The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development estimates that New Zealanders are 30% less productive than Australians!
The council says this is a fact echoed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development whose recent measures of labour productivity show New Zealand to be fourth from the bottom of a league table of comparable nations.
The construction sector is one of the largest and most important in the economy, employing more than 7% of the workforce, and represents a national investment of more than $280 billion. It is also one of the least productive, according to the OECD.
Research by the Centre for Advanced Engineers (CAENZ) reported last year that there was a general decline in the construction industry, and that industry providers and their clients were struggling to cope with a “hot market” and the shortfall in skills and resources.
However, a new diploma, Managerial Excellence in Engineering and Construction (Dip MEEC, Level 6 pending), aims to help improve performance and transform the industry.
About to commence its second year, the diploma’s goal is to change mindsets and transform businesses, by turning up-and-coming home grown project and business managers into world class construction industry professionals.
Starting in July, the diploma has been jointly developed by the New Zealand Institute of Management (NZIM) and The Academy of Constructing Excellence (ACE). It can be taken as a 10 month course or individual modules.
The new diploma takes a practical, collaborative approach and encourages participants to put what they learn into practice.
ACE director and DipMEEC course tutor Amanda Warren says they tell all chief executives and human resources heads who are keen to send their people to the course to be prepared to have their businesses transformed.
“Our approach is a collaborative one, using the principles of best practice management which empowers people.
“So it’s essential that support for the new ideas generated on the course comes from the top. Otherwise the participants cannot help implement change and businesses won’t improve,” Ms Warren says.
The diploma has advisory support from leading industry figures from a range of clients, contractors and consultancies representing, among others, Arrow International, Beca, Fulton Hogan, Leighs Construction, Massey University (Strategic Property), Naylor Love, NZ Strong, Mainzeal and Transit NZ.
NZ Strong managing director Shane Brealey, whose input helped design the DipMEEC course, says worldwide there has been little advance in the way the construction industry operates since the pyramids and ancient cathedrals were built.
“The master-servant model prevails and, with it, an abundance of wasted material, time and labour,” he says.
“We have an opportunity in New Zealand to learn from experiences overseas and add our unique Kiwi flavour to find industry-leading solutions.
“The DipMEEC course brings together the best of international expertise within a forum of progressive local construction leaders focused on identifying breakthrough gains.”
NaylorLove managing director Trevor Kempton quotes recent figures from Business and Economic Research Ltd.
“If the construction industry improved efficiency by 10% it would result in a 1% increase of the New Zealand GDP, as well as an increase of revenue of $350 million to the Government, and $1.5billion to clients,” he says.
“So there is a real incentive for the industry to support any initiatives such as the DipMEEC course, whose aim is to improve productivity and performance.”