Materials shortages, labour shortages, supply delays and increased costs are now all part of the everyday experience of those in the building industry.
From talking to people across the industry, I have heard of issues like:
- Merchant shelves are almost empty of timber framing, plywood and engineered timber beams. Concrete can take weeks to arrive. Window joinery takes months.
- Imported items have even longer delays due to shipping, container supply and transport hold ups. Claddings from James Hardie can now take 18 weeks if you are lucky enough to get your order in on time.
- Some major contractors will not quote for work involving structural steel due to the uncertainty of supply and pricing. Prices can change within the day, up or down by 20%.
- With design, planning, and consenting, there are delays. Council staff are overloaded and seldom meet their twenty day processing targets. Even bookings for a building inspection can be weeks out.
- Electrical components and whiteware can also be months out, if even available.
Of course all these delays and shortages can only put the price of construction up.
We have been told for years that there is a housing crisis. New Zealanders have frequently nominated housing as the number one issue facing the country. Yet no one in government has been able to solve the crisis. Despite promising to build 10,000 houses per year for 10 years, the Labour government failed. They have not provided any practical solutions to increase the supply of houses while the waiting lists continue to grow.
For the first time since 1974, the number of building consents for new houses has passed 40,000 per year. While our population has increased 66% since then, we can not even meet the construction level of 45 years ago. We have allowed our manufacturing industry to move off-shore and relied on just in time delivery. We have made paper work more important than practical skills to build a house. We have failed to prepare, plan and provide for the increased production which we now see.
To facilitate the building industry’s growth and meet housing demands some actions need to be taken by those in leadership and particularly those in government:
- Allow more immigration of skilled immigrants.
- Provide incentives for companies to set up local manufacturing of building products.
- Establish a system whereby sufficient logs remain in New Zealand for the local market at a reasonable price.
- Allow councils to be more flexible during consenting.
- Allow insured builders and designers to self certify their work.
New Conservative believes by working with people with building industry experience, we can fix this.