Energy efficiency scheme could add $20K to house price tags

Queensland homeowners may face additional costs if the state government moves ahead with energy efficiency building reforms this year

Energy efficiency scheme could add $20K to house price tags

Queensland homeowners may face additional costs of up to $20,000 for new homes if the state government proceeds with energy efficiency building reforms this year.

The reforms, set to begin on Oct. 1, have been delayed in other states but are moving forward in Queensland, causing concerns for the construction industry and homeowners, The Australian reported.

According to Paul Bidwell, the chief executive of Master Builders Queensland, the timing of these reforms couldn't be worse, considering the rising interest rates and the increasing cost of living.

While the reforms are supported in the long run, Bidwell suggested following Victoria's lead and postponing the introduction until next year to provide relief for homeowners and builders, according to The Australian.

“Queensland should follow Victoria’s lead and give builders more time to prepare for the construction code changes,” Bidwell told The Australian. “The changes will add around $20,000 to the cost of building and nothing has been done to educate homeowners on what the changes will mean in practical terms.”

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Under the proposed changes, new homes will be required to meet specific star energy ratings, which could involve room and hallway redesigns, additional insulation, and the installation of ceiling fans. The Victorian government recently acknowledged the challenges faced by the building industry and extended the transition period for the requirements until May 1, 2024.

Meanwhile, dwelling approvals continue to decline, dropping an additional 23% in April, exacerbating the challenges faced by the struggling sector, The Australian reported.

“Now is not the time to add more cost and complexity to new housing, particularly in the face of the current housing crisis,” Bidwell told the publication. “We need to build more homes and they must be affordable.”

However, Public Works and Procurement Minister Mick De Brenni said that Queensland is determined to meet the Oct. 1 timeframe – with the option for an extension on some provisions of the plan.

“Analysis by the Australian Building Code Board shows emissions will be reduced due to the measures and will save homeowners $185 [per] year on their energy costs,” De Brenni said.

He told The Australian that the construction industry has known about many of these changes for more than 10 years.

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