A year of change with plenty to celebrate

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2013 has been a transformational year for our sector as we finally move out of a five year bust cycle and into what looks like being a much busier 2014.
Building consent numbers are up, and this year we look like achieving approximately 20,000 new home consents compared to last year’s 17,000.
The Canterbury rebuild is now starting to gather some real momentum and, along with the Auckland housing shortage, our two largest cities will dominate the construction sector’s workloads for the foreseeable future.

Increased economic growth forecasts for New Zealand as a whole will undoubtedly mean better times ahead for the building industry in the rest of the country too.
I congratulate our builders on their resilience through the past five years of very tough economic times. This year has still been challenging, and it is encouraging to note that Registered Master Builders nationwide have had remarkably few company failures over the past two years.

This year has been a year to celebrate for the RMBF.
Membership numbers are currently up 10% and the restructure of our organisation, designed to provide better services to members, has been voted in.
The inaugural New Zealand Commercial Project Awards culminated in a stunning national final event in May. It is great to see our commercial construction members finally having a great stand-alone competition.

The Apprentice of the Year competition really went to another level this year with an outstanding national final event at “The Cloud” on Auckland’s waterfront. TV coverage with live interviews and a charity build component contributed to a positive culmination of a very close competition.

These competitions, along with the House of the Year Awards, really do celebrate excellence well, and raise standards within our industry.
An impromptu highlight for those who attended the Apprentice of the Year final was Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson strapping on a Fender Stratocaster and singing his hilarious version of The Green, Green Grass of Home with the band backing him.

We had a memorable conference this year with an outstanding line-up of speakers, including Sir Ray Avery and Sir Graham Henry. There was certainly plenty of inspiration and information for our members to take away from the conference.
It is great to see how well our 10 Year Master Build Guarantee suite is being received by our clients. It has proven to be extremely popular and, currently, one in three homes built in New Zealand carry the security of a Master Build Guarantee.

This year saw the launch of the “Kiwi Guarantee”, which is specially designed for projects under $100,000 in value. Our Guarantee completely dominates the New Zealand home warranty sector, and the staff and board are to be commended for continuing to improve protection for our clients and the settling of claims. Our complaints process continues to offer clients and builders assistance if disputes occur.

Our Regional Service Officers (RSO) do great work in new member applications, dispute resolution, and assisting and supporting members around the country. This is a unique service, and I encourage members to be proactive and contact their RSO, through the Federation, if they would like assistance with documentation, client or business issues, or to sign up staff to the new individual membership categories.

n3 (formerly GSB) recently reported that our members have purchased more than $13 million of goods and services through their procurement channels. Around 65% of our business members are working smarter and taking advantage of this benefit.
Have you signed up yet? If you would like further information contact your RSO, or go to the members web site at www.masterbuilder.org.nz.

2013 saw the establishment of the Commercial Working Group and the Residential Working Group, and I would also like to thank the learned people who sit on these committees for their contribution to our members’ interests and to our industry in general.

A huge amount of advocacy work goes on behind the scenes on behalf of Registered Master Builders members. I would like to acknowledge our representatives on committees, working groups and boards across the sector who contribute to continuously improve the industry that we work in.

I would also like to thank our association managers across the country for their hard work and dedication in uncertain and changing times. Your contribution and service to our members is greatly appreciated.

Finally, I would like to thank all our staff, in particular chief executive Warwick Quinn, the RMBF Board, all local association presidents and executives for the great work you all do on behalf of our members.

Merry Christmas, and have a happy and prosperous new year.