Membership growth promising


Summer is well behind us, and hopefully all your projects are well on track as the days get shorter.

As an RMBA Board, we are getting around as many annual members meetings as we can in the next few months. It’s a great way for us to get feedback from local members and see where things are at around the branches.

Good ideas on the quality of new members, House of the Year event locations, judging standards in House of the Year and ways of sending information beyond business owners have been well received.

We also have had a chance to show how things are tracking on a national level.

We are pleased with an 11% rise in business members last year, and our new Elevate online portal, which was described by one member who told me it was the best thing to come out of Master Builders in 30 years.

Advocacy and legal services advances, 21% growth in House of the Year entries and 33% growth in New Zealand Commercial Project Awards entries this year, changes to our disputes resolution service, a growth in net equity and finally some changes on the guarantee front are other notable recent RMBA successes.

The turnout at Tauranga was great, and the evening was finished off by having the Tauranga City Council present their new online consenting through to CCC process, which went live the following day.

There has to be a better way to deliver this progress as a shared effort nationally, instead of the current ad hoc approach from territorial authorities all having a go.


For those who employ apprentices, Apprentice of the Year entries are upon us and now is a chance to encourage your staff to test themselves in front of their peers and grow as people.

As an industry we need to do more with training the future of our industry. The positives of bringing a young person into a trade, seeing them learn, develop as a person and then assume responsibility within your business makes it all worthwhile and overshadows the hard work involved.

There is also the chance at the moment to take on a Gateway student or two from a local college. It’s a great chance to find someone who fits within the trade or, alternatively, finds it’s not for them as they take a day a week out from school.

There are some great prospects over time who lend themselves to start an apprenticeship at year end. We need to get more numbers into our businesses first.

I remember listening to Tom O’Toole
( speak a number of years ago. He told of the dilemma of training staff.

“What if you train them and they leave,” he was often asked. “What if you don’t and they stay?” was his reply. We have to train more as an industry and stop leaving it to others.


It was pleasing to attend a reunion of Registered Master Builders national past presidents in Blenheim recently.

While proposing a toast to all those who had gone before me, the commitment to the role and values on display were unchanged as the years go by. We will meet up again in Wellington in 2020.

The site visits were a bit different to those at most building-related gatherings. We went out to Yealands Estate at Seddon, and I discovered a little bit about a person I’d never heard of but probably should have.

I actually purchased his book at the airport coming home, and it’s worth checking out the story of Peter Yealands for some inspiration. For more info, visit


Many of you may have noticed the squeeze on funding in our sector that has progressively tightened in the past six months — and there is no sign of any change for the rest of 2017. This must impact workflow.

Get used to the lower level of funding banks will put forward, and plan accordingly. This is mostly affecting the pre-approval percentage — or lack of it — for our new clients to the market, and reducing the level banks will fund our projects to, if at all.

With the election ahead, and housing a continuing area of discussion, the rest of the year will throw up a few obstacles and make it important for us, from a Master Builders viewpoint, to continue our focus on helping members build better businesses.

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