Over many months, Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has asked customers, builders, tradespeople, and suppliers to be kind and patient with each other during these unprecedented times.

While demand for Victoria's building and construction industry is booming, our members are experiencing unprecedented supply chain issues, skill shortages and ongoing price increases.

This combination of opportunity and challenge is delivering substantial business-related stress and anxiety due to supply shortages and the ever-increasing cost of building materials.

These pressures may flow through to teams and families.  

MBV remains deeply concerned by reports that the building and construction industry has the highest rate of suicide of any sector. 

Every year 190 Australians working in the building and construction industry take their own life; this means we lose someone in our sector every second day to suicide.

These confronting facts about our industry are a cause for concern.

MBV was this week saddened to learn of the passing of Metricon Founder and CEO Mario Biasin.  

We now understand that Mario was experiencing mental health issues. 

Our thoughts are with Mario's family and the Metricon team at this sad time.

Mario was a good friend of MBV and a powerful advocate for our industry.  

He was an integral part of the critical conversations that ensured our industry stayed safe and open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a very challenging time for the Metricon team.  They have just lost the co-founder and CEO of their business, and we must support them during their time of grief.

MBV remains positive about the future of our industry and all our members, and we continue to be optimistic about Metricon's future.

Now, more than ever, our industry must work together to support each other and the mental health of our people.

MBV urges all builders, contractors, tradespeople, and suppliers to prioritise their physical and mental health.

Research has shown that people may find it challenging to discuss their mental health at work.

But we know that colleagues, friends, and family would rather sit for as long as it takes with any struggling individual and hear their challenges rather than listen to a eulogy. 

The vast majority, if not all, of our state's builders, are experiencing a challenge to their profitability, with the cost of building a home in Victoria rising faster than in any other state.

We are calling it a profitless boom.

There were 342 building and construction insolvencies in Victoria from April 2021 to March 2022, with 40 in March.

We also see people closing their businesses or not taking on any new work. 

MBV fears the soaring costs of materials and labour shortages will result in more building and construction companies forced into insolvency.

MBV has been actively involved in finding solutions to building and construction material shortages. 

At our request, the Victorian Government asked the Commissioner for Better Regulation and Red Tape Commissioner to investigate this issue.

MBV recently welcomed the Victorian Government's response to the Commissioner's report, especially as it supported nine of the 10 key recommendations.

However, we remain concerned that the Victorian Government didn't support the inclusion of a cost escalation clause into new contracts, especially as it would have allowed builders to share some of these cost increases with customers.

On behalf of our members, we asked the Victorian Government to establish a Construction Costs Working Group so that we can provide some more case studies on this critical issue.

MBV will form part of this important working group, and we'll keep our members up to date as things progress.

In the meantime, we will continue to remind all levels of Government that our members are also consumers with families.

And to safeguard consumers, builders must also be protected.

Rebecca Casson is the CEO of Master Builders Victoria

If you are experiencing a crisis and need immediate mental health support, please call Incolink's 24/7 counselling line on 1300 000 129, Lifeline on 13 11 44 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.