Seven hundred people are attending the awards at the Cairns Convention Centre, with three Far Northern builders in the finals.
HIA communications national director Greg Weller said yesterday the awards would generate $1.2 million in accommodation, food and beverages, meeting venue hire and other expenses. He said the awards were held at various parts of Australia each year.
"Cairns has been chosen this year because it is a nice part of Australia and much warmer than other cities at this time of the year," he said.
"We expect many people to arrive before and stay afterwards for a day or so to enjoy the destination."
Mr Weller said about 70 delegates would also attend the national policy congress today to discuss a range of issues, including a national building code and workplace health and safety issues.