New Zealand construction industry set for record year


New Zealand is on track to exceed last year’s level of building consents for new homes, despite building consent data showing a fall in April.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) chief executive Warwick Quinn says the fall is not unexpected given the holidays in April.

“New Zealand is still on track to exceed the number of new building consents issued in 2016 — with just over 30,000 predicted.”

The seasonally adjusted number of new homes consented fell 7.6% in April 2017 compared with March 2017, with 2106 new homes consented in April 2017 compared with 2361 in April 2016.

Mr Quinn says on a regional level only Canterbury, down 18.7%, and Hawke’s Bay, down 3%, are below where they were this time last year, with all other areas up on the equivalent four-month period in 2016.

The remainder of the regions recorded a rise. Northland was up 6.3%, Auckland 6.5%, Waikato 4.5%, Bay of Plenty 6.7%, Gisborne 7.7%, Taranaki 7.7%, Manawatu/Whanganui 10.5%, Wellington 10.2%, Tasman 3.7%, Nelson 32.1%, Marlborough 7.9%, West Coast 53.1%, and Otago 3.4%. Southland remained the same.


Overall consents up 2.4% nationally

Mr Quinn says New Zealand overall is up 2.4% on the same period last year which, if the trend continues, will see new residential building consents nudging 31,000 in 2017.

“This will be the second highest year on record since 1976. Only 2014, with 31,423 consents issued, has been higher in the past 40 years, and there is a good chance that number will be broken this year.”

He says the demand for skills is very high across all trades and regions.

“While a lot of media attention has been focused on Auckland, there is significant demand throughout the country.

“More than 50,000 construction workers are needed over the next five years, and a little under half of those need to be trade qualified.

“We are in the midst of one of the biggest building booms in recent memory, and it is expected to last for many years, so job prospects are excellent.

“Skill shortages are not restricted to tradespeople but are across the entire construction sector, with engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, project managers, supervisors and many other professionals in high demand.”

Mr Quinn says the trades are not often considered a genuine option for school leavers by their influencers such as parents, family, career advisors and teachers, who instead favour university.

“The BCITO has just completed the Not Your Average Tradie Road Trip  which was aimed at attracting more people into construction careers, and has other initiatives planned. 

“As a qualified tradesperson you can become highly successful in a short space of time. Not only do you get a tertiary qualification with no student debt because of the earn as you learn approach, but construction is a huge and varied industry offering many career paths beyond working on site.

“Skilled individuals can go in all sorts of directions, from owning their own business to professional consulting, management, supervision and many others,” Mr Quinn says.

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