total(b)
11.7
12.7
13.3
12.9
9.9
Construction trade services
Site preparation services
1.9
3.9
3.3
2.5
2.7
Building structure services
3.4
4.9
2.8
4.3
4.8
Installation trade services
8.4
9.5
9.5
10.4
11.3
Building completion services
8.5
9.6
8.7
10.5
10.6
Other construction services
2.8
4.4
3.5
4.3
7.1
Total(b)
25.0
32.3
27.8
32.0
36.4
Construction(b)
36.7
44.9
41.1
44.9
46.3

(a) Average for year ending May.
(b) Discrepancies may occur between sums of industry components and totals due to rounding.
Source: ABS data available on request, Labour Force Survey, Australia.


Status of employment

In 2002-03, of persons employed in the Construction industry in South Australia, 57.9% (28,700) were employees, compared to 65.3% nationally. The second highest percentage of workers were engaged on an 'own account' basis and constituted 31.0% (15,400) of persons employed in Construction in South Australia in 2002-03. This is higher than the national level of 28.1% (graph 3). Employers and Contributing family workers accounted for 10.3% (5,100 persons) and 0.8% (400 persons) of the South Australia Construction industry respectively, whereas their proportion of the Australian Construction industry was 6.1% and 0.6%.

Graph 3. Own Account Workers as a Percentage of Industry Employment(a), 2002-03
Graph: Own account workers as a percentage of industry employment - SA



Hours worked

Persons employed in the Construction industry in South Australia worked an average of 38.8 hours per week in 2002-03, compared to 38.4 hours per week nationally. In South Australia, the average number of hours worked per week differed between General construction and Construction trade services in 2002-03, with persons employed in General construction working an average of 40.0 hours per week, and those employed in Construction trade services working an average of 38.4 hours per week.

AVERAGE HOURS WORKED PER WEEK, Construction Industry - SA

1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
hrs
hrs
hrs
hrs
hrs

Construction
39.1
39.4
37.9
38.6
38.8
General construction
38.8
39.3
38.4
39.5
40.0
Construction trade services
39.2
39.3
37.6
38.2
38.4

Source: Labour Force Survey, Australia (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001)


For further information on this article, please contact Rachel Smith on (08) 8237 7324.