From left, Eli Richards, Luke Bowler and Simon Mannix working on the Cape construction site.

By Nicole May

CONSTRUCTION in the Bass Coast is booming, with more than $335m worth of building projects approved last year – an increase of almost $100m than the year prior.
The data, by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), comes on the back of rising property prices in Wonthaggi.
Domestic projects consumed most of the builds, with the total value surging past $233.5m.
Builders say it’s the intrigue of coastal living which is driving investment in the shire.
TS Constructions director, Tony O’Connell, has seen a significant rise in building projects year-on-year with more families and retirees moving to the coast for the relaxed, peaceful lifestyle.
According to the VBA, Bass Coast ranked in the top five rural municipalities for the value of projects approved in 2018.
There were 1498 permits approved with a total value of $335.5m – compared to $237.7m the year prior.
That covers commercial, domestic, industrial, residential, public buildings, retail and hospital/healthcare projects.
“At times we were having to deny new projects due to the significant rise in demand, as we simply didn’t have the resources for the number of requests flowing in,” said Tony.
“Our focus is on sustainability and innovation, working on anything from small design housing projects through to those $2 million house builds and $3 million to $5 million commercial projects.
“The growth was seen in both domestic and commercial,” said Tony.
Employing local suppliers and a mix of contractors and full-time trades, Tony saw a shortage in trades due to the competitiveness in the building industry, especially concreters who saw a shortage in their supply.
TS Constructions’ projects include the Cape Paterson Surf Lifesaving Club, Dalyston Football Netball Club’s new club rooms, as well as factories in Cowes and Wonthaggi, amongst others.
There has been a significant rise in demand for owner-occupied domestic builds.
The approved building permits in Bass Coast for 2018 included 56 commercial, 1390 domestic, two hospital/healthcare, five industrial, 24 public buildings, six residential and 15 retail.
According to the VBA, the number of permits approved in rural Victoria rose 4.7 per cent in 2018, while the number of permits in the metropolitan region fell by 1.6 per cent.
By value, projects in rural Victoria increased by 14.3 per cent.