Certified Builders Association of New Zealand, the preeminent nationwide network of qualified and trusted builders, says the record increase in building consents for the June quarter 2013 comes as no surprise.
The Statistics New Zealand figures released today show a continued increase in the number of building consents issued in the Canterbury and Auckland regions during the last quarter, and fairly static numbers throughout the rest of New Zealand.
Certified Builders Chief Executive Grant Florence says the rosy growth in Christchurch and Auckland is great news for the construction industry but needs to be kept in perspective.
“The massive upturn in construction in Christchurch and the growing capacity in the Auckland market is going to keep going, and that’s great but it’s important to keep a balanced view when looking at the figures for the remainder of the country,” Mr Florence said.“It’s still pretty tough out in the regions for the building and construction industry. It is worth noting that at least eight regions experienced a lower level of consents for June 2013 compared to June last year, which is a concern.”
Mr Florence says the building and construction industry is made up of small businesses – 70% work in an organisation with fewer than 20 employees, and half work in an organisation with nine employees or less.
He warns of a trade shortage looming in the two big growth areas. “This is due to a cumulative effect of a long down turn of activity in the sector and also the introduction of licensing of builders. The downturn has seen many trades move offshore to find work or decide to exit the sector,” Mr Florence said.
“The introduction of licensing, although a positive move for the building and construction sector did see a number of experienced builders decide to move to other business or take early retirement.”
Certified Builders is also encouraging its trade qualified building owners to take on apprentices where they can. “Although this is a long term solution for the shortage of trades, it is vital to the ongoing health of an important sector of the economy,” Mr Florence said.
For the past eight years, Certified Builders has operated a partnership with 10 Institutes of Technology and polytechnics under the framework of ITAB. The ITAB programme, which includes class room learning, results in a Level 4 qualification and 8,000 practical hours. ITAB combines the best of the professional skills taught by the polytechnics with the practical, on the job training given by employer builders.