The Master Builders Association says the construction sector is living on borrowed time because bleak economic conditions are slicing order books and many projects are being placed on hold.

The warning came in the MBA's budget submission to the State Government.

MBA executive director Brian Welch said the commercial division of the industry was finding the trading environment particularly tough and could be forced to shed thousands of jobs. 'For the commercial sector, I think they are staring into the abyss,' Welch said. 'There is a shortage of commercial work and just about every aspect of non-residential building has gone into a slump.'

The Age