New Zealand’s construction sector could have emerged from Covid-19 in a critical state if not for the actions of the Construction Sector Accord (the Accord), construction industry leaders say.
In a panel session during the Constructive Virtual Event Series, led by Registered Master Builders, industry leaders and members of the Accord praised the way industry and government worked together during the initial Covid-19 response to make quick decisions that ultimately rescued the sector.
The Accord is a genuine partnership between industry and government that is working to fix many of the issues and challenges facing the construction sector.
“I don’t think we could have had construction sites up and running as quickly as we did without the Accord,” Registered Master Builders chief executive and Accord Transformation Delivery Group member David Kelly says.
“It was fundamental to everyone working in construction, whether they were residential or commercial, that as soon as we finished Alert Level 4 lockdown, that they could get back on site in a safe and responsible way.
“The Accord made that happen — through the genuine partnership between industry and government, there was a high level of credibility and trust,” Kelly says.
BRANZ chief executive and Accord Transformation Delivery Group member Chelydra Percy agrees, going a step further.
“I would be bold enough to say the sector would not have been allowed back on sites at Alert Level 3 if not for the important work the Accord and Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) did around health and safety standards,” Percy says.
“This was really critical for the livelihood of our industry and our people.”
Kelly acknowledged Ministers and government had a massive job to respond to Covid-19.
“In terms of the construction sector, if we didn’t have the Accord, there would have been 1000 voices all trying to look after their little slice, and we all would have failed.
“The construction sector — and the individuals and businesses within it — would have suffered immensely.
“The Accord forced the industry to talk together and make some compromises. What emerged was a credible and unified voice that represented the whole industry.”
Through the Accord, the sector benefited from health and safety standards for operating at Alert Levels 2 and above; numerous pieces of procurement and contract management guidance; a new Contract Partnering Agreement; and the release of the Rapid Mobilisation Models and accompanying Playbook.
Percy was impressed with the way industry and government worked together during Covid.
“It was amazing to watch industry and government listen to each other, share perspectives, and turn initiatives around really quickly to protect our people and our projects.
“The normal layers and weeks of thinking dissolved — we were focused on shared problem solving and finding ways to get the right information to and from each other in clear and quick time frames. We were much more agile and responsive.”
Property Council New Zealand chief executive and Accord Steering Group member Leonie Freeman says the Accord proved its value during Covid.
“I hate to think where our sector would have been if we hadn’t had the Accord in place, with everyone working together with access to government and Ministers at such a critical time.”
Meanwhile, the Accord has added several experienced industry and government professionals to the Accord Steering Group (ASG) and the Transformation Delivery Group (TDG) to direct and transform the industry’s future, ASG co-chairs Chris Bunny and Peter Reidy announced recently.
To see the Constructive Virtual Event Series panel discussion, visit the Constructive web site at constructive.org.nz.