Tradies urged to meet mar­ket

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

AUS­TART Homes has called for lo­cal trades­men to meet the mar­ket to keep afloat dur­ing the lo­cal con­struc­tion down­turn.

Di­rec­tor Phillip Matthews has been work­ing in the build­ing in­dus­try for more than 40 years and knows a thing or two about the in­dus­try rates.

“We have paid the de­posit for a block of land in Port Dou­glas and Smith­field to build a dis­play home and of­fice - that is how much con­fi­dence I have the mar­ket will pick up,” he said.

“We are look­ing for quotes from lo­cal sub-con­trac­tors to con­struct our three homes but what we are find­ing is there isn’t that many tradies out there and some of them are ex­pect­ing un­re­al­is­tic trade rates.

“Sub-con­trac­tors need to be aware of the state of the in­dus­try.

“We are all get­ting less work at the mo­ment but we have to be very com­pet­i­tive with our prices build­ing 10 houses a year - you won’t get the same profit mar­gin for a house and there’s less work on.

“Peo­ple need to re­alise that when the in­dus­try is boom­ing a con­sumer will pay more money but when it is bust - like in Port Dou­glas at the mo­ment - you’re not go­ing to make as much money.

“I have hon­estly seen sub­con­trac­tors who would rather sit on their arse and have no work then do the work at lower rates - it is a strange men­tal­ity.

“In a down­turn you have to adopt dif­fer­ent at­ti­tudes and strate­gies be­cause it is bet­ter to get some work than it is to get noth­ing.”

Mr Matthews is also con­cerned the re­gion will be left short of tradies once the con­struc­tion in­dus­try picks up be­cause of the pro­longed down­turn.

“We are go­ing to see a mass ex­o­dus with tradies leav­ing and the trades­men who are left in Port Dou­glas will soon be­come too busy,” he said.

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

Meet­ing the mar­ket: Aus­tart own­ers Char­maine and Phil Matthews

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