Greenfield verses Infill Development cost comparisons promoted by the SA State Government are not accurate. That is the view of the  building industry (through their representative body the Housing Industry Association (HIA)).

A plan commissioned by the Government prior to the last election is seen by the HIA as an attempt to justify infill development. HIA believe that the report misses the mark on many levels.

They have seen in the report provision for the costs of building libraries, swimming pools, recreational facilities etc as costs that should be factored into Greenfields developments. Whilst these are required for any new community they can be considered however costs not necessary for the actual development itself.

On the other hand the HIA claim the report fails to mention at all, the differential between the cost of construction in infill development and the cost of construction of infill development. They suggest and I concur that the difference in construction costs can be as high as 70%.

I would add that the cost of multi storey construction will be prohibitive due to the logistics of working at heights. Working at heights of raises issues of safe work. This will only add to the cost.

The majority of South Australia’s builders simply are not equipped to build beyond 2 storeys. Indeed 2 storey would be a challenge for most.

With the burst water mains in Gouger Street this week highlighting the fragile nature of our current services the industry is also too well aware of the cost of upgrading the old gas, electricity and sewer. This will be required for substantial Infill Development is significantly more than providing new services in Greenfield Developments. The Government does not see this apparently.

As I wear my other hat (Elected Member at the City of Unley) councils will also have a huge cost in upgrading stormwater not recognised in the Governments analysis.  I don’t know about other Councils but Unley’s stormwater system is barely able to cope now. Actually it isn’t.

How do we create the open space in an inner city council area like Unley’s that comes naturally in Greenfield Development. Creating green open space to compliment denser development can only come by purchasing already developed land and possibly dealing with contaminated soil when converting into open space.

Those people living in the areas earmarked for Infill Development or should I say Regeneration, well many of them at least, believe that the 30 Year Plan and redevelopment of the inner suburbs is all about propping up the Development Industry.

Curious therefore the body representing those who have to make redevelopment happen are questioning the Government’s mathematics.

Finally it is my prediction that the move to higher density is going to challenge the building so much that members will have to either up skill in the logistics of working at heights or be left behind by those who do. It is likely to precipitate some business collapses and some (of the older persuasion like me) to walk away from the industry because it is getting too hard. And that will add to the price of multi storey development because of reduced competition.

This can only increase the gap in favour of Greenfield Development.