Construction of Albany’s new student accommodation project was able to continue through the COVID-19 pandemic without losing a day of work, the builder’s chief executive Brett Joynes says. Wauters Building Company secured the $16 million contract for the two apartment blocks in January last year. Situated behind Alison Hartmann Gardens with views over Princess Royal Harbour, the centre will have space for 40 beds. “We’ve kept every site isolated,” he said. “At the time we had five individual construction sites so we minimised interaction between them. “It was trying times, but we moved on.” Mr Joynes said his team had been able to take on several new apprentices who had lost work due to the pandemic to help get the job done, including five school-based trainees. “Eighteen months ago when the project was awarded there wasn’t a lot of work on in town so that enabled us to stay focused on employing local trainees, apprentices and trades people,” he said. “We were able to secure 95 per cent of the works from the local community so it has helped a lot of businesses stay focused and busy. “We are on track to finish on time. “It has enabled us to keep a lot of trades and employees busy during this period.” Mr Joynes said the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 crisis would be felt in the second half of the year. He said supply lines of plasterboard, insulation and paint were already taking a hit. “It’s the double impact of the slow down of production due to COVID-19, then as we come out of COVID-19 we’ve seen the impact of increased demand due to the stimulus packages from the Federal and State government,” he said “So we are seeing demand outstripping supply by 400 per cent just about in some areas.” When the project was announced in September 2018, project proponent Advance Housing said prices for fully furnished student apartments could start as low as $100 per week. Accommodation is expected to be available to UWA and TAFE students. The project was originally promised in 2016 under the Barnett government, and follows the development of a 20-bed accommodation facility on Stirling Terrace.