Melbourne Market Update – Spring 2016

14th September 2016 / Market Updates


This year sees our team at Bloomfield Tremayne celebrate our 30th year in business, which from my personal point of view has gone rather quickly I must say. It’s also great that we have some outstanding younger crew (who fortunately weren’t even born when we started) who make me very excited and confident that 30 years is just another tick of the clock on a great forward journey for BT&P.

We were saddened recently to learn of the passing of Steve Ashton from ARM, and whilst I am far from qualified to eulogise about Steve’s achievements, I can only say how lucky I was to earn his confidence in being asked to help find staff back in 1988 for what then was a new and emerging design studio – it was a quick lesson for my young self in learning to appreciate intelligence, clarity of thought and a pretty cool sense of humour with some guys who set out to do things a little differently. I think they did alright – what about you? Oh, and there were always a few chats about Fender guitars in there as well.

This year we have also seen the retirement of Lyndon Hayward, of NH Architecture and prior to that Daryl Jackson. Lyndon once rang me and said forget about the 15 people we need – make that closer to 80 – and we did. Lyndon taught me many years ago the value of making sure it’s not about you – it’s about having the best people around you. That’s the way to get things done really well. Thanks Lyndon, farewell and enjoy the garden.

It’s humbling to think of the number of people that inhabit, pass through, enjoy, laugh and cry in the buildings the above two men lead as Project Directors – you have both left a legacy that all can admire – and two great blokes as well.

So as not to sound too “back to the future”, I must say that we are seeing an incredible range of new projects that are starting to come out of the ground from a range of Architecture firms that are pushing the boundaries – in concept, materiality, technology and use, and it’s very exciting to be recruiting staff who will play a role in delivering these projects. Some are really small in budget, but quite huge in what they are looking to achieve. At the same time we are recruiting on some major scale projects around the world which have us literally struggling to find the talent who will make all of this happen.

Liveability is the hot topic of 2016, with infrastructure / rail, workplace fit-out’s, education, family friendly residential developments winning the race in terms of booming sectors. Having spoken to various Clients about what they see in the coming year, the positivity surrounding mid density residential developments that will house families, retirees and working professionals is unanimous; with one of our long term Clients stating “You ain’t seen nothing yet”. With smaller Australian developers currently starting to make their mark in Melbourne’s inner ‘burbs this indicates a shift in focus to quality of life that may have been missed in some earlier developments. There is definitely a softening of the off shore drivers that underpin the tall tower market along with the new initiatives from Spring Street.

With government funding back on the rise, we are seeing a variety of sectors beginning to flourish, with education, child care, and higher education projects on the rise, and funding from local council supporting community and sporting facilities. State Government funding has also seen a number of large, interesting projects initiate including rail, and infrastructure.

On the Interiors front, we are seeing very “Melbourne” bars, cafés, and restaurants in demand, with small, high-end design studios currently inundated requests boutique and highly customised designs. We are also seeing this across owner occupied single residences, with commercial fit-out also on the rise.  With a number of our Clients currently on the lookout for strategic senior appointments, this indicates positivity for the long term within the Interiors market.

While still apparent in the short-term, the high-rise multi-residential market has plateaued, with demand for skilled individuals within this sector slackening. By no means is it the doom and gloom of the “housing crash” in mainstream media, however with the backing of overseas money cooling down and amendments to CBD planning regulations this sector has seen a definite decrease in demand for this project type.

This sustained and ongoing shortage of Revit skills has become a major consideration in the recruitment process, and whilst many firms are committed to training and developing Revit capabilities in house, there is less inclination to bring a new recruit into the studio without them bringing extensive Revit experience. Whilst this is understandable, we have seen instances where good people with great experience have missed out on an otherwise ideal role. Purely due to lack of willingness to train a new recruit in Revit.

As the market continues in its current high demand mode, greater consideration when recruiting will need to be given to the actual skills and less to the software background of the applicant.

In terms of rates and salaries, we see this as a real Candidates market, with a plethora of opportunities at present. We have seen a number of Candidates offered positions at above market salaries, with this in mind; I’d like to remind all that over inflation of salaries in boom times can negatively impact both employers and employees should there be a quiet patch within the market.

“BT&P have recently updated the rate and salary schedules, so if anyone wants to see what is happening with those moving forward, please email [email protected]

So exciting and certainly very active times, we look forward to the ensuing months and will be back with more updates towards the end of this fast disappearing 2016!

Bruce Whetters

Partner – BT&P Melbourne

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