Building Materials in Australia

When constructing a property, one of the most important things you can have an influence over is the building materials. The quality of the material is crucial, just ask any tradesperson or builder in the Sydney region and they will tell you it’s what separates the premium constructions from the average developments.

With the vast array of different options out there in the market, it can be overwhelming on deciding which form of building material is the best fit for your development (especially if you are an owner-builder) so we thought we would help simplify things by creating this guide in order to help you make a better informed decision by describing the different forms of building materials available for sale on the market in the year 2020.

Brick building material
An example of a building material called “Brick” used in homes across Australia

The types of different building materials:

  • Steel – Very common to use in industrial, commercial and educational dwellings. Normally made of metal, the form of building materials is both long lasting and relatively cheap, however, this does change is you need custom columns/beams so keep this in mind
  • Concrete – Concrete is very versatile and very strong, its price has also come down over the years making it competitive and can look spectacular when combined with form work which is great for high-end architectural designs. This material is great when used for driveways and outdoor patio’s or alfresco areas.
  • Timber – Also known as wood,are some of the most common building material supplies on earth so therefore it makes a great building supply no matter what type of construction it may be, including high-rise building made strictly of wood (As can be found in the Barangaroo precinct of Sydney). Timber is a great choice for residential house framing & outdoor decking.
  • Brick – The staple of any residential home construction, bricks should be on your list of construction materials if you are looking to build a residential property in Australia. A brick house is the gold standard for a residential dwelling in the Sydney region.
  • Reinforced Concrete – Similar to concrete, with the added bonus of being even stronger through placement of additional materials within the concrete such as steel rods. This material is particularly strong for multi-dwelling or commercial properties where extra strength in the building may be required (particularly along the coast of Australia).
  • Hempcrete – An innovative product which combines water, lime binders & hemp aggregate. A very strong material which has both termite and fire resistance properties with the added benefit of doubling as an insulation product.
  • Stone – Whilst stone may not be as common is modern constructions (mainly due to it’s expensive price for both the material and the building labor hourly costs), it still remains one of the most highly sought after building forms due to its uniqueness and architectural merit. You can find many example in the Northern Sydney CBD region.

What is the most popular building material used in Australian construction?

By far, brick is the most commonly used building material, followed by cement, timber, roof tiles and gypsum plasterboard.

These 5 materials along with supplementary materials such as steel (mostly for apartments), insulation, electrical supplies (power boards, cabling, wiring, power-points, sockets, fuses & lighting), plumbing (pipes, taps, drainage, sewerage, etc) plus fit-outs and fittings make up the majority of materials which would be found within most residential buildings.

Another major material found in most Australian households is floorboards. There are multiple variations to choose from including laminate, timber, hardwood, engineered, bamboo & blackbutt flooring where according to FloorVenue, has one of the highest timber densities at 900kg/m3.

What is the longest lasting Building Material?

Some great materials which are known to last the test of time can be found in our urban environments all around us. The most obvious one that springs to mind is bricks & mortar as just about every major city in both the modern and historic suburbs will contain buildings made of these materials.

Other building supplies which are known to last the test of time are concrete (which can particularly be seen in high-rise apartment developments), steel (particularly steel frame construction) & timber/wood.

What are some Sustainable Building Materials?

An example of sustainable building materials are Timber (particularly sustainable forest timber), hempcrete, recycled plastic blocks (made using recycled plastic and formed into building blocks & timbercrete (made from using concrete & sawdust, normally the sawdust would be construction waste so this is a great outcome for the environment).

What are some examples of Modern Building Materials?

Examples of modern forms of building materials are newer, lighter timber designs where there is a global trend towards timber skyscrapers.

Another great example is hempcrete. The advantages and hempcrete become very apparent for any future Sydney home owner is that termites will not be an issue, the product is resistant to fires (similar to the asbestos products of the past) and it insulates the property

Which Construction Materials are Essential?

We believe Bricks, Concrete & Timber and essential to almost every single house in both the Sydney regions and Australia as a whole.