What happened to the construction industry at Christmas?

Or “We’re too busy having fun”

Ok it’s a little bit tongue in cheek but I see the same thing happen every year at Christmas time. Of course the same thing doesn’t happen in other than Christian countries because, well, they don’t celebrate Christmas. So this is a quick post to try and describe what is going to happen coming into the Christmas period and what are your options.

Where did everybody go?

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, those that are in the know, realise that things are going to be harder to get done at Christmas so they get in early. Inevitably, what happens is that all of trades and business associated with the construction industry get extremely busy.

And then starting about a week before Christmas, businesses start closing their doors until the New Year. This has a cascading effect because things don’t get ordered during this time and nothing gets manufactured. The lead times for this sort of thing can take weeks or months which means that if you haven’t got it locked in before businesses start closing their doors then you probably won’t see it until February or March.

Design professionals are inundated with clients who want to start their projects at Christmas and early in the new year. So all of the documentation and approvals are in on time for work to start. Usually what happens is that these professionals start declining work or raising their prices so that they are priced out of the competition, which leaves them able to go on vacation.

Builders, well their usually booked up months to years ahead anyway so you are going to be lucky to find a builder before Christmas. The related trades also will be busy but if you want to get a small job done around the home you might be able to find one that can fit you in between jobs.

What are we going to do?

You have probably realised that since it is getting close to Christmas that you have missed the boat. Which means you can put your plans aside and go on holidays too. Might as well join them right!

But seriously there are some things that you can do now. Not all is lost.

  • If you need a small job done it’s best to start calling around to tradies to see if they can fit you in or recommend someone who can. You can ask your friends if they know of anyone who might be interested. The industry thrives on word of mouth so you never know what you can turn up.
  • Those that need to get plans done should move quickly. I have done another post on “how to select a Design Professional” and you can get some tips to go about doing that. The main point is that a Design Professional should not be selected on the price they charge. I have seen some very bad work done by professionals who charge an exorbitant fee for service and I have seen some outstanding work done be professionals at a reasonable price. Choose your designer by the work that they have produced. Look at what they have done in the past and it is probably a good indication on what they can do for you.
  • Lock in professionals and contractors now. If you have missed the Christmas window for getting things done then lock in whoever you need for as soon as they are available because they are going to be busy for the first few weeks of the new year.
  • Start collecting information to help speed up your project when it does become time to get it done. If your planning a new project then start collecting photos, decide on spaces, colours you like and don’t like, research appliances fittings, coverings, furniture, cabinetry, etc. The more you can gather to describe what you want the better.
  • Start preparing the area for the work. I mean if you want that extension on the back to go ahead quickly, move the garden shed over Christmas if it is in the way. If you want to lay carpet in the bedroom start shifting the furniture now as much as you can. It might even be a good time to give it a paint over Christmas.


There are heaps of things you can do that will help. As we say in the profession, “help us help you.” We want to know what it is you want. Draw sketches, take photos, tear out images from magazines, get some samples, get opinions it all helps. And what you find during this process is that you will get a better understanding of what it is you really want.

Good luck with your project. I hope you have found this information useful. You can leave a comment below if you can think of anything I might be able to add to the post to help people get through the Christmas period.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!