Welcome to the autumn edition of On the Job.

Can you feel it in the air? No, not the cooling breezes as the leaves turn, but the sense that your mobile is about to ring. It’s the time of year when a slew of home, property and reno shows kick into high gear on the telly and inspired owners flock to home and garden shows around the country.
While some may try a spot of DIY (often calling in the pros when they realise their enthusiasm is greater than their skill or they don’t have the time with the footy season starting and all), others will turn straight to trusted tradies.

Here’s a quick rundown on the seven big trends for 2019 (according to Houzz) so you can be in the know when your phone goes:

  1. Striking surface treatments – think decorating island benches or cladding rooms in patterned wallpaper
  2. Pastel colours in the kitchen
  3. Calm colours – chalky hues like mint and sage, and beige and tan
  4. Statement vanities in the bathroom
  5. Outdoors as indoors with indoor furniture as outdoor furniture
  6. Smart and clever design – “alcoves turned into wine storage, under-stair areas becoming play spaces for children, display elements in disused areas, functional joinery built into narrow spaces and corners transformed into eye-catching studies”
  7. The rise of the pod – especially clad in timber

According to Marie Claire, 2019’s most hashtag-able interior trends are:

  1. Claret, rust and peachy tones. Peach, grey and brass are back without a hint of 80s stigma
  2. Curves – think Morocco, archways are in
  3. Greenery – cacti are taking over from fiddle-leaf figs
  4. Celebrating heritage and context

The lingo: “The latest trends are adventurous yet grounded with earthiness and tradition. Purple is the new inky blue. Millennial pink is getting both rustier and peachier. Shiny surfaces are out but matt lives on. And sharp lines are still cool but curves and arches are fast approaching.”

In this edition:

  • working at heights
  • using digital platforms  
  • do you need professional indemnity insurance?
  • smart homes.

We hope you enjoy this edition of On the Job


The BuildCover and TradePlusCover Team




what goes up

What goes up, should come down safely

For most builders and tradies, working at heights

 is par for the course. With wet and windyweather on

the way, it’s time to make sure you work safe 

and protect your assets.




Come on, get app-y

Digital platforms are proving to be a valuable tool

helping tradies win work and address that age-old 

bug-bear of non-payment.





Take my advice...

As a builder/tradie you probably consider

yourself an expert in your field and when

 someone asks your opinion, you give it. 

But have you ever thought of what might

happen if your advice is bad?  


smart homes

Future Forecast: Smart homes 

From talking exit signs to smart toilets, Australians

are fast embracing connected smart homes.






EBM news events

EBM News & Events

Strategic hires and internal promotions create a new

EBM Executive leadership team.



