Timber Update October 2021

by | Oct 14, 2021

TABMA’s exciting traineeship for school leavers

With the end of the school year fast approaching, TABMA (Timber and Building Materials Association) has recently been working on a comprehensive campaign to attract school leavers into the timber industry, which will promote career pathways and opportunities that many school leavers would not have considered before.

Those school leavers looking to secure an apprenticeship or traineeship are often ready to commence on the career journey as soon as possible, and reap the rewards of getting a good start, earning a regular pay packet, while also building their skills in their chosen career.

Of the 39,336 Year 12 New South Wales school leavers and 19,272 early school leavers in 2018, approximately 17 per cent entered an apprenticeship, traineeship or other VET training (2019 NSW Post School Destinations Report) – which equates to just over 6,500 people. 

“When you think about it, this is not a very large number for all of New South Wales, meaning that competition to secure the people most suited to the apprenticeship/traineeship you may have to offer will be quite a small number,” a TABMA spokesperson said.

“As the timber industry’s main employer and provider of apprentices and trainees, TABMA are on the front foot in encouraging this year’s school leavers to consider a career in this sector.”

“Building the skill base of the industry is the best way to future proof the sector. Whereas informally training young people on the job was sufficient in the past, today’s youth look for formal training opportunities where they work towards a nationally recognised qualification. They know that once they achieve a Certificate III or IV, they have the opportunity to use this to progress towards higher level qualifications,” the spokesperson said.

TABMA is now calling on the industry to take advantage of attracting one of these school leavers to your business. TABMA has an exceptional recruitment strategy to offer you the best people for your business. For more information, contact the General Manager of TABMA Apprentices and Trainees Peter Andersen on peter.a@nulltabma.com.au or phone 0447 892 002.

Timber crunch threatens construction boom

Australia could be facing a deficit of 250,000 wooden house frames over the next 15 years if efforts are not made to plant more trees, Master Builders Australia and Australian Forest Products Association said in a recent Timber Finance report.

The shortage would not only push up costs but slow projects for the country’s A$212 billion construction industry, it would stall progress toward expanding the nation’s housing supply, the two organizations stated in the report. 

Increasing imports, which account for around a quarter of Australia’s timber construction needs, is likely to be difficult as other countries are grappling with similar scarcity.

Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer Denita Wawn said this was a wake-up call for decision-makers to act now to avoid a construction industry crisis in the next decade.

“We cannot rely on imports to fill the gap when we have increased construction activity – we need to act now,” she said in the report.

The urgency to expand plantations is exacerbated by the time it takes forests to mature, with pine trees typically needing around 30 years before they are harvested, but demand for new dwellings is soaring as the government seeks to spur economic growth with incentives aimed at boosting the housing market and the construction industry.

There was a substantial spike in the construction industry after the ‘HomeBuilder’ grant was introduced in June 2020, however builders are now telling clients that projects requiring timber face protracted delays. Saw-milling operations have added weekend and overtime shifts to get much-needed timber to the market according to the AFPA, but the supply deficit has only widened.

Timber Framing Collective – now tough as nails

Officially launched on October 7, the Timber Framing Collective is now responsible for the marketing of timber framing within Australia, and will see previously fierce competitors (local producers and importers, amongst others), join forces for the greater good of the industry. The collective is also set to promote, establish and consolidate ‘Timber Framing. The Ultimate Renewable’ as the leading building materials brand for residential construction.

The Collective already receives financial support from Australian sawmills, timber importers, industry associations and peak bodies, building products and treatment suppliers, with supporters currently including  Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), AKD, Boral Timber, Hyne Timber, OneFortyOne, Timberlink Australia, Wespine, Australian Timber Importers Federation (ATIF), Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA), Frame & Truss Manufacturers Association (FTMA), Koppers, Lonza, MiTek, Multinail, Pryda, Responsible Wood, Stora Enso, TABMA, Timber Queensland and Vida.

Timber Framing Collective Spokesperson, Marita Pierce-Indugula said, “While competitor building materials may have deeper pockets than ours in terms of advertising media spend, what we have is a supply chain that is unrivalled in size. Within that supply chain are people that are passionate about timber and are chomping at the bit to work with us to promote the many benefits of timber framing over other building materials.”

“Timber has no equal when it comes to its environmental credentials. While other building materials add to carbon emissions, the timber framing industry is working with a natural sustainable product that stores carbon. Wood also has the lowest embodied energy of all common building materials.” 

With a typical Australian home absorbing more than seven tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and storing almost three tonnes of carbon, it really makes timber framing the superior choice and the ultimate renewable.

As demand continues to outstrip supply, this will level out in time which is why it is so important that builders, consumers, decision makers and influencers understand the many benefits of timber framing through the efforts of the new Timber Framing Collective. For now, the Collective asks builders and consumers to continue being patient as supply catches up with unprecedented demand, in the knowledge that they are making a fantastic environmental decision to build with timber framing.

A series of campaigns will be released to market over the coming months.