Tradies’ rising price tag
QUEENSLAND has emerged as the most expensive state to hire tradespeople and prices in Cairns are tipped to climb, with building approvals up 18 per cent.
A recent survey by quote comparison website, Serviceseeking.com.au, found the average cost of renovating in the Sunshine State had risen 7.5 per cent.
Concreting jumped 11.5 per cent to $66.82 per hour, landscaping by 9.2 per cent to $66.57, while building and home renovations increased 5.9 per cent to $56.43 per hour.
Labour costs for painting and plumbing dropped to $41.56 and $76.41 per hour respectively.
Edge Hill father-of-two Steve Grasso has hired local tradies to transform part of his 1970s Queenslander into a family day care centre.
“We’re converting the twocar garage into a playroom and reception,” he said.
“We put some carpeting in, electricians installed a couple of extra lights and fans, and painters came in.
“We had to relocate a lot of pipes to turn what was a bathroom into a combined laundry and bathroom for the kids.”
Mr Grasso budgeted $12,000 for the works, which also included new fencing and tiling, but has spent an extra $4000.
“Some of it was me underestimating how much things would cost but some was tradies increas- ing the cost from their quotes after finding extra work or due to complications,” he said.
Mr Grasso said he found most aspects of the renovations affordable and was satisfied with the work completed.
“Almost everyone turned up when they said they would and most were quite close to their quotes and did a good job,” he said.
Todd Kelly from Cairns Quality Concreting has a decade’s experience in the industry and disputed the survey’s findings.
“We will charge $44 an hour at the very most, more likely $35 an hour for a tradesman,” he said.
“Most concreters get paid $350 a day for 10 hours’ work.”
The wet season and heat present a unique challenge for tradies in Cairns, according to Mr Kelly.
“You can’t work three months of the year ... and the heat during summer is insane. We’re drinking 10 litres of water each a day.”
Master Builders deputy executive director Paul Bidwell was surprised by the survey’s findings but said the figures were accurate.
“The numbers are actually right, for Brisbane at least, they’re about what we would say is reasonable,” he said.
“B u t w e wouldn’ t h ave thought that we were the most expensive state in the country
“NSW has a booming housing market and strong demand for new homes and renovations, so I can’t see how it would have dropped there.
“We know that the cost of construction goes up annually, it’s been going up a bit above CPI over the years and that’s across the state.”
Building approvals in Cairns rose 18 per cent in the year to October and Mr Bidwell warned the cost of hiring tradies would climb.
HIGH COST: Steve Grasso in the bathroom that is being renovated for a family day care business.