Engineers working on road construction

The 2023 Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) National Infrastructure Market Capacity Survey has once again produced valuable data on the productive state of the civil construction industry in Australia.

CCF undertook this anonymous survey over a four-week period in April/May 2023 involving around 100 companies spread evenly across all states and territories. The survey delved deep into the industry’s productive capacity throughout the sector and across Australia.

CCF thanks its members for undertaking the survey and acknowledges Infrastructure Magazine for supporting this important industry initiative. The survey captured companies who are working across all facets of the civil construction industry, including roads, bridges, drainage, land development and water.

Pipeline challenges

In addition to capacity, the survey also analysed some of the challenges facing the industry in delivering the civil infrastructure pipeline now and into the future, including skill constraints, risk allocation and procurement processes.

In many cases, the results reconfirm what we found in the 2022 Market Capacity Survey, which was that industry is in a strong position to take on additional work, particularly when large-scale projects are de-bundled to attract greater involvement of mid-tier companies.

CCF has provided the results of the 2023 survey to Infrastructure Australia and other government agencies who are responsible for advising the government on infrastructure investment, procurement and skills matters.

We will also incorporate the results in our submission to the Federal Government’s Independent Review Panel which is currently undertaking a review of the federal $120 billion, ten year rolling Infrastructure Program.

The economic multiplier for every one dollar spent on civil infrastructure is a return of three dollars to the Australian economy and seven jobs for every $1 million spent – the CCF is therefore pleased that the Federal Government reaffirmed its commitment to retain the $120 billion infrastructure program in the budget recently handed down by Federal Treasurer the Hon. Jim Chalmers MP.

Key findings from the 2023 Civil Contractors Federation National Infrastructure Market Capacity Survey include:

  • A quarter of respondents indicated their volume of work has increased more than 50 per cent over the past 12 months
  • Almost half the respondents advised their costs have increased by between 10 per cent and 25 per cent
  • When asked if they could take on additional work if it became available, a large proportion of mid-tier companies said they could take on additional work, with around a third saying they could take on between 10 per cent and 25 per cent
  • Construction companies confirmed they had additional capacity to take on this additional work in both metropolitan and rural/regional areas
  • An overwhelming majority advised that if additional projects were tendered, they would be able to meet this additional demand within six months
  • Similar to the 2022 survey, the study showed that the key challenges in the successful delivery of infrastructure projects are unfair allocation of risk in contracts, the need to include rise and fall clauses to make the contracts fairer, and the need to attract and train more skilled tradespeople to undertake projects
  • Plant operators, tradespeople and construction workers are three of the most in demand occupations at the present time – reinforcing the need for civil occupations to be appropriately classified as trades in the ANZSCO Coding system
  • One of the main challenges in recruiting additional staff is that candidates applying for positions do not have the necessary level of skills or experience to undertake the role
  • Significant challenges and barriers continue to impact on the ability of companies to reduce emissions from their operation, with many indicating that complexity and cost is limiting their ability to address emission reductions

The survey’s findings reinforce the need for urgent action by all levels of government to address the policy challenges facing industry, particularly in the area of skills, procurement and risk allocation. CCF will continue to focus on these issues as we work with governments on behalf of industry to create a stronger, more sustainable civil construction industry.

For further information on the 2023 Civil Contractors Federation National Infrastructure Market Capacity Survey, visit the CCF website

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