The forum aimed to bring the industry together to discuss sector issues and create a platform for resolving those issues collaboratively.
There was a lot of high level discussion about important issues like urban planning, social housing and availability of land. Did I mention it’s a national event? Because, in all honesty, you’d be forgiven for thinking the only cities in New Zealand are Auckland and Christchurch! Now if there's one thing we’re not short of in New Zealand, it’s land… There’s plenty available in central and southern New Zealand, yet, it is the golden triangle issue that dominated.
Once we get past the land availability some of the issues raised over the forum are easily fixed.
- Modular fast builds
- Putting the brakes on bespoke designs or choices
- Focusing more on assembly style construction
These solutions make planned buildings easy to draw, easy to get consent for, quick to build and easier to sign off.
What I couldn’t believe…
The Building Act 2004 wasn’t mentioned once over the course of the day. If I didn’t know differently, I’d assume this meant there are no problems with building consents or delays in construction.
There was another elephant in the room… Nobody mentioned the problematic issue of joint and several liability. If council’s liability is not limited, then each of the Building Control Authorities will remain risk averse, and continue to take actions that mitigate rate payer’s risk.
Those of you reading this will know I’m no wallflower; I’m quite happy to stand up and speak in public. It’s what I do for a living, and with over twenty years’ experience within the building industry, I could have hogged the mic with numerous questions and comments. I was disappointed that the audience didn’t get an opportunity to workshop or share their many years of experience and collective wisdom by discussing sector issues and creating a platform for resolving those issues collaboratively, the self-proclaimed aim on the forum, (see the website).
I fear that this forum, Constructive, missed its mark entirely. Some of the Master Builders I met in the room were from the provinces, and any issues raised at the forum were not real or specific enough for the truths to be told and tackled, let alone resolved.
Dave Kelly is the chair of the NZCIC representing the peak bodies across the sector. I sat on that committee myself many years back. Many people say that nobody brings this group together, and this astounds me when there has been a group in existence for twenty years. At the end of the day the club of suits need to sit around the table with Bill English and the Prime Minister to make decisions about the big issues like social housing and the Auckland crisis. The rest of us will be the recipients of those decisions and will no doubt have our own battles in the trenches.