Tradies’ ris­ing price tag

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Real Estate - KIM­BER­LEY VLASIC

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.

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