Taking the Registered Master Builders Federation annual conference to Blenheim proved to be a very “Smart Move for Success”.
The purpose-built venue in the Marlborough Convention Centre and the great weather ensured the attendees got to experience the best the region can offer without a hitch.
It was RMBF chief executive Warwick Quinn’s first conference since starting with the RMBF.
“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I can now categorically say that it was a fantastic event and should be on the calendar of every one of our members every year.”
Hosted by the Nelson and Marlborough Registered Master Builders Associations, the conference kicked off with an opening address by RMBF president Brent Mettrick and, following him, the Minister for Building and Construction Maurice Williamson.
Mr Williamson shared with the delegates where the Government intends to take the industry in the near future. Licensing, home warranties and the tidying up of the weathertightness issue were among his subject matter.
The business sessions were many and varied. Three builder members presented interesting projects they’d recently undertaken, including the Wither Hills Winery in Blenheim built by Robinson Construction (and the venue for the very successful ITM Welcome Function that evening).
Workshops on Green Building and Better Business involved presentations from industry experts and builder members providing insights into the theory and the practical implementation of both subjects.
Also a first for the conference was a BRANZ panel Q & A session.
Other guest speakers were Steve Lange, formerly of Tony’s Tyre Service, who shared the company’s philosophy on providing excellent customer service, and economist Gareth Keirnan from Infometrics who gave an expert opinion on the economic outlook for the industry.
The delegates also enjoyed celebrity speakers Graeme Sinclair, Tawera Nikau and Ginette McDonald who expertly, and often hilariously, weaved the conference theme into their life experiences.
As always, the social functions were a highlight, and the best efforts were made to ensure that everyone literally got a taste of Marlborough.
Local produce plentiful
As well as the night out at Wither Hills, everyone was treated to a reproduction of the Marlborough Wine and Food festival, compliments of PlaceMakers, in a fabulous marquee where the local produce was plentiful.
The Carters Charity Auction was a real hit, with items donated ranging from plane rides to a racing package at next year’s V8s. As per usual, members and Associations put their hands in their pockets and raised more than $30,000 for the Nelson/Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust.
“We were absolutely amazed at the generosity of the builders, and the auction exceeded our expectations threefold,” Trust marketing and communications manager Paula Muddle said.
“We’ll be purchasing some new helmets, and also will now have enough for other equipment, which we will keep the RMBF posted on,” she said.
Industry involvement rewarded
The RMBF was also very pleased to present a Life Membership to Jamie O’Leary from the Wanganui Association.
As well as being the RMBF president twice, Jamie has been constantly involved in many industry initiatives, including licensing, over the years, ensuring that the builder’s point of view has never been far from the decision making process.
“To receive this award was very humbling and emotional,” Jamie said.
“Being recognised by my peers to this level is probably the stand-out moment in 33 years of being in the building industry.”
Meritorious Awards were also presented to Peter Robson (BCITO), Brian Nightingale (BCSL) and Rolly Adams, one of the RMBF’s most experienced and long serving House of the Year architecture judges.
Mr Adams is the first person outside of building to be presented with this award.
All in all, the 109th RMBF conference was a great success. Many thanks go to everyone involved in bringing the event together and, in particular, the Nelson and Marlborough Associations for hosting it.
Hawkes Bay in 2010!
2010 sees the annual conference heading to the sunny Hawkes Bay.
It should be yet another great event and one that the RMBF and the local Association is already planning for and looking forward to.