Men of steel: Security guards called in to protect building materials

Stockpiles of steel are being stored in warehouses under guard as Gold Coast builders struggle to deal with a shortage of key materials

Jul 19, 2021, updated Jul 19, 2021
Unions want more focus on training initiatives ahead of skilled migration. (file image)

Unions want more focus on training initiatives ahead of skilled migration. (file image)

Master Builders QLD Gold Coast regional manager Adam Profke said builders were stockpiling materials to meet supply demands and save money as prices skyrocketed.

“Over the next three months this is going to really bite, but already some of the larger commercial builders are stockpiling and even getting in security to guard materials here on the Coast,” Profke said.

“If you’ve got 3,000 sheets of steel reinforcing that’s going up from $60 to $90 a sheet, you’ve saved almost $100,000 if you can stockpile before a price rise.”

Profke said timber and steel reinforcing had jumped 30 per cent since January. Concrete had also increased by around $50 per cubic metre.  In June alone, the cost of copper and pipes rose 30 per cent.

Hutchinson Builders, that currently has 75 projects under construction in south-east Queensland, said the organisation was looking to buy up big to beat price rises and a steel reinforcing shortage.

Associate director Jack Hutchinson said global supply issues and Queensland’s hot market that had “gone crazy” on the Gold Coast were driving prices up, particularly in steel reinforcement.

“It has been crazy for a while, but it has kept going. We are handling it in a few ways.  We are trying to procure in bulk if we can, it’s tough,” Hutchinson said.

“We’ve tried to lock away supply with our suppliers.  We do have space to store if we need to, but we haven’t pushed the button on it yet.”

He said timber shortages had also forced many home builders to switch to light-weight steel, that added to cost and demand.

“A lot of people don’t realise the problems associated with a hot market.  Even though there’s a lot of work, it can become quite profit-less work. It’s counter-intuitive but boom times can be dangerous for builders.”

Profke said as a result of the strain on resources, home builders and renovators were facing massive price hikes and delays.

“Consumers think that builders are ripping them off because they’re charging more when there is such strong demand.  But the reality is, the price of every single thing has gone up.

“Some builders are even having to pay to complete a house because their margin has gone.”

A new survey showed seven of the top 10 suburbs with the highest demand for home renovations in Queensland were currently on the Gold Coast.

The Home Improvement Report by hipages found Southport was just behind Buderim on the list of suburbs ranked by the highest number of trade services sought through the hipages’ online directory in the last quarter.


Surfers Paradise, Upper Coomera, Labrador, Coomera, Helensvale and Robina were also among the top 10.

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