Master Builders Victoria (MBV) members joined a special webinar last night to hear firsthand some of the reasons for the current supply chain shortages crippling the building and construction industry, including a shortage of timber.

The reason MBV arranged this special webinar is because it is aware that, in addition to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of recent lockdowns, many members have also been struggling to source key materials which have been in short supply.

CEO Rebecca Casson said MBV was aware that this issue was an especially important topic for members.

“We have been very active on this subject, and while supply chain issues across our state continue to have an impact on the progress of building and construction works, as well as causing an increase in the cost of some materials and trades, it’s important to note that here in Victoria we are not alone,” she said.

“Current conditions have seen a reduced capacity in supply chains for building products not only across Australia but overseas as well.

“We also understand from talking to many of our members that the extent of the delays and the cost increases vary greatly, and they depend on the contractor, their suppliers, and their locations – and we know this is a very real problem across our industry.”

Ms Casson said members were also provided with important legal advice including confirmation that members cannot include a special condition in their contracts to charge owners for any unexpected price rises.

“This is strictly prohibited under the legislation,” she said.

“Even if owners agree to this clause being inserted into a contract, these clauses cannot be included in our contracts in any capacity whatsoever.

“We are continuing to discuss these types of issue with Commissioner for Better Regulation and Red Tape Commissioner Anna Cronin who has been asked to investigate the issue of building and construction material shortages.

Duncan Bryce, Head of Builders Solutions at Bunnings, was a keynote speaker at the online webinar and provided MBV members with an overview of the approach his organisation was taking on the issue.

Mr Bryce acknowledged that MBV had been highly active on this subject and that Bunnings would continue to work with MBV, and others, to seek potential solutions.

On members behalf, MBV has committed to continuing to advocate for support packages for builders and suppliers who are withstanding the worst of the price increases and delays.