News in Brief

  • Value of building work up.
    ABS figures for the September 2018 quarter revealed the trend estimate of the value of total building work carried out rose 0.4 per cent to $30.356 million. In trend terms, the value of new resi work rose 0.9 per cent, with the value of new houses up 1.1 per cent and the value of other resi building up 0.7 per cent. The value of alterations and additions were also up 1.8 per cent, while non-resi work declined 0.9 per cent.
  • Mixed bag for new builds.
    Figures from the ABS showed building approvals declined by 8.6 per cent over December to 13,995 properties. The largest decline (seasonally adjusted) was recorded in Tasmania (-24.3 per cent), followed by NSW (-8.6 per cent), Victoria (-8.1 per cent) and Queensland (-5.8 per cent). Dwelling approvals rose in SA (+5.6 per cent) and WA (+1.1 per cent). In trend terms, the NT saw a rise in approvals of 1.7 per cent, while the ACT saw a decline of 21.3 per cent. The HIA noted that its research had found that the time taken to gain approval for a loan to build a new home had blown out from around two weeks to more than two months.
  • MBA calls for funding boost.
    Off the back of the government’s request for pre-budget submissions, the MBA is calling for more funding for the building industry in order to create more growth and jobs for Australia’s economy, as well as the opportunity to create more housing supply. MBA’s key priorities for the federal budget 2019 are a request for more housing and infrastructure; a focus on tax incentives, which includes keeping negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount; and the creation of more jobs and the boosting of vocational skills, which include a new program and support for apprenticeship programs as well as promoting apprenticeships through a new advertising campaign.
  • New home supply hits hurdles.
    The MBA has predicted new home supply is likely to decline to 210,000 in FY19, then to 197,500 in FY20, then 175,900 in 2022-23. The construction advocacy group said that new home building is facing its toughest year in almost a decade with declining house prices and the fallout from the royal commission really starting to bite” by slowing the circulation of mortgage credit for property, coupled with uncertainty in housing policy leading up to the upcoming federal election.
  • Apprenticeships go begging.
    According to the National Apprentice Employment Network, up to 5,000 first-year apprenticeships are sitting vacant across the nation, and employers are struggling to attract enough applicants with many young people not showing up for interviews. Skilling Australia Foundation said Australia suffered from “job snobbery” with many jobseekers thinking trades are the jobs no-one else wanted to do and are poorly paid.
  • Older tradies earn the big bucks.
    A survey by serviceseeking.com.au has revealed more than a quarter of tradies are earning more than $100k a year. Of this group, three-quarters were male and 40-plus. Tradies earning more than $100k are likely to be between the ages of 40 and 53, with only 16.2 per cent of Gen Y and 0.77 per cent of Gen Z earning at that level. The tradies most likely to pull in the big bucks are electricians, handymen, painters or those in property maintenance or construction.
  • Good time to renovate.
    According to NAB’s Special Insight Report 2019, one in two survey respondents said it was a good time to renovate their home or buy a home to live in. It also found one in five people are intending to renovate their home in the next 12 months.
  • Build-to-rent tipped to benefit.
    According to CBRE’s Australia Real Estate Market Outlook 2019 report, falling land prices will boost the economics (improve returns) of prospective build-to-rent projects by lowering a significant hurdle to new developments. Under the build-to-rent model, investors team up with developers and governments to build high-quality apartments on a large scale, with the sole purpose of renting them out at an affordable price.
  • Investment properties on ‘black economy’ watch list.
    Investors with multiple investment and rental properties who make undisclosed cash payments to tradies are likely to be caught in a new ATO and Black Economy Taskforce crackdown trawling for b2b transactions evading tax, superannuation contributions and other benefits.   
  • Demand for home reno tradies plummets.
    According to serviceseeking.com.au, the average prices for services have fallen by 4.6 per cent over the past year, falling from an average of $1,034 to $987 when the December quarter of 2017 was compared with the corresponding period in 2018. This covered 14 different trades, ranging from carpentry, plastering and painting to paving, plumbing, tiling and landscaping, with quoted prices dropping by as much as 44 per cent. Demand for builders has fallen by more than 40 per cent. Bathroom renovations were also hit particularly hard, with demand falling 35 per cent followed by a 25 per cent decline for bricklayers and a 20 per cent dive in requests for electricians.
  • New building reforms in NSW.
    A slew of new reforms to change how new buildings are constructed in NSW are set to come into effect following the outcome of the Shergold-Weir Report. The reforms include requiring building designers and engineers to declare plans of a building comply with the Building Code of Australia, builders to declare buildings have been built according to their plans, as well as the formal registration of builders and building designers. Also included in the changes is the inclusion of a building commissioner to regulate consolidated buildings and being responsible for licensing and auditing practitioners and clarifications in the law to the right of compensation for those affected by negligent building practitioners.
  • Airbnb to design houses.
    Through a project called Backyard, Airbnb will begin building their own prototype homes this year. Backyard will be an “endeavour to design and prototype new ways of building and sharing homes”. Since 2016, the platform has had the Samara division which develops new products and services including “green building materials, stand-alone houses, and multi-unit complexes”. While it hasn’t been confirmed what Backyard will build, it is expected to be units aimed at short-term leasing and the rental market which will be adaptable to each occupant.
  • Robo brickie forms JV.
    Construction robotics group FBR is set to form a JV with building products manufacturer Brickworks to produce bricks optimised for use with its Hadrian X robotic bricklaying system.
  • Macca’s compo case warning for employers.
    A ruling by the Queensland Industrial Court has implications for all employers. MacDonald’s Australia lost a workers’ compensation case despite the injured employee not being on duty at the time of the accident. The employee fell and broke her leg when she climbed a ladder onto the roof of the outlet for a cigarette (it was not a designated smoking area for staff and she did not have permission to go onto the rooftop) just before her shift started. The court ruled that because she was required to arrive for work 10 minutes before every shift, she was deemed to be on a recess and eligible for compensation from her employer.  
  •  Upcoming building and trade shows:
    • 5-7 April, Sunday Mail Home Living Expo, Adelaide
    • 5-7 April, Sydney Home Show
    • 6-7 April, Collectors Plant Fair, Clarendon
    • 11-14 April, Perth Garden Festival
    • 12-23 April, Sydney Royal Flower & Garden Show
    • 27-28 April, Tesselaar Gardening & Plants Expo, Silvan
    • 2 May, SecTech Expo, Melbourne
    • 2-5 May, The Home Show, Melbourne
    • 3-5 May, Australian International Gift & Home Decoration Exhibition, Melbourne
    • 4-6 May, Maleny Wood Expo
    • 14-16 May, Fire Australia & Hazmat, Melbourne
    • 14-16 May, DesignBUILD, Sydney
    • 14-17 May, Austech, Melbourne
    • 14-17 May, National Manufacturing Week, Melbourne
    • 17-19 May, Cairns Home Show & Caravan Camping & Boating Expo
    • 17-19 May, Coffs Harbour Trade Show
    • 21-23 May, Austmine Conference & Exhibition, Brisbane
    • 22-23 May, Workplace Health & Safety Show, Sydney
    • 25-26 May, Melbourne Property Expo 

Lighter (but kinda serious too) side – City tradies go the ‘full monty’ for rural suicide prevention


Fourteen employees of Perth construction company Tyrone Group stripped off for a calendar shoot to raise money for regional suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

Aiming to raise $20,000 by EOFY to donate to Rural Aid, the boys got their hi-vis off for the shoot which ended up a bit more PG than the originally thought ‘full monty’ version.

The Tyrone Group hopes the money raised from the calendar will go towards establishing a rural and regional mental health foundation in WA. They are keen to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health issues within the construction industry.

According to Mates in Construction WA, male construction workers are twice as likely to commit suicide than males in other jobs – in WA alone, between 30 and 35 workers lost their lives to suicide each year.

“Construction workers are at a far higher risk because it’s a male-dominated industry and it’s a very challenging industry if you have mental health issues,” the charity’s CEO told ABC News.
“Construction workers have far less employment security and therefore are more likely to have financial issues.”

 Tyrone Group’s charity committee are already planning a second fundraising project to continue promoting mental health awareness and encourage others in the industry to join the campaign to raise awareness.



Source; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-12/city-tradies-bare-all-for-suicide-prevention/10708900


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