What regional builders are facing after a series of liquidations of big city construction companies

When Oracle Homes went into liquidation last week, Queenslanders building homes across the state looked on and wondered if their dream homes might be left in limbo, too.

But while Oracle has operated almost entirely in Greater Brisbane, experts say the pressure facing builders in the Queensland region is the same, as are the risks.

Andrew Middleton knows how lucky he has been with his new home built on the Sunshine Coast.

He and his wife Leanne bought their Pelican Waters land before COVID and then spent the pandemic thinking about their new build.

By mid-2021 they had largely settled on a builder who had given an early indication on the price, but it would be months before the details were ironed out and the dotted line signed.

By then the numbers had changed.

“As we went through the process and made some changes, where we ended up was significantly higher than where we started,” he said.

“We had to accept the reality that price increases were happening and the construction company [was] honest and open with us about it.

“We didn’t feel like we were being ripped off.”

Man and woman with bottle of wine, in front of blank concrete slab
Andrew and Leanne Middleton celebrate the casting of the slab of their house.(Supplied: Leanne Middleton)

Middleton said he felt sorry for those caught up in delays and larger price changes.

“We have people near us building and their trip is going to be more than double [the length of] ours,” he said.

“We were built in six months and [theirs] looks like 18 [months].

“As I have spoken with others [and] I hear stories of [it being] 500 days from [the] start of construction and probably won’t be ready for Christmas.

Grant and Aimee's block with Oracle Homes, however, hasn't been much work.
Customers who were building with Oracle Homes were left in limbo after the company went into liquidation.(Supplied: Grant Beck)

Builders and consumers more ‘vigilant’

Master Builders Sunshine Coast Regional Manager Nicola Scott said builders were under tremendous pressure.

“For anyone entering a new contract right now, we’re probably a little bit more aware of what’s going on around us,” he said.

“And we’re probably going to be a little bit more vigilant.”

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