To bolster the housing supply and construct new social housing developments, the WA government has opened its doors to expressions of interest from builders and developers of all sizes.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • The WA Government seeks expressions of interest from builders and developers of all sizes to increase housing supply and construct new social housing in Western Australia.
  • With a $2.6 billion investment in social housing, the government aims to deliver around 4,000 social dwellings, refurbishments, and maintenance work to thousands more.
  • Builders with development approval and readiness will be advantageous in the selection process.

The Western Australian Government is taking proactive steps to address the region’s growing need for social housing. The updated Call for Submissions (CFS) for Social Housing invites submissions from the housing sector to contribute to creating social housing in both urban and regional areas of WA.

The government’s main focus is on delivering sustainable apartment and grouped dwelling developments for social housing purposes. With a record-breaking $2.6 billion investment in social housing and homelessness measures, the government aims to make significant progress in addressing housing issues in the state.

The primary objective is to deliver around 4,000 social dwellings while also undertaking refurbishments and maintenance work on existing properties to serve even more families and individuals in need.

Recognising the importance of collaboration and inclusivity, the government has formed several State Government building panels, contracting 25 new, small, and medium-family builders to deliver new social housing in the previous financial year.

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In line with this, nearly 100 small and medium builders have already been appointed to the state-wide builders panel, making them pre-approved to construct new social housing projects.

The government plans to reopen the state-wide builders’ panel annually to maintain momentum in the housing construction industry. This approach will create a steady pipeline of work for builders, promoting growth and stability in the industry.

Considering recent trends in the housing construction sector, it is evident that the market is showing signs of tapering. The quarterly growth rate index from the CoreLogic Cordell Construction Cost Index in June 2023 was 0.7 per cent, the lowest since September 2020 across the country. Importantly, WA’s increase in cost escalations was the lowest at 0.5 per cent, signalling a positive trend and the potential for the construction market to stabilise further.

Builders and developers submitting under the CFS will receive favourable consideration if they already have development approval and are fully prepared to commence construction. This emphasis on readiness is intended to expedite the delivery of social housing projects.

The Department of Communities plans to issue further calls for submissions in the second half of 2023. These calls will aim to forge partnerships with community housing providers and local governments, fostering a collaborative effort to address housing needs holistically.

In addition to the current initiatives, the WA Government has established various alternative and flexible housing reform programs to further enhance the supply of social housing across the state.

These measures include the statewide small and medium builders panel, adopting alternative construction methods like timber frame and modular builds, boosting the successful spot purchasing program, and converting surplus Government Regional Officer Housing stock to social housing.

Housing Minister John Carey expressed his enthusiasm for the ‘Call for Submissions’ procurement process, highlighting its role in strengthening and accelerating the delivery of social housing in Western Australia.

He encouraged builders and developers across the state to seize this opportunity to contribute to the solution. According to Minister Carey, “Since our record $2.6 billion investment in social housing and homelessness measures, our Government has added more than 1,300 social homes with a further 1,100 social homes under contract or construction. Our message is clear – we’re using every lever we can to bolster the supply of social housing across Western Australia.”

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