If architecture is the canary in the coalmine, the outlook for construction is appalling

-Geoff Hanmer, Adjunct Professor of Architecture, University of Adelaide. Architecture suffers before building does. A survey of more than 450 architecture practices conducted by the Association of Consulting Architects finds that two thirds have lost more than 30% of their revenue, and eight in ten have had projects cancelled or put on hold. Six in ten are relying on JobKeeper. Half have cut pay or working hours. Three in ten have stood down or sacked staff. Only 15% believe they have enough work to see out the year. In total, the survey finds more than A$10 billion of projects have either been cancelled or put on hold, just among those responding to the survey. John Held, the National President of the Association of Consulting Architects says unless there is a more effective stimulus package for construction, the government will need to consider extending JobKeeper beyond its expiry in September to prevent the loss of many normally-viable architectural practices. Without a pipeline of projects, a substantial rise in unemployment across the whole construction sector will result Dr Peter Raisbeck, an expert in the building and construction industry at the University of Melbourne, says two thirds of architects in Australia are small businesses employing less than five people, operating on small profit margins. Widespread insolvencies amongst these vulnerable firms would be catastrophic The design professions – architecture and engineering – are the canary in the coalmine for the wider construction industry. If those professions are in a slump now, construction itself will most probably be in big trouble in three to six months. A window on the future The findings are reinforced by forecasts prepared by the Australian Construction Industry Forum. They show that while engineering construction on projects such as motorways and public transport is likely to hold up reasonably well, residential and non residential construction, […]