Manufacturing downturn worries local builders

Concern is growing in parts of the construction industry about a downturn in locally made steel, cement, and other products, according to Master Builders Australia senior economist Peter Jones.

Jones told Construction Source as Australian manufacturers scaled down production parts of the construction sector may see reduced quality and supply of building materials.

Jones said while builders could source materials from overseas, new suppliers still had to meet Australian standards for quality and safety.

“Many builders will just try to source the cheapest materials that will do the job, but they like to build up reliable networks and they get used to alliances and partnerships,” he said.

“There’s also a little bit of the fear of the unknown, so there’s an issue there for the authorities in terms of standards.”

Jones also said he believed local manufacturers had a large role to play in the future construction industry, and marked the problems of a high dollar and weak demand as mostly temporary concerns.

Construction materials manufacturers have faced renewed pressure early in 2013, with BlueScope and Boral both making significant job cuts.

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