TABMA helps members grow their business.

The Timber and Building Materials Association (TABMA) represents timber and building material merchants, suppliers, manufacturers, frame and truss fabricators, wholesalers and timber importers. TABMA’s aim is to help members better manage and grow their business, offering a range of benefits and services.

“TABMA started in 1940, founded by a group of timber merchants who were finding it difficult during WWII to obtain timber, so they got together and called themselves the Sydney and Suburban Timber Merchants Association,” says TABMA CEO, Colin Fitzpatrick, who joined the organisation in 2008.

“They looked to form a group to source timber from around the world. It has since morphed into what it is today, which is really nothing like it was when it started. The organisation didn’t expand outside of Sydney until 2001, when it started up in Queensland. And now we’re in every state, with around 250 members.”

TABMA currently has six divisions:

  • Membership;
  • Workforce and career development;
  • FITEC Australia;
  • Building Trade Credit;
  • Timber Tallying; and
  • TABMA Investments.

“Today our main business is the placement and training of trainees and apprentices,” Fitzpatrick says. “The trainees are directly employed by us, even though they don’t work directly for us, they work for a host employer.

“Say you have any sort of business and you want a trainee, we can get the trainee for you. TABMA has a list of trainees, and constantly run advertisements on and in newspapers seeking trainees.”

If you are a business seeking a trainee, TABMA will first ascertain what sort of trainee you’re looking for.

“We then send three trainees to the employer to choose from,” Fitzpatrick continues. “The chosen trainee is employed by TABMA. We cover long service leaves, holiday leave, salary, all costs. But the trainee works for you, in whatever role is specified.”

Trainees and apprentices are also trained by TABMA’s training division, which is a registered training organisation. Training is undertaken both on-site and at TABMA head office.

“We started with 43 placed,”’ Fitzpatrick says. “Today we have 318 trainees placed. We’re very proud of the efforts that go into our training and we’re very proud of the trainees. The vast majority of trainees stay on with employer after training.”

While there are many benefits to becoming a member of TABMA, Fitzpatrick believes the main benefit is networking. However, other benefits – including industrial relations advice and workplace health and safety audits also help members to run a smarter, safer and happier business. TABMA can also protect your business.

“Building Trade Credit acts as a credit bureau for the building and construction industry – a bureau whereby keeps up to date with people who are a bit dodgy,” Fitzpatrick says. The not-for-profit organisation supplies credit information about entities that receive supply of goods & services on credit in the building and construction industry in NSW.

Timber Tallying is responsible for the unloading, sorting, stacking and gaining quarantine approval of break bulk timber brought into Australia from Canada and the USA’ s west coast, which is unloaded in Port Kembla, NSW.

TABMA also offers technical advice relating to the correct use and specifications of timber products, DIY project sheets, a quarterly publication and regular networking events, including a very popular annual gala dinner.

Members can also access savings on insurance, fuel, corporate clothing, personal protective equipment, business consulting and website design.

“Extra divisions may be added in future,” Fitzpatrick says. “There is huge potential for growth. TABMA has grown exponentially over the past six or seven years.”

To find out more or to join, head to or call 1800 822 621.

TABMA advice line

TABMA’s Workplace Advice Line offers advice on:

  • Leave – personal, long service, parental and annual leave and public holidays.
  • Wage rates – allowances and payment of wages.
  • Termination of employment – redundancy, notice of termination, disciplinary procedures, unfair dismissal and misconduct.
  • Employment – contract of employment, award interpretation, hours of work, overtime, casual employment, union matters and superannuation.
  • Workplace health and safety.
  • Workers compensation.
  • Discrimination and harassment.

Call TABMA’s Workplace Advice Line on 1300 564 309.